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Sheets for coupons and a banquet with a fight: the truth about Soviet weddings


Source: Maxim Mirovich

Many people still remember these weddings as “kind and glorious Soviet traditions,” and I see in them all the same Soviet bureaucracy with its soullessness and indifference to the individual - Soviet weddings were like two drops of water similar to each other, and married and their relatives suffered many minor humiliations during the organization of this process, writes the famous blogger Maxim Mirovich in his livejournal.

Photo: Shutterstock

What is most interesting is that many modern wedding traditions date back to the times of the USSR. This is both exorbitant expenses incomprehensible to me (which in the future often become the reasons for scandals), and absolutely the same “standard-official” appearance of wedding decor and costumes, and all this soviet ritual - for non-observance of which relatives will supposedly look askance at you, and so Further.

In fact, there is no “single standard” that must be followed - the wedding can be whatever you want, it all depends only on your imagination. No spoon, Neo! But our people, with some donkey stubbornness incomprehensible to me, continue from year to year to reproduce soviet rituals, because “everyone did this and it was right.” Just look at the pictures of most modern weddings and you will know what I mean.

Why did they marry in the USSR?

To begin with, a little about why they even got married in the USSR. Let's start with the fact that marriage in the USSR was a thing, if not obligatory, then very desirable for getting certain things of life. Firstly, it was much easier for a married couple to acquire a “free” apartment, since it was already considered a “cell of society, the foundation of the state”. A lonely person in the USSR, who, moreover, has no connections, could, at best, count on a room in a hostel or in a communal apartment.

In addition to housing, those who were not officially married had many other obstacles in life - there could be problems with employment, you would definitely not be allowed to go abroad on a tour, unregistered couples in hotels were not accommodated in one room, guests from such a room They were kicked out at 23:00, and the visit of a pregnant unmarried woman to a gynecologist could end up notifying her parents. In addition to all of the above, unmarried men paid the so-called "bachelor tax" in the USSR.

In general, life in the scoop was arranged in such a way that it was much easier to survive in a registered marriage, and this says a lot about the real goals of most marriages. Of course, there were also cases of “great and pure love”, but for some reason it seems to me that the first was much more - as evidenced by the rather high percentage of divorces in the USSR.

On the subject: Honor, conscience and chastity: myths and truth about relationships and marriage in the USSR

Soviet wedding humiliation

In everything where an ordinary Soviet person at least somehow came across the state (clinics, kindergartens, shops) - he suffered constant humiliation. The registry office and the organization of weddings in the USSR as a whole were no exception - humiliation was everywhere. First, in the registry office you had to come in person, so to speak, to the carpet, and in two months declare your intention to marry. The arrogant aunt in response could inform you in an impassive voice that all the coming dates are busy - we will write you in three months, rejoice in this too.

The couple, who announced their intention to get married, were given a so-called invitation - with which they could visit the bridal salon and buy all sorts of things for the wedding. It is easy to see that the government used the beautiful word “invitation” to disguise the usual shortage vouchers, since none of these things were on the free sale. By this “invitation” in the bridal salon it was possible to buy a more or less decent suit and shoes, which were not available for sale.

Even by “invitation” it was possible to purchase bed linen in a humiliatingly limited quantity - 2 sheets, 2 pillowcases, 2 double duvet covers, one tablecloth and 4 towels. The couple was also offered to buy wedding rings - a set of which (made of bad gold with a high copper content) cost 120-150 rubles - above the average Soviet salary.

The process of buying alcohol for a wedding was also very humiliating - in the days of "Prohibition" only 10 bottles of wine were supposed to be used for the whole wedding, which could be purchased with the same coupons from the registry office. In times of the usual shortage in the registry office they gave a vodka coupon, which was called a "certificate". The certificate-coupon indicated the address of the store and the amount of alcohol (most often - a box of vodka), but later officials noticed that some couples, after receiving such a "certificate", soon took the application for marriage registration. It was decided to issue a vodka coupon only after the registration of the marriage - and after the registration of the murals at the registry office, the happy newlyweds walked somewhere, while relatives rushed with all their might with a vodka coupon for a banquet.

The process of registering a marriage was also humiliating - most often it took place on weekends at some local wedding palace, and a whole bunch of couples with brides in identical crimplen dresses came to this palace. Couples lined up, which looked like a kind of surreal conveyor belt - the only thing missing were coupons with the registration time, as in a polyclinic, and shouts “you weren't standing here!”. In general, the process was very impersonal and official.

Soviet wedding traditions

By about the 1960s, the very soviet wedding traditions began to take shape, most of which are still alive today. In the 1960s, wedding palaces began to be massively built, the marriage ceremony in which replaced the church wedding. A wedding in the USSR, by the way, was highly discouraged, and all his cases were immediately reported to the party committee.

The so-called ransom of the bride at the entrance has become a purely soviet tradition - this tradition was brought by people who moved from the villages to the city in the post-war years. The ransom was often accompanied by a noisy accordion accompaniment, so that everyone in the entrance would know that “we have a wedding here”.

Another tradition was the ordering of expensive cars for the transportation of guests - in the USSR these were most often black "Volgas", in some cases there could be "seagulls" (if the local registry office had such a fleet). Renting a “Volga” cost 25 rubles a day, a “seagull” was more expensive. Cars were usually decorated with paper ribbons, sometimes with huge rings, but more often with a celluloid baby doll. In the registry office, they definitely ordered a photographer - this tradition appeared in the late 1960s, and Mendelssohn's march was always played at the entrance to the marriage registration hall. Another strange Soviet tradition was the laying of flowers by newlyweds at the monuments to the soldiers or the Leader.

After the marriage was registered, a "banquet" was obligatory - the poorer families organized it in an apartment or in a hostel, and the same poor, but for some reason decided to throw out a lot of money for the wedding - ordered a hall in a restaurant. The music was most often in the form of a local VIA consisting of 4 to 12 people, or simply in the form of a disco from a reel tape recorder. Optionally (at the request of the older generation), a grandfather with a button accordion could be present, who in between toasts played “folk” songs.

It was customary to give gifts for the wedding, and here everything was also, one might say, “standardized” - young people gave money, 10 rubles per nose, 20 rubles per couple. Older guests tried to give things - classic Soviet wedding gifts were sets, vases, wine glasses, cutlery sets in boxes, as well as household items like a chandelier, vacuum cleaner or carpet (the latter was considered an expensive and “rich” gift).

Drunken fights at Soviet weddings were quite frequent, no matter how hard the fans of the USSR tried to prove the opposite. It all started in a classic way, with the question "do you respect me?" After that, friends and relatives could stand up for the victim, and the fight could grow into a massive one. Quite often there were just some kind of drinking conflicts, when relatives who had not seen for a long time suddenly met at the same table and began to recall “in a drunken shop” who stole which duvet cover from whom in what year.

On the subject: Expensive-rich: 4 ridiculous habits that betray "stuck" in the USSR

Bitten by a scoop. Instead of an epilogue

As an epilogue, I want to say this: Soviet weddings were exactly the same, sufficiently soulless and unjustifiably expensive events at which the newlyweds felt literally “strangers on this celebration of life” - everything happened as if not for them, but for relatives and neighbors. To sit out for 1-2 days at weddings with constant shouts of "Bitter!" the drunken crowd was a real test.

And what is the saddest thing is that modern generations, with some obstinacy unknown to me, continue to reproduce these traditions - without realizing that these traditions were born in a closed society that did not see and did not want to know about anything else. For those 10-15 thousand dollars (or even more) that are thrown away now on weddings, newlyweds can travel the world for six months or live a month in a presidential suite in a hotel in an exotic country - having arranged for themselves a real holiday and memories of a lifetime. Instead, people prefer to throw away a lot (and often the last) money on drunken shouts of “Bitter!”, Waking up on a gloomy Saturday morning in their native free Khrushchev and starting to count their losses. Why this happens is a big mystery to me. Apparently, this is what is called tradition and spirituality ...

So it goes.

What do you think about weddings in the USSR? Got something like that? And what do you think of these traditions in the modern world?

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