<----- Part 4: The Ceremony ----->
Our ceremony started at 5:00. It was a great time to start because the east side of the mountains, in summertime, tends to be pretty hot during the day.
We were married in an orthodox church. The ceremony is pretty different from a "typical" modern wedding ceremony.
The ceremony is full of symbolic moments. Everything symbolizes or signifies something.
First, the ceremony is broken into two parts. The exchanging of the rings and the crowning.
The exchanging of the rings takes place at the entry of the church. The rings are blessed and switched between us three times (to symbolize that we are complementing each other).
In the orthodox church, wedding rings are typically worn on the right hand because that is the hand you cross yourself with and it is a symbolic hand in the church history.
The second part, the crowning, takes place at the front of the church. We receive our candles, to hold in our left hands, and we join right hands for most of the ceremony.
Then we are crowned (a lady in the church made our crowns from grape vines and ribbon. They were, and still are, beautiful. I couldn't imagine better crowns for us). The crowns are connected with a ribbon to symbolize unity. The crowns themselves symbolize that we are, in a sense, the "king and queen" of our own family and we are part of His kingdom.
Then we drink from the common cup (which we get to keep!) that signifies life and our sharing of everything.
We then proceed around the center table three times, taking our first steps as husband and wife.
Our crowns are then removed, we are blessed, we partake in our first kiss (woohoo!) and are sung a blessing for many years (every time this makes me tear up. It's beautiful).
As soon as the ceremony was over we went to a back room to sign away our lives to each other.
We had our two witnesses there with us (love them so much) and we waited for our arrival at the reception!!! (which will continue next week...)