A BC love story – Marianne and Luke in Santorini

Today we have the most amazing treat for you.

An absolutely gem of a wedding that took place this May at the Rocabella Hotel and Spa in Imergliovi, Santorini. Marianne worked alongside Sasha from our team to plan her day, and you’ll see from the photographs that here is a wedding with incredible attenttion to detail.

This wedding really is a treat for Santorini brides present and past.

Get ready for lots of WOW!

Why did you choose to get married in Santorini at in particular The Rocabella Hotel and Spa?

We always knew we wanted a small destination wedding and choosing the location was a very important part of the planning for us. We wanted a location that wasn’t just a pretty place but also had activities and somewhere our guests could relax and enjoy their stay. We chose Greece because we think they have the most romantic sunsets in the world and it’s a great place for a holiday.

When choosing our venue we knew right away it had to be the Rocabella Spa hotel. The hotel itself is absolutely stunning with breathtaking views. We decided to fly out to view the hotel and finalise plans 7 months before, and it did not disappoint, our guests too were blown away by the modern yet authentic feel. During our Visit we met all of the staff at the Rocabella who would be looking after us on the day which was reassuring(they even stayed to party with us into the early hours of morning).

We both agreed we wanted the ceremony and the reception to take place on the infinity terrace, the lowest terrace with an incredible infinity pool offering breathtaking caldera views of the volcano and magical seascape below.

How long in advance did you book your wedding?

We booked our wedding 19 months in advance

How many guests did you invite to your wedding and how many accepted and attended?

We wanted a small private wedding so we invited 33 guests and 31 were able to attend including our 3 nieces who were my flower girls. 

Tell us about your amazing dress, how long did it take to find the perfect one?!

I found wedding dress shopping the most daunting experience of the whole wedding; there are more designers, styles and silhouettes than I ever imagined and I began to wonder if I’d ever find a dress to suite my personal style. However once I found the Halfpenny Boutique in London I instantly fell in love with so many of her designs as they made me feel like me. They have such a unique vintage feel to them and they can be worn in so many different ways. I still wanted to try on every dress I could to get the full experience of wedding dress shopping but after trying on what felt like hundreds of different dresses, I ended up back at Halfpenny with the dress I fell in love with at the start. 

My dress is called the Iris Rose – a full-length lace dress over an ivory slip. This was my favourite dress from the Halfpenny collection that is quintessentially English with the shaped train of French Levers lace.

and your accessories…..

My shoes were Jimmy Choo ‘Romy 85’. I have always loved this style and knew I wanted something different that I could wear again but still iconic with its sleek stiletto heel and pointed toe profile. I went for a mid heel as I wanted to be able to dance until the early hours in them and these shoes did not disappoint. They were so beautifully crafted with a coating of sparkling glitter in an ombré effect from dark navy to a shining silver-tone hue for a luxe look. 

I kept my accessories simple and classic with a single diamond from Tiffany & Co draped around my neck. My earrings were a gorgeous pair of pearl huggies in rose gold from Astrid & Miyu and I wore my grandmothers gold wedding ring on my right hand so she could be there with me on my special day. 

Luke looked very dapper, tell us about his suit.

Originally we were going to hire the suits as Luke had 6 groomsmen but after trying on many different styles and choosing the perfect colour, his father offered to purchase bespoke suits for all of the groomsmen. Luke knew exactly what he wanted and went with Slater Bespoke and the Lambretra navy slim fit three piece suit. The groomsmen all wore navy blue ties and Luke wore a navy bow tie for an elegant addition. 

Your bridesmaids looked stunning, tell us about their dresses.

It was so important to me that my bridesmaids were comfortable and happy with every aspect of their looks on the day, so I pretty much gave them free reign. I purchased the bridesmaid dresses a year in advance as I found the perfect dress that was soft and romantic. I love the high street brand Coast and found the Exclusive Corwin multi tie maxi dress to be perfect in every way. It ticked so many boxes with multiple ways to wear it, mini-length lining with a soft pleated maxi skirt over the top and in a gorgeous blush pink colour that was subtle and flattering. I also had Luke’s 3 nieces as my flower girls and we  managed to find a gorgeous dusky pink shade to compliment the bridesmaid dresses.

We’re in love with your bouquet, why did you choose these flowers and style in particular?

The flowers were wild and imperfect in shades of quicksand, blush and ivory and we had them cascading down the gazebo and across each table creating a relaxed and elegant feel. My bouquet included ivory and quicksand roses, white buvardia combined with greenery. I also had a couple of burgundy peonies added to create depth and warmth. My bridesmaids had similar bouquets but without the peonies and the flower girls had a single white rose tied with a bow. 

Did you have a wedding theme?

We wanted to create an elegant, relaxed, vintage yet classy feel to the day. Our main colours were white, ivory and blush pink combined with gold details. The aisle was beautifully lined with glass cylinder vases full of candles and cones filled with rose petals. Like the flowers, I wanted myself and the bridesmaids to look effortless. My hair is a huge part of my look, so I didn’t want to turn up on my wedding day looking completely different. The same applied to my bridesmaids, so Julia Afanasenko came up with the ‘it looks like it took two minutes, but actually took an hour’ type of hair styles, with loose tousled waves that lasted all evening. She even added small pearl hair clips to the flower girls hair. Keeping with the theme, I didn’t want to look back at my makeup and regret doing too much so Julia created a look that myself and the bridesmaids loved whilst still feeling totally like ourselves.

Tell us about the finer details….

We chose not to have a wedding cake as I am Coeliac and we had already made sure all of the food on the day was gluten free so we didn’t want to make our guest eat gluten free cake too. However, we did lay on canapés and cocktails during the day and an ice cream carte for desert. 

As it was so warm on the day we didn’t want the food to be too heavy and we also had quite a few allergies in our party including shellfish and nuts which they catered for with no fuss.  For our wedding breakfast we decided to keep the food traditional and went for a Greek salad with feta cheese and melon to start followed by bruschetta with smoked aubergine and caramelised cherry tomatoes and finished with chicken marinated in a Ladorigani sauce. 

The tables for our wedding breakfast were made up of 4 round tables and a sweetheart table to give us some time together. We wanted everyone to be surrounded by their favourite people and in the end it worked out perfectly. The tables were full of roses, candles and the most beautiful centre pieces in gold vases. The places were set with gold charger plates, our menus printed on napkins, personalised wooden heart place settings and a single rose in the middle. We also had small bottles of gin personalised for each guest as a favour and for our nieces we filled the bottles with juice. 

We took advantage of the fact that we could bring some things with us. We checked in quite a few suitcases filled with things for the wedding day including table numbers, parasols, fans, napkins and Polaroid’s for the photo booth table. We managed to save money and sort of have an idea of what the decor would look like on the day. 

We decided to have a DJ for the evening who set the ambiance perfectly playing anything we requested along with music to keep the atmosphere electric. We both love jazz music and the sound of the saxophone so we were delighted when we were able to book Fotinos Tsakopoulos a Saxophonist who came highly recommended on the island. He did not disappoint. He was incredibly talented and played a variety of music from Jazz to RnB while interacting with our guests. He even stayed to talk to all of our guests and congratulate us. 

How did you find the planning experience from booking to the big day?

We met Sasha 19 months before the wedding and she was outstanding taking us through the process and offering us advice as we really had no idea. As we got nearer to the wedding Lisa and Matt both worked with us to arrange all of the necessary paperwork that we hadn’t even thought about and they continued to support us after the wedding with having our documents translated. Email communication was outstanding and every question was answered instantly no matter how silly and insignificant our questions were. While in Santorini we met with the on the day team who drove us around and stayed with us on the wedding day to check everything ran smoothly. Everything was so well planned and timed, I was so relaxed and almost forgot I was actually getting married.

On top of our own team we were also supported by Katerina and the team at the Rocabella who spoilt us rotten with gifts and they even dry cleaned my dress the next day. We honestly couldn’t have done it ourselves as we weren’t just planning the wedding, we had to plan a getaway for an entire group of 31 people, including a pre-wedding party, transfers, post-wedding boat trip, day trips to town and the wedding itself. Having a fantastic team behind us was the most important part of our wedding. It was better than we could have ever imagined and wouldn’t change a thing. 

What’s your best memory from the day?

We both have different best memories from the day but too many to just choose one. However, Luke says his best memory was when I said “yes”!

For me it was absolutely, truly and honestly, the best day of my life. Up until the morning of our wedding, I worried and worried and worried some more – about the flowers, how my hair would turn out, if I had picked the right tablecloths for the reception, etc. – and in the end, it all turned out exactly how we had imagined it. What’s funny is that I barely even noticed the tablecloths and the flowers and all the little details that I had lost sleep over during the last year… when you’re holding hands with your new husband and surrounded by every single person you love… it doesn’t even matter. I have never felt so happy, joyous, supported, and filled with love on that day and that’s my best memory. 

What do you think makes a wedding abroad stand out from a wedding in the UK?

The unique experience! The beautiful venue we chose enabled us to have the whole ceremony and reception outside on an infinity pool terrace with breathtaking views. The laid-back feel and guaranteed sunshine are a fantastic reason to choose Greece. Watching the sunset with all of our guests at the pre-wedding party and then again during the post-wedding boat trip was truly unforgettable. The best thing for us was being surrounded by our closest friends and family. Getting married abroad enabled us to have a smaller wedding and everyone made such an effort to be there for us so we not only have the memories of our special day but of the whole week together.

What advice would you give to future brides and grooms who are getting married abroad?

We were lucky as nearly all of the guests we invited were able to travel but most importantly we wanted to plan different activities to make sure our guests got to know each other prior to the wedding so that it turns into a fun holiday/wedding for all. We found visiting the island 7 months prior to the wedding and meeting the team over there made the whole process a lot more relaxing. We were able to book a beautiful bar in Thira for a pre-wedding party and a catamaran for a post-wedding sunset cruise. This really made the wedding feel like it lasted for a few days and our guests didn’t want to come home.

Ultimately just enjoy the whole process, it is an emotional rollercoaster and the day goes so quickly. Find moments when you can just be alone and take in the magical experience together and remember… everyone has flown all that way to celebrate with you… they are your best friends. 

The Dream TEam

Photography | Phosart
Brides Dress – Halfpenny Boutique London
Grooms Suit Slater Bespoke
Flowers- Wedding Wish Santorini
Love Lights and Table Plan | illuminography
Shoes | Jimmy Choo ‘Romy 85’
Venue | Rocabella Hotel and Spa

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