What follows is text from an email my cousin (who is getting married in the Orthodox Church a month from Thursday) sent out today:
“The Russian Orthodox wedding service (almost all of which will be in English!) is a little different than the one we’re all used to. First of all, it is a very set order of service, with flexibility being primarily in the music arrangements chosen.
Fiance added to our website a bunch of info about various parts of the service. For example, we get to wear crowns! Also, a formal betrothal ceremony actually takes place in the doorway, which is where rings are exchanged. Fiance and I move to the centre of the church only after this first part. There will be programs.
I did want to prepare you for an additional thing…There are pews around the outsides, but primarily everyone stands. I think Mom has already spoken to many of you about this, but don’t be afraid to sit. While the order of service is inflexible, everything else is extremely flexible. Don’t be afraid to wander around, take pictures, get a different view, etc. Except for when the gospel is read, there will probably be people (especially kids) moving and it is completely fine. Don’t feel like you have to be anchored to the floor. Only place off limits is the centre of the big red stairs at the front. No one will go up there except the people wearing the funny robes. :)
On that note, there will be three priests, and possibly a deacon serving. The reason being that many of Fiance’s extended family members are clergy. (In orthodox church you can be a monk-priest, or you can be married with children.) Fiance’s uncle is the priest at this church.
I attached a picture of the inside of the church so you can see what it looks like. It’s very different. Fiance and I will be standing where the tub is, which is actually the centre of the church (a big t-shape).
If you have any questions, please ask! Mom, Dad, Brother and I can field appropriately. I know it could be a little weird with the standing, etc. I just want to make sure you all know you should feel comfortable doing whatever you need to do.
See you soon!”