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One big Greek wedding

By Cristina Wilson | Photography by Critsey Rowe Photography

Posted: Tuesday, Feb. 08, 2011

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Besides a shared Greek ancestry, Athena Dalber and Bill Kortesis had the force of fate to draw them together. In the fall of 2007, Bill’s father had an instinct and encouraged Bill, a plastic surgeon, to attend a friend’s engagement party. There, he met Athena, a nurse practitioner and the future love of his life. Although Bill’s father passed away shortly after meeting Athena, he was able to feel content knowing that his son had found his soul mate.

Nine months into Bill and Athena’s courtship, during a weekend trip to Charleston, Bill surprised Athena on her birthday with a rose petal, champagne and birthday cake display to pop the question.

As wedding plans progressed, a spirit of family and tradition surrounded the elegant, evening event, which included Athena’s father, a Greek Orthodox priest. “It meant a lot to me that he was able to give me away as well as participate in the ceremony,” says Athena. “We ended up having over 10 clergy members perform the ceremony!” A priest chanted traditional Byzantine music as Athena walked down the aisle, and the couple exchanged rings from Diamonds Direct SouthPark.

Of course, there’s no better way to celebrate such a union than with feasting and dancing, and Athena and Bill knew they wanted to create a memorable affair. While the reception site, the Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Cathedral, was set for 580 people with furnishings from Classic Party Rentals, the couple still found ways to keep things personal. Messages – emails – were read aloud from family members in Greece, still called “telegrams.” The bride’s shoes from Via Veneto had the names of all of Athena’s single girlfriends written on the soles; as legend has it, those whose names fade are destined to be married. A candy called koufeta was set out at the reception for friends to take home. It’s said that if you put an odd number of the candies under your pillow, you’ll dream about whom you’ll marry.

The sit-down dinner featured Greek classics like spanakopita but also American fare like sea bass, catered by a childhood friend of Bill’s. With a gorgeous cake with fresh flowers by Cheesecake Etc., Bill and Athena combined their tastes, featuring red velvet cake for her and ice cream on the side for him. A live Greek band provided a mix of modern and international music, and both the ceremony and reception were captured by Critsey Rowe Photography.

In the midst of all the celebration, what was the couple’s favorite moment? “In the car ride to the reception, it was so nice to have just the two of us with a bottle of champagne. The ceremony and reception were beautiful, but everything was such a blur,” says Athena. “Knowing that we would have the rest of our lives together – in that moment – was so peaceful.”

Featured Vendors

Cheesecake, Etc.

Critsey Rowe Photography

Classic Party Rentals

Wedding Rings
Diamonds Direct SouthPark
704-532-9041 or 888-400-4477

Continue reading real wedding stories! Up next: ‘ To love and cherish’

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