by Sarah Hatjipavlis, Grecian Ceremonies
Chosen Greece for your special day? Here are just ten top tips to help you before you start wedding planning!
Venue choice – Greece has great weather, fantastic views, so much history and of course there is an almost endless choice of places to choose from. Mainland venues or Island venues, this is where you need to start, bearing in mind, the more popular the Island, the more pricey the wedding will be. If you are planning a destination wedding on a budget, choose an Island a little less well known, not one where the A listers hang out, there are in fact about 200 inhabited Islands in Greece, so there are plenty of options
Type of venue – Are you thinking of a beach wedding? It sounds so romantic, and what great photos, but you must consider a couple of things. Firstly, most beaches in Greece are not privately owned, meaning that there will be other people around. You must have some shade, for you and your guests, and of course footwear must be carefully chosen. If you have elderly guests or persons with walking difficulties, think about them before choosing a spot with difficult access. For any couples contemplating planning their own beach wedding in Greece, it is important to note that, yes you do need permission, you cannot just roll up and have a wedding ceremony on any beach in Greece without. If you have a beach in mind, contact the closest bar/restaurant to see if they can help.
Villa weddings in Greece – There are so many villas and traditional properties to choose from, if you are not using a wedding planner and you are researching villa venues on your own, you must contact the villa owner directly if you are planning a wedding. 90% of the time there will be an additional charge for a villa wedding, this will cover extra cleaning and wedding preparation. Also bear in mind, the location of the villa, if you are planning to party all night, then a villa close to others, will not be suitable. You don’t want the local Greek police as uninvited guests at your wedding reception. Note, most couples will have a symbolic celebrant led ceremony at a villa in Greece.
Time of day – A very, very important decision. Don’t let your wedding planner push you to have your wedding ceremony too early, due to lack of availability. On the most popular Islands for destination weddings, time slots for a civil ceremony get booked up months and even years ahead. The majority of destination weddings in Greece, take place during the months of May until October, with July and August the most popular due to the school holidays. It is imperative to point out that the temperatures can rise to well over 40C (104F) in August in the Greek Islands, so a late afternoon ceremony is a must. You really don’t want Auntie Jean to pass out mid ceremony with sunstroke!
This brings me to Wedding Planner – I would definitely encourage you to find a wedding planner for your destination wedding in Greece. It will be a false economy not to, and if you are planning a legal civil ceremony a wedding planner is an absolute must, to ensure that all the paperwork is correct and submitted in good time for your special day. Your planner is there to make all the arrangements, deal with all the suppliers and of course coordinate the day for you, so you can get on with your job of enjoying and taking in every second with no stress!
Your ceremony – A very important decision. Here you do also have options to consider! Of course, we have the standard civil wedding, where you will sign the marriage documentation on the day. You will have provided all the relevant translations well in advance. This type of ceremony will take about ten to fifteen minutes and is virtually the same script wherever you choose in Greece, as it is used for both local and destination civil ceremonies alike. In popular wedding venues in Greece, there will be back to back civil wedding ceremonies daily, throughout the summer months.
Symbolic ceremonies-You could of course opt for a unique celebrant led ceremony in Greece, celebrants are trending in the UK and it is the same in Greece. Every year, more and more couples planning a destination wedding are looking for a celebrant to write and officiate their ceremony. A celebrant will get to know them, learn their story, and family and friends can also participate. Perfect for couples looking for a non-religious, or mixed-faith ceremony and of course for same-sex couples planning a wedding in Greece! These couples do not do the paperwork in a foreign country, popping to their local registry office for a quick marriage before or after travelling to Greece, freeing them up to have the ceremony of their dreams, written just for them. This type of ceremony is not limited to a fifteen-minute slot, nor does it have to be in an authorised ‘wedding venue’.
Civil ceremony or celebrant led symbolic ceremony, which is best? Well it’s up to you to answer this question, as a celebrant in Greece, I have to admit to being just a little biased!
Clothing and bridal attire – You must consider the heat, and you should advise your family and friends accordingly. Yes, your Groomsmen can wear full suits with waist coats, but do they have to? You have chosen Greece for a reason, so light weight cotton clothing is best. If you have selected a Greek Island venue, bear in mind, they can be very windy. Brides, hair up, would be preferable here!
All-inclusive bars – It’s always good to know in advance how much you will be spending when planning your wedding. Watch the drink quality with some all-inclusive bars, ask for branded drinks. You really don’t want your family and friends falling by the wayside early on, due to very strong local booze!
The honeymoon-Finally, it is your wedding, yes, you have brought
family and friends with you, but once the ceremony is over, the sunset photos
taken, the last party goer in bed, it is time for you! It is your honeymoon, so
make sure that all family and friends let you have your privacy, whilst they
enjoy the local area. I speak from experience, my dear old Mum and Dad, showed
up on my doorstep 9.00am on the day after my wedding, with plans to set off on
a day trip round the Island of Rhodes, needless to say, we went, but I have
Sarah Hatjipavlis, Celebrant in Greece