Armenian Wedding Traditions: The Best Man and Maid of Honor

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Every wedding has a best man and maid of honor. 

In Armenian weddings, the best man is known as the kavor or knkahayr, which translate to "godfather" in English. The wedding godfather differs from a christening godfather, but his role is essentially the same.

Armenian Wedding Traditions - The Best Man and Maid of Honor


The kavor is chosen by the groom, and must be a man whose council the groom trusts and respects, usually an older man who has been married for a significant period. His wife becomes the maid of honor, kavorkin in Armenian, which translates to "wife of kavor," or “godmother.” The godparents are the guarantors of the marriage bond between the bride and the groom. Their participation in the wedding ceremony far exceeds the purely ceremonial role that the usual best man and maid of honor would undertake, for, rather than stand next to the bride and groom as they take their vows, the kavor and kavorkin are a direct part of the wedding ceremony.

Armenian Wedding Traditions - The Best Man and Maid of Honor
One of the most crucial traditions of an Orthodox Armenian wedding is the drinking of wine from the “common cup,” where the priest who is officiating the wedding will offer the bride and groom a cup of wine, which they must both drink to symbolize their union with one another and with Christ. The kavor and kavorkin most also drink from this cup, as a symbol that they are also a part of the union and undertake the responsibility of guiding the new couple in their journey through a Godly marriage, just as the godparents of a new baby undertake the responsibility of guiding the child through a Godly life.  Additionally, the kavor must hold a cross over the couple’s heads to bless them as they take their marriage vows.

Some traditional Armenian customs even dictate that the kavor must be the deciding voice in all wedding plans, and handle all wedding-day finances. This part of the tradition has become obsolete to most modern-day Armenian brides, who, naturally, insist on taking the lead in their wedding plans. But the fundamental role of the godparents remains; the kavor and kavorkin bond themselves to the new bride and groom for life, vowing to be their guides in marriage.