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Greek Wedding Traditions

Greek wedding traditions are rich with religious symbolism and like many other cultures; marriage is seen as a continuation of Greek culture and the uniting of two families, not just the wedding couple. Though there are a variety of wedding ceremony styles, the majority tend to include a full religious Greek Orthodox ceremony.

Holy Trinity

The symbol of the Holy Trinity - Father, Son, and Holy Spirit is an important aspect of the Greek Orthodox religion and is incorporated symbolically within the wedding celebration. Many of the ceremony rituals are performed in series of threes.

Koumbaros

The Koumbaros is an honored guest that participates in the wedding ceremony. Traditionally, the Koumbaros is the groom’s godfather. Today, he is usually the best man. He assists with the crowning of the couple and the exchange of the rings three times between the bride and groom before it is placed on the bride and groom’s third fingers.

Stefana

Stefana are metal crowns or floral wreaths, sometimes attached with ribbon, are placed on the heads of the bride and groom as a symbol of God bestowing his blessings in the form of crowns. The crowns are generally connected by a ribbon to symbolize the couple's eternal bond as husband and wife.

Ceremony

The Greek Orthodox wedding ceremony consists of two parts, the Service of Betrothal, and the Sacrament of Marriage. The Service of Betrothal includes the exchanging of rings which have been blessed by the priest. It is Greek tradition that the bride and groom are honored as queen and king for the day. During the Sacrament of Marriage, the couple receives lighted candles to hold throughout the service. The Koumbaros bestows the couple with crowns called stefana while the couple holds hands. This is followed by religious readings and the consumption of wine. The couple is then walked around an altar three times to represent their everlasting journey. The stefana is then removed and the couple declared married.

Reception

Greek wedding receptions are festive and include savory foods, plenty of wine, singing and dancing. Traditional Greek dishes such as dolmathes, kapama, moussaka, spetsiota, and spanakopita may be served. Ouzo, a licorice flavored liqueur and wine are the drinks of choice. Diples, fried pastries made of honey and nuts are usually displayed on the same table as the wedding cake.  The famous Kaslamantiano or “Circle dance”, involves two circles that form around the bride while guests throw money at the musicians and break dishes for good luck. At the reception, a bag containing an odd number of koufetta or candy-coated almonds also known as Jordan almonds are distributed to guests as a favor. The odd number symbolizes the couple’s unity since odd numbers can’t be divided evenly. See our Greek-inspired favors.

Pomegranate

It is a tradition in Greece to break a pomegranate on the ground at weddings. It is a symbol of abundance, fertility and good luck. Pomegranate decorations for the home are very common in Greece. See our Pomegranate gift collection.

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