It actually went pretty much perfectly which shouldn't be as much of a shock as it is.
The worst thing about it all is the heat. We picked May because we knew it would be warm enough that people could have a nice holiday but cool enough that nobody would faint with the heat. However, what we didn't plan was Athens to have its warmest May for three million years...
It's been between 35 and 38 degrees over here for most of our visit which may sound like bliss to some of you but it's not that much fun when you're dressed up posh for weddings and christenings. Trust me.
So Saturday was the wedding. It was scheduled for Midday in a church that is two mins walk from my in-laws apartment but we still went by car so I wasn't dripping with sweat when I arrived. All of my 22 guests made it (it's in the middle of a residential area of Athens and several of the taxi drivers got a bit lost but they'd all left plenty of time so just enjoyed a bit of extra sight seeing).
Nobody really seemed to know what was going on and we all hung around a bit before the Priests made an appearance at which point it all got a bit surreal (for me at least). There were two Priests and a bloke whose job was to do the chanting. I have no idea what was said but we stood there looking respectful and, in my case, trying not to laugh. There was then lots of blessings of us, the rings, the Stephana etc and much kissing of the big ornate bible.
The main highlights of the service are that the best man puts the rings on our fingers and swaps them over three times before they’re ‘set’. BTW, in Greece you get them on your right hand, not your left so I’m pretty sure that I can get out of the marriage on a technicality if I need to! Then we have these halo type things on our heads called Stephana that are tied together. These are blessed and then the best man has to swap them over three times before we, him and the Priest walk round the altar three times with us wearing them so we’re symbolically tied together.
At this point (the walking round) the congregation throw rice at you. To give you an idea how much rice, I had enough basmati in my underwear to make a risotto. We then, for some bizarre reason, had to bow forward while the Priest rested an incredibly heavy book on our heads (none of the Greeks had ever seen that either so I figure it was special just for the English girl)
Finally we had to drink three sips of red wine each. This was the worst part for me (the book on the head a close second) as I don’t drink and whilst DH told me just to pretend the Priest was very enthusiastic and if I hadn’t opened my mouth red wine would have been down my white blouse.
The best bit was that at one point the bride has to stamp on the foot of the groom to show that she's still her own person, not just his wife.
And that was it, we were married!
The Taverna where we ate was five mins walk away (back past the apartment) so we all wandered down as we were past caring on the sweating stakes. DH and I had picked the taverna much to the disappointment of MIL as she really didn’t want us eating there (DH’s Grandmother went home rather than eat there!) However, they did us proud and the food was amazing – so good that MIL was forced to admit that she was wrong which was a highlight of the day.
Everyone had a blast and there was way too much food and drink. Brief speeches were made by DH and I thanking everyone for coming and it was all over. People wandered off around 5.30pm and we went home for a while.
Not for long though as we just needed to get Lia asleep and we were out again meeting three English and three Greek friends for drinks, kebabs and icecream. We finally staggered home at 1.15am which wouldn’t have been so bad if Lia hadn’t woken at 5.50am. Thankfully Grandmother was on hand to give her breakfast so we got a bit more kip.
So that was the Big Fat Greek Wedding. Apart from it being in a Church it was pretty much exactly what I wanted which is great. My next update will cover the Christening - the highlights of which were the red and white cake and me leading all the English (and some of the braver Greeks) in a ‘Show Me the Way to Amarillo’ congo round the reception hall…
Here's some pics. Please excuse my sweaty hair, it looked gorgeous before I was stood in the church for an hour, honest!
The Stephana Again
Us and the Best Man
The Candles (admire them they cost 150 Euros...). That's my famous MIL and the mad woman just caught in the left of the photo is my Mother
Bride, Groom and sleeping Baby...
A Cute pic of Lia from the Reception (with DH's Uncle and Aunt)