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Ukrainian Wedding – Korovai, Greeting Bread, and Wedding Cake

greeting-table-settingJune is a very popular month for weddings, at least in the United States.   I  have attended many weddings with various traditions, but if you ever attended a Ukrainian wedding, you can attest to the fact that there is lots of food, myriad of  decadent desserts, special breads (Greeting Bread and Korovai) in addition to the Wedding Cake, and lots of dancing, to most likely very fast beats of a Ukrainian live band.

I would like to tell you about the special breads.

The Greeting Bread is basically the same recipe as the Easter Paska Bread, except that it has an indentation in the middle, for a small container of salt, accompanied by wine, which is used by the parents to greet the newlyweds, as they enter the reception hall.  The parents, and the bride and groom, partake of the Greeting Bread dipped in salt, which symbolizes the bitter moments of life, followed by a sip of wine, which symbolizes the sweet moments in their married life.  This also is a time when both families unite as one, and welcome the newlywed and their families into their family circle.


The Korovai is an elaborately decorated multi-tier bread, which is not consumed (at least in the US), but rather a decoration and a gift from the parents  to the newlyweds.  This bread symbolizes community and the circle of life.  One of the most prominent embellishments on the Korovai are very intricately formed dough doves and other birds, which symbolize the married couple, their family and friends, and fertility.  Wishing the bride and groom future family growth, and healthy children.  The breads are surrounded by a wreath, or leaves, of fresh periwinkle, symbolizing love and purity.  (Periwinkle wreaths are also placed on the head of the Bride and Groom, during the blessing part of the matrimonial ceremony, at the church).

n-s-forever-heart-korovai-decor-close-up preparation-of-bird-decorations-for-korovai-21

Here are some pictures of other Korovais I have photographed at family and friend’s weddings:

korovai-o-l korovai-t-c o-t-korovai

Also the Wedding Cakes I was honored to taste at these weddings,  during the last few years:

n-s-wedding-cake wedding-cake-o-lwedding-cake-i-b

Wow, I am reliving those moments once more…..can’t wait to attend another wedding.  I will make sure to take pictures of Korovai and Wedding Cakes, since I am totally fascinated be these creations.

28 thoughts on “Ukrainian Wedding – Korovai, Greeting Bread, and Wedding Cake”

  1. Diana says:

    All the food on your blog always looks so tasty! I love the symbolism of the breads and the salt and wine. What a great tradition to share.

  2. Suburban Grandma says:

    Thank you so much for such a kind comments.
    I never knew how difficult food photography really is….or maybe I need a better camera.
    Yes, this is a very nice addition to a traditional wedding ceremony.
    Hopefully your wedding plans are right on schedule.

  3. Diana says:

    We’re doing pretty well with the wedding schedule…maybe even a little ahead on somethings! We met with our officiant for the first time a few weeks ago. He was so nice and relaxed and was up for any traditions like candle ceremonies or sand ceremonies, blessing of the hands, etc. We’re very excited to have him as our officiant for the wedding! Thanks for the well wishes!!

  4. Suburban Grandma says:

    I am so happy for you.
    Keep up the great work!

  5. developer says:

    Actually I’d never seen such a big and high Wedding Cakes in Ukraine. Korovai is an ordinary thing – but wedding cakes… no, they seems more like a korovai.

  6. Suburban Grandma says:

    Thank you for stopping by and taking the time to leave a comment.
    The pictures of Korovai,and Wedding Cakes, were taken here in the US, at weddings I attended.
    Ukrainian Korvai can be very plain, or very elaborate. As you can see, the ones I photographed were quite elaborate. One of them was made by me, for my daughter’s wedding, thus reflects her wish, and our mutual design. It has been preserved and became a keepsake for my daughter and her household.
    I believe in Ukraine, the Korovai is shared with guests and consumed at the wedding, but here it is mostly a symbolic bread used for decoration.
    I have never had the pleasure of attending a wedding in Ukraine, but in the US many wedding cakes are two or three tiers tall, thus not only gorgeous, but also quite expensive.

  7. developer says:

    Thank you for information!
    I live in Ukraine and my English skill is not too high (yet) so there can be some misunderstanding of situation.
    And why are you make Korovai in USA? Do you have Ukrainian roots?

  8. Suburban Grandma says:

    Your English is great. Keep up the good work!
    Yes, our background is Ukrainian. We study about Ukraine, and follow many aspects of the Ukrainian culture. US is a melting pot of many nations, and all the different cultures make America what it is today:
    Strong, Prosperous, United and Free.

  9. developer says:

    great words! 🙂

  10. Suburban Grandma says:

    Just keep up the good work you are doing, and you will reap your rewards one day.

  11. Janice says:

    Hi, Can you tell me what is in the dough birds that are used to decorate the cakes? My son ate one and he had an allergic reaction and I would like to narrow down what he ate. Thanks for your assistance. Janice

  12. Suburban Grandma says:

    The Korovai birds are normally quite hard to eat, since they are dried up, rather than baked. Also, lots of times the Korovai, including the birds is preserved for storage, rather than used for consumption, which would means that it might be treated with a egg white wash, or even shellacked.
    The birds for my daughter’s Korovai were made out of the same dough as the Korovai, which is similar to the Easter Bread (Paska) dough, but this does not mean that that particular Korovai and birds were made the same way. You should contact the party who’s wedding you attended to get more precise information. Sorry to hear about your son’s allegy. Hopefuly he is fine now.

  13. Janice says:

    Thanks for your quick reply. I wish I could check the source but they were saved by my husband’s grandmother and were ancient! He is allergic to eggs, so that was likely it. Thanks again.

  14. Suburban Grandma says:

    Sorry I could not be of more help. I guess your son really has to watch the ingredients of the food he eats, to make sure it’s safe for him.
    Have a safe and healthy New Year.

  15. evary says:

    I’ve always wanted a Ukrainian wedding cake since I was married in 1993 but had no one to make me one. I’m going to tackle this finally for myself for my 18th wedding anniversary.

  16. Suburban Grandma says:

    Oohh…that’s so sad that there was no one to make you a Korovai. Actually, I did not have a Korovai at my wedding (over 30 years ago), either, but I did have the greeting bread.
    I think you will do a a great job, making your own Korovai, just for the sake of having it.
    Good luck!

  17. Sandy says:

    I am looking for a recipe to make the bird decorations for the wedding paska. I also would like to know how you preserve the bread once you finish assembling it. My 15 year old Granddaughter and I made a presentation bread for a recent celebration and it was a hit.

  18. Suburban Grandma says:

    Congratulations on your bread making success!!
    I do have a post about the love birds for Korovai under this link:

    Also, about preserving the bread, the key is well baked bread, storing in an open, dry area to dry it out slowly. Once dried up all the way through, you can spray it with clear shellac to preserve it. I have not sprayed my daughters, so it is kind of faded, but natural.

  19. Karina says:

    I was wondering how much is a Korovai of 3 KG? For a wedding I am hosting. Thank you! 🙂

  20. Suburban Grandma says:

    If you are asking about a price of a Korovai, then I am not able to answer this, since I do not make them for sale.
    I know there are some ladies who do make them for sale, but I do not know their prices. Sorry.
    I found a website with Ukrainian Wedding items, and a single layer Korovai is listed there at $130 –

  21. Terike says:

    Nagyon szép kenyér! Gratulálok! Magyarország Terike

  22. Suburban Grandma says:

    Thank you very much for the compliment.
    I just checked out the breads on your site, and they are absolutely unbelievable. You are very talented. Love it.

  23. Gwen says:

    Do you have a recipe for the bread on this picture?

  24. Gwen says:

    Sorry! Recipe for the greeting bread.

  25. Suburban Grandma says:

    Please note there is a link in the text below the picture (highlighted text) for the bread recipe, which is a traditional Paska (Easter Bread) recipe. You use your imagination for decorating the bread. You can place a heatproof glass in the middle, or a metal tube, to have the opening for the salt container (shot glass). You can also bake it without the opening then cut out the middle to fit your salt container.

  26. Suburban Grandma says:

    Yes, the recipe for the greeting bread is my Ukrainian Traditional Paska recipe, without raisins. Click on the link within the text below the picture, which will take you to that recipe.

  27. Kayla Frampton says:

    Do you happen to know where I can find an Ukrainian Wedding Cake Keep Sake. My mother has always wanted a Ukrainian Wedding Cake and its there 30th Anniversary this February and I would love to Surprise her with one. Thank you.

  28. Suburban Grandma says:

    I am not sure what you mean by”keepsake”….? Are you looking for a real Korovai which you would actually dry out and have your mom keep it as a keepsake? Or, are you looking for a korovai charm, or artificial replica of a korovai??
    If you are able to bake, you can create one by yourself, following the instructions I posted on baking a korovai and another post about the different decorations you adorn the korovai with. Also, there are Ukrainian bakers who take orders for Korovais and can make one for you, but they cost few hundred dollars. I hope this helps.

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