Greece is world-famous for the captivating beauty of its diverse landscapes and constitutes one of the preferred wedding destinations for soon-to-be-wed couples all over the globe. The country’s allure does not limit itself to nature: Greece is also a country with beautiful people, rich traditions and interesting customs. Get accustomed to the wedding customs of the ancient country. The timeless traditions and wonderful symbolism helped the couples who wed on the same spot as you celebrate the most important day of their lives: let them excite you and inspire you to create your own ideal ceremony.
Koufeta (Sugared Almonds)
Perhaps the most prominent wedding tradition in Greece and one that survives up until contemporary times is the delicious treat of the sugared almonds, pronounced koofetah. Their sugary exterior gives them a beautifully white, smooth exterior, and the crunchy interior is splendidly tasty. They are handed out to wedding guests in elegant little pouches called bombonieres, wrapped in tulle, beautiful ribbons or even flowers. These bombonieres traditionally contain an odd number of sugared almonds, as this way they cannot be divided by 2, and so the couple will also never be divided. This beautiful thank-you gift is given to guests and their families for attending and sharing in the couples’ joy. Nowadays, confectioners have come up with dozens of sugared almond types featuring a vast array of flavors, such as chocolate, praline, orange, and strawberry.
The bridal bed
After the guests have brought their gifts, which traditionally occurs before the day of the ceremony, the bride and her female friends and family observe the Greek tradition of the krevati, which has its roots in Ancient Greece. It is the careful, almost ritualistic making and decorating of the bridal bed, abundant with symbolism and nostalgic echoes of old times. Tradition dictates for the sheets to be white so that the coupling is blessed. The white color also symbolizes the purity of the bride. This also used to be the time for the future wife to display the entirety of her dowry, which was lain on the bed and marveled upon by all. Some contemporary Greek brides choose to substitute the dowry with elegant bridal underwear, still preserving the rest of the symbolism: Unto the bed, they place or throw money, to symbolize prosperity; rice, to ensure the marriage lasts forever; a baby or young child, to wish for the couple to be fertile and bring offspring soon.
An almost global symbol, rice is also associated with weddings in Greece. The wedding guests throw rice towards the newlyweds in the church, as the couple paces Isaiah’sDancearound the church altar, an important part of the Orthodox Greek wedding ceremony. As it is symbolic of the blessing each and every guest wishes for the husband and wife, sometimes rice is also thrown at them when exiting the church, together with rose petals and even colorful confetti. This wonderful gesture has an additional meaning for Greek: As the words for rice and root are similar in the local language, it is customary to believe that the throwing of the rice helps the marriage “take deep roots” and their love and union last through the hardships of life.
No need to be alarmed; abductions used metaphorically here, thanks to a number of passionate couples of ages past, who simply loved each other too much to bear to be apart. This tradition pays tribute to the Ancient Greek God Zeus, who transformed himself into a bull and carried the beautiful Europa on his back from Africa to Crete, where they enjoyed their passion and offered her name to an entire continent. Once upon a time, Greek parents had to give explicit approval for a couple to get married. Sometimes, for one reason or another, they denied giving their permission to the couple, so the lovebirds mutually arranged an “abduction” – they simply eloped. The groom would “kidnap” the bride from her parents’ house, while they were asleep, and the two would move away, to marry and live a happy life elsewhere. In certain parts of Greece, this eloping was done in true Hollywood fashion, with the groom involving his strongest and bravest friends, and arriving on dark horses in the night-time. In fact, this tradition was and still is often withheld even in cases where the parents approve of the coupling: It is simply a theatrical echo of the past and a symbol of the couples’ passion.
Would you like to include some elements of these traditions in your own wedding, adding your own modern twist? Would you like to learn more about having a mythical, magical? We can certainly help you with that. Our services are professional and affordable. Contact us for a fully customizable, wonderful wedding ceremony and reception.