13 Authentic Greek Wedding Traditions

There are numerous wedding traditions in Greece that make the wedding day that bit more special by weaving in interesting customs. Some have Orthodox religious significance, and others are more rooted in the history and traditions of the country.

So no matter if you’re simply interested in Greek history or are planning your own wedding in Greece, you’ve come to the right place. Let’s explore some of the best traditions to know about.

Getting Ready: Greek Wedding Traditions Before the Ceremony

  1. January & June Are the Luckiest Months to Get Married

In Ancient Greece, January was dedicated to Zeus’ wife, Hera, the goddess of marriage and fertility. Meanwhile, June became an important month when the Romans envisioned Hera’s Roman counterpart, Juno, and dedicated the sixth month to her. As a result, January and June are considered the luckiest months for Greek weddings, especially for a traditional Greek wedding. 

  1. The Bride's Shoes Play an Interesting Role

Another Greek wedding tradition that is widely celebrated is where the groomsmen, including the best man (also known as the koumbaro), offer to help the bride put her shoes on before the ceremony. The bride will play along, pretending that the shoes are too big for her. The groomsmen will then proceed to fill the shoes with money to make them fit. 

This isn’t where the role of bridal shoes stops, however. All the names of the bride’s friends or bridal party (only the single ones!) are written on the soles of the bride’s shoes. By the end of the day, all of the names that have worn off symbolise the ones who will get married next. 

  1. The Groom Gets Shaved by His Groomsmen

The groomsmen are expected to help the groom get ready on the wedding day, with the koumbaro helping him shave. They will help him dress, assisting with his bow/tie and blazer. This Greek wedding tradition signifies the trust between the groom and his groomsmen, namely between the groom and the koumbaro

  1. The Groom Has Music Accompanying His Journey to the Church

While traditional wedding ceremonies (that you will likely be familiar with) place more emphasis on the bride’s entrance, one Greek wedding tradition sees that the groom also enters accompanied by music. More often than not, this is usually performed by live musicians with local musical instruments that vary by region. This includes the Cretan lyra in Crete, the violin in Corfu, and others.

Dreaming of a Destination Wedding Full of Charming Greek Wedding Traditions? We’ll Make It Happen

At The Wedding Travel Company, we can help you plan a stress-free destination wedding in Greece, from Athens to Rhodes. We have helped dozens of happy couples plan their perfect wedding day. Some even choose to respectfully incorporate some of these traditional Greek wedding traditions into their ceremony and reception such as giving candied almonds as favours. 

We can help you find the perfect Greek wedding venue for your wedding in Greece, no matter if you’re looking for a beautiful beach wedding in Kos or a shimmering cliffside celebration in Santorini.

Wedding Traditions in Greece during the Ceremony

  1. The Bride and Groom Wear Stefana Crowns

During a Greek Orthodox wedding, the couple will participate in what is known as ‘The Crowning’. The priest will join the hands of the couple, and place the stefana (Greek wedding crowns) on their heads. Stefana symbolises the glory and honour that is being bestowed upon the couple by God, with the priest blessing the couple in the name of the Holy Trinity - the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. 

Essentially, the couple are crowned as the king and queen of their home, with the ribbon tying the stefana together as a symbol of eternal unity. The crowns are exchanged three times, with the couple walking around the altar three times - the number three is said to reflect the Holy Trinity and be a symbol of good luck. 

  1. The Bride and Groom Walk Down the Aisle Together

One Greek wedding tradition that might shock you is that the bride and groom walk down the aisle together - the bride will be accompanied by her father to the entrance where she’ll meet the groom and walk down with him. 

  1. The Bride and Groom Drink Wine during the Ceremony

During the ceremony, the bride and groom will be given the ‘The Common Cup’ which is a goblet filled with nama, a sweet red wine that is used in Greek Orthodox traditions. They will each drink from the cup - three times, representing their commitment to sharing their life, happiness, and sorrows together. If there is any wine left, the koumbaro and the koumbara (maid of honour/best woman) will drink it once the ceremony ends.

  1. Crowns, Rings and Two Decorated White Candles Are Present on the Wedding Table

Speaking of the koumbaro and the koumbara, in Greek Orthodox tradition, these are often made the future godfather and godmother of the couple’s children. They are also responsible for giving the couple the silver tray that contains the crowns and rings. This is placed on the wedding table, or altar, along with two decorated white candles. 

The white candles, known as lambades, are held by the bride and groom, representing the light of the world, Jesus Christ, and his presence throughout their marriage. 

  1. The Wedding Guests Wear Matryrika Witness Pins

The koumbaro and koumbara will hand out small ribboned pins (martyrika) to all of the guests after the ceremony. These pins signify that the guests are witnesses to the marriage and can be customised according to the couple’s preferences. 

Wedding Celebrations: The Traditions That Take Place after the Service

  1. Baklava Is Served for Dessert

Baklava is a sweet dessert and is often served in Greek weddings, with strong religious roots. In fact, Greek baklava is usually made with 33 layers that represent each year of Jesus Christ’s life. This syrupy dish is normally reserved for special occasions, and a wedding would certainly be one of them!

  1.  Traditional Wedding Dances Are Performed

A key part of a Greek Orthodox wedding is the ‘Dance of Isaiah’, though it is more of a ceremonial walk rather than a dance. This occurs after the couple has been crowned and has drank from the cup. Led by the priest, the couple triumphantly walks around the altar three times, with the koumbaro following closely behind and holding the stefana ribbon. During the ‘dance’, three hymns are often sung, with the first hymn starting with the verse, “Oh, Isaiah, dance for joy!” - hence the name. 

Aside from the Dance of Isaiah, you can also expect a variety of wedding dances during the wedding reception. This includes traditional folk dances like the ZeibekikoTsamiko, and Sirtaki, and large group dances where guests will hold hands and form circles.

  1.  Money and Petals Are Thrown on the Wedding Bed

The marital bed is also part of one of many wedding traditions in Greece, where money and rose petals are thrown on the bed to symbolise a good beginning to the couple’s life together. Rice and koufeta (sugar almonds) may also be sprinkled on the bed. In some cases, a baby or child will also be briefly placed on the marital bed to bless the couple with fertility. 

  1.  Candied Almonds Are Given as Wedding Favours

Koufeta are sugar-coated Jordan almonds that are given to every guest after the ceremony as wedding favours. The hardness of the almond represents the marriage’s endurance, while its egg shape and white colour symbolises fertility and purity. These are usually wrapped in netting or bonbonnieres with an odd number of almonds. This is for a rather sweet reason - that odd numbers are indivisible, representing how the couple cannot be divided.

From Santorini to Corfu - The Wedding Travel Company Can Bring Your Dream Greek Wedding to Life

The Wedding Travel Company has been helping couples with wedding planning for over 30 years. We’re waiting to help you plan the perfect destination wedding, including a Greek wedding full of tradition and authenticity. As a dedicated wedding planner, we can manage all aspects of the wedding planning process. 

Let us take the stress out of planning your special day. We’ll help you plan a beautiful Greek wedding that includes all of the little details that make it perfect for you. Book a callback and a consultant will be in touch with you for more information regarding our services, or answer any questions you may have.