Thursday, September 20, 2018

What Is the Meaning of the Greek Wedding Dance Handkerchief?


While food plays a huge role in Greek weddings, music and dancing are also important. To put it into perspective it helps to know that there are more than 4000 traditional dances in the Greek culture, so yes, dancing is a big part of the celebration at Greek weddings. Probably the most infamous of these dances is the Money Dance. In the Greek wedding tradition this dance starts with the bride, the groom and a handkerchief, and it is during this dance that family and other guests give the bride and groom their wedding gifts in the form of money. That’s right, forget about toasters, crystal, or linen. Greeks give the gift that everyone needs – money.

Money Dance


How to Dance the Money Dance

Like the popular Greek Syrtos dance, the Money Dance (KalamatianĂ³s) is a line dance. Also known as the Bride’s Dance, this celebration starts with the bride and groom dancing with a handkerchief. The parents of the bride and groom prepare for this dance before the wedding by pinning together reams of the largest bill in their currency. (Some get fancy and create a crown made of money too.) During the Money Dance, the parents step forward first and drape the money stole they’ve crafted over the happy couple and then hold hands with them to form the start of a curving line of dancers, facing right.

Once the parents of the bride and groom have done their part, the rest of the wedding guests come forward and pin money on the couple. Some practice this a little differently by having guest throw money at the couple (no coins of course). This isn’t done in an orderly manner but can become pushy as everyone crowds around, but even the pushiness is part of the Greek wedding tradition. After pinning or throwing the money, guests join the dance line with the dancer at the right end of the line becoming the leader. This person can also perform a solo dance showing off moves like sapping his thighs while everyone else continues to do the basic step.

What Is the Meaning of the Greek Wedding Dance Handkerchief?

As I researched the Greek wedding dance, I tried to find out the significance of the handkerchief, but didn’t find anything specific. I do know that handkerchief dancing is part of Greek Orthodox weddings, so if you read this and can offer some insight, I’d love to hear from you.


Photo credits: Wikimedia

Monday, September 10, 2018

Meaning Behind Jordan Almond Wedding Favors


Jordan almond wedding favors are a common tradition that carries a special meaning with it. In the Greek wedding tradition, these candy-coated almonds are known as koufeta. I’m thinking that may be connected to the generic word used for this candy which is confetti. In the Italian wedding tradition, they are called coriandoli. As wedding favors, these sugared almonds are placed in pretty boxes or tulle bags called bomboniere which are often personalized with the couple's names and wedding date.



Koufeta Meaning in the Greek Wedding Tradition

In the Greek tradition, the bride and groom share little bombonieria (favors) filled with koufeta right after the ceremony as they greet their guests. In America, this tradition is slightly altered as they are included as one of the wedding favors at the reception. This wedding tradition finds its roots in Eastern Orthodox weddings and has been practiced for more than 3000 years, although back then the almonds were honey dipped. The salty-sweet combination is thought to symbolize life’s ups and downs and the hope that there will be more sweet than bitter. These favors typically include an odd number of almonds which represent the indivisible power of the couple’s marriage. Five is the most traditional number of almonds included in these wedding favors as each almond is thought to symbolize five hopes for married life: health, happiness, fertility, wealth and a long life.



Meaning of Jordan Almond Wedding Favors in the Italian Wedding Tradition

In Italy, these bomboniera are crafted by hand using silk, organza, tulle, ribbon and flowers and may be filled with confetti, almonds, or chocolates. A little tag (bigliettino) from Italy is attached. When using almonds, traditional Italian weddings include five Jordan almonds which represent five wishes for the bride and groom: health, wealth, happiness, children and longevity.

As with any wedding tradition, you can adjust the Jordan almond tradition to make it your own. Pack the almonds in small decorative boxes, serve a handful in a champagne glass or a small glass bowl. However you decide to present these special wedding favors, be sure to include a small card that explains the meaning with your guests using this traditional poem:

Five sugared almonds for each guest to eat
To remind us that life is both bitter and sweet. 
Five wishes for the new husband and wife –Health, wealth, happiness, children, and a long life!

Photo credits: Amazon, Amazon

https://historywedding.blogspot.com/2018/09/typical-ancient-greek-wedding-day.html

Tuesday, September 4, 2018

Typical Ancient Greek Wedding Day


Greek weddings are known for huge guest lists, plate smashing, and Greek foods including Baklava, and while I will write about Greek wedding traditions in my next post, I thought it would be fun to look at a typical ancient Greek wedding day first. Back in ancient Greece, the wedding ceremony was considered a decisive coming-of-age rite with the marriageable age for girls ranging from 12-15 years (men were 25-30). What we will look at today are the customs included in the wedding festivities that in some ways reflect our own modern customs.



Ancient Greek Wedding Feast

In ancient Greece, every wedding included a feast. It provided a bountiful amount of meat often supplied by the prenuptial sacrifices. Friends and family of both the bride and groom feasted together in a ritual sense of community, but men and women had to sit on opposite sides of the room. In Euangelos’ play the Anakalyptomene, we get an idea of just how ostentatious the food displayed might have been. In his depiction, the feast included veal, pork, pig, hare, custards cheese, pastries, lydian treats, eggs cake, and while foods did vary from one region to another, there was one traditional food offered at every Greek wedding called “sesame.” It was made from ground sesame seeds mixed with honey and formed into cakes. This custom was tied to fertility. The belief was that the prolific nature of the sesame seed could somehow be transmitted to the new couple.

Wedding Guest List

Like modern-day Greek weddings, the ancients also invited friends and relatives of the bride and groom to the celebration. At that time, men and woman didn’t gather together publicly in the same place but weddings were different. The men and women were allowed to assemble in the same room, but as I mentioned above the men sat on one side and the women on the other. So the brides and grooms of ancient Greece basically had the same problem of deciding who to include on the guest list. In ancient Athens, they tried to curb this problem through legislation that limited the number of guests to 30. Even with this restriction, it was common-place to find freeloaders trying to take advantage of the abundant food.

Wedding Venue

Ancient Greek weddings were often held in the home of one of the families-- either the father of the bride or the groom, but in most cases the two families collaborated. However, weddings didn’t always take place in the home. The wedding depicted in Menander’s Dyskolos took place in the shrine of Pan. Today evidence from inscriptions reveal this happened in real life too. In a 300 B.C inscription from Cos, there is evidence that weddings were held in cult sanctuaries. In this particular case, the wedding took place in the sanctuary of Herakles Dionmdonteios. However, not just anyone could use a sanctuary because use was only available to members of the group who oversaw and cared for the facility. And with the use of a sanctuary there were rules. In this particular case, the wedding had to take place in the same month in which they celebrated a festival to Herakles and then the wedding could use part of the meat of the festival sacrifices as part of the feast. However, Herakle had to be present at the celebration in th form of a statue, and he also had to have his own dining couch.



Dancing and Wedding Processions

Today when we say “wedding dance” we would probably think of the father of the bride dancing with his daughter and the groom dancing with his mother, or even the bride and groom’s first dance as husband and wife. However, in ancient Greece, dances accompanied all the stages of the ceremony. This included young men whirling in dance as the bride was led through the city in the wedding procession. Yes, a wedding procession was a formal part of the wedding day and it included flutes, cymbals and songs. Sometimes the groom took part in the procession but not always. Other times, the bride was brought to the bridal chamber to meet the groom there.

Another procession followed the wedding as the bride was ushered back to the groom’s house. While we might look at these processions as tradition, the ancient Greeks’ thought them to be divine in nature and involving a combination of gods and heroes. I might have to write a post on this topic alone as it is quite involved.

The last custom I’ll mention here is that of pelting the bride and groom with leaves and blossoms which was another fertility custom. In what I found in my research, it looks like the modern-day Greek’s might still throw rice. Much of what we can learn about ancient Greek weddings is depicted on vases from that time. To learn more specifics about ancient weddings in Greece check out The Nuptial Ceremony of Ancient Greece and the Articulation of Male Control Through Ritual.

Photo credit: historylink101, wikimedia
Resource: The Wedding in Ancient AthensBy John Howard Oakley, Rebecca H. Sinos

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Barefoot Weddings: An Ancient Celtic Wedding Tradition


Celtic wedding traditions like “tying the knot” with handfasting, jumping the broom, having bagpipes play as the bride walks down the aisle, or dressing in a kilt or wearing a jacket or a hat with a Tartan worn over the shoulder are popular Celtic traditions chosen by many modern-day couples for their wedding ceremony, but one less practiced Celtic tradition that can add a fun element to your special day is to make it a barefoot wedding.





Barefoot Weddings Today

Today, this ancient custom has been adopted for country themed weddings, and in some circles it is considered a “sign of purity” when you enter any religious site barefooted because the removal of shoes is thought to represent a person baring their soul. And of course, beach weddings are often barefoot weddings because it’s easier to walk on sand with bare feet. But what did going shoeless mean to the ancient Celts?


Celtic Barefoot Weddings

In the ancient Gaelic and Celtic tradition, the bridal party attended the ceremony with bare feet as a sign of simplicity and humility. This was also thought to represent the natural relationship being consecrated at the ceremony -- “natural” was key. Back then, Celtic marriages took place in a natural setting and were held in circles rather than in a church with an aisle, so guests stood in a circle to welcome the bride and the groom. (Circles are the design behind life-giving systems in nature and thought to be symbols of wholeness). And so bare feet making direct contact with the soil was a way of connecting to Mother Earth.

Barefoot sandals make a perfect accessory for a barefoot wedding.


Barefoot sandals are a popular choice for brides who want special “footwear” for their barefoot wedding, but before you decide on a barefoot wedding, it is important to note that some people are not fans of bare feet. In fact, some think walking around without shoes as rude, disgusting and unsanitary while others argue that shoes carry the same things as bare feet on their soles. So if you decide to go with a barefoot wedding, make the barefoot element clear on your invitation and maybe even include "why" you're choosing this ancient custom to avoid any problems on your special day.

Photo credits: Wikimedia, Amazon

Friday, July 27, 2018

History of Halo Engagement Rings


Today, the halo style engagement ring is the second most popular engagement ring style (solitare is first). One reason for this popularity is that for couples on a budget, the halo setting enhances the look of the center diamond making it look bigger with a halo of smaller diamonds circling it. This popularity isn’t something new, though. In fact, the history of halo engagement rings can be traced back to the Georgian era in Europe (1714-1837). At that time, halo rings were designed with smaller round diamonds or pearls circling the center stone. During the Victorian era (1837-1901) halo rings took on a new look that imitated flowers using colored gemstones as the center stone which made them a popular choice for an engagement ring. This popularity carried over into the 1920s when what we look at as the “classic” diamond halo setting of a larger round diamond surrounded by smaller round diamonds originated during the Art Deco movement.

Rose Gold Halo Engagement Ring


5 Popular Halo Engagement Ring Shapes

Today’s Halo diamond engagement rings are available with a variety of stylish options paired with it classic vintage panache. They can be purchased in a variety of precious metals including halo engagement rings crafted from rose gold and a variety of shapes including the trendy heart-shaped diamond. Other popular shapes include:

Cushion Cut Round Brilliant Cut Diamond


  • Vintage halo ring: The timelessness of vintage round diamond halo rings are still the most popular choice.
  • Halo engagement rings princess cut: The second most popular shape is the Princess cut. The face-up shape of the princess cut is square or rectangular. From the side it is comparable to an inverted pyramid with four beveled sides. These rings mingle classic luster and contemporary angles and is a shape found in many vintage halos.
  • Cushion cut halo ring: The cushion cut diamond unites a square cut with rounded corners. It gets the name “cushion” because it looks a lot like a pillow and makes a good choice for people who prefer a vintage look to their jewelry.
  • Emerald cut halo ring: The emerald cut shape brings emphasis to the clarity of the diamond. It’s has a large table and distinctive step-cut pavilion. The length of this cut compliments the finger.
  • Oval diamond halo ring: Oval shaped rings offer sparkle comparable to the round diamond but with a less common profile that brings a certain vintage charm with it and something a little different for brides who want to be unique.


Halo diamond engagement rings have made a beautiful, bold choice throughout history and still are a stylistic choice that makes any carat diamond appear bigger than it really is.

Photo credits: wikimedia.org, Amazon

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

4 Benefits of a Prewedding Photo Shoot


Taking prewedding photos is a growing trend and has become a new wedding tradition in its own right. A prewedding photoshoot is also referred to as an engagement photo shoot and usually takes place three to six months before the wedding. If you’re tossing around the idea and wonder if it is worth the extra cost, look for a photographer that includes it as part of the wedding photographer’s package. Otherwise, an hourly charge usually applies.


4 Benefits of a Prewedding Photo Shoot

Before the photoshoot, it best for the couple to sit down with the photographer and share their story. This can include things like how they met and what they like to do and ideas for locations and outfits that can be worn. Prewedding photos can be taken indoors or outdoors. Other than developing ideas for where and when the photo shoot can take place, planning a prewedding photo shoot can actually be beneficial in other ways. Two of these four benefits only apply if you plan to use the same photographer for your wedding.

  1. Taking prewedding photos is an ideal way to capture romantic moments between the couple and is a perfect opportunity to create special memories to be cherished in the future.
  2. Helps develop a good relationship with your wedding photographer. He/she will get to know you and be in touch with how formal or informal you are and what kind of setting(s) or theme(s) are suitable for your tastes.
  3. Also these photo shoots let the bride and groom get familiar with the photographer’s style and help them feel more comfortable working together.
  4. Prewedding photos can be used for save the date magnets and engagement announcements in the newspaper.



Creative Elements for Great Engagement Photo Shoot

Shooting great engagement photos relies on a few things. 

  • First, you want the photos to tell the bride and groom’s story.
  • Secondly, you want photos to capture more than actions. You want them to capture the emotions.
  • Thirdly, choose a backdrop meaningful in some way to the couple. For instance, if the bride and groom enjoy horses, pictures can be taken with an equestrian backdrop and even include a horse or two. Another idea may be something you do together, like baking cookies, or eating a romantic picnic lunch. Or for those planning a vintage themed wedding, a fun photoshoot may include outfits specific to an era and having the photographer include some sepia photos with a backdrop like an old train station or some other historic site. Other ideas include pictures taken in a place special to the couple like where he proposed, where they met, or where they went on their first date.



Whatever concept you plan to go with for your engagement photoshoot, it’s important that both the bride and groom are excited and embrace the idea, because a grumpy or bored participant will not make for good photos.




Monday, June 4, 2018

What Is a Cathedral Wedding Veil and Is It Right for You?


If you watched Prince Harry and Meghan Markle get married you saw a perfect example of a cathedral wedding veil making a regal entrance. In this case, it was a 16-foot silk tulle veil. The terms cathedral and tulle do not refer to the style of her veil but to the length and fabric. The length of a cathedral veil is between 108-120" and it extends beyond the train of the wedding gown.

Silver Crystals Scrolled Scallop-Edge Bridal

Embellishing a Cathedral Veil

Cathedral veils can remain elegantly simple and unadorned, but with all that fabric you have unlimited options of what you can do to embellish your veil if that's what you prefer. 


For instance, Meghan’s veil told a unique story as it included hand embroidered flowers which paid homage to all 53 Commonwealth countries. To make sure the veil remained pristine, those embroidering the flowers were required to wash their hands every 30 minutes.


Probably the most uniquely decorated veil I can think of was the wedding veil worn by Angelina Jolie when she married Brad Pitt. It was embellished with artwork created by her children! 

You may not have someone to hand embroider your wedding veil, but you can find already-embellished cathedral veils with crystals, rhinestones, or sequins, or a cathedral veil with lace, or a two-tier cathedral veil with a blusher accent giving it a romantic vintage look.

Is a Cathedral Right for Your Wedding Dress?


While it may seem romantic to picture yourself walking the aisle wearing a cathedral veil, the real question to ask is whether or not such a long veil is really the right length for your dress and overall look? When buying your wedding veil, test various veils when you go for your first dress fitting. Start shopping for your veil early. You want a veil that complements your dress in flow and design. Often, designers offer veils crafted specifically to be paired with their dresses, so that’s a good place to start looking. If you’re sporting a more informal overall look, it will be better to consider a shorter veil that pops with personality and yet stays true to the look you’re after like a bandeau or blusher, while the cathedral veil lends itself to a more formal traditional look.
Cathedral Veil with Blusher

If you want a long veil, but a cathedral bridal veil is too long, try a chapel wedding veil (90 inches) or a floor-length wedding veil (72 inches). If you don’t find the veil you love, you can always have a veil custom made based on your specifications.

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