I Love You Three Times!
Greek wedding ceremony traditions include elements presented in repetition of threes—representing the Father, Son, and the Holy Spirit and other symbols represent unity of the couple and Koumbaris are very involved, whether it’s one sponsor to two.
Prior to the actual wedding ceremony, the couple meets with a Greek Orthodox priest three times; this begins the traditional importance of doing everything in threes.
The first part of the ceremony is called the service of the Betrothal and begins with the priest blessing the rings and crossing them three times over the top of the couple—again representing the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. The Koumbari or sponsors are next given the rings and three times the sponsor exchanges the rings on both the bride and groom’s right, not left ring fingers. This effort by the Koumbari represents betrothal and has been traditional for centuries. The purpose of the exchanging of the rings three times represents unity and how the couple will be bound to one another through good and bad times. Candles are held by the couple and they are always white and represent the couple’s faith in Jesus.
Next, is the Stepsis part of the wedding also known as the crowning. Crowns can of the very expensive with jewels and gems to the simple and are connected by a white ribbon and symbolize the couple are essentially the kind and queen. Once the crowns are placed on the heads of the couple the priest offers three prayers to God to bless the couple. This part is similar to traditional weddings only instead of the bride and groom changing verbal vows, the priest claims they will have fidelity, love, children, happiness, and trust. At the end of the final prayer, the couple’s hands are joined by the priest symbolizing unity.
Scriptures from the Epistle and Gospel are read by the priest. These are key readings as they follow the exact prayer-format from the wedding at Cana in Galilee (a wedding Jesus attended turning water into wine). A plain goblet is used offering wine, much as in ancient times and offered to both.