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Dance Me to the End of Love

A couple starts their forever in the bride’s picturesque hometown of Ioannina, Greece.

When Jon Bernstein and Terpsithea (Teti) Christou got engaged, Bernstein never questioned where the couple would hold their wedding. He loves his hometown of Birmingham, where he and Christou have been together as a couple for four years, but he knew that a wedding in her native Greece would be a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

The engagement began with Bernstein making a call via Skype to ask Christou’s parents for her hand in marriage—in Greek, as he had practiced. He proposed to Christou at a picturesque creek near their home, and she quickly said “yes.”

Then the preparations began. The couple put together a website for guests who were making the trip to Christou’s hometown of Ioannina, where the wedding would be held.

Christou found her dress, a gown by Lazaro, at a bridal shop in Atlanta. (Her dress for the reception came from The White Room in Mountain Brook). The couple also chose the song they wanted for their first dance—“Dance Me to the End of Love,” by Leonard Cohen—and took a few lessons to prepare with David Odenwelder of the Alabama Ballet.

On July 7, 2018, the couple was married at Saint Marina Orthodox Church—a majestic church that has stood in Ioannina for over 450 years. In keeping with Greek tradition, the celebration lasted into the wee hours of the morning. Christou and Bernstein loved every detail, especially the ceremony itself, which included the customary “crowning” in which crowns are placed on the bride and groom to symbolize the unity of the newly married.

Christou says she’s pretty sure the guests, including many who had traveled almost 6,000 miles to be there, enjoyed the festivities. “Our guests were dancing all night, so that was a good sign,” she laughs.

Now the couple is happy back at home in Birmingham, where Christou serves on the Orthodontics faculty at UAB and Bernstein is co-owner of Standard Iron & Metal, Inc. But they’re still relishing the memories of their nuptials. “For me, it was the best day of my life. I wish we could do it again,” Christou says.

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