Greek Traditions

serendipity photography greek traditions

Serendipity Photography have captured many Greek weddings in our time, we are always inspired by the vibrant traditions and ancient beauty of the Greek Orthodox Ceremony. We particularly appreciate the beauty of Greek churches, we are fortunate in Melbourne to have some many Greek churches with splendid interiors. The Greek churches are richly decorated with candles, gilding, icons, chandeliers — all wonderful to work with in creating gorgeous images and album spreads of the Greek Orthodox ceremony.

serendipity photography greek traditions

Couples who choose a Greek Orthodox ceremony appreciate the pageantry and timeless beauty of the historic rituals, solemn and joyous connecting past and present.

serendipity photography greek traditions

A notable aspect of the Orthodox marriage is that the bride and groom do not exchange vows; instead it is their presence before Christ through the priest and the congregation that signifies their wish to be joined and to accept the lord into their new home. The union of the bride and groom is completed with the Crowning. Here the priest takes the crowns, or stefana, from the altar table, blesses the bride and groom, and then places the stefana upon their heads. The Koumbaros or Koumbara crosses the crowns over the bride and groom’s heads. Then, after a biblical reading the couple drinks wine from “the common cup” which references Christ turning water to wine at Cana of Gailee’s wedding. The priest then leads the newly joined husband and wife around the table — a type of religious dance, celebrating the union. During the procession, a series of hymns are sung. Afterwards the Stefana is removed. It can be kept, unbroken, on display in the bedroom, in a stefanothiki or somewhere safe in the house.

The Shaving Ceremony!

The traditional Greek shaving ceremony is a wonderfully rich and fun part of the wedding day. Coming from the historic past of the classical period, the groom sits amongst his family, with his chin covered in shaving cream. One by one family members approach the groom, taking it in turns to shave the groom. This great part of the day is an enjoyable and joyous activity. Men are often shaved with specially prepared implements that are acquired specifically for the wedding day. Other grooms go to traditional barbers with their bridal party for a full shave with a cut-throat razor.

natalie st eustathious

Throwing Rice!

One of the most exciting parts of a Greek Ceremony is the throwing of rice and sometimes almonds as well as confetti as the couple emerge from the church! We have heard that that the almonds can sting a bit, but the enthusiasm is usually very infectious, and throwing rice (and almonds!) is traditionally significant and a great way to offer a couple blessings for prosperity and happiness and for everyone to welcome a couple to their new life together. Throwing rice over the newlyweds represents guests wishing a lifetime of fertility and prosperity for the couple. This is an opportunity to offer blessing to the bride and groom for the future.

Greek receptions often feature wonderful dancing — in the bridal dance, the family and community welcome the bride and the couple, taking turns to dance with them. Some Greek reception feature stunning displays of traditional dancing and singing.


Stavrina and Pandelis delighted their guests with many Greek traditions, including a huge variety of spirited traditional Greek dancing  from different regions and special traditional dance costumes made inland in Greece.

Pandelis created a dramatic show of skilled Greek dancing including a Tsamiko with friends from his dancing group. Pandelis has enjoyed learning dances from all over Greece, carrying on the spirit of festivity and celebration in the village traditions.

Stavrina sang a mixture of contemporary Greek inspired jazz songs and more traditional numbers, including the blues styled Rembetika. Singing has been a passion with years of lessons then many performances since her early teens, creating powerful and haunting music as well as bringing the joy of the well loved songs to the community.

Stavrina and Pandelis and their guests enjoyed a very special night at Leonda by the Yarra, with wonderful food and a great setting for such a never to be forgotten party!

The Greek Orthodox sacrament of marriage is unique in many ways, it’s important to acknowledge that the ceremony has remained almost entirely unchanged since its origination centuries ago.

serendipity photography greek traditions

Have a look at Souzi and Manny’s ceremony at St. John The Forerunner and Baptist Church in Carlton.

One Response to “Greek Traditions”
  1. Pandelis & Stavrina Dimitriou 23 November 2011 at 10:33 am #

    We have been surrounded by Greek culture all our lives an wanted to integrate our love for Greek culture, Stavrina singing and Pandelis dancing.

    Highlights included Stavrina singing a solo (Barbagiannakakis) after the speeches.

    Pandelis then surprised everyone by jumping onto the dance floor wearing his traditional costume (foustanella), and danced a Tsamiko with friends from his dancing group.

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