I have seen an array of weddings over the five years of being a downtown Denver wedding photographer. From varying venues, to unique cultural traditions, I love being able to witness all that makes each wedding special. Some people have asked me, “So, do all the weddings you shoot blur together?” And to be honest, sometimes when I’m busy, they start to…but there are things that stick out from each wedding. The special things…the things that make them unique. For this downtown wedding, what made it unique was its tradition and culture. Because of Christina’s Greek heritage, Christina and Nick decided to have a traditional Greek Orthodox ceremony at the Assumption of the Theotokos Greek church and follow it with a modern reception at the Denver Four Seasons.
This day was such an awesome fusion of old and new that had me appreciating Denver for even making that possible. Going from a traditional Greek Orthodox church for a ceremony and then off to a modern hotel at the Four Seasons doesn’t sound like something that could be accomplished in one day. Denver is an incredible spot for weddings with such a good mix of venue types within close proximity making it easy to go from a church ceremony to a hotel reception, or a garden wedding to a restaurant after party. This downtown wedding was a perfect example of this. I loved the way that Christina and Nick were able to combine both of their cultures and wants into one day that perfectly represented them both.
Witnessing the Greek wedding ceremony was so special, because I had never seen one before. I had attended and photographed a handful of Catholic and Jewish weddings, and I figured that a Greek Orthodox wedding would be similar. While there were some similarities there were some special items that stood out.
Two of these Greek wedding traditions were the use of Stefana crowns and the large white candles. Stefana crowns are delicate white beaded crowns that eventually get tied together with a ribbon. This tradition originates from the 11th century and is one of the most important Greek wedding traditions.
“First, the priest places a crown on both the bride and groom’s head. Then, the Koumbaros, or wedding sponsor, intertwines the crowns three times to symbolize the couple’s union. Finally, the crowns are tied together with a ribbon.”
The use of the candles represents the light of Christ and are held by the couple throughout the ceremony.
“These candles can be left at the church to burn down or can be brought home and used over the years, but they must always be completely used and never thrown away.”
Getting to help document this special downtown wedding was an incredible experience learning about new cultures and traditions and being surrounded by so much love and joy. Special thanks to Brittany Renee Photography for inviting me to second shoot this wedding with her.