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

Grace Kelly and Meghan Markle: The Royal American Bride

Before there was Meghan Markle, before there was Kate Middleton, before there was even Princess Diana…there was Grace Kelly:

 

Photo by Silver Screen Production

          

A Philadelphia born movie starlet, this American superstar became a European princess when, in 1956,  she wed Prince Rainier III of Monaco. Deemed by the press ‘The Wedding of the Century’, their nuptials were an international sensation. Demand for coverage was so high in fact that MGM studios broadcast the wedding live to more than 30 million European households… in 1956!  To say her wedding style influenced an entire generation of brides would be, well, the understatement of the century. 

 

Monochromatic, tailored, natural – these were the signature elements of Grace Kelly’s iconic style. Some sixty years later, as the world watched another American actress join the ranks of European royalty, we saw a return to these elements. From their fashion choices to their floral style, both Grace Kelly and Meghan Markle showed the world that minimalism can be every bit as elegant and beautiful as opulence.

 

So, what influence might the royal wedding(s) have on this season’s bridal trends?  Here are Petal’s Lane’s 4 predictions:

 

 

1. Less is More: Delicate Bouquets

 

Despite the enormous popularity of cascading bouquets in the mid 20th century, Kelly, chose to carry a delicate bouquet of lilies the valley. Markle also chose to carry a very understated bouquet; hers included not only lily of the valley but also also sweet peas, astilbe, astrantia, and Diana’s favorite flower, the Forget-Me-Not. Markle’s bouquet also incorporated a sprig of myrtle, a royal tradition which dates back to the wedding of Queen Victoria’s daughter, Princess Victoria. Myrtle is known as a symbol of love and of hope, and it has been included in every British monarch’s wedding since the 19th century.

 

Getty Images

 

Getty Images

 

 

2  Bringing the Outside In: Foliage

Rather than wanting perfectly symmetrical bouquets and arrangements, Markle opted for a more casual look that favored seasonal and natural elements – vines, leaves, branches, etc. London-based florist Philippa Craddock worked with both Harry and Meghan on all the flowers for their wedding celebration, and according to Town and Country, she used “branches of beech, birch and hornbeam, along with white garden roses, peonies and foxgloves,” in her arrangements. We predict more brides will be less interested in perfect symmetry and more interested in capturing a plant or flower’s natural shape and form.

 

                                                                                                     

 

3 The Arch

Steeped in tradition, the wedding arch symbolizes the future home of the bride and groom. As if we didn’t already know Prince Harry and Meghan Markle will share a pretty incredible abode (The two will reside at Kensington Palace), the archway at Saint George’s chapel would have been a great hint! The incredible archway atop the doors of Saint George’s was made using pollinator friendly plants and were harvested from the monarchy’s royal parks.  We expect these round archways to make big headway this season. 

 

Getty Images

 

 

4  All White Wedding Decor 

In the words of Billy Idol, it’s a nice day for a white wedding. While royal tradition dictates that flowers should be white, bold colors and multi-hued flowers have long been a popular choice for American brides. As with any pendulum, we are seeing a swing in the other direction. According to The Knot, even Baby’s Breath, that inexpensive stem of tiny white flowers, is making a return in big and small ways. It pairs perfectly with on-trend greenery and works well for flower crowns and other small hairpieces. It seems bouquets, centerpieces, even dance floors are getting a new look. 

 

Sarah DiCicco Photography
MK Photography
Rachel Pearlman Photography
Andrew Graham Todes Photography

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

henry_0048

henry1

henry2

henry_0455

henry_0457

henry3

henry_0615

henry4

henry_0680

henry_0747

henry_0749

henry_0762

henry_0774

henry5

henry6

henry_0991

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

Matt & Chrysten

Matt and Chrysten were married during a magical day back in April. They opted to use one of our favorite color schemes that includes pink, ivory and green floral arrangements. This sweet couple wed in a loving ceremony at The Church of the Holy Trinity in Rittenhouse Square. The party continued at the Ritz Carlton, one of our favorite venues to embellish with florals. While Chrysten carried hints of pink peony with Dusty Miller, ivy leaves and ivory accents, her bridesmaids bouquets popped with bright fuchsia components. Matt was fit with a classy, complementing boutonniere that tied into the romantic theme. We had a wonderful time working with these endearing newlyweds and wish them all the love in the world for a lifetime! Congratulations again, Chrysten and Matt!

Photography: Sarah McKay of Lauren Fair Photography
Ceremony: The Church of the Holy Trinity
Reception: Ritz Carlton Philadelphia
Hair : Amanda D’Andrea
Wedding Planner : Susan Norcross of Styled Bride
Band: CTO – 5th Ave
Makeup – Tanya Buzetta Smith
Bridesmaid Dresses: Joanna August via Bride Side
Dress: Monique Lhuillier
Tailor: Sara at The Tailory

candm9

candm10

candm11

candm12

candm13

candm6

candm7

candm8

candm14

candm16

candm18

candm19

candm20

Pappas-Chadwick_LFP641

chadwicktable

chadwicktable2

candm21

candm1

candm2

candm3

candm4

candm5

candm17

All photos courtesy of Lauren Fair Photography. For more information, contact Lauren at (610) 389-1738.

Will & Bridget

We’re elated to share that Petals Lane and some of our favorite newlyweds were featured once again in Brides.com! Will and Bridget were married back in late October of last year. Their wedding ceremony took place at St. John the Evangelist Church with their reception occurring at the magnificent Ritz Carlton Philadelphia. Bridget’s bouquet was a simple yet stunning arrangement of white roses, while her bridesmaids had inclusions of succulents and green accents. The centerpieces complimented the bouquets as well, and made for a beautiful and classic scene in the ballroom. Bridget shared that some of her favorite floral elements were the amazing centerpieces; the coordinated, striped ribbon used for the bridal party; and her grandmother’s lace wedding gown piece wrapped around her bouquet, completing the pearly details. It was a pleasure working with this fun-loving couple and we wish them many years of happiness ahead! Congratulations, Bridget and Will!

Wedding Planner: Christiane Lehman, Truly You Events
Photographer: Asya Photography
Videographer: Rosetree
Venue: Ritz Carlton Philadelphia
Hair and Makeup: Mobile Makeover
Wedding Band: Love, EBE
Wedding dress: Monique Lhuillier, The Wedding Shoppe
Groom, Groomsmen: Men’s Wearhouse
Bridesmaid dresses: J.Crew
Church: St. John the Evangelist

asyaphotography.com

bandw1

asyaphotography.com

asyaphotography.com

bandw2

asyaphotography.com

asyaphotography.com

bandw4

asyaphotography.com

asyaphotography.com

bandw6

asyaphotography.com

bandw3

asyaphotography.com

All photos courtesy of Asya Photography. For more information, contact Asya at 610-864-6363.

Hugo & Jennifer

Hugo and Jennifer held their wedding ceremony and reception at the Ritz Carlton in Philadelphia on memorial day weekend of last year. We had a great time organizing Jenn’s vision and collaborating with Erin and the wonderful coordinators at Proud to Plan to bring the ideas to life. The details of Hugo and Jenn’s garden and park theme brightened the venue marvelously with hues of pink, mini green hydrangea, tree shrubs and urban-esque lighting. The escort cards were situated in a grass bed box, while Jenn’s bouquet glowed with pastel peonies, tulips and roses among others. The reception boasted pinspotted large stem Calla Lilly centerpieces with accompanied smaller rose bunches. We enjoyed working on such a beautiful wedding with this delightful couple. Congratulations, Hugo and Jennifer!

Ceremony and Reception: Ritz Carlton Philadelphia
Ceremony Musicians: Rittenhouse String Quartet
Photography: Laurence Kim Photography
Videography: Video One Productions
Entertainment: Synergetic Sound and Lighting
Hair: Hair by Meghan
Makeup: Cheekadee
Cupcake and Cookie Truck: Buttercream
Coordinators: Erin, Becky and Christie at Proud to Plan

aparicio5

aparicio7

aparicio6

aparicio1

aparicio10

aparicio8

aparicio13

aparicio12

All photos courtesy of Laurence Kim Photography. For more information, contact (617) 286-2504 or info@laurencekim.com.

Features & Awards

nature
mountain
go
tree
bird
camera

say hello