Bridal Braids: Get that Grecian look!

Lots of brides want to create that “Greek Goddess” look on their special day. And while braids are not exclusively linked to ancient Greece, they certainly take us back to a presumably magical time and place: ancient Greece, Middle Earth, Scandinavia… you can’t go wrong! And really, I just love the idea of braids when it comes to your bridal ‘do! It’s an excellent way to create visual interest, do something fun, and evoke an ethereal, mythological look.

Check out Belle The Magazine’s collection of bridal braids!

Advertisements

Fantasy Wedding: “Something Blue”

My childhood career dream was to be a wedding planner. I suppose part of that stems from my current career path, which is in theatre. A wedding is a production: you need a cast, a crew, costumes, sets, and an audience. Greek weddings don’t differ much, except that they are rooted heavily in tradition, and run the risk of looking the same from one event to the next. But they really don’t have to.

On GREEK BRIDE, I’ve given myself the following challenge: to design one Greek wedding per week, each with a different theme. These Fantasy Weddings will be way fun to design, and particularly when it comes to toying with some of the traditional elements of a Greek wedding (decorating the church, the first dance, the ceremony, the favours, and accomodating other regional traditions).

First up is a wedding I like to call SOMETHING BLUE.

This wedding was inspired by a recently engaged Greek Bride with the following criteria:

Wedding Date: October 2013

Favourite Colours: Blue, Green, Yellow.

Disposition: fun and sassy with an adventurous side. Loves the beach and the summer, so I want to tie that in to her fall nuptials.

Tying in blue with a fall wedding can be done by taking a naturalistic approach to the bridal bouquet. The cream roses with loose light blue accents look both handpicked, and strikingly elegant. The cool blue hue fits perfectly in line with the cooling weather, and the cream of the roses ties it all in with an autumnal yellow. (Image: TheKnot.com)

These exquisite blue leather and plated-silver stefana (marriage crowns) are the right mix of atypical, modern, and traditional. Tying in the bride’s favourite colour (and the wedding colours) with one of the most prized keepsakes from the special day, is always a nice way to go. (This crown is currently available from Etsy.com) 

Decorating the aisles of church pews with galvanized buckets is a cute way to bring in the colour scheme and maintain a naturalistic approach cohesive with the fall. This arrangement of blue hydrangeas, white roses, and green hypericum berries would contrast warmly with the wood of an Orthodox church pew (Image: TheKnot.com)

Jewelry is always a great gift for the ladies in your bridal party. Matching the jewelry with the bridesmaid dresses is nice because they can wear the piece on the day of the wedding. I picked a Pandora bracelet with a single blue murano bead for this wedding because it is in line with our modern bride’s tastes,  and because each lady can then add charms to turn the bracelet into something they’ll wear more than once. And for Greek bridesmaids, it evokes the turquoise and silver jewelry of the motherland ;).

If I had to choose a dress for this bride, it would be this floaty and fabulous Alfred Sung gown. Girl LOVES to dance and this would just look so dynamic on the dance floor, Greek or otherwise. She literally wants to be able to “pick up” the skirt and “shake it around”. Well, my dear, this is the fashion-conscious way to do that. Not to mention how elegant that train would look trailing down the aisle. This dress can be fancied-up for the autumnal weather with a lace belt or pair of dainty wrist-length gloves.

I suggest a headpiece that mirrors the floatiness of the dress, and the rusticness of the fall, leaving the only blue tie-in to be the bridal bouquet. This silk organza and lace headpiece can be customized with the wedding colours if the bride so chooses.

 

Fantasy Wedding: “Something Blue”

My childhood career dream was to be a wedding planner. I suppose part of that stems from my current career path, which is in theatre. A wedding is a production: you need a cast, a crew, costumes, sets, and an audience. Greek weddings don’t differ much, except that they are rooted heavily in tradition, and run the risk of looking the same from one event to the next. But they really don’t have to.

On GREEK BRIDE, I’ve given myself the following challenge: to design one Greek wedding per week, each with a different theme. These Fantasy Weddings will be way fun to design, and particularly when it comes to toying with some of the traditional elements of a Greek wedding (decorating the church, the first dance, the ceremony, the favours, and accomodating other regional traditions).

First up is a wedding I like to call SOMETHING BLUE.

This wedding was inspired by a recently engaged Greek Bride with the following criteria:

Wedding Date: October 2013

Favourite Colours: Blue, Green, Yellow.

Disposition: fun and sassy with an adventurous side. Loves the beach and the summer, so I want to tie that in to her fall nuptials.

Tying in blue with a fall wedding can be done by taking a naturalistic approach to the bridal bouquet. The cream roses with loose light blue accents look both handpicked, and strikingly elegant. The cool blue hue fits perfectly in line with the cooling weather, and the cream of the roses ties it all in with an autumnal yellow. (Image: TheKnot.com)

These exquisite blue leather and plated-silver stefana (marriage crowns) are the right mix of atypical, modern, and traditional. Tying in the bride’s favourite colour (and the wedding colours) with one of the most prized keepsakes from the special day, is always a nice way to go. (This crown is currently available from Etsy.com) 

Decorating the aisles of church pews with galvanized buckets is a cute way to bring in the colour scheme and maintain a naturalistic approach cohesive with the fall. This arrangement of blue hydrangeas, white roses, and green hypericum berries would contrast warmly with the wood of an Orthodox church pew (Image: TheKnot.com)

Jewelry is always a great gift for the ladies in your bridal party. Matching the jewelry with the bridesmaid dresses is nice because they can wear the piece on the day of the wedding. I picked a Pandora bracelet with a single blue murano bead for this wedding because it is in line with our modern bride’s tastes,  and because each lady can then add charms to turn the bracelet into something they’ll wear more than once. And for Greek bridesmaids, it evokes the turquoise and silver jewelry of the motherland ;).

If I had to choose a dress for this bride, it would be this floaty and fabulous Alfred Sung gown. Girl LOVES to dance and this would just look so dynamic on the dance floor, Greek or otherwise. She literally wants to be able to “pick up” the skirt and “shake it around”. Well, my dear, this is the fashion-conscious way to do that. Not to mention how elegant that train would look trailing down the aisle. This dress can be fancied-up for the autumnal weather with a lace belt or pair of dainty wrist-length gloves.

I suggest a headpiece that mirrors the floatiness of the dress, and the rusticness of the fall, leaving the only blue tie-in to be the bridal bouquet. This silk organza and lace headpiece can be customized with the wedding colours if the bride so chooses.

 

Bohemian Wedding Crowns (Stefana)

Bohemian Wedding Crowns (Stefana)

Image

Bohemian-style wedding crowns with orange berries (Etsy.com).

Combine tradition with personal taste with bohemian style wedding crowns!

One of my favourite elements of the Orthodox wedding ceremony is exchange of the crowns. The wedding crowns (or stefana, as they are called in Greek), are traditionally white, joined together by a single white ribbon, and symbolize the bride and groom becoming king and queen of their own kingdom (their household and their relationship). The fact that the crowns are purchased and exchanged during the ceremony by the couple’s chosen sponsor (koumbaro, or koumbara), evokes an added level of meaning: that this union is supported by those who are close to the couple.

Because there are no vows to add a personal touch to in the Greek Orthodox wedding ceremony, why not pull a bit of your personality into the crowns? You get to take them home afterwards, and many put them on display in their master bedroom. Crowns accented with the wedding colours in the form of artificial berries, flowers, leaves, and other unique details are one way to add a unique, ethereal touch to the traditional, white crown.

Wedding crowns pictured above are currently available from Etsy.com. I’m kind of in love with them.

The Greek Orthodox Wedding Ceremony

The Greek Orthodox Wedding Ceremony

The Greek Wedding Ceremony is one of the most ancient and celebrated nuptial ceremonies in existence. It is rich with tradition and symbolism, some of which dates back to the foundations of the Eastern Orthodox Church.

Because symbolism abounds, it is easy to forget what everything in the ceremony actually means– and this is fascinating stuff to know! Feel free to use this article when creating programs for your ceremony guests. Stay tuned for some uploaded templates!

The Greek Orthodox Wedding Ceremony

Before The Ceremony

In a traditional ceremony in Greece, the guests will often wait outside of the church with the nervous groom. Of course, there are the sneaky ones that find a way into the church before the ceremony starts, but this is the general rule. On the other hand, a Greek Wedding Ceremony of the diaspora (in Canada, USA, Australia, etc.), starts much the same as a standard Western European ceremony; everyone takes their place within the nave (the main part) of the church and waits for the ceremony to begin. Traditionally, one side of the church is reserved for the groom’s guests, while the other is reserved for the bride’s guest, but this is becoming less and less commonplace.

The Service of the Betrothal

Greek Wedding ceremonies are divided into two parts. The first part is the Service of the Betrothal. The main focus of this part of the service is the exchanging of the rings. The priest(s) officiating the ceremony blesses the rings by holding them in his right hand and making the sign of the cross over the bride and groom. The rings are then placed on the third finger of the bride and groom’s right hands (*in the Orthodox church, wedding rings are traditionally worn on the right hand. In the diaspora, where the practice is to where rings on the left hand, this is usually just on the wedding day). At this point, the Koumbaro or Koumbara (male or female sponsor, respectively), swaps the rings between the bride and groom’s fingers three times. Many of the rituals from the Greek Orthodox ceremony are repeated three times, which symbolizes the Holy Trinity.

The Ceremony of the Sacrament of Marriage

This is the second part of the Greek Orthodox Wedding Ceremony. It consists of a series of symbolic elements. Before these elements begin, the priest reads a series of prayers and joins the right hands of the bride and groom. The right hand is symbolic because the Nicene Creed (the prayer that recites the fundamental beliefs of the Orthodox Church) states that Christ sits at the right hand of the Father. The joining of the hands also symbolizes the union of the couple.

Photo by Corey Ann

The Crowning

The bride and groom are crowned with thin crowns that are joined by a ribbon. The crowns, or stefana, symbolize the couple as being the king and queen of their own kingdom, which further symbolizes the glory that God bestows upon the couple. The ribbon that joins the crowns symbolizes their unity. The Koumbaro or Koumbara then exchanges the crowns between the bride and groom three times.

The Common Cup

The crowning is followed by a reading from the Holy Gospel. The reading recounts the story of the Marriage of Cana at Galilee. It was at this wedding that Jesus performed his first miracle, which was turning water into wine. A chalice containing wine is given to the couple, and they each drink of it three times.

The Ceremonial Walk

We saw this in “My Big Fat Greek Wedding.” The priest leads the couple, who are still wearing their crowns/stefana, around the altar three times. This symbolizes their first steps as a married couple, as well as their journey through life. Behind the couple, walks the Koumbaro or Koumbara, who is holding the crowns in place.

The Removal of the Crowns

When the Ceremonial Walk has ended, the priest removes the crowns, and uses the Holy Gospel to separate the couple’s joined hands. This is to remind them that only God hand break their union.

Other Traditions

What you’ve just read is the bread and butter of a Greek Orthodox Wedding Ceremony. Any additions that you may witness can be the result of more regional influences on the ceremony.

Photo by Corey Ann

 

 

 

The 5 Do’s and Don’ts of Greek Wedding Planning

Why, hello there! And welcome to GREEK BRIDE. If it were physically possible to serve you kourabiedes via the Internet, I would. For now, you just get this picture:

Photo by AlWright

My first post is going to outline, very generally, some do’s and don’ts of planning a Greek Wedding. A disclaimer here: Every wedding should be treated as an individual, and every wedding should strive for some level of uniqueness. Therefore, some of the items on this list should be treated as generalizations. They are all, however, very worthwhile thought-niblets for those just starting out their wedding planning. I did just say “niblets”.

The 5 DO’s and DON’Ts of Greek Wedding Planning

1. DO: Involve the Family (please note the capital “F”; if you frequent each others’ homes on major holidays, these are the people that may be offended if excluded from the wedding plans). The family bonding that takes place while in the midst of wedding preparations is priceless. Use the kindness and generosity of your family and friends to your advantage– they genuinely want to help. DON’T: Let them run the show. This is common sense, but I’m amazed at how many personal tastes and values are compromised in order to appease the Family. It is you and your fiancee’s wedding. You two call the final shots. Telos.

2. DO: Look at other weddings for ideas. Think about other weddings you have been to and write down what you liked and, more importantly, what you didn’t like about the wedding. Your perspective as a guest is crucial in understanding what guests respond well to. DON’T: Copy someone else’s wedding. Because you know what happens? Greeks talk and Greeks compare. Moreover, you’re going to lose yourself in the process. This is your event and it should reflect you above all.

3. DO: Invite a good number of people to your wedding. It is very difficult to plan a Greek wedding without a minimum of 100 people. DON’T: Lose control of your guest list, AND DON’T: Forget anyone. For the love of all that is good, save yourself the inevitable grief and don’t forget anyone.

4. DO: Plan quaint and personalized bridal showers and bachelorette parties. Koumbari and Bridesmaids take note! Try a different venue than what your community is used to (because the wedding and reception will likely be at familiar locations), and find ways to make the event as personal and as unique to the bride as you can! DON’T: Pass these off as formulaic and generic events. These are the previews to the wedding. They are the Golden Globes to your Oscars. Take care in the way that you plan them and always be gracious to your guests! They are not obligated to give you a thing!

5. DO: Honor tradition. That is what separates Greek Weddings from the other guys. There is nothing more fulfilling than seeing the bridal party start off the dance with “Oraia Pou Eine I Nifi Mas”, or getting a beautifully wrapped koufeta with your party favour. A lot of the tips I’ll be giving you will have this point at the heart. DON’T: Alienate your non-Greek guests. Many non-Greeks will be up and dancing after a few drinks, but others will feel awkward and isolated if the party is catering exclusively to the “insider” Greek crowd. Ensure that you include everyone in the celebration.

That’s it for now. Expect each of these points to be expanded upon time and time again in the near future. Until then, I hope they got you started on the right foot!