Cost of marriage in Ukraine

The price of a wedding in Ukraine is quite low, compared to the USA, Western Europe or Japan. However, this applies to the average ceremony. If you act recklessly, you can spend a lot in Ukraine on a wedding ceremony. It all depends on personal preferences, your requests and the satisfaction of your own ego.

Another thing, if you asked where it would be cheaper to hold a wedding ceremony: in Ukraine or in the United States? The answer is simple: in Ukraine. The only question is that the style of the wedding ceremony in Ukraine and in the United States will be different. Therefore, of course, it is worth taking into account not only the price, but also your own satisfaction with this memorable event.

In Ukraine, the price of a wedding also depends on the area where the ceremony and celebration will take place. In Kyiv, it will most likely be the most expensive. In other large cities, the price of a wedding will be about the same as in Kyiv. The smaller is the city – the cheaper the total wedding cost will be.

Weddings in the Ukrainian countryside in general can be indecently cheap. Have you ever heard of a Ukrainian wedding in a shack called “shalash” (special large awning from a tarpaulin)? We will definitely describe it in this article later. Even for urbanized Ukrainians, this is often a shocking experience. What to say about foreigners then? Accustomed to comfort and high-end restaurants? You just need to get to the “wedding in the tent” in Ukraine then. By the word “shocking”, we mean different feelings – for some it can be a “pleasant shock” in the style of a new crazy Ukrainian experience, and for some might appear “a real time horror”.

But for now let’s return to the standard Ukrainian wedding. All costs consist of several main cost items, which can be divided into categories: the price of the marriage certificate, the price of the wedding ceremony, the price of the church ceremony, the price of the restaurant, the price of the photographer, other additional costs etc.

Let’s pay attention to the details of each cost item and give examples of prices for services, goods and other costs as of the end of 2020.

Application for state registration of marriage

All marriage expenses in Ukraine start with a “terrible” amount of 85 kopecks. And this (ATTENTION!) is $ 0.03 as of November 2020. Yes, in Ukraine you can get married for 3 cents 🙂 But hold on, it’s only the beginning.

You pay the amount of $0.03 for the Ukrainian state duty when filling in the “Application for state registration of marriage”. This is where the adventure of marriage in Ukraine begins. It is also funny that for 3 cents you pay, they’ll charge 11 cents commission.

If you are interested in the details you have to fill in the application – you must enter your name, surname, date of birth, place of birth (city, state), citizenship, military service if any, marital status, place of residence, details of the identity document.

Before the marriage you got to know the procedure better i.e. to know what documents you are going to pay for.

More detailed information can be found by the link below on the official website of the Department of State Registration and Notary of Ukraine (DSRNU). Unfortunately, there is no English version, so you’ll have to use browser automatic translation, unless you read Ukrainian.

Cost of wedding ceremony

You choose this service when applying for state marriage registration. That is, being in the registry office. Types of services and prices are as follows:

Organizing and conducting an individual ceremony of state registration of marriage: Abbreviated marriage ceremony – 274 UAH ($9.66)

Organization and holding of an individual ceremony of state registration of marriage: Complete ceremony of marriage at the DSRNU building on weekends and holidays – 878 UAH ($30.95)

Organization and holding of an individual ceremony of state registration of marriage: Registration of marriage accompanied by a chamber, string ensemble or the use of vocal, instrumental accompaniment at the DSRNU building – 642 UAH ($22.63)

Organization and conduct of an individual marriage ceremony: Complete marriage ceremony at the DSRNU building – 458 UAH ($16.15)

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Organizing and conducting an individual marriage ceremony: Full wedding ceremony outside of the DSRNU building on weekends and holidays – 2102 UAH ($74.11)

Organization and holding of an individual rite of state marriage registration: Complete marriage rite outside the DSRNU building 1279 UAH – ($45.09)

Drawing up at the request of individuals applications for state registration of civil status acts, on re-issuance of certificates on state registration of civil status acts and extracts from the State Register of Civil Status Acts, on amendments to civil status records, renewal and cancellation of civil status records – 64 UAH ($2.26)

Organization and holding of an individual rite of state marriage registration: Complete marriage rite outside the DSRNU building – 1279 UAH ($45.09)

Organization and holding of an individual ceremony of state registration of marriage: Complete ceremony of marriage outside the DSRNU building on weekends and holidays – 2102 UAH ($74.11)

Organization and holding of an individual ceremony of state registration of marriage: Complete ceremony of marriage at the DSRNU building on weekends and holidays – 878 UAH ($30.95)

*Prices are given for November 2020. You can always convert UAH to USD online to check actual cost for the time you read the article.

Cost of church marriage in Ukraine

The wedding ceremony is theoretically free. However, in fact it is necessary to make a “donation” to the church. Its amount can be voluntary, but most likely at least $50-$100.

Cost of restaurant

This is the largest item of wedding expenses in Ukraine. Although, compared to other countries, everything is quite cheap. A restaurant for 100-150 people in the average medium-sized Ukrainian city will cost $1200- $2000. This amount includes various dishes, waiter service and more.

In small towns, a wedding in a cafe or local restaurant will cost $1000-$1500 depending on the number of guests. Typically, this amount will correspond to about 100 guests.

Music at the wedding

There should always be music at a wedding in Ukraine. This is one of the basics. Combined with strong alcohol, toastmaster jokes and good company, it is a key aspect of any Ukrainian wedding.

So be prepared that even if you can’t dance, you will. In Ukraine, personal space is not regarded as something other people care of, especially at weddings. You might even be forced to dance, participate in various competitions (which are often not funny, but often even rather vulgar).

What is the quality of music at a Ukrainian wedding? How much does it cost?

Mostly it is a mix of Ukrainian folk songs and weird Russian pop music (new local hits and 10 or 20 years old ones), which are performed by a local singer under minus sound (phonogram) without any thoughts and awareness about copyright.

In general, for a person who appreciates quality music of any genre, Ukrainian wedding music will mercilessly and systematically negatively affect the ear. But if you indulge in frequent drinking “to the health of newlyweds”, this music may not seem so bad to you.

How expensive is a wedding musician in Ukraine? Prices range from $400 to $600 for a wedding. As a rule, it can be a singing couple (male and female). The same song will be performed by a female and a male voice. They will sing in a duet. Although there are, for example, entire local orchestras and even concert shows during weddings. There are many cases when the wedding performance is conducted by one person.

It is worth mentioning that in Western Ukraine you will most likely not hear Russian-language pop music at a wedding, but there will be more Ukrainian folk songs in a modern arrangement.

The cost of a musician also depends on his status. For example, you can invite someone from the Ukrainian stage as a musician or host. This service will cost at least $10,000. And pop stars of the second and first magnitude – from $25,000 and from $50,000 respectively for a wedding.

It is interesting to add that in Ukraine there is special music that invites guests to the table. Everyone in Ukraine knows this melody. It’s called the “Slavic March”. During the wedding, guests eat and drink at the table, make toasts. Between feasts there are breaks for competitions and dances. At this time, people are dancing, and someone is just talking or relaxing outside. When the “Slavic March” begins to play, all the guests return to the table.

The price of toastmaster services in Ukraine

The musician and the toastmaster often work in the same team. They adapt to each other and often have a common wedding program.

The toastmaster entertains guests, invites them to take part in various competitions, etc. Often these are dance and music competitions so music is a must, because they’re impossible without music.

The whole wedding atmosphere and good or bad memories often depend on the right wedding program and the ability of the toastmaster to unite people.

The cost of toastmaster services in Ukraine

The cost of toastmaster services in Ukraine today ranges from $100 for a novice toastmaster and $400- $600 for an experienced toastmaster or theater artist. Well-known local brands charge up to $800 for a wedding.

Price of wedding photographer services in Ukraine

The cost of a wedding photographer in Ukraine ranges in about $300-$500. The price also depends on the services he/she proposes. For example, is it just shooting a video or also making a wedding album, pre-wedding and wedding photo shoot, and so on.

There are many talented local photographers in Ukraine who even shoot wedding videos according to an interesting scenario.

Other additional costs

Other expenses include everything related to the preparation for the wedding and its holding.

Car rental

It’s not just about the wedding procession, but including it as well. For example, you can rent a limousine, or have a wedding without it.

But often you need to rent a bus or two to drive guests from one place to another during the wedding. (From the Civil Registry Office to Church, from Church to Restaurant etc.)

It is also necessary to take the newlyweds, their friends and other guests from the place of registration of marriage to the church, restaurant, photo shoot and more. Sometimes it is also necessary to go by car to the store to buy some necessary wedding trinkets.

The cost of car costs at a Ukrainian wedding includes, in fact, the payment to the driver (drivers) and the cost of gasoline.

Other additional costs include expenses before the wedding. That is, when you need to go to the relatives and acquaintances of the bride, who will be invited to the wedding and invite them by handing a wedding card.

The main expenses are gasoline, possibly a driver’s fee and… postcards.

By the way, take into account that when inviting guests in Ukraine it is customary to go to their home. In each house, the “rule of good manners” for the host is to treat the guests with three shots of “gorilka” (vodka in Ukrainian). And so in almost every new house where they go to invite guests!

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If you look at this from the point of view of traditions – for the vast majority of people it is fun at first glance. But if you look at this from the point of view of a conscious person who cares about his/her health, it’s nothing else but not wise decision which has only bad influence of one’s own body. Therefore, if you are a supporter of a healthy lifestyle and do not drink alcohol at all, nothing bad will happen if you refuse. The main thing – be confident.

Many Ukrainians generally like to “compete” with a foreigner in the game “who drinks more”. That’s why they can “test” you. But if you immediately say that you do not drink alcohol – they’ll leave you alone with these questions, although, maybe not immediately.

Warning. Your answer should be specific – either you do not drink at all, or you drink on an equal footing with everyone. There is simply no other “in-between” option, believe me.

Invitation of guests

These are expenses that occur before the wedding. That is, it is the cost of preparing for the wedding.

Wedding cards in Ukraine

Wedding cards can be ordered or bought and filled out by hand cheaply. Prices can be viewed online.

Invitations (by going to the homes of guests by car, visiting the house)

Invitations are mailed to guests from other cities, and local guests are invited personally. That’s why you also need a driver and gasoline in this case. Some of your friends could be a driver and it’ll be free in this case.

You probably can’t be a driver yourself in this case, because every guest you invite to the wedding will propose to you to drink 3 shots of alcohol with him. But if you are strictly against such an idea, you can drive.

Total approximate whole wedding cost

The cost of a modest wedding in Ukraine starts at $2,000. On average, a wedding in Ukraine will cost $4000- $5000. The price depends on the city, venue, region, size of the settlement, number of guests, services of a photographer, toastmaster and musicians.

Can two foreigners get married in Ukraine?

Maybe the idea of luxury marriage in Ukraine with cheap cost seems attractive to you and you’d like to find out whether two Americans can get married in Ukraine? Let’s find out!

Yes. Two foreign citizens can get married in Ukraine. To do this, they must be in Ukraine on legal grounds. Also, both foreigners must have a document stating that they are not married in their country (countries).

Remember that Ukraine is one of the most corrupt countries in the world

Therefore, in addition to official payments, you may often have to pay for various additional “services”, queues etc.

And now, as I promised at the beginning, about a wedding in an awning (tent, shack, “shalash”) 

Earlier in Ukrainian villages weddings were a real common celebration, in which almost every village citizen took part. In villages, communities are usually small and everyone knows each other, so they visit weddings of other community members without even previous invitation.

Food is all home-made, as well as alcoholic beverages. Time: a warm time of year. The venue is an indoor homemade awning called a “shalash”. It is a construction from metal fittings and wood, covered with a tarpaulin.

Inside, on both sides of the walls, there are wooden benches and tables. Temporary lighting is also provided by a local electrician inside. Inside the awning is decorated with spruce or pine branches and bright ribbons.

Perhaps in ancient times it looked original and authentic. Today, this tradition is almost non-existent, but those isolated cases leave much to be desired. This is my subjective opinion, but a wedding in an awning is awful.

The food is prepared a few days in advance and is left without a refrigerator. Awnings are put outside during the warm season. So food spoils quickly. Flies land on foot.

There is little space in the awning itself, it is inconvenient to enter inside and to go out. Solid wooden benches hurt “the fifth point”. Depressing semi-darkness often prevails inside. Combined with the fumes, Russian pop music performed by a low-quality local “celebrity” and often a contingent with deeply low moral values… Such a wedding looks like another reality, moreover unpleasant.

Now it is rather a relic of the past, but if you have to visit an awning wedding in a Ukrainian village, do not take everything too critically and try to leave it as soon as possible. Unless you’re the groom… then you’re in trouble 😉