Regular readers of Bridalwave will notice I haven’t posted for a few weeks and that’s because I’ve been off sunning myself on holiday in the gorgeous Greek Island of Santorini. However, even while I was there I was thinking about all you brides-to-be, especially those who are after a destination wedding.
Greece probably isn’t the first choice for a destination wedding, I know many of you would rather the Caribbean, but those who have heard of Santorini will understand why a wedding here would be romantic. For those that haven’t, think gorgeous sunsets set to a back drop of Islands, white roof houses in cliffs and of course the sea. However, it’s not a cheap alternative. I spoke to a few locals out there who said weddings can reach around £10k if you get carried away.
So I had a little bit of a scout around and a few chats with people to find out the best way to go about getting the best deals and what you’ll need legally when you get out there.
Don’t mention the “W” word.
The views and romantic reputation of Santorini have led to a range of companies including Thomson and Thomas Cook to offer wedding packages including the venue, styling, flowers and a personal wedding planner. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with this, and for brides who don’t want the hassle of trying to communicate with local suppliers and negotiating with venues, this is a perfect option. However, according to Angela, a bar owner, and wedding advisor on the Island, these companies will charge in excess of £6k and that’s even before you’ve included the dress and outfits for your wedding party.
Instead she recommends that if you can, then you should do it yourself, but approach suppliers from a personal perspective.
“When you mention the word wedding suppliers will ramp up their prices,” she told me.
“Instead take a different approach. Ask a local hairdresser how much it’ll be to put your hair up. Say it’s for a night out. And make-up wise you’ll only need a little bit, especially if you’ve been relaxing on a beach before the big day. This means you’ll probably be able to do it yourself.”
She also advised brides to look around at venues and perhaps opt for a restaurant away from the expensive capital views. “Picking a restaurant higher up away from the capital will save you money and many on the hills will also have beautiful views over the Caldera.
“Picking a day when the restaurant has live music as standard will also save money on the band.”
Like in every country there are legal documents that are needed before you can say your vows. In Greece you must be over 18 and the wedding documents can not be dated older than 3 months from the day of your wedding date. You’ll need a copy of a passport for both the bride and the groom. If you have your own witnesses, a copy of their passport is also required. You must also provide the birth certificate for both the bride and the groom. The document has to be the long form that also mentions the parents names. You’ll also need to show a divorce or death certificate if applicable. All the documents also need to be translated via the Greek Embassy of your area.
Santorini is a very small island and during my travels I didn’t spot one bridal shop, however, I didn’t venture into some local towns so that’s not to say there aren’t any at all. It’s therefore recommended that you choose a dress from here and take it with you. The Island gets very hot in the summer and even the evenings are muggy. It’s therefore recommended you go for a skinny lightweight dress. Think silks, drapes and mermaid cuts, which will look stunning against the sunset backdrop. You could even go for a Grecian style frock to match the destination (look out for our gallery later on this week.)
Flowers and photography
Although you can probably save money in some aspects of the wedding a photographer is not one to scrimp on. To check out some of the best photographers on the Island take a look at this site.
You can also ask your restaurant or venue to supply you with a list of local florists. To save money opt for a small bouquet and negotiate with the venue for flowers.
Santorini has many resorts with beaches such as Kamari and Perissa being very popular. However, according to Angela many couples opt to stay in the highly priced boutique hotels in Fira. Yes the views are gorgeous, but the price tags reflect this with rooms on the cliff averaging around £200 per night. Angela recommends couples splash out on one of these rooms for their wedding night but opt for a resort such as Kamari, which is a ten minutes drive from Fira and are cheaper. Plus there is the added benefit of the beach, something Fira doesn’t have. I stayed at the Astro Hotel in Kamari. Prices for rooms start at £40 a night and consist of a basic bedroom and bathroom. However, for an extra £100 per week you can upgrade to a split level room with your own jacuzzi, which is more than worth it. Contact Astro Hotel for more details or click here for some more alternatives.