Greek weddings that honor traditional ceremonies and receptions are beautiful ways to pay tribute to your heritage or culture. There are many time-honored traditions observed, such as the wedding processional, crowns of flowers and marital walk.
Plan an Old-Fashioned Greek Wedding
A traditional Greek wedding has both religious and cultural components, allowing almost anyone to draw on Greek elements to make their day truly special.
The Wedding Processional
Before the wedding ceremony begins, many Greek couples participate in a kind of wedding parade in which the groom is invited to follow someone who holds a five-twigged branch called a flamboro to the home of his future in-laws. Together, the processional goes to the church, where the ceremony will be held.
A typical Greek wedding ceremony is a beautiful event in which a couple exchanges rings, vows, and words of love. Family and friends are invited to share in this blessed event.
- The Prayer: The beginning of the service is often signified by the priest, who prays aloud and joins the hands of the bride and groom. Traditionally, the bride and groom will continue holding hands throughout the ceremony to symbolize their unbreakable union.
- The Service of Betrothal: In Greek tradition, the betrothal is an important part of the ceremony. It involves a blessing of the rings, bestowed by the priest, and the actual exchange of rings and placement on the ring fingers of the bride and groom.
- Crown of Flowers: Both the bride and groom wear crowns of flowers. These crowns will usually be tethered together by a white or red ribbon and have been blessed, much like the rings. A ceremony is usually performed with the crown of flowers, followed by a symbolic drinking of wine between the bride and groom.
- The Marital Walk: One of the most popular traditions of Greek weddings is the ceremonial walk in which the priest leads the soon-to-be husband and wife three times around the altar.
Held after the ceremony, Greek wedding receptions are boisterous, fun-filled affairs that involve many family members, friends, and neighbors. This party includes much feasting, dancing, and general socializing to celebrate the bride and groom's marriage.
Nearly every culture has both well-known and lesser-known wedding traditions, created over the centuries to ensure a fruitful marriage, a happy life, and a blessed union. Not all of these traditions are part of a typical ceremony or wedding, but it can be fun to include some of them.
- Money Dance: During the bride and groom's first dance, it is customary to pin money on the clothing of one or both. An alternative version of this tradition, guests throw money on the marriage bed instead.
- A Sweet Life: Some traditions have the bride placing a small bit of sugar into her glove to represent the sweetness of her married life.
- Throwing of Rice: Many a traditional Greek wedding ends in rice throwing. The rice is passed out before the wedding gets underway and can be a fun end to the ceremony, kicking off the party to come.
A Word on Greek Orthodox Ceremonies
It isn't necessary for both the bride and groom to be Greek Orthodox to get married in the Greek Orthodox Church. It is sufficient for one of them to be Greek Orthodox, but the other must be Christian and must have been baptized.
Make the Day Your Own
There are many ways to draw on the traditions of Greek culture while still making your day your very own. For advice about how to weave these customs into modern day wedding planning, ask friends or family members who are already married.