Wednesday, October 20, 2010


My central purpose in traveling to Chicago earlier this month was not the riverboat ride or window shopping on Michigan Avenue, but a trip to attend my nephew Reas's wedding. The October weekend was a progression of dinners ending with the grand finale -- Reas and Diana's wedding at the Elysian Hotel!

Since I didn't snap any actual wedding photos of the happy couple, I borrowed this one from my sister-in-law's Facebook page. The wedding was a swank soiree with many people in attendance from the Ukraine, the bride's family's original home. The actual ceremony was followed by a cocktail party, dinner, and dance in the hotel's ballroom.

These gorgeous pedestal flower arrangements graced all the dinner tables. After the guests consumed their four course meal and all the toasts were made, the entertainment began! This is when the true taste of Russian culture commenced.

A professional Russian Dancing with the Stars type team boogied to music that sounded like 80's Disco meets James Bond/Goldfinger.

The professionals made frequent costume changes and danced to songs performed by a professional singer, a relative of the bride.

Some of the guests from the Ukraine seemed to have a preference for white suits and frequent vodka shots. A cry would go up -- Водка! Водка! -- and the tables would toast with vodka. And they loved to dance! I sat back with my blistered feet and just enjoyed the show! The party boogied on until way past midnight.

My impression? Russians are extremely generous and gracious hosts, and they really know how to celebrate and enjoy life!

Much happiness and a long life to Reas and Diana!


drgeo111 said...

I still recall with some fondness a "Russian dinner" I attended in 1985, which featured mountains of caviar in 4 colors, plus countless toasts with different flavored vodkas. It was the "freshest" vodka and best caviar I've ever tasted. The irony was that the Russian dinner was held in Helsinki after a tour of the Soviet Union's cities of St Petersburg and Moscow, because there was insufficient food in Russia itself. In Moscow all 25 tourists were served the exact same number of peas at each meal, that's how tight the food budget was! Those were the days when people would form lines outside stores, whether one needed the new item or not, because most of the shelves in the store were empty. But the food itself was delicious delicatessen fare- I had not realized that so much delicatessen food was Russian! Yum ! Now that the Ukraine is separate, I hope they have fewer KGB around. It wasn't possible to meet average people on our tour, because we didn't wish to infect them with our KGB minders.

Life's a Beach! said...

Drgeo, I sat next to a cousin of the bride who had flown in from the Ukraine at the rehearsal dinner. His English was fairly perfect and he seemed to be quite sophisticated. Very health conscious. He only ate the salmon, salad greens, and the spinach dish. No dessert! I think the bride's family immigrated to the U.S. in the early 80's, probably during the bad times you're talking about.

jeanie said...

Beck, That's a great pic of you with the blond wig and tiny white outfit!

Life's a Beach! said...

Jeannie, I dieted for this event and I'm so proud of the results. And I must admit, I can really belt out a great Goldfinger!

Moongrl722 said...

You really do look great as a blonde, Becky, but why not some crocheted pants?
That looks like a lot of fun and the newlyweds are a gorgeouse couple. Bring on the voddy!

Chrissy y Keith said...

I spent 2 weeks in Siberia 1989. I agree with the first comment. It was odd to be eating caviar and sipping purple champagne while the markets were empty and the children were begging for food from me. I must have had over 100 proposals for marriage while I was there. OH, and countless times I was asked how many abortions I had had.... weird.

Life's a Beach! said...

Chrissy, you amaze me with all the life experiences you've had!