A Perfect Greek Wedding
|1) 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.|
2) From 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 traveling dance troupe just gotten off the bus?
3) As 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.
|4) As the happy group passed beneath us there was not a bride or groom in sight. The group 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.||5) They 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.|
|6) 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 to keep them playing.||7) It was a mixed crowd of Greeks and foreigners and the dancing went on through the evening. People who just happened to be in the taverna that night took part in the celebration too.|
|8) Even the priest danced. If I was ever to get married this was exactly how I would have done it.|
You can do this wedding for a lot cheaper than what a wedding will cost in Santorini. For more information contact Aegean Thesaurus Travel on Sifnos with this form.
Getting Married in Greece: The RealityGetting 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 actuallyprovide weddings as a service (for example see Fantasy Travel's wedding pages). How much of the bureaucratic tangle they will deal with for you varies but there are other people in Greece like Dorian Kokas who for a price will deal with all the unpleasantries of getting the paperwork done. Most of the weddings are held in Santorini, where foreign weddings are more common because you can't find a setting much more romantic then on the rim of a volcano with the sea 1000 feet below.
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 translated.
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 there.
Getting Married in Greece the Easy WayAssuming 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.)