With the immigration of people from various countries to Canada, many ethnic
traditions became affected by more dominant "Canadian" styles with a strong
Anglo-Saxon character. Such was true for the Ukrainian-Canadian community,
especially following the Second World War, when many Ukrainian-Canadians moved
to the urban centres.
Some of the strongest non-Ukrainian factors that influenced Ukrainian-Canadian
weddings were based on practical factors rather than aesthetic ones. For
example, because of the five-day Canadian workweek, multiple-day Ukrainian
weddings became less practical. Thus, weddings were condensed to one or two
days, and celebrated on the "weekend." Furthermore, during the era of
prohibition, alcohol consumption had to be carefully concealed or eliminated
altogether. The traditional boisterous celebrations became more regulated.
Paper invitations were sent out as family and friends tended to live further
away from one another. Because of employment and the necessary travel that
might have been involved, guests needed to know about the marriage further
ahead of time.
wedding gowns, multitiered wedding cakes, garters and bouquets,
honeymoons, along with many other western traditions have become integrated
elements of many families' Ukrainian-Canadian wedding traditions.
Getting married in a white wedding gown became the desirable standard -
"something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue." A bouquet
and garter toss were often included in the evening's events, either for
entertainment reasons, or as a result of a desire to better assimilate.
The custom of the father walking his daughter down the aisle
was often adopted. Since culinary practice in North America included finishing
the meal with something sweet, often times a wedding cake served both as an
"adopted" wedding tradition that fulfilled the "dessert" option, or
something the guests could take home with them as a souvenir from the wedding.
A formal "program" of speeches and toasts following the wedding meal became a
favourable way to acquaint the two families and all of the guests with the
bride and groom and with each other.
Within the last forty years, it has become acceptable and
popular to include ethnic traditions in wedding celebrations. This revival of
Ukrainian tradition started during the 1960s, reflecting a general trend in
Canada to celebrate ethnicity and diversity, and coincided with the third
generation of Ukrainian-Canadians. Many couples and their families have opted
to include visible symbols of their ethnicity at the weddings. Since that time,
many Ukrainian traditions have been actively revived.