This summer I had the pleasure of being in one of my dear friend, Diana’s, wedding. I have been a bridesmaid in several weddings this year but Diana’s wedding was a new experience for me as she is Greek Orthodox. Di and I have been friends for a very long time but I have never really gotten the chance to see her “Greek roots” in action, ,other than the annual Greek Festival. Although Diana was born in the states, both her mom and dad, 100% Greek, and her wedding was nothing less than a 100% Greek Traditional Wedding.
Krevatia- AKA the “Bed Making Ceremony”
This Greek wedding tradition is usually done a couple of days before the wedding and preformed to bless the marital bed and the couple’s fertility. The marital matress, or krevati in Greek, is decorated for the wedding. Money is thrown on the bed by reletives and friends of the engaged couple as a gift for their new begining and common life, and a blessing of wealth.This tradition also include the “flipping of the baby” where a child is placed on the bad as a symbol of fertility and blessing while a traditional greek song is sang by family and friends. The bed is to remain untouched until the wedding night. (The baby does not remain on the bed that long.)
The Service of Betrothal-
The priest will bless the rings by holding them in his right han, and making the sign of the cross over the couple’s heads, he betroaths the servants of God, The Bride to The Groom. The rings are then placed on the bride and groom’s right hands for it is the right hand of God that blesses and it is to the right hand of God to which Christ accended. Most traditional Greek couples will wear their wedding rings on the right hand opposed to the western traditions of the left hand.
This is the focal point of the marriage ceremony. The crowns are signs of the glory and honor of which God crowns them during the sacrament. The stefana, or wedding crowns, are joined by a ribbon which symbolizes the unity of the couple and the presence of Christ who blesses and joins the couple and establishes them as King and Queen of their home, which they will rule with wisdom, justice, and integrity.
(Ceremonial crown by Kacie Cooper Floral Design- Memphis, TN)
The Ceremonial Walk-
The priest takes the bride and groom and leads them in a circle around the alter on which are placed the gospel and the cross 3 times. The circle symbolizes eternity and by circling around the alter, the couple signify their oath to preserve their marriage and bond forever. The triple circling is in the honor of the Holy Trinity.
(Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church – Memphis, TN)
The Wedding Favors-
Koufeta, or sugar coated almonds, are placed on a tray with the crowns and are later offered to the guests as favors, representing the couples bittersweet life. The white symbolizes purity. The egg shape represents fertility and the new life which begins with marriage. The almond’s hardness represents the endurance of marriage and the sugar symbolizes the sweetness of future life. The odd number of the almond is indivisible, just as The Bride and Groom shall remain undivided.