All about traditional Greek wedding - Wedding in Greece
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All about Greek Weddings

Greek weddings, everything about

If you are planning to travel to Greece to tie the knot, then you need to know about the traditions that make Greek weddings so special world widely!

A traditional Greek Wedding

Have you ever watched the famous American movie “My big fat Greek wedding”?  It may be exorbitant in the way it presents the reality of Greek formalities, but it gives you a small taste of the philosophy and customs that transpire a traditional Greek From the throwing of a kid on the new bed of the couple, till the squashing of the groom’s foot during the ceremony, every single tradition is absolutely existing and has a special meaning. In this tribute, we will give you a closer inspection of the most important traditional proceedings that take place before, during, and even after the sacred ceremony of a common Greek wedding, and their inmost symbolisms

 

Bride and groom entering Anastasi church for wedding in Santorini

Bride in Anastasi Orthodox Church, Santorini

When and where traditional Greek Weddings happen

The official religion of Greece is the Orthodoxy. Therefore, a traditional religious Greek wedding usually takes place in a Greek Orthodox Church or in a small chapel.

A weekend- when almost no one works the following day- is typically the best time to have a Greek wedding. However, orthodox weddings do not take place during the Lent, on a holy day, or during fasting periods.

What happens at a Greek wedding day before the wedding

When a Greek couple decides to get engaged, they exchange rings as a commitment to get married in the near future in front of their close family and friends, forming a small celebration of their upcoming united life.

A few days before the wedding, the so-called “making of the bed” takes place. During this small pre-wedding celebration, all the relatives and single friends of the groom and the bride are invited to the couple’s new home. After the making of the bed with brand-new sheets is completed by the single women of the house, the mother-in-law checks that everything is perfect and then the money is offered by the attendants for the first expenses of the couple. If there is a baby in the house, then somebody needs to lay it on the bed thus proclaiming the sex of the first of the couple’s first child.

During the preparation time on the official wedding day, the bride and the groom are getting dressed at different houses, accompanied by their best friends. The bride writes all the names of her best-unmarried friends under her wedding shoes. The ones that are eventually erased at the end of the day, are the ones that are about to get married next.

In some specific regions, tradition has it that the groom or the bride is accompanied on foot from their home to the church by relatives and a traditional band. On the other hand, when arriving at the Orthodox Greek church by car, the bride has to drive around the church three times, while tooting, proclaiming the upcoming wedding event.

Orthodox chapel for Religious wedding in Athens Riviera Greece

What happens at a Greek Wedding Ceremony

During the wedding ceremony, the best man and the maid of honor exchange the rings three times and then the crowns (“Stefana”), also three times, over the heads of the couple. The crowns are then joined with a white ribbon to symbolize unity. The closest relatives stand around the couple, while the groom and the bride need to have their right hands united throughout the whole ceremony.

When the cantors read the Apostle, at the point where they say, “may the female be scared by the man,” the groom secretly presses the bride’s foot, but sometimes the bride is well-prepared and steps on the groom’s foot. At this point, the guests focus on the feet of the couple to see who will lead the move! During the “dance of Isaiah”, where the couple walks around a table along with the Priest, the guests are hurling rice towards them, thus symbolizing the “rooting” of a newly united life, and their first steps together, with the guidance of the orthodox church.

Towards the end of the ceremony, the priest gives to each of the couples a sip of red wine from the same glass, symbolizing the communion of the blood of Jesus. The remaining wine of the glass is drunk by the best man or the maid of honor when the ceremony is over.

The Closing of the Ceremony.

At the conclusion of the ceremony, the entire procession and guests get outside the church and make a line for the official wishes to the couple and then pose for professional photos. Each of the guests receives a favor (bonbonniere) with candies called “koufeta”, where the number should be single, usually 3, five, or seven, symbolizing that the couple can never be divided.

After the wedding is over, the groom’s mother waits for the couple at their new home, giving each one of them to eat honey with walnuts on a spoon, so as to enjoy a sweet life together!

Greek Orthodox wedding in Costa Navarino

Greek Orthodox wedding in Costa Navarino

What happens at a Big Fat Wedding Reception

After the Greek Orthodox ceremony, all the guests head towards the wedding hall where they enjoy the wedding dinner and a wild wedding party. The arrival of the couple takes place in a festive atmosphere, and the party starts with a special, usually extra-romantic first dance, in the rhythm of the couple’s favorite love song. The groom and the bride stand in the middle of the reception hall and cut the wedding cake together.  Then, the person in charge of the reception hall opens a bottle of Champaign and the couple clings glasses with each other and thanks to the guests for their presence while wishing them a joyful night.

The guests enjoy every kind of Greek delicacies while listening to the music that has been chosen in advance by the couple. The bride usually leads the traditional Greek dances and invites the guests to dance. If you are lucky enough, you may witness the well-known greek “plates smashing” when the party is on fire.

During the party, there is one point when the music stops and the bride calls all the single ladies on the dance floor and throws her bouquet towards them! The lucky one who catches it is the next in line to get married.

All the above-mentioned customs concern a typical traditional Greek wedding. However, modern couples usually don´t stick to the traditions and have the freedom to customize their weddings to their personal preferences.

Do you want to organize your dream destination wedding according to the authentic local wedding traditions in Greece? Contact our experienced wedding planning team now.

Read more for a beautiful wedding in Athens Greece

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