Symi Weddings – Getting Married on a Greek Island

Symi is a small Greek island in the Dodecanese chain, and is often called ‘the jewel of the Dodecanese’ thanks to its neoclassical architecture and stunning scenery. What better place to get married? As a Symi photographer, I have photographed many weddings on the island, both Greek and non-Greek. You may be surprised to know that you can get married in Greece even if you are not Greek.

Ok, so unless you are Orthodox you won’t be able to marry in church, but through wedding planners on the island, you can have a civil ceremony followed by your own private function in one of the island’s dreamy locations.

A wedding I attended recently ran thus: the organiser had seen to the legal arrangements for the couple long before they arrived on Symi. There is a certain amount of paperwork to be sorted out and it’s probably best to have someone on the island do it for you. (This goes for any Greek island or any place that is foreign to you.) On the day itself the couple, who were from Great Britain, started the day in separate houses, as is traditional. The groom and his men prepared themselves in Yialos, the harbour area, and the bride and her party prepared up in the Horio, the higher village. At a set point in the afternoon the bride left the house and walked down the 360 or so steps to the harbour, no mean feet in a beautiful flowing white gown. Sensibly she and her bridesmaids wore flat shoes and carried their wedding shoes to put on when on firmer ground.

The couple met on the harbour bridge, again as is traditional on this island, and were led to the town hall by musicians. Onlookers in the cafes stood and applauded as the full party walked to the Mayor’s office for the legal ceremony. In cases such as these the civil wedding is a short affair and a translator translates for any couples who don’t speak Greek.

Following this the party walked back to the quayside and boarded a specially decorated boat, a caique, a traditional sponge diving boat. This took them all to the small island of Agia Marina with its small, white chapel and courtyard. Here they exchanged their own personal vows before their families and guests, speeches were made and champagne was passed around.

Later, the boat took them on a short sunset cruise before bringing everyone back to the harbour. The reception was held at an old fashioned taverna overlooking the harbour with its twinkling lights, and the boats coming in and out.

Sound perfect to you? It was for them, and also for photographers who don’t have to worry about scenery and finding the best place to take those all important wedding photographs. Perfect memories are made from a Symi wedding, and it is not as hard to arrange as you might think.