I remember how much I used to enjoy looking at my parents’ wedding pictures when I was a kid. The happy bride, my mother, was beaming in her husband’s arms seconds before they cut the wedding cake. They were surrounded by relatives and friends who were looking at them lovingly. To this day, I still remember this picture, which deeply moves me and fills me with nostalgia…
It is true that I often communicate with the couples who have chosen me as their wedding photographer to discuss the most popular choices regarding wedding style, mainly elegant or boho styles. Some couples want a wedding ceremony attended only by few relatives and friends, namely an “intimate wedding”. Although less popular, intimate weddings offer unforgettable moments both to the couple and to their lucky guests.
What should you know about this type of micro-wedding and what does it offer you? Let’s take things from the beginning. And first of all, the crucial question:
1. Why Get Married in Greece?
Those of you that have happened to see commercial spots about Greece will probably have seen a very typical Greek scene: a traditional coffee shop where foreign visitors sit among local people. They all clink their glasses and then raise them smiling and wishing each other “To your health”, namely “Cheers”, and drink together as if they were one big happy family.
One important reason to exchange vows in Greece is that it is an exceptionally hospitable country. Don’t forget that in ancient Greece hospitality was a sacred duty to the gods! Here, you arrive as strangers, but you are treated as friends. At every step and everywhere you go, you will be welcomed with warmth and friendliness and you will feel safe and at home. This feeling that you are in a familiar place among friends is captured in the wedding photos too, as couples feel relaxed and carefree in front of the camera.
Another reason to tie the knot in Greece is the wealth of its fascinating traditions. For instance, a few days before the ceremony, friends and relatives gather around the bridal bed, on which they throw money, rice and sugared almonds to wish the newlyweds happiness, luck and fertility. Sometimes, to everyone’s surprise, the groom’s best man removes the bedsheets and then makes the bed again three times. This symbolizes the faith that all difficulties in the new couple’s life will be overcome. Such moments are great opportunities for us, wedding photographers, to capture some of the most beautiful natural reactions of those present!
The third and maybe most important reason to get married in Greece is the breathtaking beauty of its natural landscapes. All these, in combination with the rich history and civilization of the country, make it an excellent wedding and holiday destination for couples from all over the world. Take a look at some pictures from wedding venues in Santorini, Mykonos, Corfu and Crete and you will see what I mean. In fact, many hotels on these islands offer wedding & honeymoon packages for couples who wish to stay there a bit longer after the wedding.
And now let’s proceed to the next crucial question:
2. What Exactly is an Intimate Wedding?
Well, it is exactly what the word suggests: a small wedding with a guest list of no more than 50 people, including only parents, some dear relatives and a few close friends. The warm, relaxed atmosphere reminds of a happy family gathering.
So, what can an intimate wedding offer to the couple?
3. Worry-free Planning
If you organize a wedding with a small guest list, you will have all the time in the world for the DIY decoration of your dreams! So, you will be able to choose the right moment to make your own bridal bouquet, the ring pillow and the welcome sign for your guests without any rush. My personal advice is to find the suitable wedding venue before you think about decoration. There are many venues with fantastic outdoor areas, wonderful lakes and lovely flowers. Of course, when planning your wedding decoration you must take into serious consideration the surrounding natural landscape. Then wait for the inspiration and let your imagination and creativity flow free!
And speaking of wedding venues…
4. Where Should I Book my Wedding?
First, let me tell you that the idea of an intimate wedding is not so unusual in Greece, a country where family bonds have always been quite strong. Intimate weddings were the rule in the past and the tradition is continued today. That’s why Greece is one of the most suitable countries for an intimate wedding. So, if you wish to get married surrounded by a few dear relatives and close friends, you don’t have to look very far for the perfect wedding destination. You can choose among the countless noble mansions, old stone-built houses, exquisite small hotels and modern private villas the ideal place where you will say “I do” to the love of your life. What really matters is your inspiration and finding the venue that will help you make your dream come true! There are wonderful wedding venues all over the Peloponnese, for instance, on green prairies or among impressive mountains. You could also book a private villa in beautiful Corfu, the famous romantic island that uniquely combines lush green vegetation and the crystal clear blue waters of the Ionian Sea. And if you choose the picturesque castle town of Monemvasia, you will have an unforgettable fairytale micro wedding.
Of course, it is always a matter of personal taste and inspiration!
Have you ever happened to wish you could embrace all the people around you who have come to share a very special day of your life with you and keep this memory in your heart forever? This is what happens when the bride and the groom can devote some time to each one of their guests separately, speak with them, thank them for their attendance and, in certain cases, wish them “May we soon celebrate your own wedding!”
In big weddings the timeline usually does not allow the couple to do that. On the contrary, in intimate weddings, where guest lists are considerably smaller and events much fewer, this sort of personal interaction is perfectly possible. I have witnessed very moving moments on such occasions. I have seen, for instance, a bride happily cuddled in her mother’s arms, while the latter was taking her time whispering words of love and her warmest wishes to her. I have seen a groom and his best man leisurely chatting and joking with no time pressure whatsoever. And I have also seen the father of a bride dancing a mesmerizing Zeibekiko dance while 20 people kneeling around him were cheering and clapping hands. Just imagine what amazing photos can result from such experiences!
Personally, as a wedding photographer, I always make suggestions concerning photoshoots while at the same time trying to find the best opportunities for unique portraits. In intimate weddings things are definitely simpler, as the bride and groom move naturally without having to pose, so in the end what the camera captures is the mere truth of two young people very much in love who are enjoying genuinely and unassumingly the most beautiful day of their life. These are also the circumstances under which I often get to know better a couple and our cooperation often blossoms into a beautiful and lasting friendship…
6. A Budget Tailored for You
I generally avoid talking about costs or wedding packages in my articles. However, they are very important to the couple and can influence decisively the entire planning of a wedding. It must be pointed out that one of the main advantages of an intimate wedding is the rather low budget.
If you opt for a rustic wedding, for instance, there is no need for luxury. The ceremony can take place outdoors, so you will not need intricate floral arrangements, gold or silver details, silk curtains, chandeliers and crystals. Intimate wedding decoration is based on fresh, inventive ideas, always in accordance with the preferences and personalities of the bride and the groom. You may choose burlap and lace to give your wedding a vintage note. The same materials may be used in every little detail, including invitations and wedding favors, to ensure perfect harmony. Burlap and lace, by the way, are extensively used in Greece, both at weddings and christenings, and match perfectly with the Greek landscape and mentality.
The idea of a reasonable wedding budget is particularly attractive to couples who wish to organize not only a wedding ceremony to remember but also an amazing honeymoon. This is the reason why Greek islands are so popular and offer such a great variety of wedding packages.
Remember, a small wedding on a budget is not necessarily “cheap”. On the contrary, it may be more imaginative, original and adventurous than a luxury wedding that has cost a fortune! It all depends on the resourcefulness, energy and passion of the couple!
Here are some useful suggestions about where you can plan your intimate wedding in Greece (see gallery).