Naxos, this wonderful island, hosted one of the classiest weddings. Destination photographer Stella G captured a beautiful, elegant bride, enjoying her special day with her chosen one, in an unadorned yet stylish decoration. I loved the floating dresses of the bridesmaids, and I think that a photoshoot like this one, just outside of the church with the couple being uniquely romantic, is something that can definitely be applied in your destination wedding in Greece. Naxos has a breathtaking view, and I totally recommend it as the ideal island to share your love with your better half and your guests, as it is a place full of romance and magnificent scenery.
The bride told us: Both Bryant and I are elementary school teachers and we met when he joined my 2nd grade team! We would hang out all the time as a grade level team, so we had a good friendship (platonic - for me anyways, but for Bryant - he had a little crush). Bryant told a few close co-workers about this crush, but I was completely oblivious to it. it wasn't until one night (almost a year into our friendship) that our co-workers let Bryant's little secret out...I don't think I believed them at first, but I guess it clearly worked out.
Fast forward a few years and we had recently moved to the West Coast, started new jobs at different elementary schools and Bryant was starting grad school. It was a busy and pretty stressful year with many new changes, but we looked forward to visits from family and friends. Bryant's parents were coming to visit us that summer so we were very excited to have the opportunity to show them around our new home. As they showed us around their Airbnb, we walked into one of the bedrooms where my parents and little brother had been hiding to surprise me! I was so shocked to see them since it had been such a long time. At this point, I knew something was up, but I didn't think it was the proposal...we took them to one of our favorite bakeries, had a lovely picnic and then took them to a beautiful park along the lake. As we walked onto a dock overlooking the water, Bryant asked our parents to take a picture of us (he never does this! and we got the whole proposal on video!) and then gave me a kiss. As I opened my eyes, there he was on one knee...saying the sweetest things and holding out the most beautiful ring. I think at this point I blacked out because I was in complete shock. I knew it would happen, but I didn't think it would happen that year. It was such a crazy time in our lives, but Bryant said that he had known I was the one and there wasn't a good enough reason to wait or delay if he knew he wanted to marry me.
How and why did you decide to get married on this destination?
Both of our families are on different ends of the US from us, so we knew that no matter where we had the wedding, family members would have to travel. Since our families love to travel, we figured a destination wedding was really the best route as we could get a group vacation out of this celebration as well. Greece has always been on my bucket list and with Bryant being half-Greek, it was a no brainer. Since I had never been, I relied heavily on the praise and recommendations from Bryant and his family members. I mean, pictures don't lie!
Did you hire a wedding planner?
Yes we did and I highly recommend it, unless you speak Greek and are familiar with the island. Kalliopi and Katerina at Kallina Weddings were so wonderful and amazing to work with. They made sure that everything was taken care of when we arrived and our big day went very smoothly.
What was the decoration style, and what colors did you choose?
I had always wanted a wedding outdoors and since I loved the beach I felt Greece was honestly the best of both worlds. I knew that I wanted accents of slate blue with some natural, local greenery (something to match the beautiful surroundings). We made sure to pick a location and venue that required the least amount of decor because we didn't want to take away from the natural beautiful of the island. I found the perfect shade of slate blue for my bridesmaids dresses and used that color as the reference point.
Did you use a family heirloom or diy?
I wanted to make sure we added some personalized touches to the day since so many of our guests had traveled thousands of miles to be with us on our day. I hand painted our guests' seat cards and my sister created all of our paper goods (i.e. weekend itinerary, ceremony program, and menu cards). We also put together guest welcome bags that we passed out during our rehearshal/welcome dinner. We knew that guests were traveling so far to get there and would need beach towels, sunscreen and other essentials for their beach vacation, so we wanted to take care of those things for them.
What was your favorite moment on your wedding day?
It's honestly so challenging to pick one favorite moment because I loved every second of the day. It was perfect in every way and I wouldn't change anything. I thought I would be so nervous on the wedding day, but I felt so calm and knew that everything would be great. I loved that Bryant and I had were able to steal a few intimate minutes together before the ceremony to read the letters we had written each other during our "first look" (even though we stood on opposite walls and didn't see each other while Stella (photographer) and Evaggelos (videographer) captured it).
What would you advise the brides-to-be that are now on preparations for their destination wedding?
I would highly recommend hiring a wedding planner as well as finding a location/destination that doesn't require extra decor! Flowers and decorations are not cheap and I had to let go of a lot things I thought I "wanted" and "needed" at our wedding because we wouldn't have any way of traveling and bringing it with us overseas. We did very minimal decorations because the church and the venue (Yazoo Summer Bliss - the amazing quality of food and craft cocktails was unheard of! Some of our guests are still dreaming about their grilled octopus dish!) were already beautiful on their own.
We also booked beach chairs, tables and cabanas at Santana Beach Bar for the wedding after-party which turned out to be the best idea ever! It gave everyone another chance to all hang out and reminisce about the previous night's festivities. I'd recommend having some sort of chill/relaxing after wedding get together... it's a vacation after all.
Would you recommend Greece to your friends as a wedding destination?
YES! We've literally told everyone and our guests have also talked none stop about our wedding (the venue, the food, the environment, decor, drinks, etc) in Greece too! It was such an unforgettable experience and we couldn't recommend it enough! We are hoping more of our friends will choose Greece as their destination, so we can go and relive it all over again! Not only is the island of Naxos beautiful, but the warmth and kindness of the people who live there is such an added bonus. It's also so affordable, wasn't overcrowded or as touristy as the other more popular Greece islands and made the entire wedding experience relaxing and stress free. We can't believe we had such a beautiful wedding and didn't break the bank! We had researched weddings in the US and it would have cost a fortune.
Photography: Stella G