Without loyalty, there cannot be love. This basic truth is enshrined in wedding vows across faiths, where couples promise to love one another for the rest of their Earthly lives. It’s woven into many different cultural traditions, too—half serious, half jovial rituals that symbolize the value of commitment. While hard at work creating amazing wedding photography in Limassol, I’ve seen many such traditions, but none of them prepared me for what I witnessed at this beautiful wedding at Elias Beach Hotel.
I’ve shot many lovely weddings at the Elias Beach Hotel: There was the elegant union of Christiana and Angelos; Daria and Adrian’s celebration of true love at first sight, and Helen and Johnson’s wedding, where I learned that sometimes, love begins with the simplest of gestures. So, when I met the lovely half-English, half-Cypriot Emily and her betrothed, a dashing half-English, half-Danish man named Daniel, I was looking forward to another heartfelt celebration at this luxurious venue.
True to my expectations, the scene that unfolded at this beautiful wedding at Elias Beach Hotel was grand. It was rich in both human emotion and the stunning scenery that only Limassol’s golden coast has to offer. Silhouetted by the endless evening sky as the sun slowly sank down below the waves, Emily and Daniel vowed to love one another for all time. Their loved ones surrounded them with congratulations as the ceremony became a party; speeches were given, dances were had, and the cake was cut. Then, much to my surprise, I saw Daniel being lifted up by the other men in attendance. As they held him up, laughing and joking, they cut the toes off his socks!
Few things could start a party off better than the mirth that followed; the tears and tension that always accompany wedding vows eroded away in a tide of lighthearted joy. Everyone began to celebrate, rejuvenated, whirling and dancing in the wild colours of the night. But, as I learned, there’s a deeper meaning behind this ritual than a mere prank: Historically, it was said that once a groom’s socks were cut, no other woman in Denmark would have him. The cutting of his socks was a symbolic way to declare his commitment to his bride and affirm the value of loyalty.
Once a man’s socks are cut, he officially enters the next phase of his life. He’s called upon to face his fears—to not run away from the intensity of love at the last minute—and to share empathy and trust with another person. He’s reminded to be steadfast, protective, and truly embody the “house band” that unites and guides every family. The moment that tiny bit of cloth is sheared away, the groom becomes a man.
Today, in our sometimes transient and chaotic world, cultural traditions like this serve to remind us of the core of our humanity. They anchor us in the values of our families and communities; values that have guided people and strengthened their connections for millennia. They teach us that home starts within our hearts, when we make a real and lasting decision to devote our whole being to just one other person, come what may.