If black-sand beaches, an azure sea, whitewashed buildings and a sky that needs to be seen to be believed grab your imagination then Santorini is one of those Greek wedding destinations that deserves the label of being unique.
Iconic, even within Greece, Santorini is a tiny island with a great history, and an incredible past. Once believed to have been the source for the legend of Atlantis, the island is a collapsed volcano. The caldera has since become the kind of landscape that makes for sudden drops to the sea and glistening, glassy sand beaches.
Santorini’s handy airport make the island easy to get to from anywhere in the world. Its local culture has retained much of its color. The favorite holiday island of the jet set who want a fantastic location without the noise and hassle of some of the more touristy Greek islands, Santorini manages to combine a world-class destination with some very local Greek traditions.
There are parts of the island, for instance, where the transportation of choice is still a donkey. And hiking around some of its more elevated parts is certainly worth it given the views once you get there.
Wedding parties to the island come away with tales of a place that still feels like magic. Whether you actually plan to hold a wedding in Santorini or reaffirm your wedding vows (another very popular activity for already married couples) to make the most of your time there you need to use the island as an indispensable, one-off, unrivalled, prop.
Here’s a quick guide to making the best of your Santorini wedding:
1. Choose your hotel for your guests. In Santorini the whole island is a prop. Hotels have fantastic views and settings. So choose the hotel to fit in with what you expect in terms of breathtaking backdrops and where you want to take your guests. Some hotels are near areas where you need to be able to get on a donkey or don a pair of hiking boots, to reach. Others are more accessible and cater to pursuits like local tavernas and restaurants offering authentic Greek cuisine.
2. Plan big. There is little point planning a Santorini wedding and then staging a wedding photograph that only shows the church. Santorini’s backdrops are out of this world. So it helps to approach the whole enterprise thinking about how to make the best use of the backdrops the island has to offer. Your photographer’s experience here will help. There are parts of the island, for instance, where you can see the entire island behind you if you are photographed at the right angle.
3. Watch your budget. Like most bespoke wedding destinations Santorini is geared at making money. While it offers unparalleled choice in accommodation and scenery it can also soak up your budget faster than you realize. The best way to stay within the limits you have set is to storyboard your wedding. Create sets of what you would like to see in your videos and photographs, based around the kind of memories you want to create and then work to make them come true. Most of the time seemingly expensive elements in photographs (a swimming pool as a backdrop, a plush garden or a shot by a church by the sea) can be created with relatively low cost if a little forward planning takes place.
4. Have fun. Santorini is a fun destination. Holding your wedding there is an unforgettable experience. Beyond the scenic backdrops, friendly locals, traditional Greek way of life and ancient history the island has a lot more fun to offer. You could, for instance, learn how to dance one of the traditional Greek dances that kick off in some of the island’s Greek tavernas. Or you could learn how to party like a Greek with music, Retsina and the kind of carefree spirit that marks the local culture. The point here is that your wedding day is your day. It is the one time when you get to be the center of attention. Enjoy it. Make it well worth remembering.