Lauren The Bride: I took my excited Mom and Maid of Honour to find the dress which, after a day of back-to- back bookings, I begun to think might not exist. I knew I was looking for something simple and delicate, like the dresses featured on my Pinterest board and wasn’t willing to settle for anything less than perfect. I searched online and found BHLDN, with the most beautiful bridal collection; I ordered a silk co-ord and had the pieces altered to feature a slightly lower back. To keep the outfit simple, I wore only my engagement ring, sandals and handmade, floral halo. My lovely, talented friend Katy, did mine and the bridesmaid’s boho-style hair and make-up.
James visited Ted Baker London, where he could tailor his suit. I wasn’t allowed any details and was a little nervous, but he looked totally gorgeous. The suit was almost navy blue, with a secret garden silk lining and linen shirt. James is actually Greek/ Spanish mix and has that olive skin we all wish for, so had a damn good tan by the wedding day too! James and our adorable Best Man wore bow-ties and pocket squares from LinenFox on Etsy (my go-to site for everything!)
We chose to get married outside of the UK so that we could get away with keeping the wedding small and intimate, it also meant a summer holiday with our favourite people. We stumbled across Kinsterna Hotel and Spa on Mr & Mrs Smith and fell in love with the organic, Byzantine-era mansion, which is perfectly hidden behind the historic Monemvasia castle. Kinsterna was THE best decision and we would recommend everyone make the trip, if only to have breakfast on the balcony (I would also recommend the olive oil with everything). I think we broke a few hearts, choosing to get married in Greece and with so few guests, but I’ve listened to friends agonising over their guest-lists and have come to the conclusion, it’s probably inevitable. We had a garden party/ informal reception when we got home, so that all our other friends and family could celebrate with us too. Keeping the guest-list to a minimum (it was about 30, for the ceremony) meant that we could really make a fuss over everyone involved. We hand-made and delivered our invitations and put together a welcome tote, for each room - this included various holiday must-haves (flipflops, magazines) and a keepsake too (Etsy, again). It also meant we could treat our guests to a pre-wedding/ welcome BBQ the night before, the most amazing wedding breakfast and an open bar.
Pinterest became every day and the wedding had to be an intimate but beautiful occasion, packed with as many flowers and candles as absolutely possible. We kept the colour palette natural and the decorations simple, to compliment (but not distract from) the beautiful charm of the estate and amazing views!
Kinsterna recommended local wedding planner/ decorator, Ioanna, who was fantastic.
The bridesmaids (my sister, cousin and best friend) wore a simple, sage green dress from House of Fraser. It was a little tricky finding something that all three would be happy with, as they couldn’t be more different! The dresses underwent a few alterations and all of the bridesmaids looked lovely.
With the ceremony being in Greece and only having briefly visited the venue earlier in the year, we had no idea what we could expect. It was over so quickly, we weren’t actually sure we were married and were told after, civil ceremonies are short to keep the groom from changing his mind! The ceremony was followed with celebratory drinks, dinner on the Belvedere (with speeches, despite my protests) and later, (popular Greek band) The Smooth Tones in the bar. I was the first to bed (being a bride is totally exhausting!) but we’ve been told the party carried on until the early hours of the following day.
James and I are both vegan so let head-chef George create a bespoke menu for our guests. The produce was all home-grown or locally sourced and organic and the menu included, among other dishes, grilled Sea Bass, Greek Salad (with balsamic dressing from the vineyards) and Crème Brule - it all looked amazing! We chose ‘family style service’ so that our guests could choose to have any/ all of the dishes, which was perfect for a table of various diets/ little ones. George also surprised us with the most beautiful naked cake, dressed in bright orange flowers and fresh strawberries.
Our photographer, Cecelina, was recommended by my lovely friend, Katy and was absolutely fantastic! I avoid the camera at all costs and was really worried about those awkward staged/ family photos but Cecelia was just like having your friend behind the camera and it wasn’t terrifying at all. We have (literally) thousands of photos, most of which were taken without our guests even noticing and they’re all perfect. My absolute favourite photo is of James and Max waiting at the altar, as I walk down the aisle – if you are going to capture any moment, make it this one. Cecelina sent a beautiful, glass USB with all of the photos taken during the 2 days she was with us and we chose our favourites for the album, which was (I may be a little biased, but honestly) the loveliest photo album I’ve even seen.
Our advice for upcoming brides? Celebrate your marriage with the people who have each contributed to your being where you are today and invest in a photographer that will perfectly capture the ‘hygge’ of the event.