Elopement in Santa Irini Chapel

Santorini

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Santa Irini Chapel – an ideal venue

I have always been fond of small, traditional chapels. Take a look at the beautiful chapel of Santa Irini (Saint Irene), for example, dazzling white against the backdrop of the sparkling Aegean Sea, and you will see why. Santa Irini Chapel is located in the picturesque area of Agia Irini, only a few minutes away from Fira, the capital of Santorini, probably one of the most romantic islands in the world.

I must admit that such magical sceneries are one of the reasons why I love so much the profession and art of wedding photography. Another reason, of course, is the chance to meet wonderful people like Luke and Kelsie. A beautiful couple in love, a breathtaking setting and an atmosphere of happiness and love – what else could a wedding photographer wish for?

Every couple is unique and you are all one of a kind. So, your wedding should reflect your uniqueness. What would your dream wedding be like? Many couples follow the trodden path and opt for an extra-big event with lots of guests and a strict conventional schedule. Not Luke and Kelsie, though. Their idea of a dream wedding was a “just us” elopement ceremony: beautiful, intimate and simple, in a blue and white little chapel in Santorini. All they needed was the perfect place for their big day; and they found it in this legendary Greek island.

The story of how it all started

Kelsie and Luke, one of the sweetest couples I have ever met, both come from Knoxville, Tennessee, and they first met through mutual friends in 2008. Kelsie was a lifeguard at a country club where she grew up, and Luke happened to be a golf member there.  Luke first pursued Kelsie by taking her out on a date to a basketball game, but it wasn’t an instant romantic connection for either of them (ha ha). They are still teasing each other about that first date… Although sparks did not fly immediately and they attended different colleges, they were able to maintain a warm friendship.

It wasn’t until 2014 that Kelsie and Luke reconnected. Luke asked Kelsie to attend a wedding with him when he came back to Tennessee on vacation. They both decided at that time that they would like to begin dating. Luke was in the United States Marine Corps stationed in Jacksonville, North Carolina, and Kelsie lived 6 hours away from him in Greenville, South Carolina, so for 3 years they managed to successfully maintain a long distance relationship. It was certainly not an easy task, but they both knew how special their relationship was and put in the dedication and time it took to flourish. In the end it was completely worth it! Luke proposed to Kelsie in her favorite city, Charleston, South Carolina, on Folly Beach. And of course the answer was a big “Yes”! It was a wonderfully intimate moment between them and they knew they wanted their wedding to be exactly like that.

After his preparation, the groom, really elegant in his royal blue dinner jacket, black waistcoat and black tuxedo trousers, enjoyed his favorite Cuban cigars (he happens to have a huge collection of them!) and the tranquility of the superb venue. The bride’s preparation was equally relaxed and enjoyable; Kelsie even found time to write a letter to her husband-to-be. Luke gave her a similar letter after the first look. Then they read their letters together. It was a very emotional moment, full of laughter and tears of happiness.

A moment from the photoshoot

Luke and Kelsie decided to elope in Santa Irini’s Chapel, in Santorini. Somehow this is a more minimal version of the elegant luxury of Santorini. But to me, their choice was a clear reflection of their unique characters; something that became obvious during the pre-wedding photoshoot. What can I possibly say about the bride? She was simply divine as she was walking down the stairs in that silk wedding dress with a little smile on her face. I remember thinking instantly how perfectly matched the two of them were. They were both amazing.

It is said that it is the small details of life that show who we really are.

During the photoshoot at St Irini’s Chapel in Santorini, we were suddenly caught in a small local downpour. I was really touched to see Luke find shelter for his bride and himself under a vine pergola. They both were so calm and determined not to let anything spoil their big day! And it was such a positive sign that from the very first moment they started handling the difficulties of life, big or small, with patience and a smile. Now that’s what I call a really united couple!

….happily ever after!

The talented crew of Tie the Knot in Santorini had done an amazing job with the floral decoration and had planned a very special day for the newlyweds. Kelsie was a vision in white lace and her bridal bouquet was simply exquisite. The couple exchanged vows against a background of endless blue skies and sea and then they cut a wedding cake with their names written on it. The unforgettable day was completed with their first dance on the private whitewashed terrace overlooking the volcano.

It was the perfect beginning of their married life. Kelsie and Luke call Dallas, Texas, home…for now. And they are enjoying their happily ever after!

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