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Destination I Do
Friday, January 24, 2020

Sweet Santorini Real Elopement

Words by Lauren Ertl
Photos courtesy of Adrian Wood Photography

Admittedly, choosing to have a destination wedding away from family and friends was a very difficult decision for Gabriel and Ashley to make.  “We are so deeply rooted in our families and have a wonderful network of friends who support us, so leaving them to travel halfway across the world take our vows was difficult to say the least,” the bride says.

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However, Ashley and Gabriel shared a deep mutual love for travel. When asking one another “what would be one place we would most like to see that we had never ventured to before?”, the answer was clear as day: Santorini, Greece.

After solidifying their decision to elope abroad, the couple wanted to make sure to involve those close to them in some way (even though they wouldn’t be there physically). So, the couple got innovative, putting together gift boxes filled with traditional Greek wedding items and mailing them to family and friends right before departing for Santorini. 

“The boxes notified the recipient to ‘Open on May 24th’ and included a full itinerary of our wedding day’s events so they could all follow along in real-time from the United States,” the couple says.

Even though Ashley and Gabriel were planning their wedding from across the globe, the process was practically seamless, thanks to their planner, Lydia Meritzi with Stella and Moscha. Lydia helped recruit vendors who’d best fit the couple’s vision.

“Using Skype allowed us to express our personalities and really get to know the team we were working with.  So much so that when we arrived in Santorini it was like meeting up with old friends for the wedding,” Ashley and Gabriel say.

When the day finally arrived for Ashley and Gabriel to say their “I do’s,” the sun shone over the Greek waters and all the couple had to focus on was taking in the first moments as husband and wife amongst stunning scenery. Although far from home, simple touches brought their beloved with them. Patches were sewn to the inside of Ashley’s dress with thoughtful notes written by her daughter, mother and sister.  Gabriel's suit also had memorable quotes from his Mom and Dad sewn into the inside. 

“We so often hear about weddings being a blur for those who took their vows because of all the things needed during the preparation leading up to the big day.  The same cannot be said about our wedding day as we remember every tiny detail that took place and we soaked up memories that will last us the rest of our lives,” the couple says.

Vendors: Photography: Adrian Wood Photography; Planner: Lydia Meritzi with Stella and Moscha; Videographer: iliketomovieit, Nikos Dimou; Ceremony/Reception Site: San Antonio Luxury Boutique Hotel; Florist: Wedding Wish Santorini; Cake: The Family Bakery Megalochori; Hair: Bella Damigou; Makeup: Eleni Ilio; Gown Designer: Eve of Milady; Groom’s Clothing Designer: Gariani Menswear

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