This is a post I've been meaning to write for ages, but which kept getting pushed down my list.
One of the weirdest thing about Russia is that wherever you go on a Saturday, you are surrounded by couples in wedding clothes having their picture taken. As far as I can tell, in Russia, a wedding basically consists of having the ceremony, then traipsing from one local beauty spot to another having your picture taken - parks, lakes, pretty buildings, and, GUM, the shopping centre on Red Square, all seem to be particularly popular locations, and they also all seem to make stops at the local war memorial, where they pose for pictures and the bride leaves the bouquet.
And then there's the dresses. Meringue doesn't even begin to do them justice - massive, over-bright white, crazy lace, you name it. I thought the wedding dresses in Israel were hilarious, but the Russian ones have them beat hands down.
What's impressive, apart from their stamina - it doesn't look like a lot of fun - is that they're completely undeterred by the weather. In -5 or colder in Kazan, they were still out there for hours. They prepare for it though - white knee-high boots, and a nice line in white jackets to go over the dresses. Impressive, but still bemusing - honestly, should I get married, once the ceremony is over, I want to be eating, drinking, and generally making merry - not wandering around in the snow having my picture taken. And if I knew I was going to have to traipse round outside having pictures taken, I wouldn't get married in Russia in November!
I feel even sorrier for the guests. They stand around outside, usually in grotesquely inappropriate clothing, looking freezing and waiting for the couple to be done. Again, not how I would want to spend my friends' weddings, or how I would want my friends to spend my wedding!
So, during my time here, I've made a hobby of taking sneaky pictures of weddings. Below, for your enjoyment, are a few of my favourites: