Why did you choose to get married in Santorini and in particular at Dana Villas?
We didn’t originally intend on getting married in Santorini; we were looking at Greek islands (as we both have a big love for Greece and Greek culture!) and we stumbled upon Santorini and absolutely fell in love with the landscape. We had never been to the island, so I suppose you could say it was a bit of a gamble… However in hindsight, we were pleased it was somewhere new! It made it all the more special, and now we will always remember Santorini for being our Wedding Island!
Choosing Dana Villas as our venue was easy- as soon as we saw photos of the Ceremony Terrace looking out over the Caldera; we just fell in love with that view.
How long in advance did you book?
I think we booked our wedding roughly 18 months- 2 years prior.
How many guests joined you in Santorini
We wanted to keep our wedding in Santorini small and intimate. We decided to only invite direct family and very close friends. We invited 20 people and 18 attended.
Tell us about your gorgeous dress, who’s it by and how long did it take to find?
I was very keen to get my dress sorted ASAP so I started looking in November 2017. I ended up going to 3 or 4 different boutiques and a designer event near me. I found my dress in a local Boutique in May 2018- the make of the dress is a British designer called Mark Lesley. All their dresses are really lightweight and perfect for hot destination weddings!
And your shoes and accessories?
I absolutely LOVE my shoes…!! They’re Freya Rose and they’re stunning. Couture with hand embellished Swarovski crystals. And they were super comfy! A little out of my original price range, but they are just so beautiful. So I decided they could be a gift from me to me!
I didn’t really have many other accessories as wanted to keep it simple; my earrings were a little pair of silver ear climbers from Etsy and they matched my headpiece perfectly; Which was from Lace & Favour- they have an array of colours and styles, I went for silver with clear crystals and ivory pearls. My mother in law bought me a beautiful Greek Rose Quartz and silver ring (again from Etsy) to echo the Rose Quartz napkin rings at the reception. My friend bought me a dainty little bracelet with the Greek eye on it, so I wore that as my something blue.
We love the grooms tailored style suit, who’s it by?
We did a lot of suit shopping… however the winner was a Ben Sherman suit (purchased). Really great fit and comfy for the guys (which they were most worried about). We had Mike’s suit tailored so the fit was perfect! Mike had a three piece, the best man and my dad a two piece. We decided to go for no ties and no socks.
Where did you buy your bridesmaids gowns?
The bridesmaids dresses were gorgeous! We got them from the same boutique I found my dress. They’re a beautiful teal colour, and really complimented their flowers; which were a very pale pink and also worked really well with the guys suits. The dresses were a maxi style; long pleated (kind of Grecian) with spaghetti straps. We opted for this style as it wasn’t too “Bridesmaidy” and wanted to make sure the girls weren’t too hot!
We know you put a lot of thought into your bouquet, can you tell us about it?
My focal flower was King Proteas. These are the national flower of South Africa; and seeing as Mike is South African we felt this was the perfect way to honour his nationality. And they are absolutely stunning and so different! My bouquet was incredible and it weighed a tonne. The central flowers were the Proteas and succulents, however it also included orchids and roses etc. Beautiful!
Did you have a theme?
I suppose, you could say relaxed… We didn’t want too much “faff”. The location alone is so incredibly breath-taking, why would you want to distract from that?! Simplicity was key for us.
Can you tell us about the smaller details, the cake, the menu favours etc?
We’re not too traditional, so decided not to have a wedding cake… We weren’t really that fussed and we also felt that in the Santorini heat it maybe a little much.
Our menu was a traditional Greek menu, as we LOVE Greek food!! And definitely in keeping with the setting. The food was delicious and our guests also loved it.
Favours- we did a couple of little things- my Maid of Honour and I hand made some silver and Rose Quartz napkin rings. I’m really into my crystals and Rose quartz represents unconditional love. We also did Ouzo on the table in Santorini shaped bottles, with a note saying “We’ve tied the knot, so take a shot” which we used to toast when Mike and I did our speech. And last but not least; we used polaroid’s of our guests making funny faces as place names. We found the Ouzo and the polaroid’s were good ice breakers!
We had one long table, with mirrors dotted along the centre and large succulents (to match my bouquet and the guys button holes) with little candle votives. Mike and I had a silver freestanding MR &MRS sign in front of our places, with some pebbles. Again very simple.
As our wedding was so small, we had a sound system for some dancing in the evening; which was perfect for our party size!
How did you find the planning experience from booking to the big day?
The planning experience was fabulous! Lisa in the UK was extremely accommodating and dealt with all of our questions and queries superbly. Always there to support our needs! Matt that dealt with the legal side of things was also great- took the stress away with all the serious stuff.
Our planners in Santorini Michael & Georgia were exceptional. We had a couple of last minute requests which Michael welcomed and delivered perfectly! On the day Georgia was there from my prep to when the celebrations came to a close; ensuring everything was on point! They both made the whole process very easy and relaxing! My mum and Maid of honour kept saying how they had never seen me so chilled. We couldn’t have asked for anything more!
What’s your best memory from the day?
If I had to pick; I would say walking with my Dad down to the ceremony terrace and down the aisle. And the ceremony was just amazing, we loved every minute of it! However the entire day was simply perfect- I know this is cliché (so is saying that) but it was everything we had wished for.
What do you think makes a wedding abroad stand out from a wedding in the UK?
Personally, the setting. Almost guaranteed sunshine! Stunning scenery which a photo (frankly) can’t do justice, And we will never forget how that view made us feel in that moment on our wedding day.
What advice would you give to future brides and grooms who are getting married abroad?
Relax and enjoy the planning process and experience with your planners! It will go by in a flash, so don’t sweat the small stuff.