How to choose a dress for traditional Russian wedding

Choice of the wedding dress is the biggest problem for Russian bride.

Since ancient times young maidens paid a lot of attention to the most important ceremony in life – wedding and much prominence was given to a garment. Centuries ago, in Ancient Rus’ times, wear was very bright and colorful and as for a Russian wedding dress traditional color was red. Optionally, there were two outfits – brides often were wearing black gowns to fool evil spirits making them believe that the maiden was dead so they cannot harm her. After ceremony they changed garments – the second one was red and symbolized joy and happiness. Clothing was heavily decorated with floral ornaments and birds as birds (especially roosters and swans) were considered as symbols of good luck and blessedness. As tradition demands, young girls created and trimmed the attire for the ceremony singlehanded. Every maiden did her best to create the most astonishing garments, so Russian bride in wedding dress looked breathtaking.
As for the accessories, a flower wreath as a headwear was transformed into a ribbon or a headband and then replaced by crowns or kokoshnik (depending on the region of the country). Also maidens garnished themselves with jewelry and pendant made of precious metals. As for the rings, these accessories were decorated with turquoise as it was known as a symbol of fidelity.

How to choose a dress for traditional Russian wedding
How to choose a dress for traditional Russian wedding

The situation has changed with Peter the Great’s rise to power: Russians started to follow European fashion.

Wedding dress for Russian wedding ceremony – which is better?

Looking through the samples of imperial Russian wedding dress exposed in the Armory Chamber in Kremlin it is safe to say that empresses followed European spousal fashion and that trend finished only in 1917 after the revolution. Interesting case, tradition of red Russian wedding dress was broken by Catherine II, who married in white, following customs from Ancient Greece. Before that time white color was considered as a color of grief unlike Greek customs where it was a symbol of prosperity and happiness. Since that time traditional Russian wedding dress is white as it symbolizes purity.
However, if someone wanted to see a vintage Russian wedding dress from 1920s, 1930s or 1950s, he would be disappointed – there was only civil registration of spousal without any ceremony and bridal pair wore their usual garments. Starting from 1960s-70s brides wore white or light full feather.
Today the situation has changed: everyone decides how to dress for a Russian wedding in terms of own convenience and taste. Looking through the galleries of popular photographers in Russia it becomes apparent that brides still select princess-style white attires with long bridal veils, though, there are also many original models and colors also may wary. More than that, some brave future wives wear black apparels!
Yet the process of describing gowns cannot be completed without a review of modern trends and tendencies.

Modern Traditional wedding gown – how does it look?

As it was mentioned above, Russian orthodox bride dress is white, it is long and for the most part has a corset plus full skirt. However, modern fashion started to change the appearance of common bride with bright details, change of breed or materials plus color. A mere glance on artworks of famous Russian wedding dress designers proves that. For example, Svetlana Kharina’s collections are distinguished by usage of different colors like Nanking yellow, rose, purple, blue or silver.  Galia Lahav creates extra beautiful gowns with the longest tails ever, some of them are irreverent, some are full of bohemian regal splendor, but all are awesome and original. If you want to find revealing Russian bride dress then in her collections you will definitely find the one! The last, but not the least, Victoria Spirina proposes unusual breed, silhouettes and designs – some of her models are a skirt plus top, some attires are accompanied with jackets or shirts, some of rich brown or grey color – these bridal dresses are the most original ones!

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