An Alluring Athens WeddingWords by Courtney Kellar
Photos courtesy of Nikos Gogas Photography
Some women have fantasized about their dream wedding since they were little girls, but certain details of Elina’s nuptials were settled the moment she was born. “Elina comes from Athens, Greece and, according to Greek tradition, a wedding must take place at the bride’s place of birth,” says the groom. “Besides, there were many more guests from Elina’s side and it would have been inconvenient to ask 200 Greeks to come to Switzerland.” The couple was more than happy to host a destination wedding in the Athens Riviera and, thankfully, their loved ones agreed. “They were very positive and most of them used it as an excuse to book a vacation in Greece.”
Once Patrick and Elina finalized their decision on location, it was time to find a venue. They approached the process methodically and for good reason. “We researched on the web and picked a number of open-space venues. We then decided to fly to Greece and visit them one by one. Our decision was not only influenced by the venue and the location itself, but also by the chemistry between us and the venue managers who were showing us around. What made our decision more difficult was that the venues were closed and not in use when we visited in winter time, so we could not be sure how the lighting, the gardens, etc. would eventually look.”
The couple’s venue options also came with another factor worth considering. “Another issue was that venues had exclusive cooperation with specific catering companies and the choice of venue was indirectly the choice of our menu, too.” This isn’t uncommon, so it’s always important when considering a venue, to ask if they allow outside vendors. If you have your heart set on a certain photographer or catering company, you want to make sure your venue is willing to accommodate that. Elina and Patrick also put a lot of effort into picking a wedding planner.
“We had been a little bit unlucky with the first wedding planner as not only did she lack in organizational skills, but also she did not contribute any creative ideas. We [then] fully relied on Rock Paper Scissors and there were no issues [after] they took over from our first wedding planner.” Elina and Patrick knew they couldn’t control everything from afar, so they relied heavily on their local resources in Greece. “We had to be really trustful of the local vendors and professionals and we could not control every aspect ourselves. [Once] we started working with Rock Paper Scissors, we were much more relaxed because we had our people, who knew exactly what was important to us, on the spot.”
The couple’s guests were highly self-sufficient, so Elina and Patrick were able to rest easy knowing everyone would arrive safe and sound. “We were not involved in the travel logistics; our guests booked their flights and accommodation themselves. We did, however, organize a bus that ran from hotels to the chapel and then to the wedding reception. In addition, we offered [our guests] many ideas not only for their accommodation, but also for sightseeing and entertainment. Those were uploaded on our wedding website.”
Not surprisingly, Patrick and Elina’s Greek destination wedding turned out beautifully. We asked the couple how their wedding would have been different if they had broken with Greek tradition and held their wedding in their new hometown. “If we had organized the same wedding in Switzerland, we would have spent multiple times more. Greece is an ideal wedding destination because it offers very high standards of luxury and one of the most delicious cuisines you can imagine at quite the reasonable cost.
“We would never have been able to have a wedding right on the sea with perfect weather and an amazing view [in Switzerland]. Clearly, our guests would never have been equally impressed had we done [the wedding] back home. The famous Greek hospitality also greatly contributed!” While the couple was reminiscing, we asked them what advice they would offer other couples currently planning a destination wedding. “Start planning at least nine months in advance and be conscious that you will never feel that everything is ready until the wedding day! Make sure you enjoy it as much as possible because time will fly by very fast!”
Vendors: Photographer: Nikos Gogas Photography, Wedding Planner/Florist: Rock Paper Scissors, Ceremony/Reception Site: Ble Azure, Cake: Pavlov’s Lab, Hair: Michalis Anousakis Hair Atelier, Makeup: Emmanouela Tagara Makeup Artist, Gown Designer: Lila Nova, Groom’s Clothing Designer: Giorgio Armani, Bridesmaids/Groomsmens’ Clothing Designer: Lila Nova/Chalina Merchalina
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