Get to Know Common Greek Wedding Traditions

When it comes to planning a wedding, there can be a lot to think about. There are a number of Greek wedding traditions to consider adding to your big day. You may choose to have many of them or just one or two. Greek wedding traditions can range from specific dances and particular foods being served, to important religious customs. Here are a few Greek wedding traditions you can consider adding to your big day.

Greek Wedding Crowns

Greek wedding crowns, known as stefana, are an important part of a Greek wedding. The ritual that goes along with the crowns involves the priest placing a crown on the bride and groom’s head and the wedding sponsor intertwining the crown three times, which is to symbolize the couple’s union. The priest will approve of the stefanaused for the ceremony. It’s generally a good idea to buy your own as it will have no bad luck attached, but if you have a family member’s and they had a happy marriage, this may be approved for use. 

Traditional Greek Food

If you want your Greek wedding to have a touch of tradition, you can do this through food. Common dishes that are enjoyed at Greek weddings include yuvetsi, a beef or lamb stew with orzo; tiropita, a cheese pastry; and baklava, a sweetened pastry with nuts and honey.

Another food related tradition involves Jordan almonds. The tradition is calledbombonieriaand has been around for more than three millennia. The combination of sweet and salty symbolizes life’s ups and downs. Traditionally, five Jordan almonds are given to each guest to symbolize their hopes for wealth, health, happiness, fertility, and a long life. 

The Bridal Bed Celebration

Also called “To Krevati,”the bridal bed celebration takes place a few days before the wedding. This Greek wedding tradition involves friends and family joining the couple at their marital home. The bride-to-be and her unmarried attendants will prepare the bed by putting on fresh bedding and adding extra touches like rose petals and ribbons.  

The groom-to-be will give his approval to the finished bed. If he wants any changes made, they will be done. Once things are to his liking, other items are added. These can include money for prosperity and rice to symbolize putting down roots. Most importantly, a baby (of whichever gender the bride or groom desires first) is added to the completed bed.

Additional Traditions

In the Greek culture, throwing rice is still very much an important part of the wedding day. Throwing rice after the ceremony is a symbol offertility. Another tradition involves the groom-to-be purchasing the dress and shoes. Before he puts the bride’s shoes on her feet for the wedding, her bridesmaids will write their name on the shoes. Tradition says that whoever’s name is the least faded at the end of the night is the next to be married. 

When planning your Greek wedding, whether in an Orthodox church or elsewhere, you may choose to add some of these traditions to your celebration in order to help keep them alive.