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.

ukrainian wreath ava2Ukrainian brides used to wear wedding wreaths for their big day. This tradition existed for several hundred years. Today, women in Ukraine rarely wear wreaths for the wedding, so this wedding tradition has almost disappeared. But the local museums still have large collections of authentic bridal wreaths made from wax, yarn, artificial flowers (fresh flowers, of course, haven’t survived), wooden shavings, metal, feathers, foil, and other materials. And these headwear pieces can be striking – we look at them and understand why women wanted to wear them and considered them inspiring.

wedding kerchief ava2In several Ukrainian regions, there was a certain wedding tradition – the bride’s family presented their most honored and respected wedding guests with a special gift. They gave small embroidered kerchiefs, which the wedding guests gladly took and stored in the most prominent place at home. These kerchiefs were a very important present, like a very special wedding favor given only to the selected people. But let’s have a look at some of the wedding kerchiefs. Aren’t they cute and bright?

Namitka avaWe are used to more familiar and common bridal headwear – veils, hats or caps, wreaths, tiaras, and so on, but this piece is unique and even exotic, you might say. Though, 100 or so years ago, brides in Ukraine often wore such headdresses to their wedding. If you look closer, you’ll see charming white doves hand-stitched on the fabric. Of course, they symbolize the couple, their pure and eternal love, and the new family (nest) they build together. It’s a wonderful wedding garment that was worn by some bride years ago and, today, is a part of a museum collection.

wedding photo frame avaToday, we have so many means of preserving our wedding photos and sentimental knickknacks from our happy day – all those wedding photo albums, bride boxes, framed photo collages, digital picture frames, etc. But how did our grandmothers and great grandmothers keep their favorite wedding items? This is a rare old wedding photo frame that belonged to an ordinary family from the Carpathian mountain region, not some fancy piece of a princess or baroness, made not from gold or silver, but handcrafted with so much love and care. It hung in the most honored corner of the house, perfectly complementing the simple wooden interior. And now, we see it in a museum.