Why did you choose to get married in Santorini, The Santorini Gem in particular?
We had been looking at going to Santorini on holiday for a while, I previously worked as a dancer on cruise ships and visited there for a day, 1 day is too short for Santorini! I always wanted to go back. Once we had got engaged we knew we wanted to get married abroad and Santorini with the most amazing views was top of this list!
Once we started looking at venues, the same venues kept popping up and I wanted something different, something new. I found Santorini Gem and just love the modern décor of the venue; it was unknown and didn’t have many reviews so I knew it was a bit of a risk. Once Lisa had been out to visit the Gem and said how beautiful it was I felt much better! We also went to visit the venue 9 months before the wedding and we were in love with it!
How long in advance did you book your wedding?
We got engaged in April 2015 and we didn’t want a long engagement, we started looking in the May for the following year and it was all booked by the end of May for June 2016! We felt it was important to give our guests 12 months notice for an abroad wedding so it was fast moving. We were very lucky to get the date we wanted at such short notice! Again thanks to Lisa!
How many guests did you invite to your wedding and how many accepted and attended?
At first we wanted a very small wedding, but as most weddings do the guest list grew bigger and bigger and we invited around 50 of our closest friends and family. We were delighted that we had around 43 guests that were able to make it to the wedding! It was a perfect number. Some guest made it a week long holiday, Some guests who struggled to get time off work etc, still managed to make it out for the weekend, and my brother and sister in law who is a teacher and struggles to get any time off at all even managed to make it out just for the wedding day! This was lovely of them. We planned the wedding on a Sunday as this was the only day that there were no flights from home so guests could decided how long was best for them.
Your beautiful dress! Where was this from and how long did it take you to find?
To be completely honest I didn’t like wedding dresses at all. I found it impossible at first. In total I only visited 3 shops because when I went I didn’t like any. Time was creeping closer and it was only 6/7 months before the wedding and I then found the Essence of Australia/Stella York/Martina Liana range online and fell in love. I then just searched for shops that sold that range.
I completely fell in love with a Martina Liana dress backless with a huge train, I went to try this on and once there I was spoilt for choice! In the end I went for an Essence of Australia dress, a silk slip with a lace over dress, a low back and the train a little smaller with lots of detail which glistened in the Santorini sun. I then custom made my huge cathedral length veil with lace detail to match my dress. I loved my veil more than anything!
We are in love with your shoes! Where were these purchased and which other accessories did you choose?
As I am only 5 foot and addicted to heels, shoes were a very important part of my wedding accessories! I spent hours and hours looking for shoes when I found the Badgley Mishka bridal shoe range. They are all so beautiful; I went for a white peep 6 inch high heel shoe with lots of diamonte detail at the back of the shoe. These were very hard to find and I had to get them shipped from the USA. I managed to keep them on all day!
With the dress and veil having so much detail the only other accessory I had were diamond earrings from Goldsmiths Manchester, which were my ‘something new’ gift from my husband.
My perfume was hot couture by Givenchy – which is discontinued in the UK, I managed to get a bottle in Marbella on my hen do.
Tell us about the groom’s attire…
My husband purchased his suit and it was actually the very first thing we bought for the wedding. We were out shopping not looking for a suit but found his 3 piece suit in a duck egg blue colour, very unusual and we both fell in love with it (we ended up planning colours for the wedding around his suit). We decided to wait and went for some lunch, after lunch we ran back to the shop and bought it as we couldn’t stop talking about it! We also purchased the ushers and fathers suits which were more casual to keep cool in the sun with just a waistcoat, pants and tie in a darker blue. The colours looked amazing with the blue sea backdrop.
What about the bridesmaid dresses? Where were these from?
Bridesmaids dresses were one of the hardest things to find! Originally I wanted white dresses, but with my dress being a mix of white and ivory the colours didn’t go. After hours of searching online and in shops we all went shopping together and found them in the first shop we went to!
The dresses were a multi way dress from coast, we went for a royal blue to match the blue theme of the suits. The colour of the wedding was natural white and silver colours so the blue really stood out. The dresses were very Grecian and all 3 girls had the dresses a different style and different hair which they chose themselves again with minimalist accessories and a brooch bouquet. The girls looked beautiful.
My 2 little flower girls aged 1 and 6 look adorable in matching ivory dresses from Monsoon.
Your bouquet is gorgeous! Were you happy with your choice?
I was debating for a while between a brooch bouquet and a real bouquet. In the end I decided on a real bouquet as I wanted it quite big. The main flower at the wedding was my favorite flower – white rose. My Bouquet was a large white rose with some green tied by lace. It was beautiful. It matched my husband’s double rose button hole.
Did you theme your wedding?
With the venue being so beautiful it didn’t need much decoration, very plain and modern. A lot of white and neutral colours so I tied in my flowers to the venue, mainly white flowers. The theme was champagne. Each table was the name of a champagne with the top table being ‘dom pergion’. Each table number was an old vintage champagne advertisement post card in a frame with a bottle of that champagne on the table for the toast. The name plates were in champagne corks, the men’s favours were bottle openers and the main course was ‘champagne chicken’. We chose this because of our love for champagne!
What about the smaller details of the day….
I loved our wedding cake! Again I wanted something a little different as I had seen a cake on pintrest I fell in love with, It was a 4 tire replica of a Santorini blue domed church. I have never seen a cake like it and the majority of the cake was actually made by pasta! So we had a second cake to serve to our guests.
We had a mix of canapés for cocktail hour, along with champagne, beer and chocolate strawberries which went down a treat.
We went for a sit down menu choice, Greek salad for starter, champagne chicken for main and chocolate cake for dessert all served to the table. There was a buffet option but through our own preference we decided to have a sit down meal so everyone could relax. We had a mix of white, red and rose wine throughout dinner. The food was delicious! All of our guests commented on how nice it was. We then went onto a free bar for everyone to enjoy after dinner.
When it came to favours there are so many to choose from! I wanted them all! I wanted to do the favours myself so bringing them from the UK they had to be small. As a massive fan of smelly candles, I chose a little white bag with a yankee ‘ wedding day ‘ candle inside for the ladies and a Mr & Mrs bottle opener for the men. Everyone also got a scratch card and a few people won!
Our tables looked beautiful, decorated by wedding wish. I had large vase center pieces with a large display of white roses at the top, surrounded by candles. I had silver chargers, silver table runners and napkins tied with blue ribbon and a white rose.
The entertainment was brilliant, for when the guest arrived and for cocktail hour we had a saxophone and guitar player. Before, during and after dinner we had a singer called Michalis Karamolegos, he was absolutely brilliant and the whole wedding party enjoyed his performance. My father in law even got up for a song with him during dinner! After this we had a DJ take over for party time. And to make our first dance that little bit more special we had fireworks which was a complete surprise for our guests! The day was fantastic.
How did you find the planning experience from booking to the big day?
I absolutely loved planning our wedding. At times it can be a little stressful making sure you are catering for everyone and everyone including yourselves are happy especially coming all that way, but it was all worth it in the end. I’m happy that I can say I wouldn’t change anything about the day it was perfect. Lisa and The Bridal Consultant team were just brilliant. Emails were answered very quickly, no question was a silly question, everything we needed was catered for. Finding amazing entertainment, the best photographer, the exact cake I wanted.. especially when our town hall messed up the paperwork the team were there to advise exactly what we needed to do. I’m so sad the planning is over, I need a new project!
What’s your best memory from the day?
The whole day was just perfect, from beginning to end! My best memory is probably getting to the end of my huge aisle and seeing my husband waiting in the beautiful gazebo with the most amazing view, but there are so many great memories from the day. Going with the photographers to get some pictures with a blue dome church and getting out of the car to a coach full of Chinese tourists who cheered and took pictures! My father in law getting up with the wedding singer for some dinner entertainment giving us his version of ‘sweet Caroline ‘. Our first dance and the beautiful fireworks going off behind us. Dancing the night away without closest friends and family. It was magical I wish we could do it all again!
Was your wedding on budget or over budget?
Not too sure on the overall cost but I’m sure it was a little over budget, ‘You only get married once’ came up a few times!
What do you think makes a wedding abroad stand out from a wedding in the UK?
I would 100% recommend a wedding abroad to anyone, not only do you have the most beautiful weather and venue you also get a holiday instead of just 1 day! We started our wedding 2 days before with a pre wedding meal in Sphinx restaurant in Fira, with the whole wedding party getting a chance to mingle, watch the sunset and even have a dance with some Greek dancers! 2 Days after the wedding we hired a private large boat to take us on a 3 hours sail to the hot springs and around the island, we had a meal and wine on board and jumped off for a swim! A wedding abroad is not just the one day the whole week was special!
I would also 100% recommend The Bridal Consultant for your wedding, we couldn’t of done it without them. They have the best recommendations and great ideas, nothing is too much trouble.
Thank you all so much. Love from the Barretts.
Photographer – Ben Wyatt | Bride’s Dress – Essence of Australia | Bride’s Shoes – Badgley Mishka | Bride’s Earrings – Goldsmiths | Bride’s Perfume – Hot Couture by Givenchy | Bridesmaids Dresses – Coast | Flower Girl Dresses – Monsoon
Budget Key | £ – 10k and under | ££ – between 10k and 20k | £££ – over 20k.