Post # 1
I am not Greek Orthodox but my Fiance is and we’ve decided to get married in a Greek Orthodox church since it’s important to his family and I don’t really mind where the ceremony is as long as we get married! Well, I’ve never been to this kind of ceremony before and have SO many questions. Fiance is no help. He’s been to a few in his family but doesn’t really remember specifics so I figured I’d ask you guys just so I know what to expect!
Here’s some of my questions:
- I know that these ceremonies are long, like an hour, can we request a shorter ceremony for the guests’ sake (and my sake, I fainted the last time I went to church with him) or would that be rude?
- Does the church provide the crowns or do I have to buy them?
- Do I (and my bridesmaids) have to cover my shoulders? My dress is sleeveless…
- Will I have to get re-baptized to his faith? I was baptized as a child and raised Protestant.
- Will the church marry us if we are living together before marriage?
Those are all the questions I can think of for now. But if there’s any other things you think I should know please feel free to share!
Post # 4
Let me see if I can help with some of this.
1. yes it is long. Very long. Drink plenty of water beforehand. I think you are looking at about 2 hours. However, if you have medical concerns, discuss it with your priest. They are scary at first, but usually nice people. And, unlike the Catholic Church, priests can marry.
2. It depends on the parish. If you have to buy them, you can find inexpensive ones.
3. You mentioned it being Greek. That is one of the stricter “branches.” i think, but am not totally sure, that you will have to cover your shoulders. Check with the church. The priests wife, if he has one is an excellent resource.
Post # 5
Hi! I’m a greek bride too!
1. You can’t really ask for a shorter ceremony, but it should only be about an hour.
2. Covering your shoulders is something you need to talk to your priest about. Mine is fine with straps (even spaghetti) so long as something is on the shoulders, but I know some of my extended family have had priests that require sleeves or shawls.
3. No. So long as you are baptized, the church will accept your marrige. You cannot take communion unless you convert though.
4. We are living together and haven’t heard anything, so I don’t think it’s a problem.
Hope this helps!
Post # 6
Ahh the crowns! Your koumbara is supposed to buy your crowns, the chalice, tray, and candle.
Here is a book that has a good break down of the faith and all its traditions. http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/096380510X/ref=oh_details_o03_s00_i00?ie=UTF8&psc=1
Post # 7
4. Here is the issue, I depends on what type of baptism you had. If you had a trinitarian baptism (in the name od the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit) then no, you are good. If it was not trinitarian (for example, in the name of Jesus Christ) then you will probably have to do it again.
5. My best advice is if you are not asked, don’t tell, but it is probably is an issue.
Post # 8
@LovelyLee: I’m Greek Orthodox bride and honestly each church is a little different depending on your priest. For example some very orthodox churchs will only do the ceremony in Greek, no english, other’s like mine will do the majority in english with just some traditional parts in greek. As far as the answer to your questions:
1) The wedding ceremony is usually about 40-50 minutes depending on your priest, there is no shorter ceremony
2) As for the crowns, it again depends on how traditional you are, we’re buying our own but if you’re following traditions it is the koumbara that pays for them.
3) Again it depends on the church, talk to the priest and find out. I’ve been to some greek orthodox churchs that require the entire shoulders to be covered and other churchs like mine which are fine with strapless dresses.
4) @WestTexasCowgirl: +1 It depends on the type of Baptism you received
5) My church is a little picky about couples living together before marriage, we live together and haven’t been asked, so we figure unless we ask we’re not saying anything at all. Mind you my priest is what I consider a little more “modern” so I’m not sure he’d have an issue with it
Post # 9
my stepson had a 3 hour wedding, but it was a Russian Orthodox wedding. The Antiochian is 2 hours. It is good to know that the Greek ones are more reasonable.
Post # 10
Thank you all for the wonderful information! I’ve never even heard of koumbara before. What exactly is it? The maid of honor?
My Fiance was going to ask the priest to do most of the ceremony in English since his Papou is the only one who knows Greek, so that’s why I was asking about shorter ceremonies. But when he told me that I was like “Well, are you allowed to ask that? It might be important that it’s spoken in Greek!” lol!
Good to know about the baptism part. As far as I know I was baptized in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Do you have to provide proof of that or do they just take your word for it?
And looks like I won’t be mentioning that we live together! I wouldn’t have minded waiting until marriage to move in together but we moved across the country after getting engaged and just cannot afford to live separately (no friends or family out here to help either).
Oh my gosh at the 3 hour wedding!! I had no idea ceremonies could be that long!!
Post # 11
Commenting to follow this thread… my FH is Serbian Orthodox and I’m not. From what I understand they are almost identical apart from the language. He’s not sure if he wants the traditional Serbian wedding or what.
Post # 12
@LovelyLee: I was raised Greek Orthodox, went to church every Sunday growing up, but no longer identify as Christian and won’t be having a Greek Orthodox ceremony. My mother would probably ideally like me to have one, but as my fiancé is Jewish and would have to be baptized, she didn’t push for it.
A lot depends on the specific church. At mine, you have to buy the stefana, but they’re not too expensive and if you buy a case for them they make a beautiful keepsake. Stefanas are my favorite part of the ceremony, and I’m incorporating them into mine!
Koumbara is like an Maid/Matron of Honor, but I’m pretty sure she has to be Greek Orthodox, so it might be your FI’s sister, but I think it can also be like an aunt who doesn’t have to wear a bridesmaid dress.
When my sister got married, she wore a strapless dress and no one said anything. Also at my church there was an Ethiopian Orthodox-Protestant couple who got married there because the Ethiopian Orthodox church wouldn’t do much in English, but our church would do 100%. But personally I think liturgical hymns in Greek sound so pretty, you have to keep some of that!
The thing I think you need to know though is this: There are no vows. The bride & groom don’t really say anything. This is why, even if I was still Christian I’m not sure I’d like a Greek Orthodox ceremony, but if that doesn’t bother you and it makes his family happy, go for it! And most Greek Orthodox churches are gorgeous, btw 🙂
Post # 13
@ladyamalthea: Luckily my Maid/Matron of Honor is my FI’s sister who is Greek Orthodox! His best man is his brother too.
The crowns are definitely my favorite part of the ceremony. I know someone had mentioned to me about there being no personal vows. I was a little disappointed at first but I figure I can write up a little something to give to him before the ceremony. Plus it saves me from having to speak in front of everyone and get all choked up, lol!
The church we’re looking to get married in is BEAUTIFUL. I’d venture to say it’s the best one in CT. It’s St. Barbara’s in Orange, CT. It was the same church his Yia yia and Papou got married in so it will be very special to us 🙂
Post # 14
My Fiance is Orthodox, originally Ukrainian Orthodox but we go to an OCA parish. I’ve been to a couple of Greek parishes and they seem pretty similar. I’m in the midst of converting right now. Fiance and I could get married without me converting, I’m doing it because I want to become a full member of the church. Fiance and I go every Sunday and I decided that it’s time for me to be able to take part fully (communion, confession, etc).
It’s hard to answer some of your questions because the answer to most is that it depends how liberal the church you’re getting married at is. I can tell you that you can’t change the length of the ceremony, but they might provide you with a stool or chair so you can sit at some points of the ceremony. You will need your baptism certificate. If your parents don’t have a copy you will need to contact the church where you were baptized. They should have a copy. As far as the other questions, those are things you should ask the priest. In my church they provide crowns, although you can buy your own to wear if you want to keep it. Strapless dresses are not allowed, but it’s acceptable to wear a bolero or shrug over a strapless dress for the ceremony, and they really frown upon couples living together before marriage. I don’t know any couples who lived together before being married in our church so I’m not sure how they deal with the situation.
Post # 15
1. My service was about 45 mins. At the rehearsal i informed the priest i want as little greek as possible…somethings they have to do in greek, but mine was in mostly english. I’ve heard of ceremonies being in both, and thats when it can get super long.
2. The Koumbari is typically responsible to providing the Crowns, Candles and Tray. Talk to them about that. In a greek church you need to provide your own crowns.
3. My dress was strapless and were my bridesmaids, no issues. Ive been to many orthodox wwedding with strapless dresses.
4. Nom you do not need to be baptized. Only 1 of you need to be orthodox
5. You can live together, although they may ask you to seperate…but whatever.
Post # 16
@pghbride2013: I can handle 45 minutes! I think we’ll ask about doing the ceremony mostly in English too.
Does anyone know where to buy the crowns, candles and tray and what not?