Bride vs. Groom: Greek Wedding Customs Rooted in Gender Wars

BRIDE

Anyone who has seen “My Big Fat Greek Wedding” knows that Greek nuptials are filled with a treasure trove of traditions passed down from generation to generation. Beyond the stunning backdrop, Greek dancing and exquisite food, there’s something a little more sinister about some of these apparently ‘innocent’ traditions. In fact, as the couple comes together in unity, the battle of the sexes begin.

Groom Can’t See Bride

On the morning of the wedding, the Vlamis (best friend of the groom) picks up the groom from his house and they walk to the bride’s home. The groom tries to push through the bride’s family to see his betrothed but is obstructed from doing so. The Vlamis and the groom head to the church while the bride gets dressed. The tradition of the groom being unable to see the bride goes back to a time when marriages were arranged and it was feared that the groom would change his mind after seeing the bride and bring shame upon her family by calling the wedding off.

Bride Comes Late

It is customary for the bride to be late, showing in this way her superiority to the groom and her importance to the ceremony. Not only does she keep the groom on edge, but the priest and guests too.

Bride Steps on Groom

After the reading of the Gospel, during the section where it is stated that the “wife will fear the groom” (Η γυνή να φοβήται τον άνδρα), the bride typically steps on her husband’s foot in an effort to show him that things have changed now that their married and now she has the upper hand… and foot. As they said in “My Big Fat Greek Wedding”, the husband may be the head of the family, but the wife is the neck.