Put your most important day in the hands of Weddings By Bettina


Bettina Yiannakourou is a civil celebrant who loves telling a story—that of how each couple found each other, why they love each other and how they are going to make each other better people for this world. Bettina is passionate about officiating and putting the ceremony at the center of every wedding celebration.

With her posh Sydney accent, her energy and positivity, Bettina is also appreciated for her contemporary and humble approach to officiating. Her ceremonies focus on the couple, their journey and connecting with everyone present. Bettina’s background in comparative religion and as a jazz singer have resulted in a unique skill set that includes a compelling and expressive stage presence and a knowledge of religion that comes in handy as she works to bring people together on this important day.

Bettina enjoys doing elopements, micro-weddings and large celebrations, and honors all religious traditions. Though her ceremonies are civil, she recognizes that religion and spirituality are part of every ceremony. It is important that elements of faith are woven into her services by having family and friends present readings that are meaningful to them. In ceremonies that require a blending of traditions, Bettina seeks out universal principles and the commonalities between the joining of two families.

Over the years, Bettina has worked as an actress, singer and motivational speaker. She was involved with acts of diplomacy at the Olympic Games in Sydney in 2000, Salt Lake City in 2002 and Athens in 2004. In 2001, she moved to New York City and opened a jazz restaurant. During that time, she also worked as a volunteer for causes related to homelessness and hunger. Bettina holds a Bachelor of Arts degree and attended the Celebrant Foundation and Institute in New Jersey; she is now licensed to solemnize marriages all over the United States. Bettina currently resides in Charleston, and she loves it here.

She considers herself spiritual but not religious. “Made in Greece and assembled in Australia,” Bettina is now proudly a U.S. citizen, having lived here for two decades. She is renowned for her wedding services, having performed over a thousand ceremonies. Her celebrity in wedding services has landed her appearances on Good Morning America and in Martha Stewart Weddings, as well as in countless blogs and publications.

Her process for creating the perfect wedding is to meet with the couple in person for an hour or so, during which there is a discussion about the elements of a traditional wedding ceremony. Against this backdrop, the couple is encouraged to sketch out their vows and thoughts about the structure of the ceremony. Bettina then sends the couple off with a questionnaire to work on, which directs them to consider what it is they love about each other and how their partner has made them a better person. Once the questionnaire elements are in place, a first draft of the entire ceremony is sent to the couple for review and edits, though Bettina encourages couples to continue to gather up ideas as they come to mind, even up to the wedding day, as these last-minute meanderings are often the most inspired.

Bettina Yiannakourou; PHOTO BY HOLGER OBENAUS

Prior to the wedding day, Bettina will attend the wedding rehearsal, not only to direct the logistics of the processional, recessional, readings, etc., but also to connect with the family before the wedding day. She offers assistance with scripting out the processional and recessional, including the seating of VIPs, and in creating ways to honor older guests and ancestors. She is also an expert at weaving in special rituals and readings throughout the ceremony, knowing the best spot to position these gestures for maximum impact. Clients can rest assured they are taking the high road when it comes to implementing important wedding traditions.

At the end of the big day, Bettina leaves the couple with a keepsake envelope that includes their ceremony and vows, along with all the signed paperwork necessary for filing the marriage certificate.

“It’s important to own your ceremony—that the words and thoughts are yours, not a script with your names plugged in. When the words belong to you, as a couple, the pledge you make to one another will be all the more meaningful,” she says.

With Bettina’s guidance and support, couples are able to write significant and beautiful vows that impact not only themselves but everyone attending and witnessing the marriage.

Bettina is pleased to be putting down roots in Charleston with her husband, David, and son, Julian. “Charleston is a beautiful and welcoming community and the perfect spot for us,” she says. “I look forward to getting to know more of the families in the area as I do my work with weddings.”

There is a saying that Bettina incorporates into every ceremony: Home is not where you are from but where you belong. “Some of us travel the whole world to find it, this place that feels like home. This is most certainly how I feel about the Holy City of Charleston,” she says. *

Christina Andrews is a freelance writer from the Napa Valley who specializes in personal and business bios, food and wine, visual arts, music, hospitality, the event industry, community interest stories, obituaries and political satire.

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