Category | Weddings

Modern Day Greek Wedding – II

Posted on 07 December 2015 by admin

The last article touched on the practices of Ancient Greece in regards to marriages and this time, we will expound on the practices of modern Greek traditions. Some of these interesting ideas could be incorporated in our Asian practices as well.

Today, Greek weddings typically consist of 3 stages:

1)     The pre-wedding Ceremony
2)    The Wedding Ceremony
3)    The post-wedding Ceremony


During the pre-wedding (the engagement), couples exchange rings in the presence of friends and families, followed by a feast thereafter. The making of the wedding flag (twigs intertwined with apples) marks the beginning of the wedding week and this is done at the home of the bride.

An interesting old fashion tradition is the rolling of babies on the matrimonial bed where babies of families and friends are gently rolled from side to side to bring fertility luck. The bed is also decorated with sweets, coins and rose petals.

On the day of the ceremony, the groom’s flag bearer raises his flag and the procession makes it way to the bridal home where the groom is greeted by the bride’s mother and asks for her blessings.


The Wedding Ceremony

The Ceremony itself consists of 2 main stages – the Bethrotal and the Crowning. At the bethrotal, a priest blesses the rings over the heads of the couple, three times. Traditionally, this was an oral petition between the suitor and the father of the bride, that is translated “the giving of the pledge into the hand”. These rings are placed on the third finger of the right not the left hand.

An interesting point to note is that engagement is still practiced where the exchange of rings was first to be worn on the left hand and is only worn on the right at the bethrotal blessing ceremony during the wedding.

The Crowning is the highlight of the ceremony where the couple is crowned by garland wreaths, vines or crowns. This symbolizes the unity of the couple and the presence of Christ who blesses and unites them as king and queen of their home. A white ribbon uniting the crown is to be kept intact for life.

No Greek wedding is complete without the burning of 2 white candles (lambades) by the Bible indicating that Christ, the light of the world, will light the way for their new life together. A special sweet wine offered by the priest to the couple during the ceremony is drunk from one cup and symbolizes that, although they are two separate individuals, they share the one life together.


Post wedding ceremony

At the reception, the feasting and dancing commences. The first dance is performed by the bride and groom together, known as the Isaiah dance. Thereafter, the bride leads the dance with her entire bridal party holding hands and forming a circle. Money is thrown at the musicians and the dishes are broken on the dance floor for good luck. This was done in the ancient times to indicate the wealth of the family as they would burn the plates after the weddings instead of washing or recycling them for other uses.

During the reception, the bridal floral bouquet or a pomegranade could be thrown by the bride – symbolising fertility due to the many seeds contained in that fruit.

One prevailing culture that has permeated through many parts of the world is the Koufetta, or known as bambouniere- This is a little sweet gift for the guests that originated from the Greeks, and spread to many other cultures in the world.

The husband now brings his wife to his new home, where she will throw an old piece of iron to the roof to symbolise the strength of this new home that they are establishing.

An interesting practice that has continued through the times is that of dowry. Dowry is still performed today, given by the bride’s family to the groom.


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Ancient Greek Wedding Traditions – I

Posted on 05 June 2014 by admin

Greece is unique in the stage of world history as it is recognised as the first period attested directly with historiography, thanks to Herodotus “the Father of History” and his meticulous recordings around 450 BC.

We owe many of our developments to the Greek civilisation – philosophy, democracy, Pythogoras Theory in the advancement of mathematics, the Olympics – just to name a few. This great civilisation has influenced the foundation for western civilisations as we know them today.

Hence, it is fascinating to discover how Greek weddings were about – in the ancient times (part 1) and the modern day Greek wedding in part 2.
The first bride (and woman) in Greek history is Pandora, which means “to give” – the bride would arrive at the grooms house as a free gift and bearing gifts for him.

Plato expressly stated that a man should be married before he was 35 and that in choosing a wife, one should consult the interest of the State above his own. The primary objective of the wedding is to procreate.

It is interesting to note that back in the classical Greek era, there was usually a 15-year age gap between the couple, where a man usually marries when he was around 30 years old, to a girl around 15 years old, as soon as she comes to age.

By the Spartan laws, criminal proceedings could be taken against those who married too late or who chose to remain single. Marriage was considered an affair of the State, hence warranted the regulation thereof.

In Athens however, it is interesting to note that marriages between siblings were allowed however, not that of direct descendents (e.g father and daughter).In fact, did you know that when a Spartan woman did not bear children with her husband, she was required by the laws to cohabit with another man? Wife-sharing and selective breeding was acceptable. If a man was not physically strong, he would allow another man to impregnate his wife. Furthermore, fathers were allowed to dispose their daughters to marriages as they willed and husbands, their widows as they deem their rightful guardians.

Thankfully, many of these practices have evolved today and my next article will cover the modern weddings.

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Wedding Ideas that Make an Impact – 3

Posted on 15 October 2013 by admin

Our final part of the 3 part series sheds some light on the event day and shares some fine finishing touches that liven up the occasion.

1)    Lighting – little white lights streamed symmetrically on the ceiling and candle tea lights to guide the entrance way (be careful of this with children around) would be a lovely way to light up your wedding.

Image via bridalguide

2)    Leave little bells on the table for each guest that every time that a joke is told, they can either choose to laugh heartily or to jingle the bell. The bell could also be used after the function as the couple leaves the room.

3)     The Entrance to a wedding always makes a huge impact so spend special time in thinking of how to decorate this – halogen balloons, flowers, balloon arches, birds in cages singing etc.

4)     Little details. Remember to include a map (link to google maps), instructions for parking, signs to restrooms (you can cut a photo of the couple in the restroom nearby for an added wow factor).

5)     After the wedding – releasing of birds or balloons in the sky or if the event is in the evening, a firework display may light up the occasion.

Ah well then, after all these little titbits to spice up your wedding day, here is a famous toast often said at weddings: “A toast to the two secrets of a happy marriage: Here’s to a good sense of humor and a short memory!”

We would love to read from you on how you had make your wedding day memorable and hear your thoughts on our article.

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Wedding Ideas that Make an Impact – 2

Posted on 23 September 2013 by admin

This is the second part of our article. Here you will find more TITBITS that may help you think through the preparation of your wedding day.

1)  Wedding Gown
For a wedding gown, aside from the traditional dresses, opt for one that reflects a fusion of culture. One bride I knew designed her cheongsum from saree material. Or a kebaya designed in cheongsum material could work well too.


2)  Colour Theme
Select a colour theme for the guests’ outfit for the wedding. A Spanish friend had all his guests arrive in Black and White while the bride stood as the only one in a red evening gown. Another wedding saw couples coming in various TV characters.

3)   Tents and Covering.
Dramatic Tents. Nothing beats dramatic tents highlighted with colourful curtains that fit the wedding theme. Especially in a beautiful tropical garden setting. Malaysia has magnificent outdoors that make perfect settings for a unique celebration that invites personalisation of themes and decòr.

4)    Photo and Video Booth.
Set up a section at the reception, where guests can leave candid messages to the couple. That would be kept as a memory for a very long time. At the same time, photographers could shoot a photo of your guests and have them printed during the wedding, to be picked up with a specialized frame after the wedding.

5)    Deserts.
If you are having an outdoor wedding, you could hire an ice-cream man or truck to drive there and hand out old childhood favourite deserts such as ice-cream in a bun!

Log onto the blog to find out some more tips on how to make your wedding day memorable in part 3 of our series coming out soon. “I always cry at weddings, especially my own” Humphrey Bogart.

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Wedding Ideas that Make an Impact – 1

Posted on 12 September 2013 by admin

I do, I do, I do.
After years of organizing weddings, The Big Rajah has put in some tips together on creating an impactful wedding with just a few little ideas in our three-part series. To all our readers, please do join in our forum and share some of the most outstanding ideas that you have come across or have organized for your very own day.

1)    Invitation cards

-       create a logo for your own wedding
-       create a caricature of the couple
-       design a 3D wedding invitation (my friend once sent out a match stick box as an invitation; a match made as its theme)
-       design a newspaper announcement as an invitation, which then gives you space to write about the couple etc
-       or simply, handwrite your wedding invitations!

Send out the invitation cards attached with a little gift through a specialized delivery service. For instance, a brooch that the ladies could wear for the wedding.

2)    Thank you cards

Remember your thank you cards and insert a photo of the bridal couple, better yet, of the guest with you or at the wedding.

3)    Venue

For indoor weddings, choose venues with a fantastic view. The Big Rajah has a special concession with KL Tower for its guests for instance. That would wow the guests with a magnificent view of the city while the ceremony takes place.

4)   Entry Song

Instead of the standard wedding march, have your hubby sing to you as you walk down the aisle (my sister’s husband compose a very romantic song and sang to her while playing the guitar) or have a choir sing as you walk in. That would make a dramatic entrance.

For the second entry, have dancers before the bridal couple announcing their entrance, and strewing the floor with rose petals.

The second part of the article will detail a little more on wedding gowns, colour themes, tents as well as some ideas for desserts. Socrates once said: “By all means marry; if you get a good wife, you’ll be happy. If you get a bad one, you’ll become a philosopher”.

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Chinese Wedding Traditions

Posted on 28 November 2012 by admin

In the ancient Chinese writings, the characters 婚姻 indicate that the most auspicious time to have a wedding is during the evening as it represents love, harmony and friendship – the way marriages ought to be. Marriages only became a custom around 402 to 221BC and were traditionally performed within the same social class of society.

There are 6 rituals to a traditional Chinese marriage, founded on their tradition of “three letters and six etiquettes”, which are based on 3 distinguished ancient books called the Book of Rites, The Book of Etiquettes and Ceremonial and the Baihu Tong:
1) Proposal – the groom’s family sends gifts and reveals their intention to the bride’s family
2) Birthdate matching as well as horoscope matching, should the family of the bride accept the proposal of the groom
3) Betrothal Price (which is a gift from the groom to the bride’s family)
4) Wedding Gifts – where the groom’s family would present gifts (wedding cake, brandy, oranges, peanuts, a whole roast piglet or pork legs and dragon/ phoenix candles as well as bangles). In return, the bride’s family will replace the 2 brandy bottles with orange syrup, and return the equal goods to them along with 2 phoenix candles which are to be lit up by the groom’s family on the wedding day)
5) Wedding Date – this auspicious date is decided by the elders of the family in consultation with the astrologer
6) Wedding Ceremony

Wedding processions begins  from the bride to the groom’s home which includes the music band, maids of honor, bride’s sedan and dowry. Welcoming the bride at the site of the groom’s home is tradition. Matrimony: here is where the bridal couple pay respects to God and those deceased. The Tea Ceremony: tea is served to the family of the groom and then the bride, from the oldest to the youngest, to express gratitude to the family. In exchange, the bridal couple will be given gold or cash, often in red ang-pow packets, as a sign to wish them “good luck”. The Feast is finally thrown for all their guests, first feast for the bride’s side and thereafter one for the groom’s side of friends and family.

Before entering the nuptial chambers, the couple will exchange nuptial tea cups and perform 4 ceremonial bows as follows: to God (or to Heaven and Earth), the deceased, their parents and finally to the couple themselves.

The recurring theme that is seen is the incorporation of the bride into the groom’s family.   However, what is most beautiful of Chinese weddings is seen in its calligraphy, the Double Happiness. If you look closely at this Chinese character that originated from the Tang Dynasty, you will see 2 persons walking hand in hand (where the top squares  represent their heads and the bottom squares their feet). What better way to say, “when 2 become 1″.

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Indian Wedding Traditions

Posted on 20 November 2012 by admin

It is estimated by sociologists that over 90% of marriages in India are arranged marriages (Ahloowahlia, 2009)*. This marriage model has survived for over three thousand years, surprisingly steadfast through changes and modernization of the world and the given the overwhelming media influence of Bollywood that celebrates love-marriages. Interestingly, traditional Indian marriage is ranked as having one of the highest numbers of arranged marriages that still exist amongst the various cultures in the world and yet carries one of the lowest in divorce rates (only 1.1% in India as compared to nearly 50% in the USA)**.

So how does this all take place?

The Match

In the absence of a partner of choice, family members meet to discuss the prospects of their children being united in matrimony, should there be an expression of interest on both parties. Prior to that, a matchmaker is appointed with a given match criteria list (this wish list may consist of various criteria such as religion, education level, physically desirable traits, caste, numerology, horoscope, financial status etc.) and thereafter an exchange of photos by the parties.

Pre-Wedding- The Engagement & The Sangeet

Upon the match, the engagement date is fixed by family elders in consultation with the priest. The groom’s party will bring, with a convoy of close family and friends, a gift offering to the bride’s family. Customary, sweets are offered as well as other precious items such as gold and saree dresses. Hereon, the soon-to-be bridal couple will begin their romantic dating period.

During the Sangeet, which is the day before the wedding, there will be a party with song, food and dance, celebrated at the bride’s home where henna based intricate patterns (called mehendi) are applied to her hands and feet. Here, her other female-friends will also have the opportunity to apply mehendi to their hands. 


The ceremony is kickstarted with the arrival of the Barrat, a formal procession that includes friends, family members of the groom and is welcomed at the venue by the bride’s family. The groom is only allowed to enter after receiving the blessing from the bride’s mother, in a ritual called “aarti”, rotating a small earthen lamp around him.




Jaimala” is when the bridal couple exchange garlands and is considered married. Thereafter, they will exchange vows before God, through the chanting of hymns with the priest. Next, they walk around a fire seven times, with a part of their costumes knotted together. Finally, he puts vermilion on the hair parting of the bride, and he puts on a chain around her neck, both of which she is to wear for life.

Finally, the wedding feast is thrown, a lavish banquet with usually over 500 guests in attendance celebrating more than a union of two persons, but that of two families.

*B. S. Ahloowalia, Invasion of the Genes: Genetic Heritage of India, AEG Publishing Group, 2009
** Divorce Rate In India Divorce Rate In India


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