Well there is something to be said about the celebrations of a Greek Orthodox wedding ceremony that roots back to ancient beginnings. It is a celebration like none other full of symbolism and tradition. It is rooted back to the serious vows marriages are supposed to be about. If you have never been to one than you are in for an experience of a life time.
The Role Of Guests The guests are there to show their support and love for the couple. Typically guests will not enter the church until the bride arrives. The groom waits at the entrance of the church and may be holding the bride's bouquet. When the bride arrives they will offer the bouquet to the groom and then enter the church followed by family, friends, and guests. There isn't necessarily a bride's side and a groom's side for guests to sit. Guests sit together especially in smaller churches.
The Service of Betrothal and The Sacrament of Marriage
The two parts of the ceremony or the exchanging of the rings called the Service of Betrothal and the prayers and union called the Sacrament of Marriage. There are many instances where rituals are repeated three times representing the Holy Trinity including the swapping of the rings between the bride and groom's fingers three times.
The beginning of the Sacrament of Marriage consists of multiple prayers that are followed up by the priest joining the rights hands of the bride and groom. The hands never part through the wedding ceremony symbolizing the union of marriage.
The Stefana The stefana is a crowning of the bride and groom connected by a white ribbon. The ribbon is blessed by the priest and the crowns represent the honor of God. The ribbon connecting the crowns symbolizes the uniting of the couple. The religious sponsor exchanges the crowns three times between the couple again referencing the Holy Trinity or Godhead. The couple walks around the altar three times with the crowns on their heads led by the priest. The sponsor follows behind and afterwards the couple is showered with rice. Guests will likely be given the rice upon arrival. At the end the priest will bless the couple and remove the stefana. Using his bible, the priest will separate the couple's joined hands with a emphasis that only can break their union from then on. The Pinning of Money Onto The Bride Many traditions are not followed by everyone including the pinning of the money onto the bride. The gift of money is still very common, but pinning the pride with money has faded somewhat because people can see how much money the bride gets. Also, it isn't very safe. Some other traditions that may or may not be practiced include those encouraging fertility or that of throwing money onto the marital bed. Greek Orthodox weddings are still steep in tradition although some rituals have been seen as outdated as time has gone on. A more modern approach has been adapted somewhat but the ceremony remains true to it's roots.