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Love is the Thread (Part 2)

Updated: Sep 27, 2023

The beautiful Greek wedding of Anna Maria & Vince, Hydra Island.


 

Joining of hands

This month, my thoughts return to Greece.


Placing myself back there is so easy. I just need to think of the glorious sunshine, the late afternoon shadows, the fresh tomatoes and the sounds of evening chatter in the harbour. This, once again reminds me, of just how wonderful a location Hydra was for a wedding.


Greece is, of course, also steeped in tradition and Anna Maria & Vince were keen for their wedding to encompass as much of Anna Maria's heritage as possible.


Their ceremony was to be held in the beautiful, Cathedral of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary. Designated as a monastery, wedding ceremonies are not usually permitted in this stunning Byzantine building, but when your brother George is, amongst other things, a professor of theology, specialising in the history of Christianity in late antiquity (!), it is not surprising that he knew just who to talk to for special permission.










A beautiful entrance

And so... as Anna waited excitedly by the harbour's edge, in the early evening sun, the wedding guests entered the ceremony beneath the clock tower and passed through golden arches to the beautiful courtyard beyond.



Vince took his position on the steps of the chapel beneath the starry ceiling and awaited the entrance of his beautiful bride. His Koumbaro, George by his side for support must have been a huge relief as the traditional ceremony would take place in native Greek and the residing priest spoke little English (and probably no Australian).






As the clock tower bell chimed, Anna glided effortlessly into the courtyard on Roman's arm holding a locally made bouquet of white peonies. The most beautiful of entrances made perfect by the meeting of bride and groom at the alter in such a beautiful setting.







Ceremonial traditions

For those, like myself, who have never attended a Greek wedding before, it is a real joy to observe and to understand a little about the beautifully binding traditions makes it even more so. I have therefore, include (as best I can) a little description of the special rituals taking place.



Firstly, Anna Maria & Vince's wedding rings were blessed three times, to represent the Holy Trinity and (somehow in the heat,) placed on each others' right hand which is believed to convey truth and strength. Koumbaro, George then exchanged their rings three times to symbolise their union.



Candles (lambades) were lit to represent the light of Christ and Anna's daughters did an excellent job of keeping them alight throughout the ceremony in spite of the coastal breeze.


Then followed the ‘crowning’ ceremony whereby God crowns the bride and groom as the new heads of their household. The priest placed the stéfana crowns, joined by lace, on Vince & Anna before the koumbaro once again exchanged the crowns three times between them in honour of the Holy Trinity.


Throughout the ceremony, koumbara, Kathy sang responses in Greek and Anna's son Nicolas was entrusted with the traditional scripture readings.

By far the most dangerous part of the ceremony (in my opinion), was drinking from The Common Cup. I held my breath as Anna, in her beautiful white dress, was offered red wine by the priest, but thankfully, this historical tradition is clearly well practiced and not a drop was spiled as it was shared between bride and groom in reference to Jesus' first miracle.



In the final part of the ceremony, the marriage was sealed by the leading of bride and groom by the priest, around the alter three times taking their first steps as man and wife; with Juliana, Eleni, Isabela and Mary Anna taking part in support of their union. This 'Dance of Isiah' was a beautiful ending to a very special family ceremony and with marriage certificates signed, the very happy couple were delighted to be announced to the applause of their guests.






What friends are for

A very special tradition was also upheld to the surprise and absolute pleasure of the bride and groom. Dear friend Heather & her husband Mike, knowing how much Anna loved the tradition of musicians leading the bride and groom around the town, secured the services of a local skipper they met who just happened to play! He and his friend were there at the end of the ceremony to serenade the newlyweds on their journey to the reception followed by a procession of all their guests. Anna even stopped to dance with Vince and had her dad much to the delight of the locals and tourists on the waterfront.



The procession arrived at local taverna, Psaropoula where guests ascended the steps to enjoy welcome drinks with incredible views of the hills and harbour; once again in the reassuring shadow of the monastery clock tower.


Celebration

I must confess, my documentary slackened a little as I too joined in the celebrations, re-hydrated and feasted; but I hope I captured enough of the fun and laughter which ensued to provide a lasting memory.



The most beautiful, fresh, rustic food from the surrounding land and sea came endlessly to our table and our glasses were never empty. Family photos, a first dance, the macarena... and as the sun set, new friends and family cemented their bonds with talk of shared experiences of the trip and the enjoyment of the day.



And of course, Greek Dancing...

...plus probably every other type of dancing to the sounds of DJ Alexandros!


Unfortunately, the restaurant had to close. We grabbed our hand wrapped Koufeta (sugar-coated almonds) beautifully put together in odd numbers, by Anna and the girls as a reminder that the bride and groom cannot be divided, and thanked our hosts for the perfect evening. Although we went our separate ways for the night; some to tackle to the climb to the house at the top of the hill and others to extend their night in the lively waterfront bars, we will all be forever grateful I'm sure, to have been part of a very special wedding which joined families from the fabric of different lives and proved that love, really is the thread that binds us all together.



Suits: Canali

Dress: Tom Ford (customized by Anna Maria)

Venue/Catering: Psaropoula

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