We’re very excited this morning to be sharing with you this truly magical wedding in Santorini.
Our head wedding planner Lisa had the pleasure of attending this gorgeous wedding and has since informed us of what an amazing day it was!
Rachel and Jonny exchanged their vows on the 4th of June 2015 whilst surrounded by friends and family. Here the bride tells us all about her special day…. enjoy x
Why did you choose to get married in Santorini, Dana Villas in particular?
I think the pictures for Santorini and Dana Villas speak for themselves. The uninterrupted views of the Caldera and the sea is what sold it to us. As well as the clean, sleek, white terrace that is just so elegant yet simple. It truly was perfect for our wedding, it was everything that we had ever dreamed of. Originally we did consider other Greek islands that were cheaper to travel to for guests, but we quickly realised that our friends and loved ones would be there regardless and we also struggled to take our minds off Santorini. So we went with our hearts and started to plan the wedding of our dreams, and it was, in every way! It did not disappoint, after 2 years of looking at pictures 1000000 times it still takes your breath away when you arrive there… it’s just spectacular, we feel very very lucky to have had our wedding there.
How long in advance did you book your wedding?
We booked our wedding around 2 years in advance. We had been together for nearly 11 years before the engagement!!! So I had in mind what ‘I’ wanted, fortunately when we started to discuss the type of wedding we wanted I was so pleased that Jonny wanted the same. We needed a little time to save and plan. I’m glad that we did book so far in advance as we loved the build up to it and moving on to the next steps in planning.
How many guests did you invite to your wedding and how many accepted and attended?
We invited around 35 family and friends and 25 attended. It seems like a low number to invite but we just wanted our closest people there. Dana Villas was perfect to host a wedding party of 25. The reception terrace was the perfect size, it felt like that there were 100 guests because we filled the space and created such an amazing atmosphere.
You look stunning in your dress! What made you choose this and how did you know it was ‘the one’?
Well I had two dresses!! I knew I wanted an ivory, lace wedding dress, fairly fitted and detailed. I felt that I maybe wouldn’t be able to stay cool in such a dress and dance the night away, so I made the decision to have two. The evening dress was white, light and flowy made from Tulle, I wanted it to have straps on the evening so I felt secure but I didn’t want straps in the day in case I felt too warm. My ceremony dress was from a local wedding shop in my home town ‘Always and Forever Bridal’ the dress is by Mori Lee. I tried on around 20 dresses in 2 different shops. My Mum and Step Dad bought it for me round 18 months before the wedding…we knew that it was ‘the one’ as my mum cried her eyes out when I tried it on. I actually tried my dress on initially to eliminate it as it kept jumping out at me, but I wasn’t sure why. Brides say that you are always surprised when trying on dresses. The styles you thought you didn’t like actually end up being the ones that make you feel WOW. My dress really did make me feel amazing.
We absolutely love the shoes and accessories! Where were these from?
My wedding shoes are by a bridal designer in Debenhams Ronald Cavalli, they were very ‘blingy’ yet classy, I think! And very comfy. Again I was surprised when I picked these shoes as I didn’t intend to go for sparkles.. but a girl obviously can’t resist! My veil was from the same shop as my wedding dress and my head piece was from a seller on Etsy who hand makes bridal accessories (Etsy was fabulous for purchasing the little items for the day). The head piece was something I knew I wanted as I wanted detail in my hair after I took my veil off. My earrings were a gift from my mum and my Wedding Day gift from Jonny was a Tiffany bracelet. Myself and the lady guests were treated to foot jewels so that they could comfortably dance the night away. These were a nifty little Ebay buy.
Jonny looks handsome in his suit, where was this from and what made him choose this look?
Jonny was given free reign on his suit. Although I did slightly steer him in the right direction. He didn’t want top hat and tails but nor did he want linen pants. Jonny ended up picking a FCUK three piece suit from Moss Bros the Taylors in Liverpool City Centre. He felt fantastic in the suit and the colour was perfect. The men removed their jackets after the ceremony and continued to look fab and cool in their waist coats for the rest of the day.
Your bridesmaids look stunning in their dresses and we love the colour! Where were these from?
I think the bridesmaid dresses were my best buy. They are exactly what I had always wanted for my girls. I had seen the Two Birds Twist Wrap dresses very early on when they very first came out, I fell in love with them. The cost was around£250 per dress, I couldn’t justify spending that. I shopped around and eventually stumbled across the same dresses in a high street store for a fraction of the cost and in the colour I wanted. I feel I really achieved a fab look with the dresses and really dropped on with the cost. Plus we had many get together figuring out the styles before the wedding. I hope that one day my bridesmaids will wear them again in a different style. I wish had a got one for myself.
We’re loving yours and the bridesmaids bouquets! What flowers did you choose and why?
The bouquets were stunning, I cried when they were delivered. I wanted big, neutral, pretty and full. I originally wanted peonies, however they can be little pricey in Santorini so I opted for white hydrangea and blush pink roses and I wanted another flower, but I wasn’t sure what… as I wanted to make mine looked slightly different to the bridesmaids. The planners made some suggestions to the florist and what we ended up with was exactly what I had pinned on Pinterest a million times. They were just absolutely perfect.
Did you theme your wedding?
We didn’t really want a theme, we wanted neutral colours with everything to be elegant yet informal. We used the bridesmaids bouquets as the centre pieces which tied the day in with the evening, we added a bit of sparkle by adding crystals to the reception tables. The venue, the view and the sunset really creates the theme of elegance and love.
We’d love to hear about the smaller details of the day! The cake and favours, did you have any entertainment?
We had many little personal touches such as the personalised favours and name tags, cooling fan favours which added to the prettiness of it all. The wedding planners excelled themselves with the finer details. I had purchased silk confetti which unfortunately isn’t allowed at the venue. I left my confetti cones at the venue following the planning meeting knowing that they wouldn’t be used, however on the day the cones were presented to us filled with fresh cream rose petals. I was over the moon. We had an open bar for the duration of the wedding and reception, I think that this was the most appreciated detail for our guests! The processco was flowing all night. As did the food, 5 courses of deliciousness. We didn’t arrange for any entertainment but we got it by the bucket loads from our Best Man.. after a couple of pints of Mythos!!!
The wedding cake was a 2 tiered chocolate cake with ivory icing, it was perfect and super yummy and was just meant to be for the 2 of us and for cutting, however it ended up feeding all of our guests plus some of the hotel guests too. I didn’t expect it up my nose following the cutting of the cake though… even though I did start the obligatory bride and groom ‘cake fight’.
We had Ben Wyatt and his lovely wife take our photographs over 3 hours. Ben and His wife made the experience so enjoyable.. especially with Jonny being quite camera shy. Jonny actually commented that he felt so at ease and really enjoyed the photo shoot, I was so worried that we wouldn’t get the photos that I had pictured because of Jonnie’s reservations, but Ben managed it and also brought Jonny out of his comfort zone in order to get the amazing shots. The photos from the day are just stunning, they managed to capture every single memory, it was important to us to get a lot of ‘snap shots’ of the day unfolding, these candid pictures are my favourite. We seriously could not have asked for better photos.
How did you find the planning experience from booking to the big day?
The planning process was simple, enjoyable, easy, detailed, 100% attention given to me, I felt cared for and my smaller details were important. I received an email once off Lisa quite late at night with pictures of centre piece vases that we had been discussing. I knew that she had seen the picture and thought of me. You know you’re in good hands with the Bridal Consultants. The legal side of things was not one bit daunting with Sasha’s clear information.
The wedding planning meeting in Santorini at the venue is so helpful, we went through the seating arrangements confirmed all of the final tiny details, and I mean the tiniest of details are discussed here, music, timings, table layout, flowers, menu, etc. The meeting left us super excited and reassured that it was going to go smoothly and stunningly, and it did.
We had the pleasure of Lisa in attendance at the wedding. It was so lovely to have the lady there who had created this amazing day. We were so pleased that we got to share our memories with her and thank her in person.
Being involved with the ‘Diary of a Bride’ has made this even more enjoyable, I will miss all of this. I could not fault one thing. I worried that a wedding abroad would mean that I would lose control of the finer details, but this was not the case at all. I was able to give more attention to these things as the wedding planners would be there on the day to execute to perfection. I am genuinely already missing the emails and the team already.
What’s your best memory from the day?
This is too hard to answer. Marrying Jonny and saying our vows was the most magical experience ever. Our guests, Santorini, the venue, the details, the weather and sunset just created one big best memory. The whole Santorini experience was amazing. If we could’ve put an order in for the weather and colour of the sunset it would have been for exactly what we got.. I believe that The Bridal Consultants also managed to sort that for us too!!!
What a beautiful, unique, fantastic island. We visited every part of the island on quad bikes and fell in love with the place. I can’t wait to go back…. maybe for the renewal of our vows! Haha.
How much did you spend overall on your big day? Was it on budget or over budget?
Our wedding was priceless. We literally came in right on budget, which I have since given myself a pat on the back for. Where we overspent on some things we underspent elsewhere. We felt that the wedding was a million dollar wedding but in reality it cost a fraction of the cost of a UK wedding. Plus we had a 2 week wedding celebration rather than it all being over with in one day.
What do you think makes a wedding abroad stand out from a wedding in the UK?
Simply the weather, the scenery and the enjoyment of a holiday wedding. The week before the wedding I relaxed so much that I was fully able to enjoy every minute of the wedding day. Apart from the morning nerves and the slight scare of not being able to get in my dress after all of the Greek food!
The luxury of having a wedding planner oversee every aspect from day one to the actual end of the reception is invaluable. I would (and have) recommend The Bridal Consultants and a wedding abroad to everybody. It was the best experience EVER, one that we’ll never ever forget. Every one of our guests cried and laughed with emotions and said that they were having the time of their lives. They felt just as special as us on that day. This made us more happy than we thought that we could be. I sit here 4 weeks on thinking about the wedding a million times a day and how lucky we feel to have had such a wedding. I would relive that day every day if I could. Truly spectacular.
Love Rachel and Jonny’s elegant wedding as much as we do!? Don’t forget to share and leave your comments in the box below!
Venue – Dana Villas | Wedding Planner – The Bridal Consultant | | Brides dress – Always and Forver Bridal | Brides shoes – Debenhams | Grooms suit – Moss Bros | Brides veil – Always and Forver Bridal | Brides headpiece – Etsy | Photography – Ben Wyatt