Greek Wedding Tradition… OPA!
Greek Orthodox weddings are very theatrical. One thing that may surprise you is that in a tradition Greek Orthodox wedding the bride and groom do not exchange vows. Tradition dictates that the bride and groom meet outside the wedding ceremony location (the church) and enter together. The church sees the standing before the priest as a serious commitment and thus no need to exchange vows. They enter the church with the guest following. Yes the guest wait outside the church waiting for the couple to enter first, and take seats where ever they like, there is no brides side or grooms side in traditional Greek weddings.
There are several parts to the wedding ceremony the first is the Rites of the Betrothal. This is the beginning of the ceremony, the priest stands before the bride and groom and ask the bride first do you wish to marry this man, and then ask the groom do you wish to marry this women. After the answer the priest then says a prayer, the “Crowning” takes place the priest holds two wreaths over the bride and grooms heads. The wreaths signify how much give and take a marriage must have, as well as symbolizing that they are now king and queen of their own kingdom.
The couple then drink from a single cup of wine, symbolizing that in marriage all things are shared equally. The priest then leads the couple around the sacrament table three times and the wreath are removed , the couple is blessed and everyone wishes the couple many years of blessed marriage.
The Greek wedding reception is probably the most well know, as it has often been seen in movies. Lots of dancing, great food, and fine drinks are served. And of course the famous Greek circle dance is a huge part of the reception. Of course you have to throw some plates ( just be sure they are inexpensive ones) The plate throwing stems from very old tradition of breaking a plate at the door way of the newlyweds home to ward off evil spirits. This old tradition changed over the years to breaking plates at the wedding reception … OPA!