Monday, 27 October 2008

Choosing the location for your wedding in Greece

So, you've swotted over your world map and come to the conclusion that Greece is the place to hold your wedding, what next? How do you choose between the mainland, popular and small islands that all offer varied and attractive options as wedding venues? Sit down and make a plan with your future husband, consider the size of your wedding, your expectations, the setting that you are looking for and how accessible the venue is for your guests. It is not necessary to limit yourself to the popular islands if you are looking for a traditional taverna on a quiet, undiscovered beach, however be prepared to have less choice in accommodation and wedding services available, peonies will not be available in the local florists! The mainland offers the widest variety of services with purpose built outdoor venues with Greek churches within its grounds, photographers, videographers, caterers and bakers can all be found very easily, if you are unfamiliar with Greek, then get yourself an English speaking wedding planner or utilise a local who can translate for you. The larger islands in Greece, Rhodes, Crete, Santorini, Corfu and Kefalonia offer varied options, tour operator packages, local wedding planners and hotel planners, of course if you're looking to stay away from packages and "touristy" wedding venues, then you will have to seek out a wedding planner who's work you admire and you identify with to assist you with planning your wedding. As a general guideline, these are the questions that I would suggest that you ask yourself before deciding on the location for your wedding:
  • How large is my wedding going to be?
  • As a general rule, the larger the wedding, the larger the town/island/village that you should choose, in order to give you and your guests more options to choose from in term of the services for your wedding and the entertainment and accommodation options for their visit.
  • What type of wedding do I want?
  • Is it a civil wedding? Do I want it outdoors? Is it a Catholic church wedding? A Greek Orthodox wedding? Investigate which locations offer the type of ceremony that you are looking for and narrow your choices down this way.
  • What setting do I want for my reception?
  • A large hotel poolside set up? An intimate seaside dinner? A large villa garden? A historical setting? If you are looking for a specific setting then look into the options before making a final decision on the location that is right for you.
  • What level of services do I want for my wedding?
  • If you love flowers, are lusting after a photographer with a stylistic approach to his work, would like a hair stylist with international flair or a wedding cake with some wow factor, then choose one of the more cosmopolitan islands or Athens city, where you can find suppliers with an open mind. A small, Greek island is not out of the question, however be prepared to fly or transport all your suppliers from the mainland or nearest large city, which can prove costly.
Happy hunting!!!!

Friday, 24 October 2008

Honeymoon suite in Sifnos

If you're looking for a beautiful hotel suite to spend your first few days as a married couple in, then look no further than the Elies Hotel on Sifnos island, around 3 hour ferry ride from Athens. This small island is known for it's great cuisine, beautiful beaches and tiny white sugar cube houses that are associated with Greek villages. Elies hotel is very minimal in design, a pure white pallette set off against carefully selected artwork and beautiful wood furniture. Ideal for those looking for simplicity and luxury!

Thursday, 23 October 2008

Greek Wedding Traditions

Today, I thought I might fill you in on some Greek wedding traditions. You could choose to add some of these elements to your wedding day or you may want to use this as reference when marrying into a Greek family. Greek island weddings, have always been a huge event that all the villagers look forward to. A chance to show your family’s wealth, power and love for the family, until today in some parts of Greece it is considered the norm to build or give your daughter a house as part of her dowry.

A typical Greek wedding can have anything form 200-1500 guests in attendance and will usually follow with a reception for at least half of these! The reception will have a live Greek band playing traditional songs, plenty of food and of course free flowing Greek wine.

The Thursday before the wedding (always on a weekend), there is a gathering at the couples new home to “make the bed”.

Family and friends gather and all the unmarried friends of the bride, make the couples bed, this is accompanied by a live band and a church blessing. It is tradition for people to throw money on the bed for the couple and also seta babies on it to signify fertility for the couple.

That evening each family have their own dinner party, and if the groom comes to see the bride, her mother must douse him in flour.

On the day of the wedding, the best woman will shave the groom and his single friends will dress him.

Over at the bride’s house, the best woman must give the bride’s parents gifts in order to enter the house. As her father puts her shoe on she will attempt to persuade him in to giving her more and more money.

After the wedding, the bride and groom go to their new house where the mother of the bride feeds the groom honey to signify keeping him sweet towards her daughter!

A few of the more traditions are:

  • After the reception the groom used to fry his tie and the bride, groom and the parents had to eat some of it.
  • The bride writes all her single girlfriends names under her shoe in pen, whichever name is legible at the end of the evening is the next in line to marry.
  • During a Greek Orthodox Wedding, there's a tradition for male relatives of the bride to slap the groom on the back, sometimes with force, as a way of welcoming the groom into the family.
  • A Greek bride carries a lump of sugar in her glove on wedding day for a "sweet" life
  • Crowns are placed on the couples' heads; the crowns are usually white or gold or made of orange blossoms or twigs and vine wrapped in silver and gold paper. A ribbon attaches them, and they are switched on the bride's and groom's heads three times. The crowns symbolize that the marriage is noble, and that the couple is becoming a unit, a family.

Wednesday, 22 October 2008

Weddings in Greece

So, the purpose of this blog, is to give information on my continuing discoveries of possibilities for weddings in Greece!! I hope that I will be able to provide information that people planning a wedding in any part of Greece may find helpful. I will try to avoid the classic "cookie cutter" wedding package information and I feel there is plenty of information on paperwork, hotel weddings and St. Paul's, but what happens if you're looking for something a little different, a little out of the ordinary, I think you'll find that the information is almost non existent! My first thoughts on what is important when planning a wedding in Greece is the perculiar law, as to where civil weddings are allowed and where not. Well, this depends on each and every Town hall's registrar and mayor, meaning that on one island or area, each town can have it's own rules, so extremely confusing and incovenient. Archaeological sites in general are forbidden for photography sessions and of course cannot be used as wedding or reception venues, so unfortunately any dreams of a wedding on the Acropolis of Athens or Lindos, are I'm afraid impossible to fulfill. So, when looking for a great venue in Greece you must first contact a local wedding planner and find out what is and isn't permitted. If weddings are only permitted in the local Town Hall, then consider having your "official" and legal ceremony on a day leading up to your chosen wedding date (or perhaps on the morning of your wedding day), you can choose to have only 2 witnesses present or close family and friends. You are then free to set up your second (unofficial) ceremony as you would like, in some cases we can arrange for the same officiant to be present and perform the wedding or you may prefer for a family member or a friend to read the service to make it more personal and special for you and your guests.