Scintillating Santorini Real WeddingWords by Lauren Ertl
Photos courtesy of Kaitlyn Blake Photography
Grayson and Julie were high school sweethearts who both grew up in Newnan, GA. Being from the same town, they have a large network of friends and family who are all interlinked. Although their hometown held a special place in their hearts, the couple knew they wanted a smaller wedding. They realized that may not be practical if they stayed local, so a destination wedding seemed to be a great solution for the couple to ensure they could spend time with close people in a breathtaking destination. Spoiler alert: they chose Santorini, Greece for their celebrations abroad!
"Everyone loved the idea of being able to take a 'bucket list' trip all while being able to attend our spectacular wedding," Grayson and Julie say. They had a legal ceremony in Newnan so that those unable to travel to Greece could witness their joining and feel a part of something special.
While toying with the idea of possibly having a destination wedding, Julie googled "most romantic places in the world." "I instantly fell in love with Santorini. The blue dome churches, stunning cliffside views, and the gorgeous Aegean sea caused my imagination to run wild," the bride says. The couple quickly found planning a wedding from the other side of the globe has some stress factors involved – like not being able to do menu tastings or pick local flora and fauna in person. Thankfully, their planner with Lavish Affairs provided solid guidance.
"Our wedding planner was instrumental in planning a wedding from so far away. They were available 24/7 to help us plan everything or answer any questions we had. Hiring them was the best decision we made when we started planning this wedding," the couple says. Communication happened predominantly over emails with a few video chats. With no language barrier, the biggest hurdle was simply the time difference, which Julie and Grayson say, in fact, wasn't too difficult.
Luckily, no headaches happened around travel logistics. The only transportation issue the couple reports running into was trying to coordinate picking up all the guests who committed to going on a sunset cruise on one of the island’s sailboats. "We had three different tour busses to pick up our guests at set locations based on where they were staying. There were a few delays due to some stragglers, but we did have a 100% success rate while only falling 20 minutes behind schedule," Julie says.
When asked to compare what a hometown wedding would've been like in comparison, the couple admits they don't think it would have been near as special or memorable. "The constant jaw-dropping backdrop was very soothing and relaxing along with the mild tropical climate. After having such an incredible ceremony, it is hard to even imagine what a wedding back home would have been like," the two say. They added that once you get passed the travel expenses, everything in Santorini is cheaper, therefore, you can get more “bang for your buck.”
Grayson and Julie's parting advice:
"At the end of the day, I don’t really remember what our flowers looked like in the moment or how beautiful the scenery was. I remember marrying my best friend in the greatest place in the world with all of our closest friends and family. It is easy to stress about little things, but at the end of the day, remember why you are there in the first place. Also, hire a wedding planner because I don’t know how I would have done any of it alone."
Perhaps a Santorini wedding is in your future! Check out the couple's destination wedding photos, and maybe even start googling "most romantic places in the world." You never know where you'll end up.
Vendors: Photographer: Kaitlyn Blake Photography; Wedding Planner: Lavish Affairs; Ceremony/Reception Site: Venetsanos Winery; Florist: Wedding Wish Santorini; Cake: Confetti Dessert Boutique; Hair & Makeup: Julia Afanasenko; Gown Designer: Essense of Australia; Groom’s Clothing Designer: © JOS. A. BANK CLOTHIERS; Bridesmaids' Clothing Designer: Azazie
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