If you have some knowledge of Ukrainian culture, you should have heard that Ukrainians have the ability to create a party from almost any type of situation. It is not a secret that Ukrainians - as a nation with very deep ethnic roots, seem to have holidays 6 days per week.
Of course the rules of such holidays are not so strict. The many types of "holidays" include religious, family (like Happy Birthday!), state and other small holidays, like "I got the first salary!" or "I am having boyfriend for 5 days already and he didnt run away! Yay! Lets go party!"... Now you probably wonder," When is it that ukrainians do their work?" - but they really do work hard every damn day.
So I kind of deviated from the original topic of conversation. What about a wedding party in Ukraine (Ukrainian wedding reception)? It is quite different from what other nations do. First of all, because real Ukrainians drink much more and dance much more than any other culture (hmmm, after I wrote this I remembered weddings in India, So I was probably not right about dancing).
While most other people drink champagne and quite possibly only champange during weddings, Ukrainians drink vodka (horilka) first and foremost. Then of course wine or champagne may be added. Of course, the first toast for happy couple will be champagne if you provide it to guests. If not - they will not be dissapointed. (here are some tips & tricks about how to drink in Ukraine).
In most cases, the party is divided into sections. First, people eat, sit at the table, socialize, and honor the presence of bride and groom. After they have had enough food, they go out to the dancefloor and heat up their shoes. The traditional dance, which every wedding has every third song, is Pol'ka.
After people have moved their bones for a while, the Master of Ceremonies declares the first dance of bride and groom. Those two dance, while all people are observing or dancing in a circle around the couple.
During the dancing session, the MC can entertain people with some crazy contests for guests, bridesmaids and best friends. Everyone joins in the fun.
Then after an hour or two of dancing, the MC invites guests to the table again. Those who can eat again, eat. It is customary that ukrainian weddings have way too much food, and drink. Musicians sing with guests some national songs with accompaniment of instruments like accordion, violin and others.
After more eating, the guests go to dance again. During the second dance break ukrainians have some more traditions to present, like the veil dance. This is where the mother of the groom takes the veil from the head of the bride and puts a white headkerchief on her head. This means that this girl says goodbye to single life and from now on her party life is over as she should be an exemplary wife for her husband. While mother-in-law takes off the veil, all unmarried girls on the dancefloor make a circle around the bride holding each others hands. After the veil is taken, the bride takes girls inside the circle one after another, puts her veil on the head of a girl and dances with her 1-2 minutes. This ritual gives the other girls an opporutnity to know how it feels to be a bride and sort of offers a good luck blessing for being a bride in the future.
After the veil dance, the bride is throwing her bouquet to the unmarried girls - you probably are familiar with such ritual. The groom then takes off the bride's garter and throws it to the bachelors. People dance some more, and then the MC invites them to the table again, as it is time to have some food again. Now you probably think, how much can those ukrainians really eat? Believe me, when you'll be at a Ukrainian wedding and will dance in the same pace as all Ukrainians, you will understand why they eat so much.
The conclusion of the wedding involves sharing the Korovai and wedding cake. All guests will get their portion, which they will also be able to bring home.
Accompanied with a nice Ukrainian style march, the guests say goodbye to the bride and groom and to each other and go home with happy bellies and tired legs from dancing.