05/2019 The New York Times

Disparate scenes from a Chechen wedding


The bride had a ceremony. The groom had a ceremony. But, as tradition holds, they were not together during the wedding, and neither celebrated with their 700 guests.

Glimpses of a wedding in the Russian republic of Chechnya, a mountainous Muslim region in the country’s south, where tradition reigns supreme. With words by Andrew Kramer.

“The bride just wants this day to be over… It’s not accepted for the bride even to smile,” said one of the wedding’s attendees. In keeping with local tradition, the bride spent the ceremony standing silently in a corner, where she is greeted by the groom’s relatives and guests.

Chechnya fought two wars for independence after the break-up of the Soviet Union. After the wars, Chechens turned to religion to piece together shattered communities. At the wedding, old men sat at long tables, exchanging news. In the background, plum and pear trees were in bloom.