There is something beautiful about the symbolic traditions used in Greek weddings. If you love the idea of incorporating ritual and culture into your big day, these guidelines from our event experts will help you plan just what you need. You can go completely traditional or may just want to uphold a few chosen customs to honour your heritage… the choice is all yours.
Setting the date
When it comes to Greek Orthodox tradition, there are dates throughout the year that are considered good luck to marry on and others that should be avoided.
January and June are considered lucky months for marriage due to links back to ancient Greece. They were months dedicated to the goddesses of marriage and fertility.
Dates to avoid include:
- The first two weeks of August. (These are devoted to the Virgin Mary)
- Lent, the 40 days before Easter.
- August 29, which marks the death of Saint John the Baptist.
- September 14, which is the celebration of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross.
- The 40 days leading up to Christmas.
It’s traditional for the best man or koumbaro to shave the groom on the morning of the ceremony to signify trust. Over in the ladies’ camp, the maid of honour or koumbara helps to get the bride dressed for the ceremony.
After dressing. the bride writes the names of all her single friends on the bottom of her right shoe. Tradition has it that the names that are worn off by the end of the reception will be the next in line to wed.
The koumbaro and koumbara traditionally go on to become godparents of the couple’s children.
The priest blesses the wedding rings three times during the ceremony, but before wearing them, the koumbaro will place the rings on the couples’ fingertips and exchange them three times. This is meant to symbolise the couples everlasting bond.
The couple also hold candles throughout the ceremony to represent the light of Christ. These candles can be left at the church to burn down or can be brought home and used over the years, but they must always be completely used and never thrown away.
The couple also share what is known as a common cup, and take three sips of wine each from the cup. The sharing is representative of how a marriage will work for the rest of their lives.
One of the most recognisable traditions of a Greek wedding are the stefana or marital crowns They can be made from flowers, foliage or even precious metals and are joined together by a strand of ribbon. They symbolise the union of two people into a single couple. Similar to the ring exchange, the stefana are swapped back and forth by the koumbaro three times. The couple wear them as they walk around the altar three times to represent their journey through life together.
The priest will bless the couple before removing the crowns and no vows are exchanged by the couple.
Greek weddings are usually large, boisterous affairs, sometimes including hundreds of guests. It’s not only a celebration of two people becoming one, but also a family reunion.
Dancing is a major component of the reception and there are a number of traditional Greek dances that are enjoyed including the Sirtaki, where guests hold hands and dance in a large circle.
The newlyweds traditionally share the last dance of the night and guests pin money to their clothes.
Another old tradition is to spit on the happy couple. But, not literally. Guests will pretend to spit on the bride and groom to protect them from any evil spirits.
Koufeta (sugar-coated almonds) are given to guests either after the wedding ceremony or more usually at the reception. An odd number of almonds are given to each guest and they symbolise purity, fertility and the endurance of marriage.
The classic Greek wedding cake is made from thin layers of sponge cake with a sweet cream filling, but modern couples often opt for a flourless almond cake. Another customary treat is sourdough wedding bread, which is decorated with beads and blossoms.
Hollywood would have you believe that plate smashing always happens at a Greek wedding. While that may have been true for a time in history, it is no longer the case as it has been deemed to be too dangerous.
When it comes to choosing a location for your reception on your big day, it is essential to find a venue that understands and respects your traditions.
The Waterfront Function Centre with its superb facilities and mouth-watering cuisines have established us a firm favourite for weddings and events of all sizes.
Our experienced and dedicated staff specialise in catering to large scale and multicultural wedding events. Whatever your requirements, we are here to help make your wedding dreams a reality and will work with you to create a tailor-made experience that fulfils all your Greek wedding traditions.
Give us a call to find out more about our multicultural wedding options on 1300 608 910 or to drop us a line on our enquiry form click here >>