Why did you choose to get married in Santorini, Le Ciel in particular?
We always knew we would love to get married abroad as we are both sun worshipers and love to travel. We had actually decided we wanted to spend our honeymoon in Santorini as we had always wanted to visit the stunning island. However, it wasn’t until we came across a picture of Le Ciel on Pinterest, and completely fell in love, that we decided we had to get married there. After a bit of research, we were so happy when we realised it was in Santorini and therefore, decided to have joint wedding and honeymoon on the island.
How long in advance did you book your wedding?
As soon as we found our venue, we were eager to secure it as soon as possible. We were in engaged in December 2015 and booked our venue with The Bridal Consultant in February 2016 for a summer wedding in August 2017. We were very lucky to get one of the last bookings for that summer which gave us a year and half to plan the wedding which was ideal for us.
How many guests did you invite to your wedding and how many accepted and attended?
Knowing it was an abroad wedding and some of our guests would be unlikely to attend due to finances and travel we made sure we gave them plenty of notice before the wedding date and actually sent our invites out a year in advance. We invited 85 people and we had 56 guests at the wedding. We were so happy with the turn out as we had roughly estimated around 60 guests being able to attend and it meant so much to us that so many people were able to share our special day. It was such a wonderful bunch of our closest friends and family, they truly made it an amazing day.
We are in love with your dress! How did you find the dress shopping experience and who was the designer of your stunning gown?
Every bride-to-be looks forward to finding THE DRESS and I was no exception! I had been engaged for about a month before I started to drag my mum and friends around bridal shops! I didn’t really have any idea about the kind of dress I wanted which I think made it easier at the start as I was very open to trying on lots of different styles.
In the first bridal shop, I tried on about 7 dresses and it was clear that I was starting to sway towards a fitted style with a long train, in particular one designer Martina Liana. Even though, I had liked two of the dresses I tried on, I wasn’t in love and decided to keep looking.
I went to another bridal shop but didn’t find anything I liked as much as the style of Martina Liana. A few weeks later, the lady who owned the first store contacted me and said that she was having a special weekend where all of Martina Liana’s collection would be in the store. The moment I saw my dress I knew I would love it and was so excited to try it on. When I walked out of the changing room and the assistant fitted me with a veil, my mum was in tears and I knew that it was the one. It was elegant, fitted with a stunning train and was completely my style. It also felt like it would be perfect for a wedding in Santorini and the theme I wanted to go for; simple, elegant and modern.
Can you tell us about your shoes and accessories, where were these from?
My shoes were from Kurt Gieger and went with the colour theme of rose gold. My veil was one tier with diamonds threaded through to shimmer in the sun. I had three diamond and pearl hair grips in my hair which I found on eBay. My mum gave me a special leaf diamond ring to wear too.
Sam looks very handsome in his formal suit, where was this purchased?
My husband Sam was a very involved groom from the minor decorations down to finding the perfect suit. After months of researching and shopping, he couldn’t find anything exactly the way he wanted it so he decided to look into having a suit designed, made and tailored for him. He worked with a designer from ‘A Suit That Fits’ in Bristol and together they designed a midnight blue tuxedo. It was then made in Italy and tailored in the UK. He was extremely happy with it and loved how it fit him perfectly.
The bridesmaid dresses are gorgeous! Where were these from and were the ladies happy with them?
My bridesmaid dresses were a fantastic find. I decided quite early on that I wanted to go for a very modern and elegant theme with a colour scheme of white and rose gold. I really wanted the bridesmaids to have rose gold dresses but knew it would be tricky finding the perfect ones. After months of searching, I finally found their dresses online on a site called Lulus which was an American store. I ordered the dresses online and they arrived a few weeks later. They fit perfectly and the girls loved them. They looked stunning on the wedding day and really made our theme pop!
What flowers did you choose for your bouquet and why?
I choose white roses for my bouquet as I wanted to keep it simple yet elegant.
What was your theme and why did you choose this?
Our colour theme was white and rose gold with greenery for a modern and classy look. We chose this theme as it was quite rare at the time and we had never been to a wedding with this theme before so we could really make it our own. Also we thought it would go so well with our venue as Sunset View Terrace is a really modern venue.
What about the smaller details of the day? How did you personalise your day? What entertainment did you choose? And the menu?
We did buy and make a lot of our own decorations to make the wedding more personal and put our own stamp on the venue. We made table numbers with photographs of us at each age and ceremony fans with the order of service and a thank you message for our guests. We also made our seating plan from scratch using glass and paint and chalk ink which I was really pleased with.
We had rose gold tea lights on the tables and geometric rose gold candle holders and sequin runners on the top table.
Instead of favours, we donated money to two charities which are close to our hearts on behalf of our guests. We also had a polaroid guestbook where the guests took photos with a polaroid camera and create an album with their own messages. It was beautiful and something we will treasure forever.
We had a saxophonist playing deep house music during the cocktail hour and then a DJ later on for the disco.
We had a three course menu and an open bar for our guests which they all made the most of! The food was exceptional and many of our guests said it was the best wedding food they had ever had. The staff were so attentive and friendly.
How did you find the planning experience from booking to the big day?
Generally, the whole planning experience was very straightforward and easy. From the moment we spoke to Lisa, our wedding planner, we were reassured that we had made the right choice to go with The Bridal consultant as she was always very professional and answered any questions we had promptly. It made the whole process a lot less stressful knowing there was always someone at the end of the phone or email to help you. We had ups and downs that come with planning any wedding day and found frustrations with some of the limitations that come with planning a wedding abroad but we always managed to find ways around them to ensure we had our perfect day.
When we arrived in Santorini, we met with the wedding planners on the island. They were superb. From the moment we arrived to the day we left they were attentive, organised and so friendly. They made sure our wedding was exactly how we wanted it and no request was too much trouble. Thank you so much!
What’s your favourite memory from the day?
It is so hard to pick just one! The whole day was incredible for both of us and we loved every single minute of it. We wouldn’t have changed one thing except make it last longer!
‘My best memories from the day were when I first saw Laura walking down the aisle to ‘A Thousand Years’. She looked absolutely stunning and I struggled to hold in my emotions as she walked towards me. It was one of the best moments of my life so far. I also loved our last song at the end of the night when all of our guests came together in group hug and singalong on the dance floor. It felt very special and moving.’ Sam, Groom
‘There are so many but if I had to pick a favourite moment it was during our first dance to ‘You and I’ by John Legend when Sam dipped me in our dance and the floor sparklers went off at the perfect moment thanks to our wedding planner. It was one of those moments that wasn’t planned but was so perfect it should have been! Also all of the speeches from my dad, Sam and our best man Joe which were the perfect mix of hilarious, emotional and loving.’ Laura, Bride
What do you think makes a wedding abroad stand out from a wedding in the UK?
For us, it guaranteed a more intimate wedding with people who want to be there with you. As all of our guests were on holiday out there before, they got to know each other and build bonds and great relationships in the lead up to the wedding, which made the wedding so much fun for everyone. Also the obvious advantage of fantastic weather and breathtaking scenery that you just can’t get in the UK.
What advice would you give to future brides and grooms who are getting married abroad?
Try not to worry too much about the small stuff. It will all come together in the end and on the day you won’t notice it anyway! Trust in your wedding planners, they are amazing and will do all the worrying for you! For me it was difficult when close friends or family were not able to make it to the wedding but try not to let it get you down as you will have so many friends and family there with you and on the day the most important thing is you and your partner. Lots of chat rooms and online articles put you off bringing your own personalised decorations but we bought a suitcase full with no problems and it made a huge difference to the overall look of the wedding and kept costs of suppliers down. So I would recommend it! The last bit of advice is to fully embrace every moment of your day as it goes so quickly! We wish we could do it all over again!