On the morning of a Greek Cypriot wedding, the tradition is for the bride and groom to prepare at their houses whilst close family members bless them in the form of a ceremony called a Stolisma.
Bride's stolisma: At the Stolisma, the bride-to-be sits in front of her family wearing her dress, with her bridesmaids and maid of honour in preparation for a blessing from her parents, close family and friends. The bride has the traditional red scarf (Zoni) and kapnisitiri blessing whilst the Violinist sings the traditional verses of a song. Sometimes some of the older family members like to join in with the singing by improvising words to sing to her!
Groom's Stolisma: Similarly the groom gets prepared by getting dressed into his wedding suit with help from his best man, and like the bride, the groom's family bless him also.
Traditionally the stolisma atmosphere is wonderful, with violin music, and all the family together it makes the day very special indeed.
On the day of the wedding, when the bride is dressed and ready to leave for the ceremony and while musicians play and sing traditional verses from the Stolisma song, the bride’s parents, chief attendant (proti koumera) and close friends wrap a red scarf around her waist and also bless her by the burning of olive leaves "kapnisma"
A similar ceremony takes place at the groom’s house, where his best man (protos koumbaros) shaves him in the presence of his family and friends. He then dresses the groom in a shirt, waistcoat, cravat and suit while musicians sing and play the verses of the traditional stolisma song. His friends and family then wrap the red scarf around the groom’s waist and also bless him by the burning of olive leaves "kapnisma"