Well, lets start at the very beginning! Mr. Milk got ready first at his parents house. He decided to go the traditional route and did the whole shebang with violin, laouto (lute), incense, and red sash! Don't worry, all will be explained in the pics that follow...
Mr. Milk getting his clothes ready...
A traditional basket with Mr. Milk's clothes and accessories. You will see in the pics to follow what all these items are used for...
Here is a close-up. Shaving kit, belt, cufflinks, red sash, after-shave.
Mr. Milk is ready for the whole ritual to begin. The guy in the corner is obviously the violinist, and also a good friend of Mr. Milk's. The guy next to him is playing the laouto, or lute, and singing traditional songs that describe what is taking place.
Just before they get started, Mr. Milk opens his gift from me :) He really wanted his old coffee machine that we had in Canada, so I got it for him.
So here is how it all begins (click image to enlarge). The best man starts off the ritual by taking the basket full of the grooms things and dancing with them around the groom. This is accompanied by the violinist, the lute player and traditional song. The best man then hands the basket to the grooms parents, siblings, grandparents, wedding party, and whoever else wants to partake in the ritual. I posted a few pics just so you get the idea.
Once everyone has had their turn, it's time for the best man to shave the groom. As you can see he goes through the whole routine. Iconically :) While it used to happen for real in the olden days, now no groom trusts his friends enough to let them shave him for real! There was no blade on the razor and Mr. Milk had already shaved that morning :)
Once the shaving is complete, it is time for the best man to help the groom dress. He helps him with his shirt, belt, cuff links, tie, and suit jacket. Since we had a larger than normal wedding party, all the groomsmen took part in this ritual and helped Mr. Milk get dressed. Click on image to enlarge.
Once the groom is all spiffy looking, the ritual with the red sash begins. All close friends and family partake in this. They start by wrapping the sash around his waist three times (as in the first pic), and then crossing it in front of him three times (as in the second pic). This is done as a symbol/blessing of fertility and, some say, luck.
Then comes the blessing with incense. This is used constantly in the Greek-Orthodox church, as an offering to god. It is circled three times over the grooms head, representing the holly trinity. Again, close family and friends take part in this ritual.
And once all the rituals are done, it's time to start the party! Mr. Milk danced with his family and friends, along to the songs of the violinist and the lute player!
Even his 94 year old grandmother got in on the dancing :)
All Photos courtesy of Petros Sordinas Photography
Up next: The bride gets ready...