Are you looking through your destination wedding options on line? Are you looking at an array of beautiful sandy beaches, stunning blue waters, ancient columns standing majestically for thousands of years, wonderful photos of pretty archways, small white chapels, floral arrangements, eclectic menus and endless entertainment options? If so, you have chosen Greece!
Anybody choosing Greece as the venue for their destination wedding will not be disappointed.
More often than not, the country is chosen for its great weather and fabulous sea views, not to mention the fact that a destination wedding can be a whole lot cheaper than a wedding at home! Not only will you be tying the knot but also you will have a built in honeymoon as well, and can enjoy your visit with your elite chosen group of family and friends.
When planning a destination wedding in Greece, the main focus these days, is on the venue and the food available for the evening "do".
Now of course the venue is very important, you must find the perfect spot to stand up with your significant other and say your vows in front of your family and friends.
Yes, the after party is the really fun part of the whole thing, the cake cutting, the first dance and of course the speeches if you are following traditional plans all enjoyed with your family group creating lifelong memories!
If you have chosen well, your wedding planner will have made all the arrangements, everything will be set up on time, the drinks will be flowing early on. Most weddings in Greece take place late afternoon, early evening, so just one word of warning.
Be careful, if you have arranged your do in an all inclusive complex that 'Uncle Bob' hasn't started celebrating, just a little too early in the day due to the endless supply of alcohol. This will mean that you and your bridal party are able to enjoy the lead up to your special ceremony and not have to take 'time out' to control your family and friends and their over lively escapades round the pool.
So we have talked about a destination wedding in Greece but we have said nothing about the actual ceremony.
A civil wedding in Greece is brief, rather like back home in your own country, but you are there, in all the kit, having flown thousands of miles for your dream wedding! If you are lucky enough to be staying in a resort where the local Registrar visits, or using a venue on their list, then you will have your civil wedding there and then.
The scene is set, the views are fantastic, the florals beautiful, the bridal party dreamy, Mums and Dads, have tears in their eyes, its all so romantic. The registrar says a few simple words in Greek, those said at any civil ceremony in Greece. This wording will be repeated in your own language by your wedding planner, there will be a ring and simple vow exchange and it's all over!
Did you know that you can have a Celebrant to create and officiate your special wedding abroad?
Now, in most areas of Europe this cannot be a legal ceremony, as it is in places like Australia and New Zealand for instance, but why not have the simple civil service back home to register your marriage, and then have the ceremony to 'celebrate' this marriage, your wedding, led by a celebrant in Greece?
A Celebrant is a person who celebrates and a Celebrant is the way to go if you are looking for something really special!
With a Celebrant to create your ceremony, you have no restrictions on time, place or style. It can be the ceremony you had always dreamed of; standing at the waters edge, the blue colour of the sea dominating the view, or with a pool side set up at your holiday villa, decorated perfectly in the style of your choice.
Your Celebrant will get to know your story, and create your unique ceremony and perform it on the day, giving you the type of ceremony you really deserve having traveled such a distance for your destination wedding.
So where do the olives, ouzo and pomegranates come in you may well ask? The Olive tree holds its place as one of the most beloved and sacred trees and plays a starring role in Ancient Greek history and the myths. The olive wreath symbolises victory and was used as the prize for the winners of the Ancient Olympic Games. An olive wreath as a bridal headpiece or foliage as button holes for the bridal party are trending now for destination weddings in Greece and are beautiful and stylish.
As a celebrant in Greece it is lovely to offer a little of Greece in to the ceremonies I create for couples choosing this beautiful country to tie the knot. Not only can the venue be decorated with olive branches and foliage, but we can also talk about strength, peace, friendship and hope, all things that the simple olive represents but also qualities that make up a successful marriage.
In Greek tradition, pomegranates symbolise fertility and prosperity and they grow all over Greece. Alongside the olive foliage, the unlikely pomegranate can be part of the décor. Just look at the colours!
Here in Greece the pomegranate is often used as a decoration on festive days, and on New Years day it is a tradition to break a pomegranate on the ground.
They are also brought as gifts to anyone moving in to a new home and always bring good luck.
So you already know that if you have a celebrant lead ceremony in Greece there are a number of different symbolic elements that can be included. That's not to say that you have to have any, but many people, once they have chosen their celebrant, only then, begin to understand how their celebrant can really enhance their special day. The ceremony should, by the way, be the most important part of any destination wedding.
When thinking about their ceremony, most often a couple will choose a couple of readings, perhaps from a book, film or song, that they enjoy together, or which have some special significance in their lives. They may well have their favourite music playing for the entrance of the couple and bridal party, also for a certificate signing, and finally for the last moments of the ceremony when the couple walk out together as partners for life. There is no reason why we can't add some light hearted but meaningful memorable moments as well.
Celebrants will talk to you about unity candle ceremonies, sand ceremonies, broom jumping, handfasting and flower and wish box ceremonies and probably many more! Often chosen is the wine ceremony whereby the couple choose their favourite wines, mix a little of each in to a glass and towards the end of the ceremony they both take a sip; wine symbolises sweetness and love.
Let's use Ouzo the National drink of Greece instead of the 2 wines! Mixed with a little water, so it turns cloudy, and sipped from the same glass by the couple, a little 'ouzaki' brings the feeling of summer, sun, relaxation, and friendship, and will certainly be a little 'Dutch courage' for anyone a little nervous of saying their vows in front of the gathering of family and friends! If nothing else you will certainly feel a little more Greek than you did before!
So these are just a few ways a Celebrant can enhance your destination wedding in Greece.
Sarah Hatjipavlis is a family celebrant based on the Island of Rhodes in Greece. Trained by the UK Society of Celebrants, Sarah specializes in destination wedding ceremonies with a difference.See Sarah's profile here
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