The focus of the Betrothal is the exchanging of rings. The priest starts by blessing the rings and the couple. The rings are then placed on the third fingers of the right hands of the bride and groom. The reason the rings are placed on the right hand is because it is the right hand of God that blesses, and to which the Lord Jesus Christ ascended. The Koumbara or Koumbaro then exchanges the rings three times on the couples' fingers. This symbolizes the strength of the married couple.
The Sacrament of Marriage Ceremony
The Sacrament of Marriage consists of many important parts. As the priest concludes his prayers, he joins the right hands together of the bride and groom, and they stay joined until the end of the ceremony to signify the union of the couple.
The crowning of the couple with the stefana (two flowered crowns attached by white ribbon) signifies glory and honor that God crowns them with. The ribbon symbolizes the unity of the couple. The Koumbaro or Koumbara also plays a part by interchanging the crowns on the couples' heads.
The Common Cup
The crowning is followed by readings of the Epistle and the Gospel. The Gospel reading describes the marriage of Cana at Galilee, which was blessed by Christ and where He performed his first miracle. The miracle converted water into wine and was given to the newlyweds. Thus, wine is given to the couple as a remembrance.
The Ceremonial Walk
The priest will then lead the bride and groom around a table on the altar three times. On the table are the Gospel and Cross. The steps around the table represent the unending journey of husband and wife. The Koumbaro or Koumbara walks behind the married couple holding the stefana in place.
The Removal of the Crowns
After the Ceremonial Walk, the priest blesses the couple. The priest then removes the crowns and asks God to grant the couple a long, happy life together. He then separates the couples' joined hands, reminding them that only God can separate the couple from one another. This concludes the ceremony and the bride and groom are officially married!!