Whether or not you’re Greek Orthodox, there’s no denying that the little churches that are scattered around every village, mountain, and island in Greece are perfect, romantic places for a wedding.
Often situated in the most gorgeous settings in their respective areas, many seem to have merged with their surroundings and become one with nature; in fact sometimes this is almost literally the case (see the Aghios Stefanos Chapel in Syros below). Spectacular sunsets and views are almost always a given at these locations.
(Note that to get married in a Greek Orthodox church, a couple has to both be Christian, and at least one of the two has to be Orthodox Christian. If you’re Christian and single, you might want to take this as yet another reason to marry a Greek!)
The Chapel of Aghios Stefanos, Syros
This unique chapel is actually Catholic and is situated about three kilometers from Galissas. It is difficult to reach but once you’re there you are rewarded by its completely breathtaking location.
Squeezed into a cave situated on the rocky side of the island with the sea right below it, all its creator had to build were walls, as the natural rock serves as floor and ceiling. It was built by a fisherman named Stefanos, and is dedicated to the saint he was named after, who he believed saved his life when an octopus grabbed him and wouldn’t let go. It is often described as one of the most beautiful in the world. Wedding services take place outside, in front of the chapel.
The Chapel of Panaghia Thalassini, Andros
On the coast of the beautiful main village (Chora) of Andros, you’ll find the amazing little chapel of Panaghia Thalassini. Its icon of the Virgin Mary is said to have been found in a cave nearby, hidden behind timber that had been tossed by a sea captain as he was trying to save his ship from sinking.
The location is perfect, combining a beautiful romantic setting with all the comforts that come with a large island with organized tourism.
The Chapel of Panagia Makrini, Samos
Only 4×2 meters, squeezed into a cave with a high (15 meter) ceiling, the Panaghia Makrini Chapel might be the oldest in the country, dating all the way back to the 8th century. The oldest icons inside are estimated to have been created in the 14th century.
The people of Samos, and visitors from around Greece, come here every year to honor the assumption of the Virgin Mary, on the 15th of August. It’s an important religious place, full of symbolism and, naturally, it’s a popular place to get married.
Panaghia Kastriani Church, Kea
Taking its name from its location, on the peak of the Kastri Hill on the island of Kea, legend has it that the Virgin Mary herself chose this location by shining a light on the hill, drawing the attention of shepherds who found an icon buried at the spot.
The location is undeniably incredible; aside from the view, the rocks beneath it feature caves, and below them are gorgeous pebble beaches and a bright blue sea. It’s the perfect setting for a romantic ceremony.
Ipapanti Church, Corfu
The small Ipapanti Church is located on a small headland that is connected to the shore of Kommeni in Corfu by a narrow pathway. From a distance, the church looks as though it’s floating on the water, and the walk up to the church can be decorated in many inventive ways. While popular, this church opens rarely, and only hosts a few weddings each year.
The Church of Holy Mary Krimniotissa, Samothraki
Located in the area of Pachia Ammos in Samothraki, this church is situated at the top of an almost vertical rock-face. A wedding here is an unforgettable experience, although you should be aware that reaching the top of the rock is no easy feat, so your guests will need to be in decent shape.
The icon of this church, hailing from Asia Minor, is said to have been found in the water by a captain as he was battling rough seas in the northern Aegean.
Chrysopigi Church, Sifnos
A famous landmark on the island of Sifnos, and known as the protector of the island, this church is extremely popular for wedding ceremonies. It is located in the area of Platis Gialos, on the south side of the island, situated on a rocky cape that is only connected to the mainland by a small bridge. It took its name, Chrysopigi, from a monastery in Crete, from where a priest arrived here in the 16th century on a mission to record the miracles on the island.
While the church is dedicated to Zoodochos Pigi (the Mother of God of the Life Giving Spring), it celebrates its feast day on Ascension Day in remembrance of a miracle said to have taken place here in on that day in 1676. As well as being a popular wedding location, the church also draws devout worshipers seeking to pray here.
Chapel of Panaghia Kavouradena, Leros
This chapel is built in a large crack in a rocky outcropping near the entrance to the bay of Xirokampos on the island of Leros. “Kavouri” means crab, and this church got its name from a local story, according to which an icon of the Virgin Mary (for which the chapel was built) was found in the clasp of a crab’s claws. Couples getting married here walk the stone paved path that leads up from the beach and are wed in front of the chapel, which is built against a large boulder. Sunset wedding ceremonies here are like something out of fairytales.
Church of Panaghia, Folegandros
A winding uphill trail leads to the Church of Panaghia, probably the most iconic sight on Folegandros. It is built on the site of an ancient temple high above the village of Chora. While constructed in post-Byzantine times, it honors an elaborate Byzantine icon of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary, said to be responsible for a host of miracles through the centuries. The locals of the island are proud of this church, and couples choose it for their weddings in part to give their guests a chance to marvel at the icons of its incredible iconostasis, as well as the ancient Greek elements used in the construction of the church.