Jul 13, 2013


Planing a Big Fat Cyprus Wedding

More or less, weddings are the same all over the western world.

- Preparation of bride+groom

- Ceremony by a priest or mayor

- Party with friends and family

Every country though, or even every region in the same country, has its own different traditions that make each wedding different in its own way.

So let me walk you through my Big Fat Cypriot Wedding:

In Cyprus we have big weddings. We invite absolutely-every-single-one-person, the couple and the parents know! Everyone.

The funny thing is that, even though it is almost certain to invite 2000+ people, you can still have an “open” or a “close” type of wedding.

Open is were you invite absolutely-every-single-one-person and feed absolutely-every-single-one-person dinner in a buffet-style reception. To do this, the couple must have a venue that can accommodate at least 1500 people. The majority of the guests will come, wish the couple, give them money (yes, save that for a later explanation), eat/drink and leave.

Close is when you invite (all together now) absolutely-every-single-one-person but have a reception with canapés and finger food for the masses and a formal dinner for 350-450 friends and family. This type gives the couple more options for a venue but you still need to feed everyone in one way or another. (Food is very important to Cypriots!)

We are having an open wedding.


In the morning of the wedding the bride and the groom are getting ready at their parents homes.

The close relatives and friends get to the bride/grooms home where “the dressings” are done. Musicians playing traditional music come usually dressed in traditional uniforms and singing traditional “wedding songs”. I don’t know if I’ve mentioned that it`s all very traditional!

While the musicians sings, the “BM” helps the bride/groom put the final touches in their outfits. They shave the groom. The bride writes on the sole of her shoes the names of her single friends so “that they would quickly follow in her footsteps and find their significant other”. [At the end of the day those whose names that are no longer visible is believed that will get married very soon (like the bouquet toss)].

Planing a Big Fat Cyprus Wedding photo 1

The parents and close relatives take turns and tie a big red handkerchief three times around the bride/grooms waist. This is for good luck and fertility.

Planing a Big Fat Cyprus Wedding photo 2 Planing a Big Fat Cyprus Wedding photo 3


Then again they take turns and “smoke” them. Not in that way!! Jiiiiz! What are you people thinking?


This way:Planing a Big Fat Cyprus Wedding photo 4  It is like the incense sticks used to cleanse the bad energies.

Then they head for the church-have the religious ceremony-exit the church-yaayyyyyy we are married!

The only different thing is that the groom meets the bride in front of the church and they “walk to marriage” together.

And now the fun begins. They head for the venue, where the couple stands in a decorated spot at the entrance, followed by their parents. Like this:

Planing a Big Fat Cyprus Wedding photo 5 The guests walk by the couple, congratulating and handing cards with money to them, and then proceed to the dinner.

Remember the guest numbers? Well this can normally take 2-3 hours. But the couple and the parents do not complain of sore feet because they will gather a lot of money from this. Money, that will cover all the wedding expenses and then some (depends on how expensive the whole thing was) to help the couple financially at the beginning of their life. Usually it’s enough to cover some loans or even a deposit for buying a house.

You see, this is a type of a “social loan”. The couple receives a certain amount of money when it’s most needed, and pays it back, bit by bit when it’s their turn to go to other people’s weddings. Furthermore, the couples` parents get their money back in a way, after being invited to various weddings themselves for all these years. Well it takes a social study to Analyze This (pun intended), but we won`t be going there. We will Analyze That video with highlights of a Cypriot wedding:

(It’s from MY videographer) (my my my my my)


ok, here's another one


Here you can see the "guests giving money parade" 



(18) Comments

Holy wow - 2000 guests??! That's a party!! Thanks for sharing these traditions, it's very neat!

Hahaha Wiwi, you can always start a tradition!

nenyibabs yes we do have a lot in common! The money dance was very very common in Cypriot tradition until very recently! 

We do have a lot in common. In my own setting, people spray you with money while you dance. I remember we made more than USD2100 from the money people sprayed us during the dances.

I can imagine. Just reminds me of african weddings. You have 400guests, and it is considered to be an 'intimate,small affair'. Hm.