21 Things to Expect at a Big Fat Greek Wedding!
21 Things to Expect at a Big Fat Greek Wedding!
So the time has come for the bride and groom to walk down the aisle. The wedding bells are ringing calling all the guests to enter the church and the show is about to begin! You have never been to a Greek wedding, let alone a Big Fat Traditional Greek Wedding! You are in for a real surprise! Here are some pointers as what to expect:
1. Everyone and I mean everyone is invited!
Forget intimate and small weddings! Greek parents literally take over the wedding event and invite everyone they know. Brothers, sisters, cousins, second cousins, third cousins, close friends, acquaintances, neighbours...and the lists go on and on and on! Why? Because parents feel dropi (ashamed) if they don’t invite all the people they know to their son’s or daughter’s wedding!
2. The entire town knows every single detail about the wedding!
Weddings are times of joy-and Greeks love to boast and gossip when in a happy mood! After all didn’t you know sharing is caring? The trouble with weddings is that too much sharing ends up in confusion, meddling and break downs.
3. Non-Greeks will not know what hit them!
Bless them, I feel sorry for any foreigner attending a Greek wedding for the first time...don’t get me wrong the entire ceremony is unique and emotional as well as beautiful-bit it’s in Ancient Greek. To top things off, Greeks are traditional people, and their weddings, as all other religious celebrations, intertwine with many many unusual customs which plain and simply seem bizarre.
4. For instance, when the Stefana are exchanged!
Did you know the priest actually crowns the bride and groom as husband and wife? Let me explain! The priest first blesses the wedding wreaths, then places them on the bride and groom as if crowning them queen and king. Next he swaps the wreaths three times-so he crowns the couple three times in a row.
5. Or when the couple and their kumbarous perform the Isaia dance!
After the couple is crowned husband and wife, they and their kumbarous (maid of honour and best man) hold hands and walk around the Baptismal font three times!
6. Or when the bride steps on the groom’s foot!
Greek women are tough, we all know that right? Well, at some point during the ceremony the priest says that the wife should fear her husband, or something along the same line. Hmm...Beware! The Greek bride will not take it, so she steps on the groom’s toes in an act of rebellion. She shows them who the boss is!
7. It’s a boy or girl tradition!
Did you know that a baby boy or girl is placed on the newlywed’s bed in order to make sure their first baby will be a boy or girl accordingly? This is freaky stuff! Have these people heard of science or DNA?
8. All the single ladies go on the shoe!
Did you know the bride-to-be makes a list of all the single ladies she is close too and writes their names under her right wedding shoe? As legend has it, the name that is rubbed off will be the next lucky lady to get married.
9. The DIMATA
Did you know that before the church ceremony, the bride and groom are dressed by their kumbarous and close family? It’s a fact! It even has a name, the dimata. The whole event is accompanied by a traditional wedding song, whereby the guests dress and prepare the couple for their wedding. Men are shaved while women are made beautiful.
10. You dare to be single?
Single and at a Greek wedding? Big no no! You will constantly be asked the same question over and over again: why are you single? Or it’s a shame such a pretty girl all alone, or such a handsome man and still single? But why? Em, I am only 23 and have my whole life ahead of me! It’s too soon, leave me alone!
11. Then it ends with, ‘ke sta dika su!’
Reek people seem to think that if you are not married by the age of 20 and have an army of kids you are not a complete individual. Yes, it is true things have changed drastically and the new generations are years ahead, but you will still find the off granny or grandpa who will come up to you and wish you: ‘ke sta dika su!’ the phrase means, we wish you happiness for your wedding day! Do you feel the pressure?
12. Rice and weddings!
I call the rice throwing custom at weddings the revenge of the guests! They throw handfuls of rice to the bride and groom as if they are their worst enemies.
13. The bombonieres are on a mission!
Bombonieres are wedding sweets wrapped up all fancy. Single ladies rush to take one coz apparently if you put the sweet under your pillow you will dream of your future husband.
14. The food is endless!
Be it a buffet or a five-course meal the food keeps on coming! Feeling full? There is no such thing at a Greek wedding.
15. It’s time for dessert!
The baklava, loukoumades and galatopureka satisfy your sweet tooth.
16. It’s time to dance!
The buzuki starts playing and suddenly everyone is on the stage dancing.
17. Flowers and plates!
Greeks love to throw flowers and smash plates while celebrating. It’s a sign they are having fun! Opa!
18. Single guys are under the radar!
Grannies and mothers inspect the room for any single men to match with their single daughters.
19. The gossip flows always!
Have you seen Elena? She has put on weight!
20. Money and the newlyweds!
At traditional weddings the bride and groom are pinned with cash as they are dancing. Literally, they may be carrying thousands of Euros on them.
21. It’s time to go home!
After all the food, gossip and dancing it’s finally time to go home and gossip about the wedding with your family.
Aren’t Greek weddings wonderful?
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