Rus Articles Journal

The matchmaker as a profession or Why most it is a shame to marry off to himself?

Work of the matchmaker was since ancient times popular and demanded. Both ancient Greeks, and Aztecs addressed services of the matchmaker for acquaintance and creation of a family. At the time of our great-grandmothers and great-grandfathers any family did not develop without participation of professional ustroitelnitsa of weddings. “The explanatory dictionary of living great Russian language“ of Dahl in this respect specifies: “Most it is a shame to marry off to himself... This business of the matchmaker“.

As a rule, marriages consisted in pre-revolutionary Russia in one estate. However, there were exceptions. Merchant families quite often dreamed to become related with representatives of nobility. Such unions were not approved by the nobility. Only in exceptional cases, wishing to improve the reeled things, the titled fathers gave not attached, “the daughters who overstayed in maidens“ for wealthy merchants.

The huge attention was paid to the residence of the groom and bride. For example, for bringing narrowed from other city, the groom had to get permission of City Council and the Spiritual consistory. Nevertheless prosperous petty bourgeoises often preferred to walk on instances and to bring the bride from far away, than to marry girls from the poor districts of the city inhabited by natives of the village.

Each matchmaker worked with concrete estate, knew all the potential clients. Parents reported to her about parameters of the desirable son-in-law or daughter-in-law in advance. First of all the dowry of future spouses made a reservation, up to quantity of dresses and the bride`s shirts. Money, an ancestral lands, a domestics - nothing escaped a sharp-sighted eye of the matchmaker.

In well-founded merchant families the dowry gathered till the daughter`s birth. The newborn baby already possessed sufficient means to become the bride. Actually, if the dowry of the girl suited the groom`s parents, then conversation on a wedding came. However, only the marriage contract for which the property of future spouses and their obligation to marry at achievement of the corresponding age by the bride undersigned was formed so far.

To marry off two young people was a trick. At first the matchmaker visited the house of the bride. Often for the girl her visit became a bolt from the blue.

“I to you came not to feast, not to stolovat, and with the kind word, with matchmaking“.
“You have goods, and we have a merchant, let`s bargain“.
“You have a kunichka, and we have a hunter“.

Such phrases the matchmaker informed hosts on the purpose of the arrival.

Then visit to the groom who could not know future spouse even was coming. Only in the wedding day he for the first time should look at the bride for now the matchmaker painted to it narrowed, telling about appearance and character of the girl. If both parties agreed to marriage, then shows were arranged. Then arrangement, church announcement, a hen night, dowry transportation to the house of the groom and, as the culmination, wedding.

Services of the matchmaker were paid only in case everything passed smoothly and the wedding took place. The size of the fee depended on estate. Rich merchant families paid up to 25 rubles from each party. Besides, the cashmere shawl - the main attribute distinguishing it from representatives of other professions relied the matchmaker. The more such shawls collected at the matchmaker, the their owner became more authoritative.