Shelob
Just Said Yes December 2017

Finally wearing our wedding bands! (Greek Traditions Vol.1)

Shelob, on October 28, 2017 at 6:59 PM Posted in Community Conversations 0 42
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I have mentioned that some things are different in wedding planning here in Greece and I promised I would share some traditions along the way. Yesterday me and FH got to put on our wedding bands, so it's a good opportunity to give some background info regarding engagements and rings hereSmiley smile

Long post coming up, you have been warned!


42 Comments

Latest activity by Rachel, on October 30, 2017 at 12:29 AM
  • Shelob
    Just Said Yes December 2017
    Shelob ·
    • Flag

    I mentioned before that we don't have engagement rings here. That is traditionally true, though these days, due to Hollywood influence, many people have adopted them. They are not needed or even expected however, it's strictly up to the couple if they want to get one. My sister really wanted one, so she got one, my brothers' wives were not interested, so they skipped them. I also was not emotionally attached to the idea, so I went the traditional route as well.

    Which is this: Once the couple decides they want to get married (it could be a proposal, sans ring, or simply a discussion between the two of them), they consider themselves engaged and they can carry on with wedding planning as expected. You can simply opt for notifying family, setting a date, booking everything and sending invitations, no extra steps needed.

    However, you might want to have a formal engagement, in which case, after the decision to marry is made, the couple go to pick their wedding bands. These are nearly always a matching set made from a precious metal (these days the bride might choose to have a small gem inlaid in the band or so, but that is rather uncommon still). The bands are engraved on the inside, the groom has the bride's name and the wedding date and the bride has the groom's name and wedding date. Then it is up to the couple how much of an occasion they want to make out of their engagement.

    If you are religious, you should go to a church and ask the priest to bless the rings. If you don't want to make an occasion out of it, you will ask the priest to put the rings on your ring finger on the left hand and that's it, you are formally engaged. You will wear your wedding band on your left hand until your wedding day, when it is taken off before the ceremony, given to the equivalent of BM/MoH and during the ceremony, it will be placed on the right hand. So left hand=engaged, right hand=married.

    You can also opt to have an engagement, traditionally at the bride's home, with your families (again, if religious you will take the rings to be blessed by a priest, or you can invite a priest at home to bless them there. If not religious, you skip this). In this case, the rings are placed on the left hand by the parents of the couple. It is common for the parents to make a gift to the couple, the groom's parents give a jewelry set to the bride (necklace, earrings and ring) and the bride's parents give a nice watch to the groom, to be worn on the wedding day (you don't have to, but this is how that tradition started)

    You will then all enjoy a nice meal, the two families together, or have a bigger celebration, by inviting guests to have a more formal affair. This is hosted by the parents and it is not very common anymore.

    I happen to be religious, so I wanted the rings blessed (FH is not, but he was ok with it because it was so important to me), so we did that yesterday and we now happily sport our wedding rings on our left hand. We didn't do the engagement at home part (various logistic and personal issues) and we don't much care about jewelry (or watches), so we are skipping those gifts too.

    We went for the classic 18k yellow gold band, which is what both our parents had. I don't much like yellow gold in general, never wear it, but I had gotten so used to wedding bands being that, that I had long decided that if I had to wear one yellow gold piece, to match my name, it would be my wedding ring. FH was the same, doesn't like yellow gold, but the wedding band was the exception. Plus, it gives Lord of the Rings vibes, so that's a bonus xD (nothing screams romance like the ultimate object of manipulation, corruption, forged by the wish to dominate... what no? :X -don't worry, we skipped the little Mordor spell and no volcanos were involved in the making!)

    And that is basically it! I love how I say basically it, after another essay long post. I am sorry, I lack editing and summary skillz, don't hate me! xD

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  • mkebride
    Super September 2017
    mkebride ·
    • Flag

    Cool! Thanks for explaining, I always find traditions from other countries/areas of my country interesting. I also appreciate that you wrote skillz with a z. Smiley smile

    • Reply
  • RustyTheDog
    Dedicated December 2017
    RustyTheDog ·
    • Flag

    That's so cool! I would have never known about the switching from left to right hands. And if I were a tourist in Greece I would assume a ring on the right hand meant NOT married! Now I know better! Thanks, Shelob!

    • Reply
  • Allie_W
    Dedicated June 2018
    Allie_W ·
    • Flag

    That's really awesome! I love learning about different wedding traditions.

    • Reply
  • Shelob
    Just Said Yes December 2017
    Shelob ·
    • Flag

    @mkebride Hahah, thanks, it's something that has stuck with me from gaming xD

    @Rusty I am ashamed to admit how long it took me to register the fact that not every country wears the wedding ring on their right hand. Like... very very long xD

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  • Mrsbdg
    Champion August 2017
    Mrsbdg ·
    • Flag

    Awww I love that you are sharing this with us. I love learning about other culture's traditions!

    • Reply
  • Leila
    Super October 2017
    Leila ·
    • Flag

    Loved this! Efharisto

    • Reply
  • Tiffany
    Savvy May 2018
    Tiffany ·
    • Flag

    Thank you for sharing!

    • Reply
  • PHXBride
    Expert February 2018
    PHXBride ·
    • Flag

    Thanks! My grandfather was Greek and they did crowns at the wedding. Is this still a tradition?

    • Reply
  • MoreMoore
    VIP November 2017
    MoreMoore ·
    • Flag

    I love that you shared this! I had no idea there was so much tradition in this.

    • Reply
  • Shelob
    Just Said Yes December 2017
    Shelob ·
    • Flag

    @Jennifer The crowning is the part during the religious ceremony which signifies that you are married. There is the part of the exchange of rings that precedes it, which signifies that you are betrothed (that is the actual official engagement ceremony, but it has stopped being done separately before the wedding because it was not binding, so now it has been joined with the wedding ceremony and always precedes it).

    Originally for the crowning, they used actual crowns, which were tied together with a long ribbon. They usually belonged to the church, because they were very expensive items and not everyone could afford them. So they were common for all couples. Later on, much simpler versions were made, so every couple has their own pair, they are bought or made for them, so they take them and display them home afterwards. They don't resemble crowns at all anymore, they are like a circlet out of metal, or maybe decorated with small porcelain flowers or beads. The crowns have changed but the tradition and ceremony is still exactly the sameSmiley smile

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  • Erin
    Super October 2018
    Erin ·
    • Flag

    Very cool to learn! Thanks for sharing and please update us with other customs as planning goes on!

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  • Shelob
    Just Said Yes December 2017
    Shelob ·
    • Flag

    I am so happy to see that you guys enjoy learning about this, so of course I will keep sharing traditions as I come across them during our planning. Thank you all for the kind words!

    • Reply
  • mtall912
    Super October 2018
    mtall912 ·
    • Flag

    Thanks that is very interesting!

    • Reply
  • Ashley
    Expert November 2018
    Ashley ·
    • Flag

    Congratulations and thank you for sharing!! Your rings are beautiful!

    • Reply
  • FutureFuji
    VIP September 2017
    FutureFuji ·
    • Flag

    THank you for sharing, I find other countries wedding traditions so interesting!

    • Reply
  • AshleyR
    Master January 2021
    AshleyR ·
    • Flag

    This is so interesting! I love the fact that there is a symbol of engagement for both the man and woman. We need to get on that here in the US.

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  • Shelob
    Just Said Yes December 2017
    Shelob ·
    • Flag

    @Katie The Serbian Orthodox Church is the same as the Greek Orthodox Church, in practice, the differentiation comes from whom is the head of the local Church. Basically all Orthodox churches fall under the category of what is commonly called the Eastern Orthodox Church and have the same ceremonies, but usually in their respective country's language -and the style of singing or the style of the icons might be different. It is not rare to see a Serb or Russian refer to a Greek as their "Orthodox brother", the dominant/official religion in our countries is the same oneSmiley smile

    And yes, they are on the longer side as ceremonies go, approximately 40-50 minutes long. Some churches might skip a few of the hymns, or do them faster, but you are right, all the rituals are repeated three times. Those are the ring exchange, the crowning, the drinking of wine (yeah, there is wine drinking involved in the ceremony, I told you, there is dry-nothing over here when it comes to celebrations xD) and finally the Dance of Isaiah, where the couple takes their first steps together as husband and wife.

    I had to google Kum, which turns out it was silly of me, because what I gather you meant was what we call Koumparos/Koumpara. Basically the person that is your official witness, stands by you during your wedding, actively takes part in the ceremony and also signs your marriage certificate at the end. If so, then yes, we always have a kum/kuma at our weddings (it's what I have been calling "our equivalent of BM/MoH" though it's a lot deeper than that), you can't marry without at least one -one is needed, two is common, more than that is rare and also somewhat silly. My sister will be oursSmiley smile

    @AshleyR I totally agree, I always found it odd that only the women get a symbol of the engagement and the men had to wait until their wedding, not fair! Give the men some shiny too!

    • Reply
  • Beachy
    VIP November 2017
    Beachy ·
    • Flag

    This is really cool info. Thanks for sharing.

    • Reply
  • P.F.
    Super May 2018
    P.F. ·
    • Flag

    Fascinating! Southern Baptist ceremonies are only 8 minutes long so I can't imagine a ceremony lasting almost an hour! So intricate!

    Also changing ring hands is interesting. Do you initially size the ring for your left hand then resize it for your right?

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