Travel memoirs in Russia (Day 4/14: Wedding day)

It’s the 4th day of my trip to Russia and the second day in Saint Petersburg. I was invited to Russia for a wedding and I planned a two-week trip to go to both the wedding and visit Russia. The groom was from Chile and the bride was from Russia, the wedding was at 16 o’clock, so I still had time to do something in the city.

Diego and Elena wedding
Diego and Elena’s wedding in Saint Peters-burg

I planned to visit Svetlana who I knew from Couchsurfing. I went to the subway after eating breakfast at Luba and went to the metro station that was the place we were going to visit. Svetlana was in her 30s. She asked me where I want to visit and like always I said non-touristic areas. So we walked along some streets where locals were mostly passing by. We went to a beautiful park and sat by a lake. The weather was nice and sunny and there were people taking a sun shower in the park.

Svetlana had been married for some years, and now she and her husband had the plan to move to London. So she was studying English and not going to work, spending most of her time learning the English language and finding a job in London.

Svetlana and I
Enjoying the sun in the park with Svetlana

Svetlana and her husband were going to the library every day and worked on their plans. That’s why she could manage to come and show me around in the middle of the week. Svetlana was not satisfied with Russia, saying that there is a lot of propaganda in Russia and that the government is scaring people all the time and saying we have enemies and we should prepare for war. She believed as Putin was in power right now, all of his subordinates were in power throughout the country and in different areas of power and all the resources were in his hands. That is why no one can even come up with a way to compete with Putin. Even if he loses power, his supporters are scattered in Russia and they will not allow any change.

Besides politics, we also talked about the overall look of the ladies. They were a lot of girls and boys with fantasy color hair. She said one year ago it was a trend here in Russia and almost everyone had a fantasy color on their hair. Besides that, I saw so many girls who dyed their hair. when I was in Russia I had a short hair cut with a hair tattoo, and Svetlana asked me if my husband is okay with that style. I said my husband is okay and even if he is not, we prefer to have our personal decisions and we don’t like to feel we cannot do something because the other one doesn’t want to.

tremok syrnici
Syrnici in Teremok

After the park I suggested Svetalan going to a Teremok branch which was my favorite Russian restaurant. She treated me for a delicious Russian tea and Syrnici which was a tasty Russian dessert. We said goodbye after that and wished to see each other again somewhere. By the way, now that I am writing this article, she is in London with her husband. πŸ™‚

I went to Lub’s home to get ready for the wedding, as Luba and Mila were also invited to the wedding, we were going to go together. The wedding was at 16:00 and we had the plan to leave at 15:30 and I got home at 15:00, so I had only half an hour to get ready, but it was enough for me. I usually get ready quickly.

I had brought myself the perfect wedding dress and shoes, even though I was traveling with a backpack and didn’t want my bag to be heavy, but I didn’t know how fancy the wedding might be, so I didn’t risk. The only thing I knew before coming was that the bride wants guests to wear bright color dresses. No black or dark, that’s what Diego(the groom) told me before coming. Thank God I had a pink flower dress to wear.

with my big backpack
The wedding dress was with me all my trip πŸ™‚

Back in Iran, people use lots of makeup at weddings. Not only the bride but also all the guests. So when I go to a wedding in Iran people say, you always dress simple, without any make-ups. It wasn’t the same here. Mila, Luba, and her daughter Vera wore some simple and beautiful dress with light make-up. I wasn’t feeling simple at all πŸ™‚ We all went to the wedding by taxi.

On the way to the wedding
On the way to the wedding

First, we went to a place for the official wedding ceremony. It was in a stylish building. We were all waited for about half an hour to go inside the wedding room. Outside the waiting room, I met the bride and groom’s family. Lena, the bride was from Saint-Petersburg, in her family, no one could speak English. The groom, Diego was from Chile, and his mother and sister, and friends were at the wedding. his mother could not speak English and the communication between families was a little difficult.

waiting to go to the wedding hall
while waiting for the wedding to start

There, Mila (my backpacker friend), who was fluent in both Russian and English, was an interpreter. Someone came to guide us in, but of course in Russian. We were watching each other confused until Mila translated what we should do and then Bellen, Diego’s sister translated it to Spanish for her mother. It was a really unique experience for me to be in such a multilingual and multicultural wedding.

We went to the wedding room and there was a Russian woman in a red dress at the front and there were seats for guests. Diego and Elena came and we clapped and the red woman started to say somethings in Russian which in my ears were like a lullaby and I could only understand the bride and groom’s name from the context. πŸ™‚

Russian wedding

The bride and groom then said yes and were declared husband and wife by Russian law. The guests gave flowers to the newlyweds and congrats them and that was the first time I was seeing Elena. The photographer took a photo of all the guests on the stairs.

wedding guests
lovely wedding, lovely people

We went outside of the building and waited for the bride and groom while keeping rice and flowers in our hands to throw at them when they come out. The cameraman stressed out to throw flowers on their heads and the rice on their feet, not vice versa. Of course, this note was in Russian and English.

throwing rice and flowers

After we welcomed Elena and Diego to the street, we walked to a park close by. We took so many photos and the photographer took photo of us with the lovely bride and groom. Then we all got on a big bus that had been rented and headed to the wedding hall. The tables were all set up, there was plenty of food and drink, our names were written on the tables. My table was with Mila, Danny, Luba, and Vera. They wrote everyone a lovely personal note which was lovely.

photos in the park

We waited for the bride and groom and we welcomed them by clapping and happy screaming. They also welcomed us by a bottle of champaign and poured our glasses with the magic ices and the party officially started.

Diego and Elena pouring champagne

Elena went over to the projector with some slides. every slide was with one of the guest’s picture and she introduced them and talk about that person and how they meant to her and thanking them for coming. As it was an international wedding she explained the slides in both Russian and English and one of their friends translated it to Spanish. After Elena was Diego’s turn, he also told about his guests and there I was in the picture with Diego and my family near a waterfall.

All the guests in one shot
All the guests in one shot πŸ™‚

I was all the time waiting for the music and dancing, but it wasn’t going to be like weddings in Iran. They had different plans for us. After introducing the guests, they had a game. They brought two whiteboards and some colorful markers and asked us coming to the boards, so some of us went there and we were divided by girls and boys. We were supposed to paint the bride and groom’s life in five years, and everyone was going to paint one piece.

Vera painting
Vera painting

Both groups painted six children on the board as the father of the bride wishes them, six kids when giving a toast. one of the things I painted was a mountain as they were going to live in Chile, and chile is mountainous and I knew Diego loved trekking. I really liked this activity and the result. It was very lovely and friendly. I cannot wait to see what will really happen in life, will they have really six kids?!

the girls painting
the bride and groom’s life after five years

In the wedding hall, there was a samovar and cups of Russian tea. It was decorated with a Russian biscuit necklace. It was a present from the bride’s family to the groom’s family. It was very beautiful, but I don’t know how they wanted to take it to Chile. πŸ™‚ We took so many pictures with the Samovar. BesΔ±de thatΓΆ there were different things for people who like photos like me. πŸ™‚

Vera dancing
Vera is a great dancer

There was also a dance competition by Vera(Luba’s daughter), who was a great dancer. Only boys and kids could participate in the competition. The prize was one of Luba’s handicrafts with her own painting.

dance competition
dance competition

Later, the bride and groom danced, Elena changed her dress to a red one for the dance. She also sang a Spanish love song. They taught us to dance in Russian.

Elena and Diego's Dance
Lovely couple

That night I found a really cool Italian friend, named Francesca. I don’t know how I ended up on their table and we started talking and laughing and after the wedding, we met each other again.

In the end, for throwing the bridal bouquet Elena had a nice way of doing that, The bouquet had some ribbons connected to it. and all the girls pushed the ribbons and only one of them was connected to the bouquet. I don’t know why I was also there between single girls, but hopefully, I didn’t take the bouquet. Danny got the flowers and I am still waiting to hear her wedding news. πŸ™‚

Elena bouquet
Elena and the flower bouquet

The interesting part of the wedding for me was the international culture. As Diego was a traveler and visited so many counties he had so many friends from different countries and it was something unique about this wedding. I am really happy that Diego invited me and I had the chance to participate in this cool wedding.

Our photo is in the middle πŸ™‚