Greek Wedding Traditions

We all fell in love with the lively Greek family in “My Big Fat Greek Wedding,” but which endearing reception traditions are the real deal and which are just in the movies? Here’s what actually goes on at a Greek wedding reception.

Jump ‘n Jive

The bride leads a raucous dance known as the kalamatiano, where the entire bridal party joins hands and skips in a circle (think Jewish weddings…without the chair). Guests also love the acrobatic tsamiko, where skilled dancers leap into the air, and the rowdy zebekiko, where dancers sequentially take shots of ouzo (a very potent Greek liquor) off of the floor.

Culinary Competition

Cooking is an art form in Greek culture, so it’s a given that mouthwatering cuisine is a focal point at Greek weddings -- it can even turn into a contest! Families and friends may bring breads and cakes or just contribute their best recipes to compete for a nod from the newlyweds recognizing their culinary prowess.

Bittersweet Souvenirs

Candy-coated Jordan almonds are a timeless Mediterranean wedding favor. The bitter-sweet combination symbolizes the hope that the difficult moments of the couple’s life will be balanced out with happiness. Fill tulle bags with an odd number of candies -- it signifies your unbreakable bond.

The Final Cut

In Greece, grooms cut up their tie at the end of the reception. According to tradition, the couple sells the pieces to guests and stashes the profits in their honeymoon piggy bank!

Special thanks to Danielle Tseperis Kalas, GreekBridal.com and Stephanie Peppas, Originals by Stephanie, Stefana.us

--Jocelyn Bresnick

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