Pt 1: A Perfect Greek Wedding
The most beautiful wedding I have ever seen took place
in the village of Vathi on the island of Sifnos in the Greek Cyclades.
We were not officially guests of the wedding though we knew the brother
of the bride. We just happened to be staying in the village and when he
saw us we were invited to a celebration I will always remember.
our vantage point, which was the room we had rented in a tiny monastery
on the second floor, we saw the wedding party walking along the beach
towards us. They were not exactly walking, more like dancing and at first
we were unsure what this mass of people signified. Had a travelling dance
troupe just gotten off the bus?
they got closer we saw that they were being led by two musicians one on
the fiddle and the other playing an aoud. As they played they also sang
and the people in the wedding party would laugh at the lyrics. The two
old musicians I have seen and heard at many panagiris (religious festivals)
and celebrations on Sifnos and are for hire.
As the happy group passed beneath us there was not
a bride or groom in sight. They disappeared into the village and when
they reappeared they had the bride and groom with them. She was a famous
daytime television actress and he was from Austria.
all went into the church where the ceremony was held, led by a bearded
Orthodox priest. Then the church emptied and they filled the small courtyard
and the music continued until sunset when the real fun began.
The group slowly drifted apart and then reappeared at the
restaurant of Manolis, down the beach. There was a lamb roasting and the
two old musicians were still going strong, their wine glasses kept full
throughout the night.
It was a mixed crowd of Greeks and foreigners and the dancing
went on through the evening. Even the priest danced. If I was ever to
get married this was exactly how I would have done it.
Part 2: The Reality
married in Greece requires some red tape and in Greece, any red tape is
too much. But it can be done and there are people who actually provide
weddings as a service. How much of the bureaucratic tangle they will deal
with for you varies. Most of them are located in Santorini, Mykonos and
Rhodes where foreign weddings are more common because they are such popular
If you want to do it on your
own you will need to contact the president or mayor of the community for
a civil wedding, or the head priest for a religious wedding. Your birth
certificate will need to be translated and an ad put in the local papers
so that anyone on the island who has a reason for you not to get married
can protest in advance rather then come on like Dustin Hoffman in the
Graduate. You can also use a US marriage license in Greece, as long as
it has been authenticated by the Greek consulate in the USA and
One of the best reasons to
get married in Greece is that you don't have to travel very far for your
honeymoon. You are already there. Also how many people have wished they
could bring their friends and family with them on their honeymoon? If
they made it to the wedding then they will be.
Part 3: The Easy Way
Assuming that you believe that
a wedding is an exchange of vows before God, then there is an alternative
to going through the red tape of the civil or Orthodox wedding, or spending
the money to have it done professionally. This would be a simple exchange
of vows, with or without witnesses after having been 'officially' married
by a justice of the peace in America. You find the most beautiful, spiritual
spot you can and before of eyes of God and either by yourselves or in
the company of friends, exchange your wedding vows. No red tape, no permission
needed, no money down. Just the two of you in your own special ceremony
that you will always remember because it was 100% yours. You can spend
the first few days of your trip looking for the perfect location and that
will add purpose to the journey.
If you want it to be 'official'
have one of your friends send away to became an ordained minister from
one of the many churches that do this. Once he fills out the paperwork
he can legally perform marriages. I actually did this once and if I had
not let my 'membership' in the Church of Mother Earth lapse, I would be
in Santorini right now performing marriages in exchange for food and wine.
I think it cost me $25 to become a minister and I did perform one wedding
in North Carolina. (They are divorced now.)
So in Greece there are many
ways to do this and it depends upon what type of person you are which
method you will use. If you want to go for the Ceremony and pay someone
else to deal with the hassles, you may contact one of the companies that
do this regularly by clicking here.
If you can handle putting it
together yourself, when you have finally taken your vows and sit back
and reflect upon what you have pulled off, you will have a feeling of
satisfaction, and you will be able to help others avoid the mistakes you
made. Or if you are two romantic people who love each other very much
and want to commit your lives together, under the stars, above the sea,
in a tiny chapel, or even on the Acropolis, who is going to stop you?
to Matt Barret and Greek Travel
for use of these wedding pages