Koumbara Chantal Leptos-Loverso Shares Her Best Friend’s Wedding Story


Chantal Leptos-Loverso is the Koumbara to Anna & Bill. The wedding day was 25 July 2015 in Victoria, Australia. 

Chantal Leptos-Loverso and I are “online friends” and we have been talking on social media for many years. However in real life, Chantal is best friends with Anna. On the day that Anna married Bill, Chantal crowned the couple and became their koumbara. I asked Chantal some questions about her role as koumbara and what she did to help plan the wedding day. 

Anna 10How did Anna ask you to be koumbara? 

Anna and I would enjoy long afternoon chats fuelled by coffee & cake and sometimes we’d chat about the day she’d marry Bill. The topic of beautiful gowns, romantic locations, cherished traditions and families coming together would come up and we’d dream a little dream. I recall sitting at a cafe nearby Anna’s house when she very first said to me:

“Chan, you know you are going to be my koumbara, who else would I have”?

I just remember thinking “well, if I am the koumbara, who will be the koumbaro”!? Fast forward a few years and I was privy to knowing that a beautiful custom-made engagement ring was headed Anna’s way!

I was living at my parents house at the time and remember the home phone ringing which was strange – I recall thinking ‘who calls a home phone these days’ as it rang loudly. When I answered there was a squealing Anna on the other end.

Bill proposed! Right then and there Anna asked me to be her koumbara with one, and only one, condition… that I act just as surprised when both Anna and Bill ask me together! Piece of cake.
My husband and I were honoured to be our friends’ Koumbari.

Anna 18

What did you do to help with the wedding plans?

I’d like to think of myself as Anna’s personal wedding consultant rather than ‘planner’ because planning is Anna’s forte. When decisions needed to be made on dresses, serious conversations needed to be had, and a joke needed to be made – I was there.

We discussed everything from religious and family traditions, to the grammar and punctuation on invitations, and even what language the ceremony would be delivered in. I took charge of Anna’s bomboniere’s and stefania in the hope of giving her a few less things to do.
What I didn’t do to help, was arrive at Anna’s house on time the morning of the wedding!!

My husband and I had flown in the day before and very serious jet lag had caught up with us. The day we flew in I went straight to get a mani and embarrassingly kept falling asleep on the manicurist, the poor lady had to redo my nails twice because I kept smudging them! So, we slept through our alarms and I arrived an hour or so late, I recall being in the car on the way to Anna’s when she sms’d me “Is everything OK”?

I turned to my husband and sunk so deep into my seat that I thought I might actually disappear “She’s going to kill me this time, for sure” were my exact words.
We hadn’t seen each other in over four weeks and when I arrived we cried as we embraced on her mother’s front door step – my beautiful friend was ready to be a bride!

I didn’t get in trouble for arriving late to the house – just incase you were wondering!

IMG_20150614_172833Did you have a bridal shower, hens night or krevatia?
I wanted Anna to have all the bridal events and that she certainly did. Anna has organised something like 6 weddings which means six bridal showers, six hens parties etc. So, when it came to Anna’s events I knew two things; her hen’s needed to be in an environment that allowed everyone to share food and catchup, and her bridal shower needed to be family orientated and beautiful.

We had a great dinner at Gazi Greek Restaurant owned by Greek chef George Calombaris, and danced the night away at a Penthouse location, followed by a surprise suite that Anna had organised for myself and her bridesmaid Mel. The night was a real blast, but for me breakfast with Anna and Mel the next morning with amazing skyscraper views across Melbourne was the real cherry on top.

Anna’s bridal shower was organised with meticulous detail. I entrusted the Atlantic Group in Melbourne to assist in organising the event at one of their waterside locations – a chic French artisan style venue called Mill & Bakery. The lovely savoury pastries were literally hand made, pulled out of the oven, and served fresh on the spot – as were the beautiful high tea desserts – but it was Anna’s unquestionable radiance and her beautiful bridal shower cake that really stole the show!

What is your role as koumbara for this couple in the future?

Anna and Bill were family long before their wedding day, so in that respect nothing much has changed. We’ve always shared love, support and guidance, and most importantly celebrated together. New traditions such as attending important church services during religious periods can excitingly begin this year, and of course we look forward to extending all of the above to their family as it grows….and maybe going on an annual vacation together too!

Anna 1

Where did you get those beautiful wedding crowns from?

I wanted something extra sparkly to suit Anna’s personality and had trouble finding something other than crowns with a strip of crystals running around the circumference. I found two beautiful crowns in New York that not only had the swarovski crystal strip, but also had extra swarovski crystals sitting directionally both on top and underneath each crystal that made up the circumfrant strip. This created a beautiful, reflectant, multi directional design. 
To me they looked regal, fit for a princess.

I agree, stefana can be hard to find, especially if you are looking for something beautiful and unique. I had the same problem when I was a koumbara for my sister. All of the shops had the same strip of crystals running around the circumference and they all looked the same. That’s why I started my online business. Now I sell beautiful stefana from designers all around the world. You can check them out here:


Thanks Sia, next time I will save myself the trouble and just come straight to you for the stefana. 

What about the bombonerie? What were they like? 

The bombonerie were crystal diamond shape tealight candle votive from LA DEE DAH in Melbourne.

You looked absolutely beautiful on the day. Where did you get your dress from? 

Thank you. Our bridesmaid dresses were from Duchess Boutique. Our make up was done by @anna_ceddia and our hair was by @12melia34. 

Everything was very beautiful. Congratulations. Panta Aksii to you and your husband. May you always be worthy as koumbari to Anna and Bill. 


This Wedding Story Features The Following Vendors:

Photography: Panos Mavromytis Photography Videographer: Lightbox Media Florist: Northcoate Flowers Styling: Complete Furniture Hire Bombonerie: LA DEE DAH Bridesmaid Dresses: Duchess Boutique Make Up: @anna_ceddia Hair:@12melia34


Chantal is an actress, a blogger, a Greek cook and a new mum. You can follow Chantal on Instagram @c_loverso

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Sia Aristidou is fascinated by the rituals and traditions celebrated in Greek culture. She writes about love, marriage, family and tradition and sells beautiful handmade wedding gifts at the Greek Wedding Shop.
Connect with Sia on Facebook or say hello on Twitter. You may also like to subscribe to the Greek Weddings & Traditions blog or join the Greek Cooking Challenge.

A Destination Wedding in Lefkas – Alexia & Tom’s Wedding Story


ALG_4061Alexia & Tom were married on the Greek Island of Lefkas. Claire from Lefkas Weddings organised all the arrangements and is sponsoring this blog post to hopefully connect with other Australian couples who are looking to plan a destination wedding in Greece. 

A search for the Greek island of Lefkas returns dozens of images of a beach of outstanding natural beauty. White cliffs curve and surround the cove which cradles a stretch of white sand. Endless turquoise waters of the Ionian Sea stretch before you invitingly as soft foam of the waves beckons you for a relaxing swim. This is the beach of Porto Katsiki and the setting for our wedding story. Continue reading

Anna & Bill’s Wedding Story

Anna & Bill were married on 25 July 2015 at St John the Baptist Greek Orthodox Church in Victoria, Australia. 

How did you and Bill meet each other?

Our story begins over coffee with friends. A mutual smile across the table won our hearts. Secretly asking questions about each other fate had it that we would randomly bump into each other over a period of months. After bumping into each other so often through Bill’s small talk and research had led him become a regular at a restaurant I worked at part time, he worked out my shifts and was always the last customer to leave. He finally worked up the courage to ask me out to dinner. From that dinner it was endless conversation over family, life, politics (some could say debate), music and travel. Continue reading

Top 5 Stefana Designers of 2015

TOP 5 Stefana Designers - Greek Wedding ShopLast year was a record sales year at the Greek Wedding Shop. I am very proud of the success and growth that I have achieved with my online business. I couldn’t have done it without you, so thank you for your support. Many of our customers are referred to my by word of mouth and that is truly the best compliment for my business. Thank you for recommending your friends and for sharing the products that you love.

Click here to go to the Greek Wedding Shop and see our Collection:


Continue reading

10 Greek Traditions and Superstitions For New Babies

10 Greek Traditions and Superstitions For New Babies

Here are 10 Greek Traditions and Superstitions For New Babies:

Note: This is not a list of instructions. I do not suggest that you follow these “rules” with your own baby. However you might hear these statement from people in your family when you have a baby of your own. Or maybe old Greek ladies (who you have never met before) will walk up to you at Church to offer their advice. Ha!

There are many Greek superstitions for every occasion – weddings, christenings, birthdays… everything!

Here are some that I have been told recently since having my own baby:  Continue reading

Should You Make Kollyva For A Cremation?

Should You Make Kollyva For A Cremation?Today Is A Bitter Sweet Day

Today is my birthday. It is also the one year anniversary of my papou’s passing. 

My papou was a good man. He didn’t want anybody to worry about him or fuss after him, especially once he was gone. I think that’s why he wanted to be cremated.  Continue reading

How To Make The Sign Of The Cross

How To Make The Sign Of The CrossThe Feast Day of The Holy Cross is celebrated on 14th September every year. It is called  Elevation of the Holy Cross – Ὕψωσις τοῦ Τιμίου καὶ Ζωοποιοῦ Σταυρο. It is also the name day for Stavroula and Stavros which are names that come from Stavros, the Greek word for Cross.

Stavros is the word that is used to describe the action that we take to make the sign of the cross. The Orthodox sign of the cross is unique and different to the sign of the cross that other religions do.Elevation Of The Holy Cross

The Catholic Way To Make The Sign Of The Cross

I remember learning about this when I was just 5 years old. I went to a Catholic primary school and attended Mass as a part of the school curriculum. One day, I was at Church on a Sunday with my family and I did the sign of the cross using all of my hand and all my fingers moving from my head to my chest and then from my left shoulder to my right. That is what we learnt at school, so that is what I thought I was supposed to do.

My aunty saw me do this and she got upset. She quickly corrected my fingers and showed me how to do it “the proper way”. 

The Orthodox Way To Make The Sign Of The Cross

The Orthodox way to make the sign of the cross is to use the first 3 fingers of your right hand. That is your thumb, your index finger and your middle finger. The thumb stays on the bottom and the other two fingers are on top. Bend your ring finger and the little finger in to the palm of your hand. You then move your hand from your head, to your heart, then from your right shoulder to your left.

You say:

“In the name of the Father, the Son and of the Holy Spirit, Amen”. 

Repeat 3 times and bow your head while you do it.

Symbolic Meanings Of Your Stavro

The action is very symbolic of the theology and practice of the Orthodox religion. Here is why:

  • We use three fingers to symbolise the unity of the Holy Trinity – The Father, The Son, The Holy Spirit.
  • The two fingers (index finger + middle finger) are bent in to the palm of the hand to signify that Christ had two natures: a human nature and a divine nature
  • The ring finger and the little finger are bent into the palm of the hand to signify that Christ had two natures: a human nature and a divine nature
  • The Orthodox Church always prefers to begin with the right side that is why you move from right to left and not the opposite way around.
  • You repeat the sign of the Cross three times to symbolise the Holy Trinity.

Fr Dimitri Tsakas explains when to make the sign of the cross in another article here: When To Make The Sign Of The Cross

Do you know any other symbolic meanings that are related to the Holy Cross? Please share in the comments. 

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Sia Aristidou is fascinated by the rituals and traditions celebrated in Greek culture. She writes about love, marriage, family and tradition and sells beautiful handmade wedding gifts at the Greek Wedding Shop.
Connect with Sia on Facebook or say hello on Twitter. You may also like to subscribe to the Greek Weddings & Traditions blog or join the Greek Cooking Challenge.

Paulina & Costa – A Greek Chilean Wedding

Paulina & Costa's Wedding

Paulina & Costa were married on 25 October 2014 at St Stylianos Greek Orthodox Church and at St Finbar’s Catholic Church.

Paulina and I have been online friends for a while now. We started chatting about wedding plans back in 2012 when she was newly engaged. Paulina is Chilean and her partner Costas is Greek and they celebrated traditions from both cultures on their wedding day. Continue reading

Angela & John’s Greek Wedding Story

Angela & John's Wedding 2015Angela and John were married on 25 July 2015 at Agios Charalombos, Exo Gonia in Santorini Greece.

Angela and John were on their honeymoon in Greece when we first started talking. They captured the first ever “mid-wedding” selfie that I have ever seen and sent it to me because they knew I would LOVE it.

Angela & John's Wedding Selfie

A mid-wedding selfie photo!

I asked Angela if I could share the selfie pic with my readers and also do a feature about their wedding story. The newlywed couple haven’t received their professional photos back yet so the only photos that we have access to have been taken from everybody’s phone. I’ll be sure to share some of the professional photos once they get developed.

Angela & John had a destination wedding on the Island of Santorini in Greece. Here is more about their wedding story: Continue reading

When to Make the Sign of the Cross

Fr Dimitri suggests appropriate times when we should make the sign of the cross. This article is one of a series of etiquette posts which will respectfully offer a guide to those who wish to learn more about the Greek Orthodox Church.

Greek Orthodox Church St George Brisbane

Photography by Andrew Porfyri

When to Make the Sign of the Cross:

  • Whenever you feel the need
  • Before and after any prayers
  • When you enter and leave the Narthex and Nave
  • Before you kiss an Icon, Cross, or the Gospel Book
  • When you pass the Altar
  • When you hear any of the following phrases; 
    • Father, Son, and Holy Spirit
    • Holy God, Holy Mighty, Holy Immortal, Have Mercy on Us
    • The words Christ, Theotokos, Panayia or Virgin Mary
    • The Name of a Saint
  • After the reading of the Epistle or Gospel
  • Near the end of the Creed at the phrase In One Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church
  • Before and after the Consecration during the Divine Liturgy (when the Priest says ‘Your Own of Your Own we offer You, In every way and for every Thing’. This is the point when the Priest prays with the people for God to make the Bread and Wine into the Body and Blood of Christ.
  • At the end of the Lord’s Prayer while the Priest says ‘For Yours is the Kingdom, the Power and the Glory, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Amen.’
  • Before and after receiving Holy Communion
  • Before receiving Antidoron (The blessed bread at the end of the service).

Do you have any questions about appropriate Church Ettiquite? 

Please share them the comments below.

The content of this post was originally published by Fr. Dimitri Tsakas on the Orthodox Research Institute.

The Reverend Father Dimitri Tsakas is the Archepiscopal Vicar for Queensland, Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of Australia and the Dean of the Greek Orthodox Church of St George, Brisbane in Australia. You can connect with Fr. Dimitri on FacebookTwitter and Linked In.