Orthodox Wedding in Santorini: A combination of tradition and romance.
Santorini is well-known for its breathtaking views, stunning sunsets, and distinctive architecture. It’s no surprise that many couples choose this island as their wedding destination and always book a photographer in Santorini to capture their special day.
Apart from the popular civil weddings, many couples prefer an Orthodox ceremony at a chapel. One excellent choice for an Orthodox wedding in 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 traditions and customs that make up an Orthodox wedding in Greece. We will explore the meaning of the Greek words Koubaros and Stefana, as well as the symbolism of throwing rice on the newlyweds. Keep reading to learn more.
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, a city known for its traditional buildings carved into the cliffs.
The bride with her best friend were spending the morning together. They were having their makeup and hair done while wearing their dresses. Looking in the mirror, the bride knew she had made the perfect choice for her dress. The wedding gown had intricate lace details that 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.
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 visited a barbershop in Fira to have his hair done. 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 special role in the wedding festivities. One of the key responsibilities is to shave the groom before the wedding 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. The bride insists that the shoes are too big, so he has to fill them with money until they fit properly
ORTHODOX WEDDING IN SANTORINI – CEREMONY
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, we found the groom already waiting for his bride. As she made her entrance, he turned to gaze upon her. His expression a priceless mixture of awe, happiness, and 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.
The ceremony proceeded with the “Stefana”, a ritual in which the best man places two wedding crowns connected with a band on the heads of the couple and passes them over their heads three times. This action symbolizes their unity. The atmosphere was very special. As a wedding photographer in Santorini, it was a great moment for me to capture those minutes of love.
THE DANCE OF ISAIAH
After sipping wine from the same cup, the bride and groom is led around the altar table in the Dance of Isaiah. The priest holds the Gospel and the connected hands of the couple, followed by them and the Koubaro, who holds the Stefana above their heads, as they circle the altar table three times. This symbolizes their journey together. Finally, the priest removes the crowns. He blesses the newlyweds, and offers 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.
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.