Bride price, also known as bride wealth, bride token, is an amount of money or property or wealth paid by the groom or his family to the parents of a woman upon the marriage of their daughter to the groom. This tradition is followed by many cultures.
Some brides told us how much they cost to their grooms.
Eliza Saralapova, 23.
Chief manager in Zepter International, Grozny, Chechnya.
Bride wealth: 665 dollars, a sheep, a sack of sugar, elite tea, a golden ring for the friend of the bride.
Her future husband proposed to her at the first meeting. She was hesitating to say “yes” and he stole her. Parents agreed to accept their marriage after that.
Inna Ibragimova, 24
Housekeeper, Grozny, Chechnya
Bride wealth: 665 dollars, a sheep, a sack of sugar and a sack of tea.
She was also stolen by her boyfriend and his friends, her relatives were “fighting” for her for three days and she finally got married anyway.
Housekeeper, Grozny, Chechnya
Bride wealth: 83 dollars, 21 packs of tea, a sack of sugar, a sheep and a carpet.
Her boyfriend met her in the bus and it turned out she lived in the same street. They exchanged their phone numbers. She called first. They had been dating for a year before they got married.
Raya Tulaeva, 51
Fortune teller, cultural worker, Grozny, Chechnya
Bride wealth: none (stolen bride)
She was stolen by her husband when she was sixteen. Raya became his sixth wife. Her husband was handsome and liked to have new wives. They had been living together for ten years but he finally drove her out. Now she has a handsome son who is 29. She says her brother has recently got married and paid the bride wealth – 500 dollars, three pieces of fabric, golden watch and an expensive shawl.
Natalia Simkaeva, 20
Housekeeper, Ketchenery village, Kalmykia
Bride wealth: ten boxes of vodka, a boiled sheep, a living sheep with a red ribbon, a dress for her mother and a suit for her dad, some fabric for making a dress.
Her husband is a fireman. They worked in the same building. The couple had been dating for three years before they got married. The boiled sheep was dressed in a special traditional way. The parents of her husband gave her a new name – Sakhlya.
Gilyana Bugurova, 23.
Student of the Academy of Law, Ketchenery village, Kalmykia
Bride wealth: six boxes of vodka, one box of cognac, two pieces of chintz, a set of headscarves, a box of sweets, a box of cookies, a box of sweet pastry, a boiled sheep, a living sheep with a ribbon.
They had been dating with her future husband for a year. After the marriage they moved to his native village. He is a policeman, Gilyana herself plans to work in a court. They are buddhists so the morning after the wedding night they went to a khurul (temple).
They gave white trousers of cotton to mother of the groom as a symbol of their gratitude for the good son. Mother had to dance in the trousers and guests had to put money into them. Guests are always quite generous.
The girl is holding a box of vodka.
Nadya Orzaeva, 20
Student of the Moscow Academy of Economics and Law, village Troitskoye, Kalmykia.
Bride wealth: eight boxes of vodka, one box of wine, one box of cognac, a boiled sheep, a living sheep, a bottle of koumiss.
They got married soon after the first meeting. They had 500 guests at the wedding. During the wedding various national traditions were followed. For example she was thrown pieces of fat at to live in wealth.
Victoria Ochirova, 25
Accountant, village Iki-Burul, Kalmykia
Bride wealth: two boiled sheep, one living sheep, eight boxes of vodka, four boxes of wine, a box of sweets, a box of cookies, a box of sweet pastry, seven shirts for men and three pieces of fabric for women and relatives of the bride.
They got married a year and a half after the first meeting. Her marriage portion was ordinary: some furniture, linen, a blanket, curtains.
Tamara Kuibina, 45
Museum curator, Gornoknyazevsk village, Yamal
Bride wealth: four castrated bulls.
She was 22, her future husband was 28. They were celebrating the wedding for seven years. Every year they came to her parents who gave presents to her to compensate the bride wealth (a fur coat, a watch, a sack of fish). If a groom is respected a bride cannot say “no” to him. Traditionally they marry for respect, not for love. Those who marry for love often divorce soon. Besides, if a couple divorces, a family of the bride has to return the bride wealth and nobody wants to do this.
Rita Kandygina, 28
Housekeeper, Karsaim village, Yamal peninsular
Bride wealth: eight skins of young deer, a skin of a beaver, a skin of a blue skin.
She made a nice fur coat of the skins given by her husband. They got married for love.
Tatiana Lar, 47
Singer, Salekhard, Yamal peninsular.
Bride wealth: none; they got married for love.
When she was fourteen one man aged 50 wanted to marry her. He offered fifteen deer for her to her farther. But father refused. She was a “happy kid”. Each kid is presented a deer from parents if the deer brings a good posterity the child is called “happy” and should stay with parents. So when she finally got married her dad could not forgive her. On the wedding day a wolf killed all her deer.
When her brother got married he was 20, his bride – already 50. She was chosen by the parents. They said she sewn well. But she could not have children and was always grumbling. But it was too late to change something.
Who knows, maybe one day it’s gonna be brides who will pay a wealth for grooms…