We aren't religious people so felt it was a little hypocritical to have a church wedding, plus with the fact our weather is crap, and prices are ridulous in the UK - we thought why not spend the money on a holiday / Wedding in guaranteed sunshine!
That's exactly what we did.
At the time, we imagined a wedding abroad in the sun with some amazing scenery but, not on a sandy beach. We'd never heard of Santorini but Nancy found a picture of a wedding in Europe and we both said "Thats it!". It was Santorini, Greece.
We started the booking via a planner called Michael. He was legendary. So cool and calm, but very very organised. We'd not even visited the Island yet so we thought we'd better check it out during an April reccy... We met with Michael, the accommodation of choice (Santorini Princess Hotel and Suites) and, the wedding venue currently in its building site state. Risky I know, but it was amazing on the CGI imaged plans, just the place we'd dream't of.
During the summer countdown to August 1st, it was bloody stressful to say the least. Our venue hadn't been granted its license and some early weddings had started to be cancelled. We were offered alternative venues but that sinking feeling started to set in. We didn't want any other venue.... I'd began to pester the owners directly, email and phone. I even contacted the town hall who grants the license and was willing to fly out to discuss it. I was trying all pressure's I could possibly apply. Whilst I doubt anything mattered, we got news a week later that the license had been granted. Back on track.
We flew out with 17x suitcases. Yep, SEVENTEEN! This was because we flew BA Club Europe partially to get extra baggage included, due to bringing out a lot of wedding gifts and decor ourselves. We were about to be robbed EUR 35 an umbrella and hand fans but, being an owner of an International Shipping company, I wasn't having that.... I bought them direct from China and imported them myself for $3 each! Another 2 suitcases right there! We were also taking a lot of clothes, for 3+ weeks in all.
BA were great, the seats were basically the same as economy but the middle seat made void, and replaced with an extra storage tray/drinks holder + generally more leg room. Service was good, (you get what you pay for vs Easyjet/Ryanair etc). We always try to book early and fly premium airlines wherever we go as, we've often found trying to scrimp just ends up costing the same if not more plus, starts your holiday off with stress whilst some numpty on the desk refuses your bag for being 0.2kgs too heavy or 2mm too large, then you find out your gate is a short town distance away and the plane's delayed too. Nahhhh, no thank you.
Arriving to our Villa Suite at Santorini was a memory in itself. Amber and Libby were beaming with excitement as they see inside, our view out back and our own pool and hot tub. Oh, and the staff made it clear there is no kitchen - we don't need one. We pick up the phone, and ask for anything we want and it'll arrive. OMG, this is amazing (the kids agreed).
And this is how most of our days went...
All the staff here were amazing, they couldn't do enough for us and loved making a fuss of Amber and Libby too. They still talk about their holiday to Santorini (years later).
The staff arranged for a dinner outside along a big white clothed table with sparkling glasses and cutlery arranged, just like the postcard/website scenes you see. That was us! Our friends came over for dinner to enjoy the sunset view and a few drinks, it was amazing.
Our wedding day ran smoothly, as we'd expect seeing the Santorini Princess Hotel also own that too! Our guests had a lovely time whilst also enjoying the views of the scenic location that money cant buy (well, it can actually, quite a bit!). Nancy looked bloooooming amazing and even before she was in sight, I was done good and proper at the sight of Libby holding her sign 'here comes mummy'. Damn it, she'd done me there!
That evening I joined Nancy in the honeymoon suite at the hotel over the road from Le Ceil. The perfect place to relax, and although it was just a short honeymoon of 2 nights together whilst parents looked after the kids, it was bliss. It was also pretty funny as two other friends shared the same hotel so we spent time together having a laugh, chilling by the pool. Good times.
Santorini captured our hearts, it's now a forever 'return to' place for us that doesn't get tiresome. It's a little 'wedding central' these days but that wouldn't put us off if we had to do it all again. We wouldn't change a thing, including the venue and suppliers we used to help us.
All in all, whilst weddings cost a fortune, this one was no exception but I know people that spent more in the UK and got less. In with our cost was a 3 week holiday in luxury accommodation and business class flights with BA. I think we did it right.
Wedding Planner - Weddings Santorini
Wedding Photos - Phosart
Holiday Accommodation - Santorini Princess Presidential Suites
Wedding Day/Semi Honeymoon Accommodation - Santorini Princess Hotel
Wedding Venue - Le Ciel
Wedding Flowers & Decor - Wedding Wish Santorini
Nancy's Hair Stylist - Bella Hairstylist
Flights - British Airways
Quad/ATV Hire - Marks Bikes