Omer and Jennifer came all the way from California to Spetses island in Greece for their destination wedding. Sara Pavlatou from SP Weddings did a wonderful job bringing to life the bride’s vision of a sophisticated ambiance with chandeliers, lace detailing, and white flowers and ornamentation — in juxtaposition with the relaxed beach atmosphere, a pop of purple in the flowers and décor, family style dining, local live music and Gyros for a late night snack!
From the bride: “Having a destination wedding in Greece was actually a ‘logical’ choice for us. I am half-Greek and have family that lives in Athens. Omer’s father lives in Tel-Aviv and his extended family is all in Israel. This made Greece a convenient destination for many of our guests. I spent several summers on the small island of Spetses taking a Greek language course from the Athens Centre, and I fell in love with the island. Once we decided to have the wedding in Greece, we considered several options, but given my history and connection to Spetses, this became the clear choice.”
On finding a wedding planner: “Once we decided to have a destination wedding in Greece, I knew I needed a Greek wedding coordinator that could source the best vendors and bring to life our vision for the wedding. I found Sara Pavlatou by researching online. I came across an article of a previous wedding she had planned and really liked the way she communicated her services online.
If you are planning a destination wedding, you have to place a lot of trust in your vendors. Sara is unique in that she has a degree in fashion. I trusted her judgment and sense of style immediately. Sara executed brilliantly to create an ambiance of elegance and style on the beach.”
“We incorporated Greek, Jewish and American traditions in our wedding. Our florists made vine-looking poles that held up a houpa, which was made from a hand-made Greek tablecloth.”
And last but not least, Jennifer has some valuable advice for destination brides-to-be:
“With a destination wedding, you don’t necessarily have the luxury of site checking, seeing and touching materials and décor first-hand or tasting the food prior to the big day. My advice would be to use technology to your advantage:
– Read online reviews and articles on your destination location and vendors. Reach out to online communities to find out tips from other brides or locals.
– Skype/video chat with your wedding planning or vendors. Especially with potential language barriers, this is the next best thing to meeting in person and being able to read the other person’s nonverbal communication, which can be very important for both sides.
– My wedding planner, Sara Papalvou, and I used Pinterest to help generate ideas for an overarching look and feel down to the small details of place settings and flowers.
– Create a website with travel tips and details for your guests. There are some very simple templates out there. You will become a “travel agent” for family and friends so be prepared by thinking about some of the logistical travel details up front, sharing resources, and even referring people to an actual travel agent will alleviate some of the pressure.
– If you have a wedding planner, they should help you do this, but be organized by having an Excel file or schedule to help you plan. You’ll work through a million details so it’s great to have a place where decisions and details are recorded so both you can refer back to it.
– Most importantly, once you and your guests are there, allow yourself to switch into vacation mode. They best part of having a wedding in the Mediterranean is that you are surrounded by natural beauty – enjoy the magic of every moment!”
Wedding Planner: Sara Pavlatou, Chief Wedding Coordinator, SP Weddings // Photographer: Spiros Tsampikakis // Invitations, Name Tents, Welcome Notes: http://www.creativeworksdesigns.com // Videographer: Zoran Gajic of One Day Production // Makeup & hair: Judy Tong, from David Salon in Costa Mesa, California // Bride’s dress: Amy Michelson // Bride’s shoes: Manolo Blahnik // Ear rings: Something old, bought in Athens, Greece many years ago // Bracelet: Something borrowed from my mom