Greece is the pearl of the Balkan Peninsula, arcing around the coast and crumbling into a thousand islands between the Aegean and Ionian Seas. Modern Hellas, as historians and tourists call it, remembering the civilization of the Hellenes, the ancient traces of which are attracted by the colonnade of the Acropolis, the semicircle of amphitheaters and the gray whiteness of antique statues. Walking along its stone pavements, mountainous paths and olive groves, you begin to feel what has attracted people to this fertile land since ancient times. The hot southern sun, along with a pleasant sea breeze and fertile land, help the country to grow and bloom with thousands of grape and olive groves, set a special rhythm of life: a leisurely, relaxed and idle mood of daily happiness.
This region amazes with its cordiality and hospitality: a walk through picturesque markets, a cup of coffee in a tavern and a siesta with a glass of Greek wine are aimed at communication, pleasant contemplation and living every moment of life with pleasure. Such a cheerful attitude is reflected in all manifestations of this country: rich Greek cuisine with an abundance of seafood and juicy vegetables, picturesque holidays, culture and traditions, the sea around which local life revolves, and a thousand picturesque islands generously scattered over its surface. Let’s name only a small part of them: the Argonian Islands (do you remember Captain Argo and the Golden Fleece?), The North Aegean Islands, Euboea and Thessalian Sporades, and of course, the Cyclades Islands or, as they are also called, Santorini.
Wedding ceremony on the island of Santorini
The Cyclades or Santorini is one of the most popular tourist destinations and wedding locations in Greece.
And this is not surprising, because nature itself echoes the beautiful Greek wedding traditions here: mountainous fertile terrain, caldera, black volcanic beaches, and a cityscape of white walls and blue roofs echoing the blue of the Aegean Sea.
Greek wedding culture beautifully weaves its branches into this natural ensemble.
Lovers from all over the world come to Greece to formalize an official marriage, an orthodox church wedding ceremony or a symbolic ceremony — an opportunity to make a beautiful holiday for two easily. And, of course, to spend your honeymoon and just relax.
Below we talk about interesting traditions and rituals associated with organizing a wedding on the island, how to register an official marriage in Greece and the peculiarities of various scenarios.
Features of the wedding ceremony in Greece
As in any country, Greece has wedding traditions: beautiful, romantic, funny sometimes. We will tell you about some of them.
The specifics of a great Greek wedding
This is not only the name of a popular film, but also a tradition to celebrate the wedding noisy, loudly, cheerfully, and of course, crowded: inviting all relatives, friends and comrades. A marriage can number about 500-700 people, and last up to seven days. Now this tradition is not practiced everywhere, and ceremonies are held more intimate, but ceremonies for two are still more rare than common.
Let us examine in more detail the best, in our opinion, customs and rituals that distinguish a Greek wedding.
The oldest traditions dictate that wedding preparations begin one week in advance on Sunday. The groom sets the date symbolically, sending the bride a gift (for example, henna), the next days are spent preparing the dowry. Songs and dances accompany the process of preparing for the holiday.
On Saturday, on the eve of the wedding, tables are laid and the dowry is transported to the groom’s house.
Perhaps one of the most unusual Greek wedding traditions: during the gathering of close relatives in the bride’s house, bridesmaids carefully make the bed to win the approval of the groom. However, he must first refuse them three times and only then accept the job. After that, the bed is strewn with rice, rose petals and coins as a sign of prosperity, and also put the baby on the bed so that the family is big and friendly.
Traditionally, the bride was gathered by the girlfriends, and the groom — by the friends. The bride’s hair was braided and she was helped to put on the dress, and the groom sang songs, joked and shaved. And they both were probably supported and helped to cope with understandable excitement.
Shoes: the beginning
With regard to the bride’s shoes, a whole chain of traditions is formed in Greece: first, one of the brothers must bring them and put them on the bride’s feet.
At the same time, she will at first refuse, referring to the unsuitable size, and the girlfriends will make humorous attempts to steal shoes. Perhaps the essence of this tradition is to make the groom understand that the bride does a great honor to his family, nevertheless entering the family.
Who is next?
Before the ceremony begins, the bride writes on the soles of her shoes the names of her girlfriends who want to get married. The one whose name is erased first, the next to go down the aisle.
Among unmarried men, the primacy on the path to the altar is determined during dances: the bride dances with them in turn, and then throws her headscarf at the bachelors.
Whoever managed to catch marries first.
An arch entwined with flowers and ribbons on a wedding site or a path to a church, decorated with vases with white flowers, lanterns, candles and beautifully laid white linen. Not a single celebration can do without this tradition in Greece.
Church wedding on Santorini
Despite the opportunity to hold an official ceremony and legally register a marriage in Greece, the othodox church wedding remains especially popular and sacred for the Greeks. Moreover, the wedding is considered an official wedding in Greece from a legal point of view. Moreover, it is a tribute to traditions, an important religious ceremony, and just a beautiful and romantic ceremony. The bride and groom are put on traditional wedding headbands “stefan”, they take turns drinking red wine from a symbolic cup, swearing an oath to share sorrows and joys for the rest of their lives, and exchange rings. White decoration in front of the church, the twilight of the high vaults and many burning candles. It seems that the Greeks know a lot about real beauty and romance.
To strew the rice in the path
After the wedding, the newlyweds are showered with rice, paving their way to the future with wishes of wealth and prosperity.
Smash for luck
After the wedding, the couple went to the holiday, but before that, they drank a glass of wine and threw it over the shoulder, breaking it for happiness and good luck. This tradition, like several others, can be traced in other cultures, for example, Russian.
Dance and money
The beginning of the wedding celebration is considered the first dance of the newlyweds, during which guests shower them with money, wishing wealth and prosperity, in the most direct way.
Gifts for guests
Another sweet local tradition that has migrated to Russia: guests are handed out small bags decorated with embroidery or lace, with bonbonnieres and other souvenirs, in memory of a happy event.
The Greek version of a familiar tradition: after the ceremony, the mother of the groom meets the guests in the house and gives them a taste of honey and pomegranate fruit — for a sweet life in marriage and the prosperity of the family.
Come in on the right foot
And young people should cross the threshold of a new dwelling simultaneously, and at the same time, they must come in on the right foot, so that happiness and mutual understanding reign in their house.
Greece has many beautiful, quirky and sometimes fun wedding traditions that vary from region to region. Some of them are a thing of the past, some are still alive, helping to create that very magical atmosphere of a noisy, cheerful and very beautiful wedding holiday for a large company or for two.
We are the wedding agency Julia Veselova, and we invite you to become a part of it.
Organising your dream wedding abroad
wedding coordinator and founder of the agency
Organizing a beautiful ceremony, collecting a document, not forgetting about outfits, tickets, dates, a photographer and a wedding banquet is not an easy task. And the need to keep track of the time and keep in mind all events and locations can greatly overshadow the ceremony.
Therefore, creating the Julia Veselova agency, we thought first of all about how to allow couples to live their wedding day completely, feeling, remembering, enjoying every moment of it. We have extensive experience and numerous reviews of happy newlyweds, each of whom is pleasant and dear to us.
Entrusting the preparation for your wedding into the hands of our experienced specialists, you can be absolutely calm, because it will be perfect.
Abilities of Julia Veselova — your wedding planner:
Turnkey wedding ceremonies.
All inclusive wedding packages: you can choose the ceremony and honeymoon that suits you best.
Coordination of weddings, official registration at the city hall, symbolic weddings and marriage proposals.
Individual approach to marriage: if you want to create a wedding according to an absolutely unique scenario, we are happy to help you make your dreams come true.
If you want to hold a wedding ceremony in a church, we will advise you on all the features of the ceremony.
Assistance in preparation, submission, translation of all documents.
Verified restaurants, hotels, villas, wedding venues. We offer only those places of which we are absolutely sure.
A large team of professionals: wedding photographer, decorators, stylists, makeup artists, videographers, florists and decorators.
How much does a wedding by the sea cost
Probably a Greek wedding is expensive, many couples think.
However, the costs of the ceremony and celebration are comparable to those of your country, and the benefits are much greater.
Especially if you choose a symbolic wedding that does not require complicated preparation and collection of papers.
And the honeymoon turns out to be much more profitable compared to the offers of tour operators.
A formal or symbolic wedding in Greece costs differently, depending on the scenario, location, number of people and other details.
We offer nice wedding packages. The package includes all the necessary arrangements for the organization and conduct of your wedding.
We are happy to answer all questions about your future wedding by phone, messengers or e-mail.