Couples Who Honored Their Heritage

Meet six real-life couples who chose to honor their cultural heritage in their wedding ceremony. Get useful tips for honoring your unique cultural traditions on your big day.

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Hide CaptionShow CaptionThe Couple: Eleni Aliozi & Gopi Karunakaran; The Location: Church of Saint Nikolas in Serres, Greece

All About

Eleni's Story: "Having been born and raised in Greece, I couldn't imagine having the wedding in any other place. I needed to do this at my birthplace where I could share this precious moment with my friends and family. We chose to have the ceremony at a beautiful 1000-year old Byzantine church, at the very top of a hill surrounded by evergreen trees, where the view was extraordinary. The bonus of having the wedding ceremony in the place of my birth is that I got to spend the days prior to the wedding showing my hometown to friends who had joined us from abroad (UK, US, Italy, etc)."

  

Her Tips:

Honor your faith. In Greece, 98% of the population is Greek Orthodox. Religion is very important to the Greek people. I was lucky enough to get married to a man who honored me by choosing to become Greek Orthodox so that we could be married in an Orthodox church. I don't think I would have 'felt' married unless the wedding was performed in a Greek church, where I could see the saints' icons all around us, have the ceremony conducted by the traditional priest with the beard, have the candles, the hymns, the stefana or wedding crown and the red wine, my hubby's favorite part of the ceremony."

It's all about family. "One of the strongest values in the Greek culture is honoring your family. My husband had suggested several times that we have the wedding in Vegas or some other far exotic destination, but I knew that this would not work for me simply because my family wouldn't be there. In the Greek tradition, a wedding isn't just a ceremony binding two people, instead it is really a ceremony uniting two families. It was very important for us, and especially for me, to have our families around us for this milestone in our lives."

A few of the Greek traditions Eleni and Gopi chose to honor on their big day:

  • Breaking a glass of red wine in order to avoid the evil eye.
  • The father of the bride puts her shoes on her feet and inserts some money in the shoe
  • The single girls write their names on the bottom of the bride's shoe. If their name gets erased by the end of the night, they'll be the next to get married.
  • The best man drives the bride and her father to the church.
  • The bride steps on the groom's foot when the priest reads the scripture "the woman shall be afraid of the man."
  • And what's a Greek wedding without dancing? Eleni says, "The party started at 9pm and went on till 4am. There was a lot of dancing and everyone had a lot of fun.
  • We had a variety of songs and dances, from the traditional folk dancing Greek children learn in school, to the more modern Greek pop songs. Old and young went to the dance floor and showed off their groovy moves."
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