With thousands of years of tradition behind it, the Greek wedding is a very special occasion. It isn’t just an event where you sign some papers and say “I do.” Instead, it’s filled with customs that involve the whole community where friends and family are present to witness this union.
My favorite Boston Greek Wedding Traditions
- Good luck symbols for Boston Greek weddings – The tradition of a groom placing an object in the bride’s shoe or glove is a well-known wedding ritual with many variations. It is said that if the groom places sugar in her shoe, she will have a sweet life. The gold coin placed inside her glove ensures good financial fortune. Placing iron on their person will protect them from evil spirits throughout the day – so it’s time for the groom to add some to his pocket! Couples also take care when planning their guests and attendants list by inviting an odd number of people so as not to offend any potential droughts gods (for example, inviting 13 guests and 11 attendants).
- Blessing of the rings – The Koumbaro will have the couple come forward to exchange their rings three times before giving them a blessing.
- Candles & Common Cup – The couple holds candles throughout the ceremony to represent the light of Christ. The couple also shares what is known as a common cup, and take three sips of wine each from the cup representing a successful union. This symbolizes how all should be one in Jesus’ family.
- Readings – It is traditional for Greek Orthodox weddings to have two readings; the first is Epistle of St. Paul to the Ephesians, which emphasize love and unity between two people. The second reading, Gospel According to St. John, recalls when Jesus turned water into wine at a wedding and includes a common cup that symbolizes both partners drinking from it together.
- Crowns – When a couple gets married, they exchange floral crowns (or gold crowns), Stefana, to symbolize their union. These wedding crowns are created with either flowers or precious metals and they’re often intertwined together with a ribbon. The process of exchanging the Stefana could be seen as symbolic in itself – it takes three times for them to be switched between the bride and groom (koumbaro) before they can put them on. The couple wear these sacred symbols as they walk around the altar after the ceremony is complete, celebrating their new life together.
- Dancing! – The Tsamiko, Zeibekiko, and Sirtaki are traditional Greek wedding dances. The guests hold hands and dance in a circle while the newlyweds traditionally share their last dance of the night. Guests can also throw money at them or pin it to their clothes!
Best Greek Church in Massachusetts
- St Catherine Greek Church – 119 Common St, Braintree, MA 02184
- St. Mary Orthodox Church – St. Mary Orthodox Christian Church at 8 Inman St, Cambridge, MA 02139 is a parish of the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America located in Central Square of Cambridge, MA.
- St. John the Baptist Greek Orthodox Church is at 15 Union Park St, Boston, MA 02118
- St. Nectarios Greek Orthodox Church – 39 Belgrade Ave, Roslindale, MA 02131
Picking a date for your Boston Greek wedding
For your greek wedding, there are certain dates that should be avoided.
- The first and second week of August is devoted to the Mary, the virgin mother.
- During Lent, which is the 40 days before Easter
- August 29 is the date that Saint John the Baptist died
- September 14 is the Exaltation of the Holy Cross.
- Nov 15-Dec 25, the 40 days before Christmas
June is a favorite month for many Greeks to get married in Boston because the Romans dedicated the sixth month of the year to Hero (Juno).
Preparation for the Sacrament of Marriage and Pre-Marital Classes
The most important thing for a couple to remember when they get married is that it’s not just any old day. It’s one of the seven sacraments, which means this ceremony will have an eternal impact on both you and your life partner together forevermore-so make sure you take Holy Matrimony seriously!
Marriage is a sacred bond that cannot be broken. If you’re both Orthodox Christians, the marriage needs to take place in an Orthodox church; otherwise what good does it do? Ask your priest about all of these things and more before getting married!
The church promotes marriage as one of the most important aspects of life, so it’s only natural for them to offer pre-marriage workshops. These classes cover topics like compatibility and what will happen if things don’t work out between you guys now – but that doesn’t mean they’re not still fun! The priest will either give each couple their session or if there are a lot of people getting married in the church, he may hold it as one big group.
Greek Wedding Ceremony
There are two main parts to the wedding service; a Betrothal Service and then, finally – Marriage.
During the Betrothal:
- With a final touch, the priest blesses and wipes away any remaining doubts about marriage with marriage rings.
- He makes the sign of the cross above their heads saying, “The servant of God [name] is betrothed to the servant of God [name] in the name of the Father, Son and of the Holy Spirit.”
- The Koumbaros will then exchange the rings on their right hands three times.
- The bride and groom each hold a lit candle throughout the service, which symbolizes their commitment to remain in unity with God’s light for years after.
- The Koumbaros places a crown on the head of each new husband and wife during their wedding. The word “Stephana” comes from classical Greek, referring to this ritual as being like an enthronement where one becomes king or queen for themselves in their own home with family around them-a a symbolic representation that all is right within your world now!
- The Koumbaros holds the Stephana above the heads of the bride and groom and exchanges them three times while the priest asks God to “crown them with honor and glory”. This further emphasizes the connection between the two people.
- Afterward, two readings are given. The first is from St Paul about love and respect while the second comes from Jesus’ wedding miracle in Cana where he turned water into wine for his guests.
- Finally, before the ceremony is over, in what may be one of its most joyous moments for newlyweds to take their first steps as husband and wife together with God’s blessing on them; they circle a small table three times under supervision by priests or bishops. This act has come down through history known simply enough ‘The Dance Of Isaiah’ – which along with other traditions like carrying candles (or Stephana ribbons) show how much these rituals have changed since time immemorial but still maintain some sense of beauty while celebrating this marriage milestone
Afterwards…. it’s time for the wedding reception! It’s gonna be an awesome party with lots of songs, photos, food, cake and more!
Weddings are an important part of life and watching the rituals take place can be fascinating. The Greek wedding is no exception with so much tradition involved in every word, gesture, and action there’s no doubt it becomes more than just a beautiful ceremony-it was truly amazing!
Wedding Koumbaro or Koumbaras
In the Greek Orthodox Church, a person is designated as your Koumbaro to sponsor you at a wedding. This means that they must be an active member of the Greek Orthodox Church and live by its traditions too! Traditionally we ask those closest first; however, there’s no hard rule on who will make up these exceptional partnerships–consult with the priest for more information.
What does a Koumbaro/Koumbara do during the wedding ceremony
The Koumbaro or Koumbara is an Orthodox Christian who plays a crucial role during the marriage ceremony. They are responsible for exchanging wedding crowns, which symbolize purity in this ancient ritualistic practice from Greece and Italy where they originated centuries ago. The sponsor also performs ring exchanges at various points throughout the proceedings that represent eternity itself as you join your life with other people forever!