Sun, Sea, Sand

When myself and Mr Clueless Bride (hmmm… not sure he will appreciate that name) got engaged about six months ago, we had no idea how much a wedding would cost. So it came as a shock to the system to discover that the average wedding in the UK costs about £20,000.

What started out as an amazing development in our relationship, soon became a massive point of contention and stress. We had already decided that we were going to pay for the whole shebang, but how were we going to afford it?

After months, I exaggerate not, of negotiations and looking at cost-effective ways of wedding planning in the UK, we’ve decided on a whole new strategy – to get married abroad.

There are so many positive reasons to go overseas – your money will stretch further, the weather will probably be better, and hopefully you will not have to invite all those family members that you didn’t really want to attend. Yes, some of your friends might not be able to attend, but you can have a party when you get home. This is how I am trying to talk around it.

And for me and Mr CB the getting married abroad option takes the stress off trying to please families with different cultural backgrounds. Instead we can focus on a third, completely neutral culture (although my mother is still not entirely convinced).

At the moment we are thinking of going to one of the Greek islands to do the deed – hopefully more people will be able to attend if it is in Europe, as you can get reasonable package deals or cheap Easyjet flights.

So with that in mind, we met with wedding planner Andreas Palikiras of Ionian Weddings, to discuss ideas. During the two hour consultation, at a price of £85, Andreas went through some of the different islands – there are 123 after all – and the benefits they offer. It was an incredibly worthwhile meeting, and one I would recommend to couples who are thinking of getting married in Greece.

Now we just have to look through the information provided to us by Andreas and make a decision, although it is proving a little tough. Here are some of the locations on offer…

santorini_sun.sized

Santorini

I have heard great things about this Aegean island, which lies to the east of mainland Greece. A giant lump of rock, the result of a volcanic explosion, Santorini is supposed to be the place to go for amazing views and sunsets. Most of the wedding venues – whether hotel, restaurant, church or winery – are on top of the Caldera (crater), and many people choose to have their ceremony at sunset.

Santorini is one of the more exclusive islands, and this has an impact on the price of wedding packages. For me a small drawback is the fact that the beaches have black sand. Am I being too picky?!

One of the venues I am considering is Santo Winery. Here’s a little clip from youtube of the view:

lefkada

Lefkada

Also known as Lefkas, this island used to be part of mainland Greece, but was been separated by a canal. With white sand and shingle beaches, the island is located on the south west coast of the country, and is part of the Ionian Islands. Just off Lefkas is Skorpios Island, which is owned by the Onassis family.

From what I have read, this one of the less touristy islands, and has amazing beaches and great conditions for water-sports. There are a variety of wedding ceremony options, such as the beach (although I don’t think it is private), a purpose built venue inland, or the town square of Meganisi.

Here’s some more of Meganisi:

zanteZante

Also known as Zakynthos, much of the island is taken up by package resorts and clubs (the south eastern part of the island in particular). Just off the main resort of Laganas is Cameo Island, which looks gorgeous and can be hired privately. To the north of the island, there is a beach-side garden where civil weddings can take place.

Zante has a lot of options, and you can get more for your money. But, Mr CB and myself have ruled this one out.

kefaloniaKefalonia

Where Captain Corelli’s Mandolin was filmed, this island is green and beautiful. This had initially been our first choice, however we wanted somewhere with a view, and most of the scenic places in Kefalonia are by chapels (our venue has to be non-religious). If this isn’t a problem for you, check out Assos chapel and castle, which looks stunning. Sadly this one has been ruled out now.

So we are currently choosing between Santorini and Lefkada – if anyone has been to either location (or any others) than advice is greatly appreciated!

We also need to figure out how much we can expect our guests to spend – how much is reasonable and how much is too much?

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