Greek Orthodox Wedding at Bloemendal by Big Day Big Picture

Carmen and Costa met when his brother interviewed for a job at the company Carmen worked for. She must have made quite a first impression, as Costa asked her out and waited over a month for their first date! Their traditional Greek wedding, full of the joy and abundance of family life, was captured beautifully by Roberta Crumplin at Big Day Big Picture.

My whole idea for the day was about vibrant colours – the Greeks are all about fun and happiness and life, hence me choosing red as my main colour.  I used this colour throughout from my bouquet to my confetti to my bridesmaids’ dresses, with just small hints of black as a contrast.

We had the ceremony at the Greek Orthodox cathedral in Cape Town. It was very important to us that our wedding be a traditional one.  Costa is very religious, as is his family, but he was the first child to actually be married in the Greek orthodox church. This meant a lot to his parents, so we did everything very traditionally – from the traditional sweet almonds at the church to the greek dancing at the reception. 

The Greek Orthodox ceremony is very special and meaningful. The focal point is the crowning, where the priest takes the two wedding crowns joined by a ribbon (symbolising the unity of the couple) and places them on the bride and groom, blessing them. Then he leads them in a circle around the altar, as they take their first steps as husband and wife. Also on the altar is a tray of sugared almonds (koufeta): the white symbolizes purity, the egg shape represents fertility, the hardness of the almond represents the endurance of marriage and the sweetness of the sugar symbolises the sweetness of future life. The odd number of almonds is indivisible, just as the couple will remain undivided. 

Unfortunately my father was taken ill before the wedding and was in ICU at the time. After the ceremony we took the limo (Costa’s idea – maybe for his unfulfilled dream of becoming a super star!) to visit him in hospital. When we came out we discovered we were parked in!  We eventually managed, with the help of various nurses around us and to their amusement, to get out.  In typical friendly Capetonian style we were waved and cheered as we drove away.  This brought a much needed light-heartedness to a very emotional moment for us and was one of the unexpected highlights of my day.

Since this was the first wedding in both our families, we made sure we included everyone in our very happy celebration. We had two page boys (my nephews), three bridesmaids, three best men, one usher (Costa’s nephew), and five flower girls! The little flower girls who recited the poem at the reception (to ALWAYS love one another and have a happy forever were their words) are my cousins – but they are like little nieces to me, and had been planning my wedding since we got engaged. They were so nervous and excited and there were giggles all round!

Another highlight was the Greek dancing at the reception – we probably had most of the united nations represented at our wedding, but everyone had a go. We had a ball breaking over 300 clay plates!

Our favours were bottle stopper/bottle openers in chrome with a heart symbol on the top that I sourced from the UK. We chose them because we wanted everyone to remember having champagne at our wedding and to celebrate life and love.

Venue & catering: Bloemendal | Photographer: Roberta Crumplin of Big Day Big Picture | Videographer: FJS Productions | Flowers & decor: Kaleidescope Décor | Dress & veil: Marianna Hardwick Designs/The Wedding Dress Shop, London | Bridesmaids’ Dresses: Leonie Jardim – 021 591 4984 | Cake: Alta’s Cakes – 021 558 4509 | Hair & bridesmaids’ makeup: Chrissie Mamacos – 072 237 7696 | Bride’s makeup: Carolyn Cowley – 083 646 2670 | Music: Audio Kitchen | Limo hire: Royal Limousine Services

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