Seven years ago Sydneysiders Vassilis and Rita Aligiannis had the wedding of their dreams in their ancestral lands.
Today, videos of their wedding still garner attention online for their ultra traditional ceremony and celebration.
On 29 June, 2013 the couple said their vows in the bride’s family hometown of Konitsa, Ioannina.
“Rita was baptised in the same church and so naturally I felt it was important for her to have her wedding there as well,” Mr Aligiannis told Neos Kosmos.
Those who knew the couple and their love for Greek traditions were prepared for a wedding different from the usual.
“Over 250 relatives and friends from Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, America and Canada travelled to be with us on our big day. The week before the wedding was pure pleasure. Endless party, wedding traditions and customs that we were happy to share with our own people” said Mr Aligiannis.
In addition to their day jobs, the couple also run a traditional Greek dance school in Sydney and as expected, impressed their guests with their dancing skills.
Dressed in the local traditional wedding clothes the couple dance outside the church to the Cappadocian song Konialis in honour of Rita’s ancestors who came from there and moved to Greece in 1923 during the exchange of populations between Greece and Turkey.
Seven years on Mr and Mrs Aligiannis have had two children in whom they instil a love for Greece and its traditions just as they do with their students at their dance school.
“It is nice to be Greek and to feel proud of your origin… We have such an amazing and beautiful culture,” Mr Aligiannis said.
- Translated by Marianna Alepidis