A traditional Greek Orthodox wedding is a very wonderful celebration and its a true honour to be asked to document one so I was delighted when Anna and Emmanuel booked me to photograph their Oxford Greek Orthodox wedding. There are so many different parts to the actual ceremony and so many traditions it’s absolutely essential to do your homework and I found myself watching lots of ceremonies on YouTube to get a feel for what happens when. Anna & Emmanuel were fab and provided me with a detailed breakdown of what was happening when and I attended the rehearsal the night before giving me a chance to work out exactly where I was going to position myself to capture the action!
One of the main things to get used to is the fact the ceremony has not one but six priests and they all have a part to play. The ceremony itself runs as follows and the number 7 is used in many of the rituals (for example the rings are moved from hand to had seven times and the crowns are swapped 7 times). Also there was a very special Cretan bread with such exquisite detail made and flown in from Crete specially for the ceremony, apparently there are only a couple of people who can still make this traditional wedding bread. It was absolutely beautiful.
The mains parts of the ceremony run as follows:
- The Exchange of Rings
- The lighting of the Candles
- The Crowning
- The Readings from the Bible
- The Drinking of the Common Cup
- The Ceremonial Walk
- Lastly, the Proclamation of Husband & Wife.
As Anna and Emmanuel came out of the church there were flower bearers carrying a big flower arch through which the bride and groom danced to a band with violinists and Cretan harpist as the whole party walked down the middle of the road from the church to St Hughes college in Oxford. After the obligatory family groups I whisked the happy couple off for a few shots on their own in the lovely grounds of St Hughes College. The wedding breakfast was as normal but at the end the couple were fed spoons of honey from the mother of the groom and then we went into a set of “acts” from various members of the wedding party and guests all performed on stage for the couple including singing, sketches and musicians. The evening culminated with the crazy Greek dancing which was amazing fun following the couples impressive first dance. What a whirlwind day so much energy, celebration, tradition and happiness that went on late into the evening at the Kaylee dancing with the full band. Can’t wait to shoot another Greek Orthodox wedding now!
If you are planning a Greek Orthodox Wedding Ceremony and are looking for a photographer please get in touch and see more of my work at www.thebridalphotographer.co.uk
The specially flown in Cretan wedding bread
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