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Getting Married in Greece

The vast majority of  foreign weddings are held in Santorini where it is practically an industry. But you can get married on just about any island in Greece these days if you have done your homework or have paid someone to do it for you. The most popular islands for getting married after Santorini are Sifnos, Kea, and Mykonos since they are all beautiful islands and close enough to Athens to make it easy for guests to come.

A Perfect Greek Wedding

1) The most beautiful wedding I have ever seen took place in the village of Vathi on the island of Sifnos in the Greek Cyclades. We were not officially guests of the wedding though we knew the brother of the bride. We just happened to be staying in the village and when he saw us we were invited to a celebration I will always remember.

 2) From our vantage point, which was the room we had rented in a tiny monastery on the second floor, we saw the wedding party walking along the beach towards us. They were not exactly walking, more like dancing and at first we were unsure what this mass of people signified. Had a traveling dance troupe just gotten off the bus?

3) As they got closer we saw that they were being led by two musicians one on the fiddle and the other playing an aoud. As they played they also sang and the people in the wedding party would laugh at the lyrics. The two old musicians I have seen and heard at many panagiris (religious festivals) and celebrations on Sifnos and are for hire.

4) As the happy group passed beneath us there was not a bride or groom in sight. The group disappeared into the village and when they reappeared they had the bride and groom with them. She was a famous daytime television actress and he was from Austria.

5) They all went into the church where the ceremony was held, led by a bearded Orthodox priest. Then the church emptied and they filled the small courtyard and the music continued until sunset when the real fun began.

6) The group slowly drifted apart and then reappeared at the restaurant of Manolis, down the beach. There was a lamb roasting and the two old musicians were still going strong, their wine glasses kept full throughout the night to keep them playing.

7) It was a mixed crowd of Greeks and foreigners and the dancing went on through the evening. People who just happened to be in the taverna that night took part in the celebration too.

8) Even the priest danced. If I was ever to get married this was exactly how I would have done it.

You can do this wedding for a lot cheaper than what a wedding will cost in Santorini. For more information contact Aegean Thesaurus Travel on Sifnos with this form.

Getting Married in Greece: The Reality

Santorini, Oia Getting married in Greece requires some red tape and in Greece, any red tape is too much. But it can be done and there are people who actually provide weddings as a service (for example see Fantasy Travel's wedding pages). Most of the weddings are held in Santorini, where foreign weddings are more common because you can't find a setting much more romantic then on the rim of a volcano with the sea 1000 feet below.

If you want to do it on your own you will need to contact the president or mayor of the community for a civil wedding, or the head priest for a religious wedding. Your birth certificate will need to be translated and an ad put in the local papers so that anyone on the island who has a reason for you not to get married can protest in advance rather then come on like Dustin Hoffman in the Graduate. You can also use a US marriage license in Greece, as long as it has been authenticated  by the Greek consulate in the USA and translated.

One of the best reasons to get married in Greece is that you don't have to travel very far for your honeymoon. You are already there. Also how many people have wished they could bring their friends and family with them on their honeymoon? If they made it to the wedding then they will be there.

Getting Married in Greece the Easy Way

Santorini HoneymoonAssuming that you believe that a wedding is an exchange of vows before God, then there is an alternative to going through the red tape of the civil or Orthodox wedding, or spending the money to have it done professionally. This would be a simple exchange of vows, with or without witnesses after having been 'officially' married by a justice of the peace in America. You find the most beautiful, spiritual spot you can and before of eyes of God and either by yourselves or in the company of friends, exchange your wedding vows. No red tape, no permission needed, no money down. Just the two of you in your own special ceremony that you will always remember because it was 100% yours. You can spend the first few days of your trip looking for the perfect location and that will add purpose to the journey.

If you want it to be 'official' have one of your friends send away to became an ordained minister from one of the many churches that do this. Once he fills out the paperwork he can legally perform marriages. I actually did this once and if I had not let my 'membership' in the Church of Mother Earth lapse, I would be in Santorini right now performing marriages in exchange for food and wine. I think it cost me $25 to become a minister and I did perform one wedding in North Carolina. (They are divorced now.)

  Getting Married in Greece: Useful Information

Crysopigi, Sifnos, GreeceSo in Greece there are many ways to do this and it depends upon what type of person you are which method you will use. If you are interested in seeing some wedding packages in Santorini offered by Fantasy Travel visit the Fantasy Travel Wedding and Renewal of Vows Page.

They can give you a package and take care of all the details including the reception, transportation, paperwork and hotel reservations for your guests and handle any travel arrangements you will need either before or after the ceremony. They can also help you create your own unique wedding.

You can also do the simple Sifnos wedding as outlined above by contacting Aegean Thesaurus Travel with this Form

If you need wedding rings see Byzantino Jewelry since if you are going to be married in Greece you will probably want something appropriate. Or check out Olympico Jewelry which has more modern Greek jewelry.

To read about the Traditional Greek Service of the Crowning click here

Read the Official US Embassy Report on Marriage in Greece.

See also Matt's Greece Honeymoon Page

Any questions or comments? Contact Matt. Join Matt Barrett's Greece Travel Guides Group on Facebook for comments, photos and other fun stuff. If you enjoy this website please share it with your friends on Facebook and Google+

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