Why did you choose to get married in Santorini?
In all honesty it was Sam that wanted to get married abroad and I originally didn’t (the main reason it took Sam 8 years to propose!). I have a massive family and I knew a lot of them wouldn’t be able to come if our wedding was abroad, but I saw a picture of Le Ciel online and fell in love, then when we found out it was Greece it was even better as we’ve both always loved Greece and really wanted to go Santorini. I stalked loads of Facebook, Instagram pages and websites, in particular The Bridal Consultant and Phosart. Each time I saw a wedding picture or blog I fell in love even more and just knew we had to get married there.
How long in advance did you book your wedding?
I think it was around 14 months before. We had pretty much already done all the research we could for the wedding before Sam proposed! So when he finally did I contacted Lisa straight away asking about Le Ciel. It was quite booked up and with teachers in our families we had to go for a date in the school holidays and there was only one available we could make work so we booked that straight away.
How many guests did you invite to your wedding and how many accepted and attended?
We did invite everyone we could, even people we knew wouldn’t be able to come. I think we had in our head around 45 including children would be able to. Due to 4 very last minute cancellations we ended up with 37 and it actually worked out perfect. Sam always wanted a small wedding and we ended up spending really good quality time with our guests.
Tell us about your search for the perfect dress…
So my dress is actually a story in itself! I’d had a dress in mind for years, but someone I know got married and had THE dress (still until this day she doesn’t know!), so I went and tried on every different style I could. I loved a Mori Lee dress in particular, my mum cried when I tried it on but I am the most indecisive person ever so I went back with my mother in law and one of my bridesmaids and tried on 3 dresses I had liked and they all cried at the same Mori Lee dress, so I purchased it.
2 weeks later however I still wasn’t sure on the dress! I kept thinking I had gone with other people’s reactions. I did love it but it wasn’t what I had imagined I would wear. It was so plain for me, I’d always imagined lots of detail, so I dragged my mum out to the shops again and as much as I loved other detailed dresses, nothing fit as nice as the dress I had purchased.
I then ended up visiting somebody who could design my dress from scratch! I worked with her to create my dream dress which had the back lowered as much as it could, lace added, an extra ruffle on the train and pearls added to the straps. I loved my dress! It was perfect and I love the fact there isn’t another one of it!
What about your shoes and accessories?
I had a Blue by Betsy Johnson pair of shoes which had a blue sole so were my something blue and I loved them.
I didn’t want a lot of jewellery so I borrowed a bracelet from my mum and Sam brought me some pear drop diamond earrings to match my engagement ring.
And the groom?
Sam was the opposite from me and knew exactly what he wanted, the only problem was we couldn’t find it! We had pale blue as our colour scheme to match the amazing view at our venue. We had found our sons outfit straight away and it was the perfect colour which Sam wanted but we couldn’t find a man’s suit in the right colour.
We were just casually shopping one day and saw a suit in Topman window. It was the exact colour we were looking for so we purchased that, had it altered to how Sam wanted and changed the back of the waistcoat to royal blue to match the best man and my dad’s suit.
What about the bridesmaid dresses? What colour were they and where did you find them?
My bridesmaid dresses were from ChiChi London and were the perfect colour.
Did you theme your wedding?
Our theme was just simple and elegant. I didn’t want to take away from the venue so we had mainly white and silver with just splashes of pale blue running through. When I look back at the pictures I think it worked perfectly.
We’d love to hear more about the smaller details…
We added a lot of personal touches to everything. Everything had our wedding date and ‘Mr and Mrs Parker’ on. My friend did our stationary and they were just beautiful. Everyone had a little pack with their menu, a card saying ‘Tonight’s drinks are free, tomorrow’s stories will be priceless’ and another card on the top that said ‘Thank you for sharing our first meal as Mr and Mrs Parker’.
We didn’t really do favours as such but everyone had a personalised fan, a wooden place name and we did the free bar instead of buying traditional favours.
We had a mirror seating plan and light up letters that said ‘Mr and Mrs Parker’ from Illuminography. I have to say these were probably our favourite decor on the day, everyone commented on them and they just looked amazing!
I didn’t want a cake but my mum ordered us one anyway and it was just a simple two tier, one was lemon, the other was kinder bueno and it was the nicest cake I’ve ever tasted. My mum got us the most special cake topper and I think it stole the limelight as no one had seen one like it before!
Our menu was just amazing! The food at Le Ciel was just out of this world!
My little sister sang while we went for our location pictures and we were told there wasn’t a dry eye in the house. We also had plate smashing which was definitely a hit with all of our guests.
How did you find the planning experience from booking to the big day?
It was honestly the most amazing experience! I loved every second and Lisa and Matt just made the whole experience run so smoothly. I’m such a perfectionist and I felt so calm knowing our day was in good hands. When we got to Santorini the team out there were just as professional and made us so relaxed. Even with 2 guests dropping out 3 days before we flew I was a mess, Sam rang Lisa and within 5 minutes I was fine.
What’s your best memory from the day?
I can’t choose one so I’ll pick my top three!
Cliché, but the moment I walked down the aisle, our little daughter and son walking in front of me and I came round the corner and saw Sam standing on his own, I can’t even put in to words that feeling.
The view and sunset! So this actually is a few moments throughout the day. When we went for our location shoot, just married and thinking we are so, so lucky to be able to get married in a place like this. Just before our sunset pictures the staff opened the curtains inside the venue to reveal the view as the sun was setting and the gasps from guests! I honestly wish we would have recorded that moment. Finally, the sunset on our first dance, I just can’t explain it, we barely danced as we just kept staring. Only people that have been to Santorini and seen that view and sunset will get it. A picture or video doesn’t even show just how beautiful it really is.
My 3rd best memory is staring at our guests on the balcony while cutting our cake and doing our first dance. Knowing all of those people travelled to spend our day with us and seeing everyone just as amazed as us at the venue and to all watch that sunset together will honestly stay with us forever.
What do you think makes a wedding abroad stand out from a wedding in the UK?
It’s not just one day, we had people come and go over 2 weeks. We did a boat trip, big group meals out and mini stag and hen dos before the wedding. We didn’t feel like it was a massive build up for one day it was 2 weeks of celebrations. Also you relax as soon as you get on that plane and just enjoy the build up without any stresses!
What advice would you give to future brides and grooms who are getting married abroad?
Don’t sweat the small stuff.
Remember, it’s your day! I know people say it but don’t get caught up with other people’s opinions. I think going abroad people think they have more of a say as it’s their holiday but stay strong!
Also, don’t be upset when people don’t come or take forever to book! I didn’t get stressed once wedding related but the holiday and travel side of things was a different story. There were a few people that let us down and looking back it upset me more than it should have. We had the most amazing day and really it’s you and your groom’s day, so just remember what’s important and why you’re doing it.
My biggest piece of advice is book a videographer! You won’t regret it, the day goes by so fast and there are bits you miss or bits you just want to relive over and over again. I can’t tell you the amount of times we’ve watched ours. It just takes you right back to how you feel in that moment.
We hope you enjoyed reading about Mia and Sam’s Luxury Le Ciel wedding in Santorini, here are some of the suppliers involved in the day.
Budget Key | £ – 10k and under | ££ – between 10k and 20k | £££ – over 20k.