Wreath avaOld Ukrainian tradition dictated for brides to wear a wedding wreath with their wedding attire. Such a headdress was an obligatory accessory worn with pride. During the wedding ceremony, a special wedding ritual was performed and a wreath was replaced by a kerchief that covered the bride’s hair. A wedding wreath was a ceremonial and meaningful headpiece and, despite being used for only one day, it had to be glorious – large, fancy, and eye-catching. The more imaginative you were with your wreath, the better. Here’s one of the many exquisite Ukrainian bridal wreaths – this rare item, remarkably, made from wooden shavings.

Fashion show1 avaCrimean Tatars are a small ethnic group originating from the Crimean Peninsula (Europe, the northern coast of the Black Sea). They’re mostly Muslim, but their wedding traditions are a bit different from those in other Muslim countries. The Islamic rules in the Crimean Tatar culture are somewhat less strict. For example, a Crimean Tatar girl has a say in the engagement, her father can suggest or advise a husband for her, but only the girl decides whether she wants to marry him or not. Also, Crimean Tatar traditional weddings are very beautiful and spectacular events because of the traditional costumes used by the bride and groom.

Bride avaWe’ve already published a post about ceremonial towels being used as the bride’s belt at Ukrainian traditional weddings. This custom was rather popular in certain areas of several Slavic countries. A long and ornate traditional towel looks much more eye-catching than the usual belt. To prove that, we have another museum exhibit – Ukrainian bride’s folk costume that sports a hand-woven ceremonial towel instead of a belt. Note also the amount of jewelry on the bride’s neck – we can’t even count how many rows of necklaces there are!

Dukach4 avaModern Western-style wedding jewelry is usually gold or silver with diamonds or Swarovski crystals, but traditional jewelry pieces worn by our ancestors varied greatly around the world. In some countries massive gold necklaces, pendants, bracelets, etc were used; other brides wore coral, amber, and pearls; still other countries were world-famous for their beadwork. It’s wonderful how lovely vintage bridal jewelry looks, especially handmade adornments manufactured by the local jewelers. Here are a few authentic sets of Ukrainian wedding jewelry from the late 19th – early 20th century. They’re striking even for a modern eye.

ukrainian wreath ava2This wedding headdress of a bride is truly unique. It is traditionally used (for several centuries in a row) only in one particular area of western Ukraine. The headpiece of the local brides looks opulent, eye-catching, and impressive. When a bride is wearing such a wreath, you can’t miss her. And by the way, even today, local women sometimes choose to get married in this authentic headgear, though not very often. Let’s find out more about this elaborate wedding headdress.

Woven towel1 avaEmbroidered and woven ceremonial towels called “rushnyk” were traditionally used in many wedding rituals in Ukraine. For example, it was used during the ritual of engagement. The bride and groom stepped on such a towel in church during the wedding ceremony. A bride could use an ornate towel instead of a belt. The wedding witnesses wore ceremonial towels tied around their body. A lot of different wedding traditions are connected with a bridal towel. Here are a few samples of old Ukrainian wedding towels, hand-woven on a loom.

Wedding towel avaThere is a cute and meaningful tradition in Ukraine – to belt the bride with a ceremonial towel instead of an ordinary belt. We can see this in the central and northern regions of Ukraine in the 19th century. Of course, a towel is much wider, longer, and brighter than any belt, so it adds color and opulence to the bridal outfit. Today, this wedding tradition is practically forgotten, brides don’t belt themselves with embroidered towels anymore. Some people would even say that it’s weird to use a towel as a belt. But why did they do it?

Male costume10 avaIn modern European wedding tradition, groomsmen usually dress in suits or tuxes, but what did they wear 100 or so years ago? Here’s a spoiler: in Slavic countries, they wore bizarre outfits, something opposite to imposing suits. To convince you, we’ll show a piece from a museum collection – groomsman’s attire from Carpathian Ukraine. One garment in this set is particularly interesting.

Bridal wreath avaAmong the traditional wedding headdresses around the world, there are many oddly-shaped, unique, or eye-catching pieces. Our modern veils, pillbox hats, and other wedding hair accessories can’t even be compared to some of that vintage folk headgear. And here are two examples of such bridal headpieces from Ukraine, the late 19th – early 20th century. Can you imagine wearing something like this for your wedding?

manta avaWedding fashion changes so rapidly that we sometimes can’t recognize the wedding clothing popular a decade ago, so it’s not surprising that garments worn by the bride and groom 100 or 200 years ago might seem weird. This item is one of such curious outerwear pieces. It is called “manta” and used to be worn by grooms in the 19th – early 20th century in Ukraine. Here you are a few detailed photos and some info about manta, odd but ornate and beautiful outer garment.