Nina and Stan
I’m very excited to be introducing a new feature – ‘On Love And Marriage’ – which will shine the spotlight on couples as they reminisce about their wedding day and share thoughts and advice about ways of maintaining a happy marriage.
Stan and Nina met in 1962 on the island of Kythera in Greece. Stan was living in Australia and had returned home to visit family. He fell in love with Nina and knew he wanted to marry her, but had to convince her first. They have been married for 55 years.
How did the proposal take place?
Stan: I remember the first time I saw her in the store next to her Father’s. I said “You’re so beautiful” and I knew then that I wanted to marry her.
Nina: Just after we first met, Stan asked me to marry him and move to Australia. I was so young! I couldn’t leave my parents and sister, so initially I said no. But after that, for many days he would wait for me at the end of the street, leaning against his car and when he saw me he would cry for me. I knew then that he was a kind man, a soft man with a good heart. So when he asked me what I wanted, I said I couldn’t move to Australia without my parents. He promised he would bring my parents and sisters to Australia. I believed him and agreed to marry him. He took me to Athens to visit the best jewellery store – Zolotas – to buy an engagement ring and three months later we celebrated our wedding day. We moved to Australia soon afterwards.
Describe your wedding day:
Stan: 22nd October 1962, Agios Kosma Church, Fatsadika, Kythera. (Greece)
Nina: Oh you remember! You don’t have Alzheimer’s at all Stan! (laughs) The day was unbelievable. We were married in our church and then had 250 guests at a dinner reception. We had a beautiful wedding! Pierros, a famous Kytherian restaurant, made all the food – it was amazing.
Do you have a favourite memory of the day?
Nina: Everything! It was wonderful.
Stan: Not from our wedding day, but my favourite memory is the first time I saw her (Nina).
What advice would you give brides and grooms who are in the midst of planning their own wedding?
Nina: Remember that it is about your family and loved ones being together to celebrate your marriage. Don’t become so caught up that you forget the meaning of the day.
What was your wedding dress like?
Nina: Stan took me to Athens to buy my wedding dress and a going away outfit. It was different in those days, as you wouldn’t try a dress on. You would choose the dresses you were interested in and a model who worked at the store would parade them in front of you – it was like a fashion show. My dress had a white bodice with lace overlay high neck, sleeves and skirt. My dress was so beautiful! It was very elegant. But I couldn’t walk in the high heels. I practiced walking around the house every day. It took me three weeks until I could walk in them properly!
Who took your wedding photographs and how did you find the photographer?
Nina: Fatseas Photographer – the most famous photographer on our island of Kythera. The photography studio is still there today, beside the restaurant in the main street. They are known throughout Greece and Europe for their photographs. I still love looking at our wedding photos.
What song did you dance your first song to?
Nina: I can’t remember the song, but the music was beautiful – all night the music was beautiful. Music is so important in our culture. Stan and I danced our first dance slowly together and then our family joined us from the next song. We danced until 4am in the morning!
And finally, the question we all want to know the answer to: What is the secret to your long and happy marriage?
Nina: It’s very difficult for me to put into words but I’ll try. Trust one another. Trust that you have each other’s best interests at heart and don’t question them. And you have to be in it together. Everything you do, it’s not for yourself anymore, it’s for each other and your family. You want to live every day so that when you lay down at night to go to sleep, you are happy. Happy that you have done your best that day for the people you love, and you are grateful for what you have.
Stan: The secret to a happy marriage? Always listen to what your wife says.
Images via Nina and Stan and Fatseas Photographer
Ms Chinoiserie Says: Congratulations Nina and Stan on 55 years of marriage; thank you for sharing your heartfelt memories and advice with us.