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Tracking Down Traditions: Greek Crowning

If you’ve never had the opportunity to attend a Greek Orthodox wedding, I would urge you to accept the invitation should one ever come your way. They are steeped in beautiful symbolism and traditions…enough to fill several weeks worth of this series. But the focal point of the Marriage Ceremony is the Crowning, which is where we, too, will focus today.

Recent Hitched Events couple Victoria and Michael Bishop, pictured here, incorporated the Crowning in their ceremony as a nod to Victoria’s Greek heritage. Can’t you sense the poignant significance of the ritual in the pictures? But what does it all mean?

Crowning for Emily _001

Crowning for Emily _003

photos by Joseph Mark Photography

According to Saint George Greek Orthodox Cathedral’s website, “the crowns are signs of the glory and honor with which God crowns them during the sacrament…and establishes them as the King and Queen of their home, which they will rule with wisdom, justice and integrity.” Often, the crowns will be joined by a ribbon which is symbolic of God’s presence in the marriage and is a physical joining of the two together. Once the officiant blesses the couple, the crowns are interchanged between the bride and the groom three times by either the priest of religious sponsor, known in the Greek Orthodox church as the Koumbaro, serving as witness to the sealing of the union.


Crowning for Emily _002

photo by Joseph Mark Photography

The repetition of acts in threes can be found throughout the entire Greek Orthodox wedding ceremony, and is meant to represent and invoke the presence of the Holy Trinity. In addition to the crowns being interchanged three times, the bride and groom’s rings are exchanged three times and they take a ceremonial walk around the altar table three times.

Sitting in the cathedral, witnessing one of these ceremonies, it is hard not to be moved by the very specific intent of every single aspect and detail of the ceremony. The couple’s commitment to not only each other, but their faith, is palpable. I truly love ceremonies that reflect the monumental commitment the couple is making to one another and this certainly does just that.

Have you witnessed a Greek Crowning Ceremony? Did you have a Greek Orthodox wedding yourself? Tell us more about it!

Do you have a wedding tradition or ceremony you’d like to learn more about? Let us know! We’ll do the research and share the details with you here!

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