This takes the term ‘at home’ wedding to a whole new level, but that’s exactly what it is. An intimate gathering in the North Greece village groom Alex grew up in.
With fabulous lighting and beautiful olive leaves being the main element of decoration, and the olive tree garden at Alex’s family home being the beautiful backdrop for the adorable couples first look moments. Plus so much more beauty and sentiment to swoon over, including bride Simone’s incredible gown made by her sister!
If you’re anything like me you’ll find yourself wanting to relieve the warmth and love this dreamy destination holds again and again. Especially as Days Made of Love photography captures it so beautifully.
Alex the Groom: I popped the question in March 2016 in Sicily during an amazing hiking tour with great views to the peak of Volcano Aetna. Just before, we had a lovely lunch in a small restaurant were we met a sweet Italian couple celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary. After carrying around the ring for more than 7 months, I knew this was finally the perfect moment…!
Simone the Bride: When she heard that we got engaged, my sister Yvonne who is a fashion designer in Paris, currently working for Givenchy, immediately said that she would design my wedding dress and my dream of a unique outfit that represents 100% me became true. During our bachelor trip to Madrid she showed me several designs and I immediately fell in love with the first one – no lace, no tulle, no bling – just sleek modern elegance. I went to Paris twice for fittings without seeing the final dress until a couple of weeks before our wedding. I was quite nervous how my dress would look like in reality. What can I say: Yvonne and her friends Antoine Taurin and Emily Barton managed to create my perfect wedding gown!
I found my wedding shoes one day after my final fitting while strolling through the Marais in Paris together with my mom. Not being a fan of typical bridal shoes that you only wear once, I opted for golden leather sandals with rounded mirror block heels from What For that would not let me sink into the grass and still looked very elegant.
Alex the Groom: During a weekend trip to Amsterdam, I picked out a tailor-made linen suit from Suit Supply in blue. I have been a fan and customer of this Dutch company already since being a student in Maastricht, Netherlands – the place where Simone and I met and fell in love. Summers in Greece are very hot so I wanted my suit to be rather casual and light in order to match our relaxed outdoor wedding theme. The shoes are from Shoepassion, my favorite manufacturer of handmade shoes made from sustainably produced leather.
Simone the Bride: Alex and I live in Germany. But we decided quite quickly to get married in the village of Alex parents near Thessaloniki in Greece because we have always dreamt of a large family party together with all our relatives and friends. While it seems something rather common in Greece, it meant something very special to us because Alex’ ancestors have not always lived in this part of Greece. Alex parents are originally Pontic Greek from the city of Bafra respectively from Misthi in Cappadocia. At the beginning of the twentieth century, more than half a million Christian Greeks lived on today’s Turkish Black Sea coast and in Central Turkey. But in 1923 the “Treaty of Lausanne” sealed the definitive end of Greek culture in Turkey and all Greeks had to leave the territory of the new Turkish Republic. As a consequence, Alex’ grandparents were forced to settle in the north part of Greece near Thessaloniki. The hardship of being a refugee, Alex, his siblings and cousins only know from the stories of their grandparents and parents, but they are all aware of their decent. By choosing to celebrate our wedding in a former refugee village of just 1176 inhabitants we also wanted to commemorate the many men, women and children who have lost their lives during the Asia Minor Catastrophe.
After the decision to get married in Greece was fixed and we started to organize the details, the phrase we most often heard is “It’s YOUR day! But let’s face it: Every wedding has to fit within the norms of family convention and tradition and that – unless you want what every mom, dad, uncle and aunty wants – is not really YOUR day at all. But despite all compromises we would have to make, we still wanted our wedding to reflect us as a couple and the things that are important to us! We immediately knew that we could not achieve this alone but only by getting professional help. So we searched for someone who would understand that we wanted to celebrate a traditional Greek wedding but DIFFERENT! We dreamt of a relaxed, eco-friendly outdoor wedding party with a natural colour scheme, where plastic and tulle would be banned and natural materials stand out. When holding the most beautiful wedding invitations from Love me Do in our hands, we were all smiles! But to be honest: the months of preparation were – even with full support of the best wedding planner Phaedra Liakou ever – quite an effort. To cope with other people’s expectations and their long nourished beliefs about how a Greek wedding in the village has to be celebrated was tough! Fortunately, we as a couple never lost sight of our shared vision and together with our dear Phaedra we managed to stage an absolutely amazing wedding day with so much love, fun and happiness – a day that we will never forget.
Our Wedding Day
Following the Greek tradition, Alex and I were separately prepared for our big day. The men gathered around the groom, where the best man would shave him and help to dress up. Surrounded by my female family members and friends, I got styled by the lovely girls from beStar Coiffure. As agreed, the adorable Betty Leka kept my makeup very natural with just the right amount of glow and I absolutely loved my hairdo with the white flowers. My sister helped me to get into my dress and to put on the pearl bracelet from our deceased grandmother, representing my “something old”. This was 100% me!
The Greek-orthodox ceremony was performed in two languages, English and Greek. We were so honored that it was let by his Eminence Metropolitan Alexios, the uncle of our best man, who is a Greek-orthodox bishop from the United States. For each of our non-Greek speaking guests we wrote a small booklet explaining the complex wedding ceremony in a simplified and fun way, so everybody could follow easily. The silver-gold twisted weddings crowns as well as our rings are custom-made pieces that we found at the small but fine Jeweller A. Gatsos during a first trip to Thessaloniki over Easter.
After the ceremony, we headed for a short photo-session with our brilliant and super sweet photographers from Days Made of Love to catch the magic light of the last sunrays. Fanis & Jenny’s photos are pieces of art and genuine reflections of our amazing day!
The wedding party took place in a green outdoor area called Ktima Agerino which was styled to perfection under the coordination of our incredible wedding planner Phaedra Liakou. The flower design by Vintage Wedding and Events was exactly how we had imagined it: Very natural with loads of olives, eucalyptus and some white flowers in between.
Everybody knows that we are big foodies, so we were not sure if a buffet for more than 200 guests could live up to our own and everybody else’s expectations. But both food and service from Apostolos Diamantis and his team were just amazing. We had cold traditional Fish-Meze with Ouzo on each table as a starter, followed by a sumptuous Greek buffet and to die for small desserts as well as a sweet and salty bougatsa (stuffed phyllo-pastries) as late-night snack. Not to mention the wedding cake…! So yummy!
Decor & Entertainment
Our serious aversion to plain chair covers proved to be quite an issue because they are unfortunately extremely popular in Greece and alternatives are rare. This is why we were especially happy about the wonderful setup of wooden tables and chairs with those amazing string lights over every long table provided by Diapason that gave the whole place a magical atmosphere – especially after sunset. Since we wished for an insane, never ending wedding party, we were initially quite nervous with regards to choosing a DJ from abroad. We set up a Skype call with Nikos Xatziioannidis and he was so chilled, laid back as well as super professional that we did not worry anymore. On the day itself, the dance floor was literally packed until sunrise and everyone – Alex, me, our families and friends danced the night away.
Our wedding was more than we had ever imagined and eventually worth all the effort.