Friday, 25 June 2010

A Greek Island Wedding ft. Fashion Butter

Has anyone noticed the recent blaring of car horns over the past few weekends all over Athens? Yup, the wedding season is upon us and I know some of you reading this are thinking "What car horns?"
I didn't really get the commotion when I moved to Greece at first (I thought there was an idiot blocking the road & lots of angry drivers or something), but this is tradition for cars following the bridal car to have blaring car horns, beeping pretty much non-stop! You see, the bride is supposed to pass the church three times before stopping (or is it two and out on the third) whilst the groom waits at the church.

There are heaps of wedding traditions, all of which vary from region to region & countries too. Personally, I like the tradition where they pin money on your dress and stuff money in your shoes, yes puuur-lease!!!

Anyhow, I am so deliriously happy to introduce my first ever Guest Blogger, who had me at "Drinking wine at lunch & butchering the Greek language each & every day" - Sounds like my kinda gal!

Meet the incredibly super stylish Fashion Butter (sorry blog is now currently inactive), who ALWAYS looks gorgeous on her personal style & fashion blog (filled with hot tips & dreamy Island shots of course!). I just had to ask if her island wedding was as dreamy & stylish as all those stunning pictures she keeps posting.

I was so excited when A Brit Greek invited to write a guest post on island wedding style. With my one year wedding anniversary coming up at the end of July, it was the perfect time to reminisce about my big, fat, Greek island wedding, and celebrate the fact that entire circus is actually over. Just kidding. Kind of. Not really.

My husband and I were both born and raised outside of Greece, but we were still lucky enough to have our wedding on the Greek island that both of our fathers were born on (and where we now live). Traditionally around here, a couple is married in the town that the bride's family is from, so we had our wedding on the streets of the mountain village my grandfather grew up in - population 20 and a goat. It was kind of amazing to be married there - the tiny little village only plays host to a couple weddings a decade! We had the ceremony outside, complete with a choir, two priests and 400 of our closest friends and family.

So, let's start with what I wore. The only thing I knew going into the big dress search was that I *didn't know* exactly what type of dress I wanted. It actually wasn't that big of a search - I went to one place and chose the sixth dress I tried on - a platinum colored strapless column dress with a ruffled train and a skinny belt accenting the waist. I have to admit, I am not one of those brides who were head over heels in love with their dress (just head over heels in love with the groom - awwwwwwwwwwww). I kind of made the purchase under distress - but in the end, it did the job it needed it to do that day, especially after I removed all of its beading and strass.

I kept the accessories very simple - a simple pair of stud earrings, my wedding band ... and my summer tan. I did opt to have a little sparkle (okay, a lot of sparkle) on my bridal shoes though, much to my mother-in-law's delight, who kept trying to sell me on wearing a tiara.

Afraid of prom hair, I kept my bridal 'do pretty relaxed - it was basically a more refined version of the messy bun. I did test out three more *done* hairstyles, but honestly, they didn't quite mesh well with the vibe of the island surroundings. I did, however, go a little heavier on the makeup than I normally would have. At first I figured a summer island wedding needed summer island makeup ... boy, was I wrong. After testing out a more natural look with a few digital shots, all that bronzer, shimmery shadow and dewy foundation just didn't translate well on camera. So, since I didn't want my pictures to suck, matte drag queen makeup it was.

And of course, no wedding is complete without someone to marry. Shuddering at the thought of my husband in a tuxedo during the summer (do they even sell tuxedos in Greece?), he instead ended up wearing a gorgeous gray Hugo Boss suit, striped shirt, silver tie and camel colored shoes. He looked amazing. The perfect summer groom.

With him in gray and me in platinum, I decided to put my bridesmaids in short, yellow Maggy London cocktail dresses and plum colored platform shoes. They looked like sex-ay pinup girls and the strong punches of color seemed to work well with the wedding's island backdrop.

I'm not going to lie, getting married on a Greek island was a pretty unforgettable experience, but in addition to the typical wedding planning, I also had a lot to learn when it came to traditional Greek wedding customs. Here's a quick rundown of what's what as I understood it (I should also mention that some of these customs can vary by region):

  • The bride is brought to the ceremony in a car (or horse-drawn carriage, old school style) by her father, and the procession of cars honks all the way to the church. My dad actually broke the horn of the car on our way to the ceremony. Ha!
  • When the bride arrives at the church, it is customary to fire guns in celebration. Totally awesome ... and damaging to the eardrums.
  • The bridal bouquet is given to the bride by the groom at the church. We have a hilarious picture of my husband holding my bouquet before the wedding and posing for a picture with his brother - it totally looks like they are getting ready to tie the knot in Vermont.
  • Typically, Greek weddings do not include bridesmaids and groomsmen (even though we did have them) and usually just feature flower girls and boys.
  • The rings are given to the priest before the ceremony and they are waiting for the bride and groom at the altar. I should also mention that it is customary in Greece to wear your wedding band on your left hand from the night you get engaged and then on your wedding day it is then switched over to be worn on the right.
  • Greek weddings include the stefana (see image above). These crowns have religious significance and are joined with a white ribbon, which represents the couple's unity. The crowns are exchanged during the ceremony three times between the couple by the koumbari. In a Greek wedding, the koumbari are kind of like the godparents of the wedding ceremony - they assist in officially marrying the couple. In most cases, the couple chooses one man and one woman to be koumbari, but here on the island where I live, additional koumbari are also recognized during the ceremony - pretty much anyone you know who wants to exchange your stefana can get in line! The last local wedding I went to had about ten koumbari. Almost enough for a soccer team.
  • And speaking of local customs, another one is that wedding invitations are delivered in person to wedding guests. A nice gesture indeed, but a little challenging when you have 250 to deliver to guests. We were delivering invitations for about six weeks. A couple invites even made it to guests after the wedding. Whoops! Don't worry, in true Greek fashion they had heard about the wedding from a family member and hit up the festivities anyway.
  • There is a fun part of the church ceremony in which your guests hurl rice at you as you circle a table three times. It has kind of become a bit of a rite of passage these days as the married wedding guests WHIP rice at you as hard as they can to get back at everyone who whipped rice at them. Not only was this painful and I was picking rice out of my hair for days, when I took my wedding dress off that night after the reception, about a pound of rice fell to the ground. I found rice in places rice should never be.

Phew! - I think that's enough for today. There are quite a few more, but I am going to stop here because this post is getting ridiculously long and I want to be invited back. Many thanks to A Brit Greek for the opportunity to be a part of her wonderful blog!


Well that's all folks! Hope you enjoyed and have a fantastic weekend! Thanks so much for sharing your amazing, dreamy & super special day with us Fashion Butter!!!

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