Post # 1
Hi ladies – just wondering if anyone on here has or will be getting married in an Antiochian Orthodox/Greek Orthodox christian church? We are getting married in the the church that FI grew up in because I moved around a lot and don’t have one. We went recently to his cousin’s wedding (same church and officiant) and while I found it very different from any other ceremony I’ve ever been to, ie: most of the ceremony was sung, the one thing that stood out that kind of seemed odd to me was that the couple never said vows to each other. Father spoke their vows and they just said ‘Yes’ or ‘I do’. At the reception, FI and I asked Father about this and he said they ‘don’t do’ vows. It means a lot to FMIL and FFIL that we are getting married in their church, and I’m fine with how the ceremony is, but I’m having a hard time with the vows thing. Father said we could do them at the reception, but I’m not thrilled about not saying them at the church when we’re actually wed. Has anyone else ever experienced this?
Post # 3
I’m OCA (Orthodox Church of America), but will be getting married in my Orthodox church in Korea which is under the Ecumenical Patriarch. As to the singing – yes – we chant/sing a lot! 🙂 And as to vows – I’ve never been to a church where the couple recited their vows. The service itself is not very flexible…but I’m wondering if your priest would allow you to say vows after the actual ceremony while still in the church? I’ve never seen that, but depending on the priest, it may be possible if the vows are really that important to you.
Post # 4
yep, my fiance is Russian Orthodox. I am Catholic, so we are getting married in the Catholic church and we will do a second Orthodox ceremony at a later date, but we did do a lot of research into the Orthodox ceremony.
From what I know, there is very little (or no) room for variation in the Orthodox church. This contributed to the reason why we are getting married in the Catholic church. My fiance and I wanted to try to combine elements from the Catholic and Orthodox ceremonies, but the Orthodox church is very strict and would not allow us to make any changes. But regarding the vows, they don’t do vows because you both showing up for the wedding is enough. You both being present means you want to get married. It’s definitely hard to give up the vows when that is what you have associated with a wedding for your entire life. I’m lucky that my fiance and I were able to compromise and get married in the Catholic church and then the Orthodox church later.
I think it would be sweet if you wrote vows to each other and exchanged them prior to the ceremony. You could also create some sort of marriage contract with the vows on them (although it wouldn’t be part of the Othodox ceremony). I know its not the same as saying the vows during the ceremony, but hopefully you can come up with something that would make you feel like you’re not missing out.
Post # 5
I’ve attached a thread from a couple of months ago that is similar. I think you may find it helpful. There is not a lot of flexibility in the Orthodox Christian faith. It’s a religion that is thousands of years old and there are specific meanings attached to the various parts of the marriage ceremony. I understand your concern but like others have suggested, perhaps you can incorporate vows in a different way so it is meaningful to you and FI. I suggest doing some research so you have a better understanding of the ceremony and the various traditions. Also, ask the priest to do more of the service in English, which may help you feel more comfortable. Good luck.
Post # 6
Thanks ladies! It definitely makes me feel a little better knowing more about this! All I’ve been exposed to are the traditional spoken vows so I was taken aback a bit when I was told we couldn’t do them. As I’m thinking about it now tho, it’s probably better I don’t have to speak because I can’t be sure I won’t be a blubbering mess trying to repeat them! I like the idea of writing each other vows and exchanging them right before the ceremony. Thanks again!
Post # 7
There is so much meaning behind everything that goes into an Orthodox marriage service. Has your priest explained step-by-step what goes on and what each of the prayers mean? If he hasn’t, I would ask him to do so and you’ll find that it’s all just as meaningful (if not more meaningful, IMO) than vows you would say to each other.
All the best!!!
Post # 8
Wow I’m so glad I came across this thread. My FI is Orthodox Christian and I’m a christian and so we thought we could have both ceremonies at the same time. We’ve recently began researching this since the wedding will take place in the U.S and he is in Holland. We plan on getting married at the Riverside Church but thought we could get an Orthodox priest to perform a ceremony there as well. Am I to assume that this is not done?
Post # 9
@Dutchbride-An Orthodox Priest will not perform a wedding outside the Orthodox Church. Many friends of mine who are interfaith marriages (Catholic and Orthodox for example) have had to marry in the Catholic church and then in an Orthodox Church. I would consider contacting an Orthodox priest in your area so that he could explain this to you further.
Post # 10
I am Antiochian Orthodox and I ran into this when talking about the ceremony with FI! It took awhile to convince him that we couldn’t pick our own location, personalize the ceremony, etc. I think the vast vast majority of churches do this so he honestly didn’t believe me at first!
I would definitely read up on all the different elements of the ceremony. It’s really interesting and in place of your own vows you can think about what you are ‘saying’ to each other through all the symbolic acts in the ceremony:
If you want to proclaim your intentions to your sweetie, I think it would be totally appropriate for both of you to do an informal speech at the reception (I’ve heard more and more couples are doing this, actually,) and make a ‘promise’ to each other for the marriage. Honestly, if most of your guests are not Orthodox they’ll probably remember them much better that way anyhow – the Orthodox ceremony is very different for a lot of people with a lot of new things to take in. At the reception they’ll be focused entirely on what you’re saying!
Post # 11
@Ranaki13 Yes, I will do so. I have quite a bit of research to do! I will go speak to a priest personally to find out as much as I can.
@ NudgyWudgy Thank you for the link! I really do love how sacred the ceremony is as well as the meaning behind all of the elements. I find it to be a beautiful ceremonyy. I would be perfectly fine to do one ceremony, but I can just imagine the lip service I would get from my side if we didn’t have some elements of a traditional Christian ceremony. I had just explained the whole thing to my parents telling them how it would be and they were fine, but I guess I spoke too soon because now I need to explain that it’s one or the other.
I thought wedding planning was supposed to be fun! LOL
Post # 12
My FI and I are both Greek Orthodox and getting married in a GOA church. I like reading up on what I’m up to in the faith especially since we have so many ancient traditions.
Here are some books if you’re interested:
Fr. John Mack “Preserve Them, O Lord”–LOTS of good practical things for you and your FI to think about together as you prepare
Fr. John Chryssavgis, “Love, Sexuality and the Sacrament of Marriage”–a little heavier
Fr. John Meyendorff, can’t remember the title but it’s also practical AND does a good job explaining the Ephesians reading (“Wives, respect…Husbands, love as Christ…”)
Evdokimov, “The Sacrament of Love”–pretty heavy theologically, but if you’re into that then it’s great.
Also anything by Coniaris.
I’m still looking to learn the meaning of the service a little more, especially the Dance of Isaiah–the walk around the table.
Post # 13