The film “My Big Fat Greek Wedding” introduced people all over the world to the joy and fun of a Greek weeding and the idiosyncrasies of growing up in a Greek family. The Greeks love food, family, wine, and tradition … in short, they love all things Greek! And according to the dad in the movie, Windex will cure anything. The road to marriage all begins with a couple falling in love, and at least symbolically, the gentleman asking his girlfriend’s father for her hand in marriage. A good Greek father wants his daughter to marry a Greek, and if not, to give him a good reason why not!
A traditional Greek wedding is held in the Greek Orthodox church and is a ceremony that hasn’t changed for hundreds of years. The wedding starts with the groom waiting for the bride at the entrance of the church. He hands her the bridal bouquet and they walk into the church together, followed closely by the guests who are attending the ceremony. The wedding takes place in two parts: The Service of Betrothal, which is the exchanging of the rings, and the Ceremony of the Sacrament of Marriage, which consists of prayers and the joining of hands, symbolizing their union from two individuals to one unified couple. Then the couple is Crowned with a wreath of flowers with flowing white ribbons, that is exchanged three times between the couple’s heads signifying their unity and their desire to work together as partners. The service is closed with the reading of the Gospel about the marriage of Cana at Galilee, the drinking of wine from a common cup three times, and the ceremonial walk around the altar three times, signifying the couples first walk as a married couple. The guests then throw rice at the couple. It is not unusual to see the priest holding up his hands or his Bible to protect himself from the onslaught of rice. When the rice subsides, the priest then removes the crown, separates their joined hands, and reminds the newlyweds not to break the union that God has joined together.
Greek receptions are wild affairs with lots of family, food, drinks, dancing, singing, and tradition. The bride leads the bridal party in a raucous, fun, quick stepping dance (called kalamatiano) where the group joins hands and skips around in a circle. Food is a major part of any great celebration, so the wedding reception will always have lots of baklava (honey & nuts pastry), spanakopita (spinach pie), lamb shanks with potatoes, dolmathakia (stuffed grape leaves), and loukoumades (golden fried dough puffs). Because the Greeks are a competitive lot, the reception will frequently turn into a culinary competition for the best recipes for Greek favorites. At the end of the reception as the party begins to die down, the groom cuts up his tie and sells the pieces for money to stuff their piggy bank for their honeymoon or their first home together.
The Avenue Banquet Hall is the ideal location to host a Greek wedding. The traditional Mediterranean menu is a perfect food choice for this event.