Chances are, if you have attended a Ukrainian wedding reception you were most likely exposed to the phenomenom of "Stealing the Bride". Some people refer to this a ritual, others call it a ceremony. Most people consider it to be just a form of entertainment.
First of all, "Stealing the bride" is not an orthodox ritual as some may think. In Ukraine, Russia and Belorussia such traditions were not practiced. This tradition came to us from Caucasia and the Middle East, but in a distorted form. Here we will explain it more.
Stealing the bride from the ancestor's house took place in two instances:
1) the groom was so poor that he couldn't present anything to the bride's family,
2) another groom was already assigned for that bride and the man just didnt have any choice other than to steal the bride and then marry her.
What purpose does "stealing the bride" have nowadays? This question has very uncertain answers, so we will leave it to your imagination.
Realize that the bride at the modern wedding is not a bride anymore, but a full-fledged wife which she will be, nonetheless, stolen. Where is the logic here? - nobody knows. That's why this tradition evolved into more of a form of entertainment.
Understand that "Stealing the Bride" is entertaining for guests only when those who plan the event inform the master of ceremonies. Otherwise, the situation can be really uncoordinated and not funny at all.
The bride's thieves will wait for the appropriate moment when no one watches for her safety, where they will take her to some secret room. Then they go back to the guests and say "Oh, no! Where is the bride? She must have been stolen! What to do?" Here the game begins.
The playful thieves will demand a simple ransom for the bride to be released. It is not so polite to demand money for the bride, as she is not an item which can be bought. She is priceless! It is better to ask for some creative treats. For instance, it is appropriate to ask the groom to describe how much he loves her or to ask witnesses to perform authentic national dance of nothern tribes and sing a rain song.
This form of entertainment should never take too long, as on this special day - time is priceless for the groom and bride.