Venice - one of the most beautiful cities in the world was the location for Hannah & Matt's destination Greek wedding; but to ensure they honoured Hannah's Greek heritage, the ceremony itself took place in a stunning Orthodox church just around the corner from Saint Mark's Square. The nods to Greek traditions didn't stop there, later in the evening Hannah & Matt wore the traditional bride & groom money jackets, partook in some plate smashing and challenged family members to some Greek dancing too. Everybody arrived at the fabulous Cipriani Hotel on Giudecca Island with the wedding breakfast taking place in a truly jaw-dropping room complete with chandeliers, glass candelabras, candles and gold Venetian masks, not to mention the neon-lit dance floor. Light and love were literally reflected everywhere at this Italian wedding, and capturing all was the fabulous Bridgwood Wedding Photography.
A Greek wedding in an Orthodox church in the heart of Italy with two wedding dresses.
I tried on over 40 dresses in total – as I wanted to make the most of it! I knew I’d found my daytime dress when I saw the look on the faces of my mum and best friend. I felt like I was floating in a bridal bubble as soon as I put it on. My night dress was a showstopper – I felt like it was SO very me, before even seeing it in the mirror. I think a lot of guests expected me to show up to church in something like my Berta dress, so I enjoyed the element of surprise. Both dresses were from The Wedding Club in Knightsbridge.
Hannah the Bride: We met on holiday in Spain in 2012 (I was on a girl's trip, he was on a boy's trip). Matt proposed in Cyprus (I’m half Cypriot), under an ancient tree in the gardens of the church my parents had married in 20 years before, on a bench in memory of my grandfather. It was just the two of us and so peaceful, it was the most meaningful and thoughtful place he could have chosen in the world to propose to me – the boy did good.
We didn’t have a theme as such, however as we were in Venice we followed that through in our choices of favours, food and wine. I’m not a huge fan of colour so we kept a very neutral palette, with whites, silvery greens, gold and light blush.
Matt had his suit tailor made by Tom James. We bought the groomsmen each a suit from Moss.
The flowers were in keeping with our neutral palette. The church did not need too much as it’s so beautiful and ornate, we opted for blossom trees, trailing ivy and white petals. At the Cipriani we opted for white hydrangeas in mercury vases, on a mirrored plate runner and tall glass candelabra, I fell in love with the venue very quickly and had an instant vision of how I wanted it to look and feel on the day.
We had hand painted Venetian masks and also limoncello favours, each guests menu card was personalised with a line about them or our friendship with them, we had a floral backdrop made for our photobooth and Venetian masks for people to pose with, leather jackets which we left in with Mr and Mrs on, We took part in the traditional Greek money dance along with other dances on the terrace overlooking the whole of Venice.
On walking down the aisle I felt surprisingly calm and ready – I don’t recall seeing everyone as I walked in but I remember hearing the audible ahh/gasp as dad and I entered. He held my hand instead of linking my arm as he was terrified of standing on my dress – I also remember telling him to slow down!
There were so many, but my most treasured will be Greek dancing with my 81 year old yiayia, with Venice lit up behind us, whilst everyone crowded around and clapped. I also loved watching Matt dance the traditional dance with my dad, I couldn’t have been prouder of both of them.
By far the most challenging thing about this wedding was separating it from my work. I’m a wedding coordinator by trade and I’m very used to having a non-emotional, logical approach to a wedding. I had to make sure this one was a labour of love rather than spend the whole planning process in work-mode. I managed it towards the end – I think.
As everyone flew over to join us we wanted to make sure we gave guests a few days of celebrations rather than just one day – it was so important to us to give everyone an experience they’d remember. We held a rehearsal dinner for our close family & bridal party on Thursday 18th May in the Olive Gardens at JW Marriott resort, then a welcome drinks and cichetti reception for everyone on Friday 19th May and casual farewell drinks at the rooftop pool on Sunday 21st May. Making a weekend of it made it much easiest to actually enjoy the wedding day, as we had lots of time to make sure we got around all the guests. on was also key for us and we made a 4 week trip of it.
Matt chose our first dance and surprised me on the night, it was so lovely to have at least one surprise – as I’d known the rest of the wedding inside out! He chose one and only by Adele, as the lyrics stick in our minds regards how we felt when we met, we used to listen to her album on our trips up and down the motorway when we were long distance (him in Kent, me in Lichfield).
Our wedding cake ended up being huge! The Italians don’t usually have the same kind of wedding cakes as we’re used to, they generally use cannoli, but we wanted an English style wedding cake so the language barrier proved interesting throughout the planning for this. Matt chose chocolate sponge and Nutella filling, while I decided on textured flowers, metallic gold and plain white for the decoration.
Looking back I think I was quite prepared for what the big day would hold for us being in the industry that I’m in, but one thing I wish I’d realised is that a cathedral veil is a bit of a nightmare! As everyone is stepping on it all day by accident – I’d probably go a little shorter looking back.
Honeymoon wise we went all out. We did 3 stops; Safari in Kenya, an overwater villa in the Maldives and a desert villa in Dubai, it was the best 4 weeks of our lives.
My one bit of advice would be to accept help from family and friends, even if you can do it yourself, it creates amazing memories and makes everyone feel involved. Also – go big on your hen, stag and honeymoon, they’re just as special as your wedding day and last a little longer.