The Greek Orthodox wedding ceremony is an ancient and meaningful service that has been celebrated in its present form for centuries. The service is abundant with symbols that reflect marriage: love, mutual respect, equality and sacrifice.
The ceremony consists of two parts: The Service of the Betrothal and The Ceremony of the Sacrament of Marriage.
Everything in the ceremony has a special meaning and significance, especially the repetition of each act three times to symbolize the mystical presence of the Holy Trinity: God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.
The Ceremony of the Sacrament of Marriage: The ceremony consists of petitions and prayers along with these rituals:
The Common Cup
The Ceremonial Walk
The Removal of the Crowns
At the conculsion of the prayers, the priest joins the hands of The Bride and The Groom. The hands are kept joined until the end of the service to symbolize the union and the oneness of the couple.
The Role of the Koumbaros/Koumbara
The Koumbaros refers to the male sponsor and the Koumbara refers to the female sponsor. Being asked to be the Koumbaros or the Koumbara is a great honor. The Koumbaros(a) is the person who exchanges the crowns three times above the heads of the wedding couple during the ceremony. He/She is responsible for providing the following items for the special day:
Stefana (wedding crowns)
Two Lambades (specially decorated candles)
Wedding Tray decorated with rice and koufeta (sugar coated almonds)
Wedding Favors (boubounieres) - customary for koumbaros/koumbara only in certain regions; otherwise it is the family's responsibility