Happy Wednesday Ya’ll and Happy Valentine’s Day! If you couldn’t guess, this is one of our FAVORITE Holidays here at J. Ladson Weddings so why not celebrate with a brand new Weddings of The World blog!
We are all aware of the custom American wedding traditions – tossing the bouquet, something borrowed and something blue, exchanging of the rings and lighting a unity candle. But how many of you are aware of all the other amazing cultures and traditions that are happening around the world? That’s what this monthly blog is for – join us every month to dig into the spectacular wedding traditions of countries all around the world!
If you haven’t been able to tell from our Insta posts the past few weeks, this month we are digging deeper into the elaborate, custom-filled weddings of Greece!
Now, I’m sure we all have our bucket list of things we want to accomplish, see or do before we leave the earth. One of those things for me is to visit Greece, so as you can imagine I had a wonderful time researching this topic! I mean, what is not to love about Greece, it’s BEAUTIFUL, the movie “My Big Fat Greek Wedding” is a classic, and according to my co-worker, they have “really big weddings, with really great cookies” …. oh yeah, this already sounds like a wedding I want to be invited to!
With the help of The Knot, I compiled a list of some of the best Greek wedding traditions! Enjoy!
- The koumbara (for a woman) and koumbaro (for a man) are similar to the maid of honor and best man, but more specifically, they’re sponsors of the wedding. There might be only one sponsor, and whomever that is, has highly symbolic responsibilities during the marriage ceremony. Traditionally, this person is also selected as the godparent for the couple’s first child.
- The stefana is the focal point of the ceremony, symbolizing that the couple is now the king and queen of their castle. It also represents the official union of marriage. Similarly to the ring exchange, the stefana, or wedding crowns, are blessed by the priest and passed between the almost-newlyweds three times before being placed on their heads.
- Depending on how traditional a couple is, koufetta—fresh almonds with a sugar coating—will be present for some part of the wedding. They might be tossed onto the marital bed the day before the ceremony (along with money or other candies), eaten by the bridal party while they’re getting ready for the wedding or handed out as favors (aka bomboniere). The bittersweetness symbolizes the good and bad parts of any marriage, but the sugar coating is meant to balance it with happiness.
- There are several wedding activities that have been known to shower the couple with money. During the newlywed’s first dance, family members might pin money to their clothes or throw it onto the dance floor, or the groom can cut his tie at the end of the wedding and auction off the pieces. This tradition pops up every once in awhile, but these days it’s more common to give gifts from a registry or a card with money inside.
- Classic Greek cakes are made up of thin layers of sponge cake with a sweet cream filling. But modern couples are opting for a flourless almond cake. Another customary treat is sourdough wedding bread, which is decorated with beads and blossoms.
Manhattan Bride also helped me out a bit!
- Western customs have the bride tossing her bouquet, but in Greece this rarely happens. “But the Greek bride does carry a bouquet of white flowers to symbolize purity,” says Theodore Zois of Ariston Flowers. “For a traditional Greek service, I prefer to create a simple hand-tied arrangement of white gardenias. Their fragrance always reminds me of Greece.”
Ancient Greeks celebrated beauty and athleticism through their Olympics and also their fashions, loosely draped gowns gathered at the waist and touching the floor. The form-fitting look suggested the sensuality of their gods, and the elegant goddess gown remains popular to this day.
Ancient Greek brides also wore veils of yellow or red to represent fire and frighten away evil spirits, though brides today wear a traditional white wedding gown for purity. Ancient brides also wore diamonds, which were considered teardrops of the gods, reflecting the “flames of love.”
- “As superstition has it,”Anna tells us, “if a single girl takes koufeta from the church tray and puts them under her pillow for three nights beginning the night of the wedding, she will somehow see the man she is to marry in the future.”
The wedding service has two parts: the betrothal and the marriage service. The service is conducted at the “matrimonial altar,” a small table on which a special tray holds the wedding crowns, betrothal rings, candles, goblet of sanctified wine, and book of gospels.
The betrothal service recognizes the engagement of the couple by the church and includes the priest’s blessing of the rings. He also alternately blesses the bride and groom three times.
- The Greek wedding ceremony is very formal, but the receptions are boisterous. Today’s receptions lead with the couple dancing to a waltz or perhaps a tango. Then the immediate family joins a line dance called “The Bride’s Dance” or the “Kalamatiano,” which is led by the bride.
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Stay tuned once a month for our Weddings of the World blog. Where we will take a deeper look into the cultures and wedding traditions of countries around the world!