Santorini is one of the most extraordinary places not only in Greece, but throughout the world. Looking at the photos taken on this island, it is difficult to believe that it exists in reality. Everything is heavenly in this place: magnificent weather, gentle sea, excellent hotels and an atmosphere full of sincere friendliness that attracts young people to perform a wedding ceremony.
In ancient times, Santorini was one of the centers of the Cretan-Minoan civilization, the end of which was put by a volcanic eruption in 1500 BC. A cloud of ash covers the entire island, but under it are perfectly preserved palaces and houses, which are still opened during archeological excavations.
There is a legend that the dead Atlantis was on this island in the Aegean Sea. The name Santorini comes from the name of the holy martyr Irene of Macedon – “Santra Irini”. On the island, a large number of churches are dedicated to it, and there are about 330 of them, in total. Each snow-white church is crowned with a blue semicircular dome. There is an absolutely fantastic beauty of the panorama: snow-white buildings against the background of a bright blue sky, ledges descending to the azure transparent waters, and between them domes of gentle cornflower color, as a symbol of the unity of earthly and heavenly life. This place was created by Providence itself in order to unite the hearts of lovers and overshadow them with heavenly blessing. You can organize a wedding in Greece on your own. However, it is advisable to consult a professional so that you do not have to endlessly solve small annoying problems yourself.
1. Wedding in Santorini – What Documents are Needed for a Wedding in Greece
In this earthly paradise, all conditions have been created to hold an unforgettable wedding ceremony and a magnificent civil or symbolic wedding ceremony. In order for the sacrament of the wedding to be successful and not cause any difficulties, you need to prepare the following documents:
- birth certificates of future spouses (notarized copies);
- passport (photocopies of the first page and a valid visa);
- copies of all pages with marks on the national passport;
- a marriage certificate or a notice from the registry office that there are no obstacles to its conclusion in the event that there has not been yet an official registration;
- certificate of ecclesiastical celibacy (issued in the Diocese at the place of residence, certified by the Metropolitan);
- baptismal certificate. If one of the spouses does not adhere to the Christian faith, his notarized consent to the rite of baptism of future children is necessary;
- a wedding permit issued at the country’s consulate.
All documents, with the exception of the passport, require translation into Greek and certification with an apostille, a sign that is put on official documents that are not commercial. It certifies the signature of the person who signed the document, as well as the authenticity of the seals and stamps.
For the civil marriage registration ceremony, the same documents are needed, with the exception of a baptismal certificate and a certificate of church celibacy, and instead of a wedding permit at the country’s consulate, you need to obtain a registration permit.
The preparation process should be treated very carefully. In the absence of any document, the ceremony itself and the issuance of a wedding or civil registration certificate will not be possible. It is best to prepare a package of necessary documents in advance and, 40 days before the expected date, send it to the receiving party for detailed verification. All certificates must be received no earlier than 3 months before the scheduled date, otherwise they will be considered invalid. On the island you need to be 2 days before the wedding or registration to sign the necessary papers. It is worth spending a little time then to enjoy the exciting, unforgettable ritual that takes place on the open terrace with a magnificent view of the sea and is accompanied by a delightful sunset, if the ceremony takes place in the evening.
2. Wedding in Santorini – Where is the Ceremony Going to be Held
Most of the couples choose the Metropolis Cathedral, the bell tower of which rises above the entire city of Fira, the capital of the island. The interior of the cathedral is decorated with excellent frescoes, and a quiet courtyard creates a special and romantic atmosphere.
Another favorite place for a Santorini wedding is the Church of the Ascension of the Lord. However, any church in Santorini is worthy of becoming for you a special place for this joyful and significant rite. If your plans do not include such serious preparation for the organization of the ceremony, the best way out is to hold a symbolic wedding in Greece. In this case, the marriage is registered at the place of residence, and the holiday takes place in Santorini. The very course of the wedding celebration will not differ from the real one, except that the certificates issued to you will not have legal force.
Another beautiful tradition for which married couples come to this romantic island is the ceremony of exchanging vows of love. The wedding celebration itself is followed by anniversaries, the number of which depends on the strength of your feelings. The atmosphere of Santorini or any other Greek islands wedding, like a wedding in Thassos, is amazingly conductive to your hearts once again opening towards each other, and the sincere words spoken here, where the sea and the sky merge into one, have gained strength and were heard.
3. How to Organize a Santorini Wedding Step by Step
Step 1. Set a spending limit and a headcount. The most crucial step, however cliché it may seem, is to establish your budget. This can help you decide how many guests to invite, the place to pick (costs vary), the number of hours to reserve a photographer etc. Another consideration is the number of attendees; some locations can only hold 7–10 people, so if you want a more extravagant wedding, you should select a larger location. Similar rules apply if you reserve an eatery. The number of attendees also affects how much the wedding ceremony will cost.
Step 2. Find a wedding planning company. It is doubtful whether it’s possible to organize a wedding remotely, in another country, without resorting to the help of an agency. If in your country you can do everything yourself (find a restaurant and, if you wish, order a toastmaster), then it’s not possible the other way around. Plus, your organizer can ask 100 or 500 questions: where, how and why. There are two options here:
- visit a travel agency or a wedding planner that coordinates international weddings. The ability to personally discuss is the key benefit;
- If a grandiose wedding is planned, you can go to Greece to discuss everything in person. The drawback is that all issues will have to be handled over the phone or email. To locate a wedding planner in Santorini, search online.
Don’t be afraid of the language barrier. All agencies speak English perfectly.
Step 3. Pick a location and a time. Santorini has a lot of wonderful locations for a Greece wedding. Picking just one is incredibly challenging. Most of the sites are on villa grounds and differ in dimension based on the views that can be observed from each position. Rent varies depending on the region. Usually, tinier areas are less expensive. Also, feel free to reserve a room at the property that will host the wedding. Due to the ease of the transfer, this is mainly helpful if there are many guests. Choosing whether the ceremony should take place during the day or at sunset is a crucial decision. As soon as the site reservation and check-in time are complete, this time must be made public on the internet and at the registrar, so the sooner the better.
Step 4. Continue the banquet. If after the ceremony you plan to go on a boat trip on a yacht or for dinner in a restaurant, this should also be taken care of at one of the first stages. You should not worry – the organizers will also help you here. They will offer a lot of options and price ranges.
Step 5. Photographer. Obviously, a wedding wouldn’t be complete without a photographer! Since photographers from all over the world visit Santorini in the summer, the selection of photographers is higher. October is a popular departure month. There are numerous photographers in general; look for, select, and concentrate on reviews.
Step 6. Choosing a hotel. The first question is where to stay (for the bride and groom and, if available, for guests). The choice of places to stay in Santorini is huge. First of all, you need to understand whether you want to live on a caldera overlooking the blue-blue sea and an extinct volcano, or you just need a hotel room.
4. Wedding in Santorini – Organization of the Video and Photoshoot
Nature appears to ensure that this Greek island makes the ideal scenery for wedding celebration photos. Snow-white buildings against the background of the blue sea and blue sky create the impression that you, in the full sense of the word, got married in heaven. The organization of the filming process can be entrusted to the agency through which you will arrange the wedding.
What could be more pleasant than having a wedding in Santorini, because the agency is almost entirely in charge of organizing it: bouquets, church reservations, payment of taxes and fees, a stylist for the bride, wedding car rental, sweets, fruits and alcohol, rose petal baskets, musical accompaniment, photographer services and videographer. If you want to make some adjustments to any of the points, then you should inform the agents about this in advance, and preferably immediately during the first visit.
Every year, traveling abroad is becoming more accessible, and therefore you have a great chance to fly to Santorini as a tourist and get acquainted with the life of the island. This will help you better prepare for the future solemn event, as you will be able to accurately choose the place you like for the ceremony, hotel, temple and other related conditions. In addition, if you plan to spend your “honeymoon” right there on the island, then this will also be an advantage: you will already know exactly which hotel to stay in.
Photo sources: unsplash.com