Greek Wedding Traditions

In April 2002, an independent film starring an unknown actress was given a limited release. That film, which was made on a 5 million dollar budget, went on to earn 368 million dollars in box office revenue, making it the highest-grossing independent film ever and by most standards the most successful romantic comedy in movie history! What movie, you ask? My Big Fat Greek Wedding.

 

Filled with endearing characters and witty, comedic dialogue, it is easy to see why this film was a hit. But, what turned it into a worldwide phenomenon? Some of it had to do with timing – the movie went ‘viral’ before that word was part of our collective vocabulary – but we believe its enduring success stems from its universal themes surrounding love, family, friends, and they ways in which traditions are used to represent the things we value most.

 

As wedding florists and designers, we are granted the opportunity to learn about and witness so many beautiful wedding traditions. We recently helped design not one, but two Big, Beautiful Greek Weddings, so we thought it would be fun to share the history behind some of these time honored traditions. 

 


Image Courtesy of Ron Soliman Photojournalism

 

The Stefana  

According to The Knot, the Stefana is the focal point of the wedding ceremony. It represents the joining of the couple, and it acknowledges their role as the King and Queen of their home. It also symbolizes the hope they they will ‘rule’ their home with wisdom, justice, and integrity. In the same vein as the exchange of rings, the stefana, or wedding crowns, are blessed by the priest and passed between the almost-newlyweds three times before being placed on their heads.

 

Images Courtesy of Sarah DiCicco Photography

 

 Lambades

Widely known as lambades, the wedding candle is a very symbolic element of a Greek Orthodox ceremony.The candles that are used during the sacrament of the wedding serve as a symbol of purity and the way God will light the way for the couple.  The bride and groom each hold a lit candle during the sacrament to show their willingness to receive God’s blessing.

 

Images Courtesy of Ron Soliman Photojournalism

 

 

Koufetta

Another very popular tradition is to offer koufetta—fresh almonds with a sugar coating. The almonds themselves, which are hard, represent the challenges the couple may face in life, while the coating represents the sweet times and happiness the couple will share. According to Greek Weddings and Traditions, These almond treats are always given out in odd numbers because an odd number is indivisible, just as the bride and groom should always be undivided. Historically, they were placed on the marital bed the day before the ceremony; Today, they are often given to guests as a wedding favor – called a Bomboniere.

Image Courtesy of Sarah DiCicco Photography

 

Rice Shower

In the same vein, rice is also used in many Greek weddings. Rice, a symbol of fertility and prosperity, is often thrown at the couple as a way to wish them a happy and blessed life together!

 

    

Images Courtesy of Sarah DiCicco Photography

Image Courtesy of Ron Soliman Photography

 

Dancing

It’s not a Greek wedding without lots and lots of dancing!  Whether it is The Bride’s Dance, also known as the Kalamatianos, or the Sirtaki, these circle dances bring together friends and family to celebrate the union of the bride and groom.

One of the most famous dances is The “Money Dance”.  In some regions of Greece, money is pinned directly to the bride’s gown throughout the evening, but in most Greek American receptions, the money is commonly thrown on/near a dancing couple to wish them good fortune and prosperity.

 

 

Images Courtesy of Ron Soliman Photojournalism

Images Courtesy of Sarah DiCicco Photography

Bobby and Maria’s Wedding:
Reception Venue – The Ritz-Carlton Philadelphia
Reception Caterer – The Ritz-Carlton Philadelphia
Ceremony Venue – Saint George’s Greek Orthodox Cathedral
Event Lighting – Petals Lane
Band – Power Station Entertainment
Wedding Planner- Lauren James Events (LJ Events)
Event Designer – Petals Lane
Photographer – Sarah DiCicco
Cinematography – CinemaCake Filmmakers
Makeup Artist – Julie Kate & Co.
Hair Stylists – Jason Matthews Salon
Floral Designer – Petals Lane
Wedding Cake – Van Earl’s Cake

George and Amalia’s Wedding:
Reception Venue – Ballroom at the Ben
Reception Caterer – Finley Catering 
Floral Designer – Petals Lane
Photographer – Ron Soliman
Cinematography – Ron Adams
Wedding Cake – Finley Catering

Eric & Allison

Eric and Allison were married back in June of last year at the Four Seasons Philadelphia. This wedding boasted lots of ivory florals with hints of subtle peach in the centerpieces and soft pink hues in the bridal bouquet. The chuppah created had the most magnificent garden appeal to it. The ballroom arrangements were overflowing with roses and hydrangeas, as a well-balanced mix of high and low centerpieces adorned this romantic reception. Above all else, this couple was glowing all night, evident in the marvelous photos by Ash Imagery. Among some talented vendors working alongside us, we were happy to be a part of this gorgeous wedding. Congratulations to Allison and Eric! We hope married life is as beautiful and happy for you as your big day turned out to be!

Photography: Ash Imagery
Video: Craig William Films
Venue: Four Seasons Philadelphia
Hair: Jason Matthew
Makeup: Mindy Tamacchio

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All photos courtesy of Ash Imagery. For more information, contact hello@ashimagery.com.

Kyle & Ashley

The sweet duo of Kyle and Ashley were married last September in Wayne, PA. The day was full of as much sunshine as there was love, and it was well apparent on the beautiful couple’s faces. There is a lot of rich history surrounding this wedding; namely, their reception was held at Merion Golf Club, the same location Ashley’s parents held their reception thirty years ago. The floral arrangements were encompassed with blush and ivory hues, which complemented the pink bridesmaids’ dresses perfectly. We were so lucky to work on such a gorgeous wedding, in which the details came together so effortlessly. Congratulations, Ashley and Kyle! We wish you all the best and continued happiness for a lifetime to come!

Photographer: Firm Anchor Photography
Hair/Makeup: Emily Alice
Band: The James Gerard Orchestra
Videographer: Leah Guaglione of His + Hers Production (Trailer located here.)
Ceremony venue: St. David’s Episcopal Church in Wayne, PA
Reception: Merion Golf Club in Ardmore, PA
Wedding Cake: Sweet Jazmine’s
Wedding Dress: Bridal Garden
Bridesmaids Dresses: Van Cleve Wedding Pavilion

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All photos courtesy of Firm Anchor Photography. For more information, contact firmanchorphotography@yahoo.com.

Petals Peek: Rittenhouse Hotel Wedding

We have another sneak peek from a gorgeous wedding we worked on at the Rittenhouse Hotel, one of the most romantic venues in the city. The centerpieces were mixed with high and low floral arrangements that were full of beautiful burgundy, champagne, pink and green hues!

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We worked alongside a great team of vendors including the ladies of Proud To Plan, Sal Baiada Photography, and Tim Sudall from Video One Productions.

Petals Peek: Hotel DuPont Wedding

Take a sneak peek at this breathtaking October wedding we worked on at the Hotel Dupont. The centerpieces were one of our favorite creations ever!

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Photo courtesy of Gina Sole, The Wedding Planner.

David & Davida

David and Davida were married at the Hyatt at the Bellevue in November of last year. This sweet couple chose a yellow palette of floral arrangements with incorporated subtle hues of orange. The reception centerpieces were filled with tall Manzanita branches and bunched orchids, as well as low medleys of coordinated flowers.

We loved working with this sweet couple, and it makes everything worth it when we receive wonderful feedback from our brides: “Brittany from Petals Lane was a dream come true. From the first time I met her, I knew she was the ideal florist for any bride. She listened to me and helped me figure out exactly what I wanted. She has impeccable taste and was always willing to express her opinion when asked. She was very flexible with her time.. I felt as though I could trust her completely. In the end, the arrangements were absolutely stunning. She used colors so well, and was able to capture the feel of the room. I would recommend her to anyone!”

We are so happy we had the opportunity to be a part of this wedding. We wish this beautiful couple a lifetime of happiness! Congratulations, Davida and David!

Photographer: Baiada Photography
Videographer: Squareware Studios
Hair: Beautiful Brides Philly
Entertainment: Hudson Project Band
Caterers: Barclay Caterers

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All photos courtesy of Baiada Photography. For more information, contact info@baiadaphotography.com.

Quinn & Kelly

Quinn and Kelly were married this past July in a magnificent Ritz-Carlton, glitter inspired wedding. The color scheme blended so well, and the soft pastel floral arrangements complemented the gold tones and deep blue hues perfectly. Not only was this day beautiful, but the love between this couple was so radiantly evident. We had such a blast working with both Kelly and Quinn, and we wish them a wonderful marriage full of happiness and laughter for a lifetime to come!

Venue: The Ritz Carlton Philadelphia
Photography: Tina Jay Photography
Wedding Planner: Truly You Events
Videographer: RoseTree Films
Band: Sid Miller Dance Band
Invitations: Chick Invitations
Hair/Makeup: Duette Hair & Makeup Design

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All photos courtesy of Tina Jay Photography. For more information, contact tina@tinajay.com.

Michael & Yun

Michael and Yun were married in a beautiful spring ceremony back in April. The sun was shining brightly for this sweet couple as the weather was picture perfect (and there are some perfect pictures from our friends at Love Me Do Photography). Their reception was also held at Pomme, which was a gorgeous location for the style Yun was envisioning. The ivory color palette in her floral arrangements complemented the bridal party attire and reception space effortlessly. We had a great time working with this fun-loving couple. Congratulations, Yun and Michael!

Venue: Pomme
Cake/Bakery: Brown Betty
DJ/Band: Silversound
Photography: Love Me Do Photography
Bride’s Dress: Kelly Faetianini – Elizabeth Johns

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All photos courtesy of Love Me Do Photography. For more information, contact (215) 407-2839.

Brian & Michelle

Brian and Michelle were married on a spectacular summer day last August. Their nuptials were spectacular, from the absolutely gorgeous weather to the magnificent ivory and white details. After their sweet ceremony at their family Parish, the party began at the Free Library of Philadelphia where the bride and groom and their enthusiastic guests danced by moonlight into the evening. Michelle’s love of white orchids was on full display, as the bouquets, centerpieces and boutonnieres all included the romantic flower. The beautiful bride shared a few highlights from her special day:

“We put some palms out on the terrace to warm up the heavy city look of the skyline. But one of my favorite pieces was the crystal curtain we placed inside. We draped one window inside the dinner room with a crystal curtain. Then Brittany hung a huge floral “H” made out of orchids in front with fishing wire. It was spectacular. Petals Lane was by far my favorite vendor to work with.. Brittany is just so amazing.. She really can see your vision and works with you to make sure all of your dreams come true.”

Michelle notes that her favorite floral element of the day was her bouquet, a cascading arrangement of white, delicate orchids. For a touching addition, we adorned the bouquet with her grandmother’s breathtaking rosary beads. Michelle said she carried it with her everywhere: from the church, to the reception, to the after party to the airport the next day on the way to Barcelona for their honeymoon!

It was an absolute pleasure working with this stunning and adorable couple. We wish you both many years full of happiness and love! Congratulations again, Michelle and Brian!

Photographer: Michael Kerr Photography
Ceremony: Family Parish
Reception: Free Library of Philadelphia
Caterer: Jimmy Duffy’s Catering
Music/Lighting: Norma Michaels Entertainment
Hotel: Sofitel

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All photos courtesy of Michael Kerr Photography. For more information, contact info@mkphoto.com.

David & Stephanie

David and Stephanie were married last September at the Independence Seaport Museum on Penn’s Landing. This Philly themed wedding had as much notable local inclusions as it did the color purple, which matched effortlessly. With the weather miraculously cooperating, the outdoor ceremony pressed forward. The night continued into the ballroom and terrace decks where the combination of high centerpieces and submerged low orchids complemented the venue magnificently. Stephanie carried a bouquet filled with lavender and ivory roses, stock and by request, Picasso lilies and fiddle-head ferns, while her bridesmaids’ ivory bouquets were accented with pops of purple. David wore a matching Picasso lily boutonniere, while his groomsmen donned lavender roses. The night was absolutely magical, and we’re so thankful for the opportunity to have played a part in this couple’s special day. Congratulations again, Steph and Dave!

Venue: Independence Seaport Museum
Officiant: Journeys of the Heart
Ceremony Music: Philadelphia String Quartet
Photography: Werth Photography
Videography: Cinemacake
Hair: Duette Hair Design
Makeup: Victoria of Make Me Up Pretty
Stationery: April Lynn Designs
DJ: Kyle of Synergetic Sounds and Lighting
Dress: David Tutera for Mon Cheri

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All photos courtesy of Werth Photography. For more information, contact (215) 490-4853.

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