It was accepted to marry to Russia quite early. It happened, that the age of the groom was from 12 till 13 years. In an early marriage it was perfect natural, that the groom and the bride did not know each other up to a marriage. The general moral concepts of that time did not allow young people of both sexes to see each other and talk. The relatives solved all this. Usually fathers and mothers of the groom personally chose a girl, informing the son about it when wedding was already prepared.
But sometimes parents of the bride did the first step. Wishing to marry the daughter, parents sent to the groom a person close to them, the matchmaker, if parents of the groom agreed started courtship by usual order.
First they looked, whether the bride is good, whether is clever. The groom could not see the bride before wedding. If subsequently the deceit with the bride opened, the marriage could be terminated, but it happened very seldom.
Sometimes the groom insisted on the right to see the bride himself but then it was already almost impossible to cancel the wedding.
After that there was an arrangement - the first part of a marriage holiday or the introduction to a celebration. The parents of the bride appointed a special day. Parents sat down against each other and kept silence for some minutes, so it was accepted. The arrangement was made, the special note where was written, that during such time wedding will take place, and for the bride will get a concrete sum of money.
The money or some useful things, such as a bed, a dress, domestic utensils and ornaments, people, money, the real estate were always the important condition of Russian wedding. Nothing was required from the groom. This arrangement had legal value. If the bride was from a poor family and could not bring anything to the new house the groom himself transferred parents the bride some sum of money - the ancient custom did not allow to take the bride without anything given.
On the day of a celebration (on the eve or in the morning) the matchmaker of the bride was sent in the house of the groom to prepare marriage to a box. There was a belief, those valiant sorcerers and witches can bring a spoil and to overtake malicious spirits in that house, where wedding is being prepared. Different things were done to prevent it. It was necessary, that on a ceiling of the room for the newly married there was no ground that, thus, the marriage bedroom did not resemble anything a tomb. In the room chests with grain, flanks were brought.
Before the wedding in the church visitors and a newly-married couple were invited to the table, but sitting next the future spouse the groom did not see the face of the bride as she was wearing a dense coverlet - a prototype of a today's veil.
After wedding a feast was arranged, the bride’s face was already open, and she should cry, and women and maidens sang sad songs. Before leaving a wedding feast the husband, as a token of the authority, struck the wife’s back. It symbolized that the young woman was given from one "owner" to another.
After that in due time the young husband withdrew the young wife. Having remained alone, the young should execute one more ancient custom: a ceremony of taking off the shoes. It is a very ancient ceremony, which has reached to Russian from pagan times. It was, that the wife, as a token of humility, should take off the husband boots. In one of a boot there was put a coin. If she managed first to take off that boot in which there was a coin, it meant, that there will be a happiness for the young family, otherwise it meant, that she should please the husband and obey him all her life.
After wedding during several days (sometimes about a month, depending on a solvency of families and local customs) celebrating took place.
In modern Russia church wedding has began popular again, but it is not an obligatory part of wedding. But modern wedding ceremony consists of a plenty of traditional actions, starting from old custom to transfer the bride through a threshold and finishing with different games and competitions. There are specific traditions in every city, too. So, in Petersburg there’s a tradition to come on the wedding day to the quay of the Neva and to some famous monuments, to leave flowers there, to take photos and drink champagne.
The traditions connected to life cycle are one of elements that are characteristic for all cultures. Thus, distinctions in these traditions allow seeing the national originality of customs of the country.