Weddings in Athens & Sparta Illustration

Ancient Greek Weddings


In most of the Greek city-states, people were married after dark. The ceremony started with a veiled bride traveling from her home to her future husband's home. She had to stand in a slow moving chariot or cart or some wheeled vehicle all the way. Her family and friends walked behind the chariot. Some carried gifts. Some carried torches to light the way. Some played music to scare away evil spirits.

When the wedding party arrived at the groom's home, the groom would give his bride an apple. The bride ate a bite of the apple to show her basic needs would now come from her husband. There was more to the ceremony, but that was the main activity that needed to be done to seal the deal.

When they were married, people feasted and drank wine and looked at the gifts. Gifts were like wedding gifts today, household goods and perfumes and vases and baskets.

Wedding were very different in Sparta. In Sparta, after a short friendly physical fight between the bride and the groom, the groom won, if the bride wished to be married. The groom would toss his wife over his shoulder and carry her off. That concluded the wedding ceremony. Then, like all the Greeks, they feasted and toasted the new couple.

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