Those intending to marry are advised to contact the church first to ascertain dates available prior to making arrangements with venues, caterers, photographers, etc. Furthermore, this would be an opportunity to arrange an appointment to speak with a priest so as to guide the couple.
Husbands, never call her simply by her name, but with terms of endearment, with honour, with much love. Honour her, and she will not need honour from others; she will not want the glory that comes from others, if she enjoys that which comes from you. Prefer her before all, on every account, both for her beauty and her discernment, and praise her.
A wife should respect her husband even when he shows her no love, and a husband should love his wife even when she shows him no respect… However, she should reverence him as the head and he should love her as his body…
Find out more about the Orthodox Marriage Service with this short summary (pdf)
Some notes about Paperwork
For the civil wedding: the couple must obtain the necessary certificates from their local registry office six months prior to the wedding date.
For the Orthodox wedding: both the man and woman must produce a Certificate of Freedom from the Church where they were baptised stating that they have not contracted a marriage in the Orthodox Church.
In cases of a mixed marriage, the non-Orthodox member should produce his/her Baptismal Certificate in place of a Certificate of Freedom.
In the case of a second marriage, the person concerned should produce a Divorce Certificate from the Ecclesiastical Court if the previous marriage was solemnised in an Orthodox Church. If the previous spouse has died, then only the Death Certificate need be produced.
All of the above papers for both the civil and religious ceremony are to be brought to the priest of the church no later than eight weeks prior to the wedding date. The intended couple accompanied with two witnesses sign an application for a wedding permit, which the priest will be send to the Archdiocese. Having ratified the documents the Archdiocese will send the necessary permission for the wedding to take place.
Weddings are not allowed:
- from 12th December until Christmas;
- during Lent, except by special licence on the 2nd, 4th and 5th Sundays thereof;
- from 1st to 15th August;
- on 5th and 6th January, except by special licence;
- on 29th August (Beheading of St. John the Baptist);
- on the feast of the Holy Cross (14th September);
- between a member of the Orthodox Church and a non-Christian, or with a member of a denomination not baptising in the name of the Holy Trinity.
The best man/woman (koumbaros/a) must be a member of the Orthodox Church in good standing and must be able to provide proof of their baptism if requested by the priest. A non-Orthodox person can only witness the civil wedding.