Trends come and go, a bit like tides, where to get married, how to celebrate, who to invite, how much to spend, what to wear, indoor ceremonies, outdoor ideas, eco-friendly, themes, I could go on and on! These days due to higher expectations, millennials are looking for more and more unique ideas worldwide when organising their wedding day.
Greece is the perfect choice for a destination wedding. It is a truly wonderful spot in Europe as the country is made up of over 6000 Islands, admittedly only about 200 are inhabited, but Greece has wedding venues for all tastes and styles. With wonderful summer weather, fabulous sea views, clear mountain air, whitewashed traditional villages, and only a short flight away from Northern Europe, Greece has an eclectic range of places available for you and your partner to tie the knot. Obviously there are the famous Islands of Santorini and Mykonos, then of course Crete, Corfu, Kefalonia, and Rhodes and of course the Athenian Riviera (there are indeed many others too), but you may wish to consider one of the smaller less well-known rocks, not so commercial, less touristy, unspoilt, step back in time and tie the knot on an Island such as Chalki, Tilos or Karpathos.
Official paperwork requirements for a destination wedding in Greece.
When planning a wedding abroad, most couples start by researching what paperwork they will need. Often this can be one of the most stressful times during the planning process. It is very important to work with a wedding planner when gathering together all the official paperwork as requirements in Greece can vary from town to town and Island to Island and you really need the support of a local in Greece to help you with this.
What if I was to tell you that you could have a destination wedding in Greece with no paperwork requirements at all! Trending in Greece are celebrant led ceremonies which can be held at any venue, at any time of day with no restrictions at all. A professional celebrant will get to know you over time and will write an original ceremony just for you in the style you always dreamed of.
What is a symbolic ceremony?
A symbolic wedding ceremony in Greece is just the official way of saying a ceremony without any legal paperwork. In essence, there is absolutely nothing symbolic about it at all! It is a wedding ceremony to celebrate a marriage. Now the marriage is the official bit, wherever you are in the world and there is absolutely no reason why you should combine the marriage with the wedding. Most couples will just pop to their local registry office, with a couple of witnesses and do the paperwork freeing them up for the ceremony of their dreams in Greece to celebrate. Very often a couple will not even tell their family and friends that they have already signed on the dotted line and will have a symbolic signing at their ceremony in Greece.
Why choose a celebrant led a symbolic ceremony in Greece?
The reason that any couple may choose to have a celebrant led symbolic ceremony in Greece, is not only the fact that there are no paperwork requirements but also that this type of ceremony can be held anytime and anywhere, meaning there are literally hundreds of additional venues that you can consider and there are no time constraints at all. A standard civil ceremony in Greece which is the official way is very short and sweet, conducted by the local officiant or registrar it takes about 10 minutes. Just seems too quick for any couple who have travelled far and wide for their special day.
If you don’t need to use an authorised venue, this means you have a never-ending choice of places for your ceremony. You could book your favourite restaurant or have your ceremony poolside at one of a kind holiday villa? Alternatively let’s set up the ceremony on board of a private yacht, or at a deserted beach. You can include anything you like in your ceremony, there will be no set scripts, you can even have a theme. In this modern world of total marriage equality, this will also allow for all couples and I mean all couples to have their wedding ceremony in Greece, a country which until now doesn’t officially recognise a single-sex marriage.
Symbolic rituals at your destination wedding in Greece.
Trending this summer was the Unity Sand ceremony as this is a wonderful way to allow any children present to participate. If a couple has kids already, or perhaps this is a second time round ceremony and there are children on both sides, then a sand ceremony is the perfect way to bring everyone together and create lasting memories. It’s also a great way to keep little ones occupied during the ceremony itself as they have something to do!
Greece is a country full of so many traditions, it is also a lovely idea to include some in your special ceremony. Bombonieres-Greek favours, Stefana-Greek crowns, are popular as are odd numbers, very lucky in Greece, ring blessings and of course the number three, everything at an official Greek Orthodox wedding takes place three times to represent the Holy Trinity. Another great Greek wedding custom is to write all the names of the single women present on the sole of the bride’s shoe, all the names that are worn off during the wedding party will be the next in line for a wedding!
With a celebrant led ceremony in Greece lets include some of your own traditions, it’s time to step out of the box and create the ceremony you always dreamed of, here in Greece overlooking the wonderful blue waters.
Sarah Hatjipavlis is a professional celebrant based on the Island of Rhodes, travelling around Greece creating and performing destination weddings. There is nothing she likes better than a large group and is happy when asked to stay on after the ceremony and act as Master of Ceremonies for the wedding reception. Equally, she enjoys creating a ceremony for an intimate elopement and prides herself on thinking outside of the box. If you are a couple looking for a celebrant for your special day in Greece, contact her for a chat to discuss ideas and if you have Greek heritage she speaks Greek too!