We at Harsanik are obsessed with all things wedding, but our favorite part of weddings are the traditions that couples choose to incorporate on their big day. As Armenians, we have so many beautiful wedding traditions to choose from. One of our favorite Armenian wedding traditions is the blocking of the doorway that is done by family members on the bride's side as the bride and groom are exiting the bride's house.
Typically a male family member from the bride's side will block the door and insist on getting paid in order to allow the bride to leave her family's home. Often times this role of the "bouncer" is done by the bride's brother, cousin, or younger male relative. Sometimes there is only one bouncer and other times there are a few who partner together to get the job done. Often times the bouncer holds a sword to block the doorway.
As for who pays up, it's dependent on the family. Sometimes the groom will pay off the bouncer, other times it's the "kavor" (bestman), and other times it's another family member from the groom's side. And how much do these bouncers expect to get paid? Well, it's really up to the bouncer to decide! It's customary for the first offer to be a smaller amount, and for the bouncer to reject it (you'll often see this captured in videos with the bouncer shaking his head no). The next higher offer sometimes satisfies the bouncer. Otherwise, other members of the groom's family, including the groom's father step in and offer more cash to make the deal go through. Most families have a lot of fun with this tradition and personalize it to make it their own.
Here's some of our favorite shots of this special Armenian wedding day tradition. You can learn more about other Armenian wedding traditions and read up on every couple's love story and wedding day on our blog.