A real highlight of my job as a London wedding photographer is the wealth of diversity that the capital allows in my work. I particularly enjoy photographing Greek weddings, which boast a fascinating array of traditions from the pre-ceremony rituals to the excitement of the reception. It’s a real pleasure to capture these customs through the lens, especially on the morning of the wedding whilst the bride and groom prepare for the day ahead with family and friends. Many of these guests have been through this historic process themselves, so take real enthusiasm in passing on the tradition to their loved ones on this special day.
I was delighted when Natalie and Matthew got in touch with me last year to discuss their wedding plans. It was always going to be a fun day for me as not only as I had three of my couples at the wedding, obviously Natalie and Matthew but also two of my 2015 couples.
Early in the morning I went to meet Matthew to photograph him getting ready and the pre-ceremony Greek traditions. My Assistant (Mr John Erskine) and I arrived to a very warm welcome. Matthew Mum, had made us a coffee and a fried egg sandwich before we’d even put our bags down. The Greek wedding traditions begun with the Shaving of the groom. The shaving of the groom is a symbolic moment during the morning, usually done by the best man who is entrusted with this important task. He isn’t expected to lift a finger in the hours before his ceremony, and everyone will help to dress and groom him to perfection. A similar story unfolds in the bride’s chamber, as her friends fuss around her making sure not a hair is out of place; as a photographer this hive of activity makes for some truly memorable shots before the ceremony begins.
When the bride arrives at the church (it’s custom for her to be fashionably late), it’s time for the tying of the ribbons to begin. Natalie and Matthew had chosen the All Saints Greek Orthodox Church in Camden to get married. Two crowns are tied together by a single ribbon, symbolising their eternal bond. Instead of sharing vows, the couple wear these crowns and walk around the altar together to mark the dawn of their marriage and future journey together. Greek wedding traditions are loaded with symbolism, and the interactive nature of these rituals makes it an exciting challenge to do these moments justice in my shots.
After the ceremony we managed to sneak in a few daylight couple portraits, with the light fading very very fast we had to work quick. We then all made our way to The Regency Banqueting Suite in Tottenham. Anyone who has ever been to a Greek wedding reception will tell you what a fantastic experience it is. The passionate culture of these people really shines through during the reception, as the guests spring to life with traditional dances that celebrate the newlywed couple in style. Folk dances involve holding hands and dancing in circles, and whilst some guests will smash glasses and plates. The Greeks truly know how to party, as even the oldest guests keep going until the small hours. Guests will visit the bride and groom on the dance floor to adorn them with paper money throughout the duration of the song. Although something of a ritual, it’s great fun to photograph
As the reception came to a close, Natalie and Matthew shared the last dance together.
Traditions are at the heart of any wedding, especially for cultures as distinct as the Greek one, and a professional wedding photographer should embrace the unique features to bring them to life through their photography.
I find learning about wedding traditions from around the world a fascinating task, and only hope that my enthusiasm shines through in my work.
I’d like to thank Natalie and Matthew for asking me to photograph their amazing Greek Wedding. Also a massive thanks to my team on the day, Bernard Pretorius and John Erskine, both incredible photographers.
It was a pleasure to work alongside Tony Vouniotis from Top Class Vision. A brilliant Greek Wedding Videographer and a really nice chap. It’s important that your photographer and videographer work together as a team to produce the best coverage.
Here’s Natalie and Matthew’s wedding day: