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Orthodox Wedding in Santorini: A Blend of Time-Honored Tradition and Unforgettable Romance Amidst the Enchanting Cycladic allure

The island of Santorini is well-known for its breathtaking views, stunning sunsets, and distinctive white-washed buildings that adorn the cliffside. The island’s unique architecture, a testament to its rich history and culture, adds an enchanting charm to every corner, making it an irresistible choice for couples seeking an unforgettable destination for their ceremonies. And to ensure every moment is captured for eternity, they wisely book a professional photographer, specially when it comes to an Orthodox wedding in Santorini.

Apart from the popular civil weddings, many couples prefer an Orthodox ceremony at a chapel. One excellent choice for such a wedding on Santorini is the Church of Anastasis. Located in the heart of the caldera and built in the 1800s, it is a prime example of Cycladic architecture, characterized by its whitewashed buildings and blue domes. The location offers a spectacular view of the volcanic islands and the town of Fira.

In this article, we will discuss the vibrant tapestry of Greek customs and rituals that adorn an Orthodox wedding. Together, we’ll uncover the profound meanings nestled within the Greek terms Koubaros and Stefana, while unraveling the enduring symbolism behind the timeless tradition of showering rice upon the newlyweds. So, immerse yourself in the romance of Santorini and unravel the rituals of an Orthodox wedding unlike any other.

Cliffside Charms: Bride’s Pre-Wedding Photo Session in Imerovigli

As the tradition of not seeing the bride before the ceremony still holds strong, the couple got ready separately for their Orthodox wedding in Santorini. The bridal preparation took place at a hotel located in Imerovigli. Nestled gracefully on the highest point of Santorini’s caldera, the village commands awe-inspiring views of the Aegean Sea and the island’s rugged landscape.

The bride with her best friend were spending the morning together. They were having their makeup and hair done while wearing their dresses. As the bride gazed into the mirror, a sense of assurance washed over her – she knew she had made the perfect choice. The intricate lace details of her wedding gown perfectly complemented her classic and elegant style.

All the singles ladies: A Greek wedding involves the bride writing the names of her single girlfriends on the bottom of her shoes. This symbolizes that those whose names are erased by the end of the wedding will soon get married.

A Day in the Life of the Koumbaro: Groom Preparation for his Orthodox Wedding on Santorini

Meanwhile, the groom and his best man were preparing for the big day at a nearby hotel. They were enjoying each other’s company, reminiscing about old times and having great time. The groom made a visit to a barbershop in Fira, ensuring his appearance was impeccable for the occasion. Afterward, the two men dressed in their finest attire and made their way to the church for the Orthodox wedding in Santorini.

Groom Preparation Tradition: Did you know that in Greek weddings, the groom is traditionally shaved by the Koubaro? In Greece, the groom’s best man, known as the Koubaro, holds a significant role in the wedding festivities. One of his key responsibilities is to shave the groom before the ceremony. This tradition is deeply rooted in Greek culture, and it symbolizes the groom’s transition into married life.

The shoes are big: The Koumbaro has a really busy day! In addition to shaving the groom, he must also deliver the bride’s wedding shoes to her as a gift from the groom. He arrives at the location where the bride is getting ready and gives her the shoes. However, the bride insists that the shoes are too big, so he ingeniously fills them with money until they fit properly.

Capturing the Beauty of an Orthodox Wedding in Santorini

Anticipation for the upcoming ceremony was growing, and everyone was eager. The stunning Cycladic landscape provided a perfect backdrop for the bridal pre-wedding photo session. As a Santorini wedding photographer, I couldn’t resist capturing some beautiful shots of the her along the way.

Upon our arrival at the church, the scene was set for a momentous occasion. The groom stood poised and eager. Anticipation was written across his face as he awaited his beloved bride’s arrival. As she made her entrance, a wave of emotion swept over him. His gaze locking onto her with a mixture of awe, happiness, and profound love.

The Orthodox wedding in Santorini began with the Service of Betrothal, which involves exchanging the rings between the couple. The priest blesses the rings, places them on their right-hand fingers, and the Koubaros then exchanges the rings between them three times. This signifies that their two lives are entwined as one.

Capturing Tradition: From Stefana to the Dance of Isaiah in a Santorini Wedding

The ceremony proceeded with the “Stefana”, a ritual in which the priest places two wedding crowns connected with a band on the heads of the couple, then the best man gently passes them over their heads three times. This action symbolizes their unity. The ambiance during this moment is always very special. As a photographer in Santorini, it was a profound opportunity for me to capture those intimate moments of love.

Following the shared sip of wine from the same cup, the couple is led around the altar table in the Dance of Isaiah. The priest holds the Gospel and the joined hands of the couple. The Koubaro is following closely behind, holding the Stefana above their heads, as they circle the altar table three times. This act symbolizes their journey together. Finally, the priest removes the crowns, bestowing blessings upon the newlyweds and offering them words of wisdom and inspiration for a long and prosperous life together.

Throwing Rice: In Greece, it is customary to throw rice at the newlyweds as they leave the church. Rice represents life, happiness, and prosperity. Similar to how seeds are scattered to cultivate life on Earth, rice is thrown to wish them fertility and an abundance of children.

Golden Hour Moments: Santorini’s Post-Wedding Photo Session

After the Orthodox wedding, we visited several picturesque locations in Santorini for a wedding photo session. The sun bathed the surroundings in a warm glow, casting soft shadows that added a special touch to the already astonishing scenery.

Following the wedding photo shoot, we headed to the reception. It took place at a lovely restaurant with a panoramic view of the caldera and the legendary Santorini sunset. The newlyweds took the stage for their first dance, lost in love as they gazed deeply into each other’s eyes. The night was filled with laughter, love, and happy memories that will last a lifetime. These are the beautiful moments that every wedding photographer in Santorini would love to capture.

Did you know that Orthodox weddings do not have vows?

In Greece, instead of exchanging vows, the couple makes promises to God. As part of a reading from the priest, the bride is traditionally encouraged to “fear” her husband. At this moment, the bride steps on the groom’s foot to express her disagreement and show that she will have a say in the marriage.

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