Stylish and extraordinary. This is how a wedding attended by the Russian President is described by St. Petersburg’s event organizers.
The song “Kazachenka” is about love and generous gifts. Guests danced to it – with the Austrian Alps in the background. This song is often sung to newlyweds, say performers of St. Petersburg’s Cossack choir. The believe that after global PR attention they would get more invitations to perform at events. And are even preparing a special repertoire – interactive event styled as a Cossack wedding.
Tatyana Fominykh, artistic director of “Bagatitsa” Cossack choir: “Greatness, gifts, dancing, tricks, fights – those things are a must at a Cossack wedding. Foreigners would join and be part of it all”
Special attention is given to wedding tourism in St. Petersburg. Taras and Nadezhda live in Moscow, but got married in Pushkin. The photo zone decorated with replica statues from Pushkin park. Alexander Sergeevich himself reads out poems in-between toasts.
An average price for such festivity -1.5 million rubles. The annual turnover of the entire wedding industry in the city – 35 billion. But expert Marina Belyaeva believes this number may be several times bigger. There are not accredited translators at wedding registration offices, as well as official ceremonies held on the shores of the Gulf, aboard a ship or in a mansion. Those willing to spend several million rubles on a wedding are expecting special treatment.
Marina Belyaeva, wedding expert: “The main criteria which would take a couple for a wedding to a different region – the option of an outside ceremony. St. Petersburg, unfortunately, doesn’t offer those – unlike 20 other regions of Russia”.
Antique photo booth – one of the wedding attractions at the 19th century mansion at the Fontanka embankment. Decorators are ironing table cloths, assemble flowers and candles. St. Petersburg is one of the few cities in the world where you can organize a dinner in an authentic palace. Vladimir Evdokimov creates a city-wide database of mansions. It’s a genuine Klondike!
Vladimir Evdokimov: “This industry is not really developed. There are many palaces which just stand there and are not rented out – while they could’ve easily brought profit, including to the museums. There are unique places where one could hold a unique event – and those don’t even require any decorations, because the walls in those are beautiful by themselves”.
Evgeniya Altfeld, reporter: “The Naryshkin mansion used to belong to Peter the Great’s moor. There’s an abundance of historic surprises here – recently a treasure was discovered. Eight halls, renovated with a maximum historic accuracy. The price of renting the mansion for a wedding – 300 thousand rubles”.
A festivity inside a palace entails certain limitations. Rubber soles on high heels, music not louder than 50 decibels. And a wedding at Konstantinovskiy Palace can even be cancelled 24 hours before the event – if world leaders pay a sudden visit there. But wealthy newlyweds tend to accept the rules of the game.
A bride in a Tyrol outfit at the wedding in Austria caused some ruckus among St. Petersburg’s designers. Unusual outfits, national overtones are among the new trends. Designer Vladimir Bukhinnik is happy that hoop skirts and “princess dresses” are gradually becoming a thing of the past in St. Petersburg’s stores.
Vladimir Bukhinnik, designer: “I don’t see too often in the streets when brides feel natural while wearing a dress. Acting schools even have special classes – where the art of wearing a stage costume is mastered. In the baroque times, when such dresses were worn, people even made special furniture. Our modern-day banquet halls are not designed for that. So I would not recommend this to our girls”
Ekaterina Vermont decided against trusting designers and created the dress herself. Professional underwater swimmer, she recently married a diver. Her fantastic garment is an ode to the sea.
Ekaterina Vermont: “I knew for sure that no designer would suit my preferences. My dress had to be a transformer - with a train, full-length for the ceremony and a short one. So three versions of one dress – 5 meters, 2 meters and a short one”
50 meters of cloth, 300 flowers and hundreds of crystals. White-blue train, looking like the sea waves. It took Ekaterina 6 months to draw the sketches. And just as much time to rehearse the dance. While the diver-husband is performing a task at the bottom of Neva, she is training a complicated dance with a trainer. Choreographic training, by the way, is yet another expense – starting at 40 thousand rubles.
Wedding industry is a special world, which accumulates colossal money, passion and ambitions. Nobody expected that the Russian President’s visit to the wedding ceremony of the Austrian Foreign Minister would put a very important industry into the spotlight – the one which requires fresh ideas. Because quite often, a wild and loud Russian wedding becomes the most important event in one’s life.