Earlier this year Lizzie and John jetted off to Santorini along with friends and family to exchange their vows at the stunning Rocabella Hotel.
This morning i’m catching up with the lovely bride herself who tells us all about her special day from start to finish, enjoy x
Why did you choose to get married in Santorini, The Rocabella Hotel in particular?
We chose to have our wedding in Santorini for several reasons; (i) it’s probably the most beautiful island we have ever visited – it really is just like the postcards but also has a very fun vibe too; (ii) I have been going to Greece on holiday since I was a little girl so it was a country that I associated with a lot of fond memories; and (iii) we live in Dubai and most of our guests were coming from England and Dubai so it seemed liked a great half way house!
We chose The Rocabella Hotel because of its great location on the island and breathtaking views over the caldera. The layout of the hotel enabled us to have our ceremony and cocktails on the lower terrace where you are just meters away from a sheer drop of about 50 meters down to the sea and our reception on the top deck to get that great panoramic view of the sunset. The staff were very friendly and accommodating and the price quoted for the wedding was great value for money when compared against other similar options in Santorini.
How long in advance did you book your wedding?
About a year. We really wanted a summer wedding and we knew that the best venues were getting booked up quickly so we knew we would have to get cracking!
How many guests did you invite to your wedding and how many accepted and attended?
We invited just over 100 guests and around 80 guests attended. We did have a couple of drop outs in the last month but the hotel was very accommodating and only required upfront payment for 77 guests with a view to paying for the remainder of the guests on the night.
You look gorgeous in your simple yet elegant dress! What make was this and how long did it take you to find ‘the one’?
I live in Dubai so naturally the first dress shop that I visited was in Dubai Mall. After sieving through a million princess dresses I finally found one that wasn’t too bling and tried it on…..oh dear! At least fish tail dresses were now ruled out. So, it became obvious that I would need to widen my search for the perfect dress. I rounded up the bridesmaids and my Mother and we booked a full two days of trying on wedding dresses in London. I focused on shops that had more simple, sleek and fashionable wedding dresses as opposed to the fairytale style meringues. I was trying on dresses ranging from 1,500 pounds to 10,000 pounds and nothing seemed to really suit me. My entourage were getting less enthusiastic as the sun began to set and more sozzled on the free prosecco. It was the last shop that we visited on the first day that convinced me that there was light at the end of the tunnel. I found an amazing dress from a South African designer called Kobus Dippenaar. It was perfect and his dresses are just stunning. As soon as I tried it on, the entourage heaved a sigh of relief and we all knew this was the dress that I was going to walk down the aisle in.
Can you tell us about your shoes and accessories, where were they from?
My shoes were from Jimmy Choo and because I had chosen quite a simple dress I decided to go all bling on the shoes. They were sliver 5 inch beauties which I couldn’t really walk in but were so pretty that practical logistics flew right out the window. I of course then had to buy a second pair of shoes (with more sensible heels) for the later part of the wedding for when my feet were threatening to drop off.
I had flowers for my hair, gypsophila, like the bridesmaids bouquets. I wore my Grandmother’s pearls that had been handed down to my Mother and then to me (that was my something old). I was going to wear a bracelet from Tiffany’s but my sister surprised me the night before the wedding and got me this gorgeous vintage silver bracelet which I absolutely adored so I ended up wearing that (that was my something new). I had my diamond earring made in Dubai especially for the occasion and my something blue was a lace garter that I had picked up from a wedding fair in London the year before.
John looks handsome in his formal attire! Where did he purchase this?
My Husband, his Father, the Best Man and the ushers all had 3-piece suits made for them by Moss Bros in the UK. His brother helped organise the fittings which was a bit tricky as his ushers all lived in different parts of the world, but it came together nicely in the end. The suits were navy blue and the ties matched the colour of the bridesmaids’ dresses, so it worked well.
We absolutely love your bridesmaid dresses! Where were these purchased and what made you choose the colour green?
I had 6 bridesmaids who all have different skin tones and hair colours so I had to choose a colour that they would all look great in. I choose a dark green in the end which I think looked fantastic on the day. I wanted my bridesmaids to feel comfortable in what they were wearing so all I specified (style wise) was that the dresses had to be full length. Dessy dresses seemed the obvious choice as you can get the same fabric and colour for lots of different dresses in different styles so we opted for them.
Tell us about the smaller details, the cake, table plan, your menu choice and the entertainment..were you happy with your choices?
The wedding cake was a three tiered vintage sponge, although the cake toppers were the main feature. My Mother managed to find figurines of Woody from Toy Story (my Husband looks just like him!) and Wonder Woman (who I don’t look exactly like, but I was the bride, in which case I get to be Wonder Woman for the day!) on Ebay which we put on the cake as a personal touch.
For the table plan, we designated each table as an music album from our childhood and replicated the actual vinyl record sleeves with the guest names in place of the list of songs on the back. We wanted to inject a bit of our personalities into the wedding and we were really pleased with the result.
We choose a typical Greek three course meal for our menu choice. We both absolutely love Greek food and wanted to take advantage of the amazing grub that you can get in Santorini (especially at the Rocabella Hotel).
We paid for a firework display and lots of sparklers that everyone lit at once. It was an incredible sight which really just made the day even more perfect than it already was.
We had a band playing chilled out music straight after the ceremony whilst cocktails were being served and we had a DJ playing later in the evening. The party went on well into the night and as you can see from the photos, the guests were really enjoying the music and I don’t think anyone was left sitting down.
How did you find the planning experience from booking to the big day?
Very stressful! We have jobs which require working long hours and often on the weekends. However, our wedding planner, Lisa, was simply amazing. We interviewed a few wedding planners but Lisa just seemed to understand what we wanted. She was great to work with and I can’t imagine what we would have done without her! My Mother and Sister were also absolute stars in terms of organisation and general support – I have a lot to be grateful for.
What is your best memory from the day?
Dancing like a loon with all my friends, family and my Husband to cheesy music, feeling on top of the world!
How much did you spend overall on your big day? Was it on budget or over budget?
I have no idea! Whatever we intended to spend at the beginning was more than doubled during the year. We didn’t really have a budget or any spreadsheets but we made it work.
What do you think makes a wedding abroad stand out from a wedding in the UK?
I think the main thing is that all your guests treat your wedding as part of their holiday. People usually hang around for a while and the wedding events kicked off a couple of days before the wedding which meant we pretty much had a three day wedding – not something that you would normally find in a UK wedding. Oh and of course there is the weather!
Both John and I just wanted to say a huge thank you to you and your team for helping us organise our wedding! It was a fantastic day and I can’t believe it went so fast. Everything was perfect and all our guests have been complimenting us on such a good event. We really couldn’t have done it without you!
Don’t forget to share this gorgeous wedding and tell us what you think in the box below!
Wedding Venue – The Rocabella Hotel | Wedding Planner – The Bridal Consultant | Photographer – Vangelis | Brides dress – Kobus Dippenaar | Brides shoes – Jimmy Choo | Grooms suit – Moss Bros | Bridesmaid dresses – Dessy Dresses