Greek Weddings

Published by flag-gr Usuario Anónimo — 8 years ago

Blog: Life in Athens
Tags: flag-gr Erasmus blog Greece, Greece, Greece

Last week, I was the maid of honour in a wedding, so I thought about writing you about my experience there, as well as inform you about certain greek wedding traditions. And, no,it's not that much like the movie “My Big Fat Greek Wedding”, although most foreign people I meet tend to believe that, after watching this movie, they've got it all figured out regarding our wedding traditions!

  • The engagement can happen in a religious way, by going to church so that you're officially engaged. However, nowadays most couples skip the engagement and get married right away. In this case, they are considered to be engaged right after the proposal. The woman probably wears the ring etc., they just don't have a church ceremony about it. Engagement parties are not extremely common in Greece, especially during the past few years when, as I said, engagements have become more “casual”.

  • There are two types of weddings: the ones that take place in church and others that take place in the city hall. The first ones are called “religious weddings” and the second ones “political weddings”. The political wedding has become legal, as part of the greek civil code, for thirty years or so. There is no ceremony for the engagement in a political wedding. In religious weddings, a priest performs the ceremony, while in political weddings the mayor (or another official) marries the couple.

  • The week before the wedding, usually on a Thursday, the bride's friends come and help make the bed. They put new and white sheets to the bed and they put money on it, which symbolizes a gift for the beginning of the couple's common life.

  • On the wedding day, they hand out some special sugared almonds in little bags. Each bag should contain an odd number of sugared almonds.

  • During a certain part of the orthodox wedding ceremony, when some specific words are said by the priest, the tradition is that people throw rice to the couple, which symbolizes their wealth and luck during their married life.

  • There is no such thing as “best man” and “maid of honour”. There could be two people to do that, but it doesn't have to be one from the bride's side and another one from the groom's side. It could be any possible combination and, in religious weddings, it's more common that only one person is in charge of this. In political weddings, though, there actually are two people, because they are required to sign the official document.

The wedding I attended was a political one, so it was a rather simple ceremony. The bride was wearing a simple white dress. It was a small ceremony with some close friends. It was on a Wednesday morning, which was rather odd, but it was the only day they perform weddings in the Municipality of Glyfada. We went there and waited until the previous wedding ceremony was completed. Then, we entered the room and the guests sat on the chairs to watch the ceremony. I stood behind the couple in order to put on the rings, once the mayor would tell me so. Next to me, stood the best man, who should be there to sign in the end of the ceremony, despite the fact that I would be putting on the wedding rings. The political wedding is a ceremony, where only basic things are said: There's a text read by the mayor, which states the responsibilites of the couple to respect and support one another. Then, they are asked if they take each other as their husband and wife respectfully. After they have their wedding rings on, the mayor pronounces them husband and wife and they only have to sign the official document for the ceremony to come to an end.

After the wedding, we went to a cafe near close to the sea, where we had coffee and some desserts, like chocolate pie, cheesecake and apple-pie. There wasn't a wedding reception, because it was a Wednesday and the couple decided to celebrate it on a Saturday. I will write about that too, because it was a fun night. After having our coffee and chatted, everyone headed home and, before I left, the couple gave me a necklace, as a gift for being part of the wedding. I liked it very much and it was a really thoughtful gesture.

The wedding party was in a restaurant near the couple's house and mine too, because I live really close to them. It was a restaurant with live music, which was pefect for the occasion. We had dinner, enjoyed the music and danced. In most weddings, there are also traditional greek songs played, at one point or another. I don't know how to dance to those songs, because I can never remember the steps, but it was fun listening to them and watch the couple so happy. Later, we also opened a champagne and cut the wedding cake: it was white, with vanilla and biscuit and wasn't too sweet -I like that in a cake!

Late at night, we headed home. We wished the couple luck and happiness and congratulated them once again. I enjoyed myself a lot and I have good memories from that night.

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