Wedding tourism

Wedding tourism

Wedding types

CIVIL WEDDINGS
The ceremony can be held in almost any destination in Greece of your choice.

GREEK ORTHODOX WEDDINGS
The Orthodox ceremony can be held at different types of churches, from Cathedrals to Chapels, almost in any destination in Greece.

CATHOLIC WEDDINGS
The Catholic ceremony can be held at the towns or cities in Greece where a Catholic church is available. We recommend you to contact us before you make the choice of your destination.

JEWISH WEDDINGS
The ceremony can be held in almost any destination of your choice. A rabbi is available to conduct a Jewish wedding ceremony (Huppa, Breaking of the glass, Ketubah).

ETHNIC WEDDINGS
There are many wonderful places to choose from. We can arrange Hindu, or any other practicing faiths that can be celebrated in Greece.

BLESSING WEDDINGS or RENEWAL OF VOWS
Making new vows or using the original vows you had on your wedding day, can be a very romantic way to strengthen the love, respect and devotion you have for one another.

Getting married in Santorini

After you’ve said “I will”, preparations for the wedding ceremony can begin. What’s the first thing that springs to mind? A dreamy wedding hideaway. Santorini in the Cyclades has always been an absolute favourite for overseas couples who want to celebrate in a wonderful setting. The island offers its own comprehensive wedding industry directory: exquisite beach sites, luxurious hotels, boutique guest houses, rural churches and breathtaking views over a volcano make Santorini one of the most sought after wedding and honeymoon locations in Greece. A Travel Channel “Wedding Special” will help you discover the reason why. Start dreaming about your nuptials, chose your bridal gown and costume, and don’t worry about a thing.

Who can help me with the arrangements?
Local wedding coordinators can work with you to offer comprehensive, tailor-made wedding packages to fit any budget. These on-site experienced planners can help you with: all legal arrangements for your wedding, booking for the officiant/venue/priest/church, recommendations about locations, live Internet video broadcasting so relatives and friends can watch the event as it happens, videoconferencing, flowers and decorations, wedding dinner, reception, cakes, menus, catering, live music, professional dancers, fireworks, professional photographer and videographer, beauty care, accommodation arrangements for you and your guests, ground transportation, excursions and tours; they can even arrange for the bride to travel to the church on the back of a donkey. So, all you have to worry about is booking your wedding date as soon as possible!

What kind of wedding ceremonies take place on Santorini?
Civil ceremonies are held in almost any location you choose. Greek Orthodox ceremonies take place in Cathedrals and chapels; Catholic ones at the Cathedral of Saint John the Baptist in the town of Firá, and Jewish weddings can be conducted as well as a rabbi is also available. If you are already married but want to relive the romantic atmosphere of your marriage ceremony, wedding planners can also create the perfect setting for you to renew your wedding vows. Due to the fact that couples come from all over the world, civil weddings are bilingual, in Greek and English. When necessary, interpreters for other languages as well as sign language interpreters are available.

So, which are these locations we have been talking about?
The island of Santorini loves weddings and many sites are geared up to ensuring that all that is required of you is to arrive and enjoy the big day. Restaurants and hotels with sprawling patios, and beachside tavernas host fabulous weddings, wedding meals, and receptions, which you can ride to on one of the island’s resident donkeys. For a smaller, more intimate affair, there’s no better place to celebrate than at one of the small hotels set along the rim of the Caldera. Here, couples can marry on one of the several terraces or inside a vaulted cave with the sunset, the volcano, the sea and the surrounding islets as a backdrop. On Santorini you can even choose to tie the knot at remote locations, away from the confines of a banqueting hall: volcanic beaches, vineyards, or even boats provide the ideal scenery for those who wish to put their own, distinctive signature on their nuptial ceremony. If you want to carry on celebrating after the event you can dance the night away at one of the island’s clubs.

But “excellence is in the details”, as the saying goes.
For your wedding bouquet and the groom’s buttonhole choose from a selection of local flowers. (Some tips: try an exuberantly colourful floral arrangement of stargazer lilies and red roses; colourful Euphorbia flowers, yellow roses, lilium pink and blue liatris, etc.). The wedding coordinators will cater for the reception menu, as well as the cake (the Serrano mousse flavour covered with white whipped cream and adorned with flowers that are made of edible wafers is a pure delight). The ring: purchase it from one of the island’s jewellery stores. For your reception ceremony, if you have specific music in mind, you can bring in your own musicians.

How can I please my guests and family?
Use hotels to house all of your guests. People here will go out of their way to help you with wedding preparations and offer a warm hospitable welcome to guests. Days will be filled with seaside activities, exploring the island, or just lazing on a sun lounger. If you are more interested in exploring Santorini’s archaeological sites, you will find our itinerary extremely helpful.

Legal information: There are a number of legal requirements and any couples intending to marry on Santorini must have the right documents before leaving their own country. Due to the fact that the documents required vary significantly according to the country of origin, contact the on-site wedding planners, who will help you throughout the whole process of preparing for the event.

Santorini wedding planning services

SANTORINI WEDDING EVENTS
Fira, Santorini. Tel: +30 22860 28115, Fax: +30 22860 28116, santorininikos@gmail.com

POEMA WEDDINGS & SPECIAL EVENTS
Megalohori, Santorini. Tel: +30 22860 82094, poema@poema.com.gr

EFIKTON EVENTS
Maltezou 39, Alimos, Athens. Tel: +30 2109889902, efikton@efikton.com.gr

TUI HELLAS
Messaria, Santorini. Tel: +30 22860 25580-2, Fax: +30 22860 25584, infojtr@tui.gr

WEDDINGS IN SANTORINI
Santorini: Tel: +30 22860 23197, Athens Office: Tel: +30 210 9919349

PIXEL TOURS
Tel: +30 2286025401-2286028115, info@santoriniweb.com

HELIOTOPOS
Imerovigli, Santorini. Tel: +30 2286024758, Fax: +30 2286023867, weddings@heliotopos.net

Traditional wedding in the Cyclades

Although consumerism has invaded even the most remote parts of the Cycladic islands and the lifestyle has changed dramatically, the traditional religious wedding is still important especially for younger people, as it represents a moment of unforgettable joy. Many young people, not only locals but also people from all over the country as well as from abroad, choose an island in the Cyclades as their wedding place. Let’s find out the reason why.
In Aegean communities, everyone used to take part in the joyful event of a wedding, which was a lot more than two people signing a piece of paper like in a modern civil ceremony. Everybody was invited, so everyone had a chance to have a “rich” wedding: it didn’t matter if you came from a poor family as all your friends would support the preparations.
On the Cycladic islands a wedding was not a personal event but a family thing. The parents of the girl used to find the future husband, or sometimes the parents of the boy would find a wife for their son. To get married for love with the family’s approval was a rare thing and eloping was a frequent phenomenon, though sometimes the couple’s love was strong enough to convince the parents to approve of the wedding. The wedding day was the beginning of a new life together and a day of joy. That’s why the wedding was also referred to as “the joy”, and, indeed it was common to wish single boys and girls “Joy!”
Let’s take a closer look at the preparations:

Before the wedding
Everything starts the week before with the friends and the relatives of the couple receiving oral invitations. Whether the celebrations are to take place indoors or outdoors does not matter, the idea is to have fun and feast, but supplies must be brought in: meat and wine, bread and sweets.
In the past, the most important thing to prepare was the matrimonial room for the couple’s first night together. This used to happen on Thursdays, when the bride and her friends would decorate the house and cover the matrimonial bed with the best items from the bride’s dowry. Friends, relatives and all the guests would drop by to admire the dowry, toss coins on the bed and wish the couple all the best.

The joyful atmosphere of the wedding day
Weddings traditionally take place on a Sunday and a group of people set off in a procession beginning at the groom’s house. At the head of the procession there are people playing musical instruments, which, with local variations, range from violin, lyre and lute to oud, clarinet and bagpipes. The groom, with his friends and relatives, follows the musicians and passes through the narrow streets to call in at the houses of all the guests, the other relatives and those who will serve as best men and women and carry the wedding wreaths and bonbons (traditional wedding sweets). The procession makes a final stop at the bride’s house, where the groom collects the bride and marches with her to the church in a shower of rose petals and bonbons scattered by people from their windows.
In the church, the ritual retains all its traditional features, with no short versions like at modern weddings. The couple take three sips of wine each from the same glass and the wreaths worn on the head of the bride and groom are exchanged. Right after the wedding service the guests are treated to traditional sesame bars to sweeten their lives. Drinks and other sweets await them at the groom’s house or at the wedding reception.
At the banquet, everybody eats, sings and dances. The newly weds start the dance and then the bride dances with her father-in-law, her mother-in-law, her parents, the best men and women, the brothers, sisters and cousins and finally all the friends and relatives. The bride dances on and on until the last guest has left. All the couples join the bride on the dance floor and rice and bonbons pour down on them relentlessly.

Older customs
The wedding ceremony used to last three days. The day after the wedding there would be a reprise. In the afternoon, after the new couple’s long first night together, people would start eating and dancing again and would continue late into the night. On the third day only the close relatives and the people involved in the wedding preparations would continue the feast.
Regardless of the social and economic status of the newly weds – in some cases there were more than 1000 guests with tons of food consumed, what used to be – and, to a great extent, still is – special about weddings on the Cycladic islands is that it was a moment of great joy for the whole community as a new nucleus of life was setting up in their village in pursuit of happiness and prosperity.

All text and photos by weddings.heliotopos.net, visitgreece.gr, George Pittas.