by Natalie Martin
The crowning is the highlight and focal point of the Greek Orthodox wedding ceremony and couples today are flocking to Story of Stefania for a unique and personalised touch to their stefana - a lifelong memento of their wedding day.
Stefana (Greek wedding crowns) symbolise the glory and honour that is being bestowed to the couple by God. The bride and groom are crowned as King and Queen of their home, which they will rule with wisdom, justice, and integrity. The ribbon joining the stefana symbolises unity. The ribbon that joins the two crowns should always remain intact for a lifetime as it represents the eternal bond between the bride and groom.
“I believe that personalising the stefana joining ribbon provides greater intimacy, meaning and an added special element to this ancient tradition,” said Maria Trovas, Story of Stefania Founder who recently chatted to Greek City Times about her life’s greatest passions – her family and the personalised stefana that she lovingly hand makes.
Maria is a proud Greek wife to Dimitri and mother to two boys; Theodore (3 years old) and Christos (8 months old).
“The love and support of my family motivates me to make my goals reality,” she said. “My greatest achievements in life have been creating my young family and my own business. I know that my family and the stefana that I make are my legacy.”
Story of Stefania began five years ago. Maria wanted to add something personalised to the Greek wedding ceremony.
“Weddings are my passion. The strong meaning, symbolism, traditions, and beauty of Greek weddings inspire me every day,” Maria explained.
“The idea came to me that the stefana joining ribbon could be personalised with the names of the bride and groom and the wedding date. It’s something that I had never seen before and I wanted for my own wedding.
I taught myself how to make stefana and before I knew it I began selling online to couples and koumbari (best man or maid of honour) from around the world.”
Maria has made Story of Stefania crowns for Greek weddings all over Australia, USA, Canada, UK and Greece.
“It is a great honour to make the stefana for a Greek wedding ceremony,” said Maria.
“It is honestly very special getting to know each customer purchasing Story of Stefania crowns. There are a lot of good people in this world and I am lucky to have such kind customers, who love and appreciate my handmade stefana.”
Each stefana is custom made to order by Maria and she pours her heart and soul into each creation.
Maria’s stefana are made from high-quality materials; Swarovski pearls, Swarovski crystals, and floral berries. They can be designed to complement rustic weddings, glam weddings, and weddings with on-trend colours.
Maria’s ability to create collections of stefana personalised to each couple's wedding style has appealed greatly to Greek couples.
“Weddings today are truly a representation of a couple, “said Maria who believes that the stefana should also embody that couple's style, especially as they are a keepsake from the wedding ceremony that will last a lifetime.
Story of Stefania has grown over time and was recently featured in Australia’s Cosmo Bride Magazine – one of the country’s biggest wedding magazines. From its small beginnings, the business has expanded to also offer a range of handmade wedding and christening items.
With a background in International Business, Maria has travelled to Greece and met with suppliers that she has specifically chosen to sell their beautiful products for weddings and christenings.
“I have chosen products that are in keeping with my brand and the stefana I create,” says Maria.
I have created a lifelong business that combines my love for creating handmade stefana but also utilises my degree in International Business by importing quality Greek products into Australia.”
Maria now consults brides and koumbari to work with them in the creation of the Greek wedding that they envision; organising the stefana, stefanothiki (stefana display box), wedding tray, candles and bomboniere.
Her collection also includes christening bomboniere and christening/occasion clothes for children.
*Photo Credit: Luke Greaves Photography