So, a post full of beautiful photos on EnglishRussia sent me looking around for a list/explanation of Russian wedding customs. I do know people that are fixin' to wed...if only any of them were Russian! The traditions--particularly as related to the wedding reception (two days of partying? yeah!!)--sound mostly awesome:
First, the groom comes to the home of his intended and has to pay the bride's ransom. Then it's a race to the car, avoiding neighborhood kids and being showered with rice and coins. This is followed by the Orthodox ceremony, which can last anywhere from 30 minutes to 120 minutes. After that, the couple zip over to the department of public services where they're officially married in the eyes of the State; this ceremony is very short, 15 minutes. Next, it is apparently customary for the bridal party (such as it is) to take a limousine tour of historical sites around the city while drinking champagne. The tour culminates at the site of the reception, where the bride and groom are greeted with bread and salt. They are expected to take a bite of the offered bread, and whoever takes the larger bite will be head of the household, according to this website. Other reception traditions include toasts (and we know all about toasts, don't we, 202?), following which you are expected to smash your glass on the ground for good luck. Also, if the groom lets the bride out of his sight, she's liable to be stolen by his friends, making him pay the ransom again. The real party, though, starts on the second day of the reception. More drinking, singing, dancing and fighting--in the words of the website, "Never miss the second day of the traditional Russian wedding."