Our friends at JoPhoto in Knoxville often send us weddings that are a little bit out there. Today's wedding certainly fits that description, but only because it's so gorgeously steeped in tradition! I'll let the photographer explain:
Ashley and Pano’s wedding at St. George Greek Orthodox Church in Knoxville, Tennessee was more than breathtaking! St. George is one of the most gorgeous churches in Knoxville. From the stained glass windows to the beautiful mosaics and the paintings on the ceiling, everywhere you look is breathtaking!
Ashley and Pano’s wedding was a traditional Greek Orthodox wedding, so there were aspects of the ceremony unlike other denominations. Many rituals in the ceremony are repeated three times, symbolizing the Holy Trinity: God the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. The bride and groom do not make vows to each other – their presence together in the church is taken to mean that they are serious about getting married. The priest joins the right hands of the bride and groom. Their hands remain joined until the end of the wedding ceremony, which symbolizes the couple’s union. The rings are placed on the third fingers of their right hands, and then the rings are swapped over between the bride and groom’s fingers, three times. The bride and groom are crowned with thin crowns, or “stefana”, which are joined by a white ribbon and have been blessed by the priest. The crowns are exchanged over the bride and groom’s heads three times. Wine is given to the couple and they each drink from it three times. The priest the leads the couple, who are still wearing their “stefana”, three times around the altar on their first steps as a married couple.
Ashley and Pano’s wedding reception was at the Crowne Plaza in downtown Knoxville -- complete with a whole roasted pig and the wedding guests dancing all night long to Greek music!