Why did you choose Private Villa wedding, in Zante?
We didn’t immediately choose Zakynthos for the place we wanted to get married, especially as Laganas was the place Serena went with the girls at 20 so perceptions of the island were very different to the reality of what we experienced! What we did know is that we wanted a destination wedding that had the sun, sea and complete privacy. We found The Bridal Consultant online and they sent us lots of options with pros and cons of each. It was so helpful, but we were immediately drawn to The Luxury Villa as it ticked so many boxes and so settled on that.
How long in advance did you book your wedding?
It felt like a lifetime, but it was 2 years.
How many guests did you invite to your wedding and how many accepted and attended?
We invited around 80 and 65 came, which we were really happy with! It was a good number and we had all our nearest and dearest there to celebrate with us.
Your dress is so stunning and we love the lace edge veil! What make was your dress and how soon did you find ‘the one’?
The dress is Matthew Christopher, a US-based designer. We actually bought it from the ‘Say Yes to the dress’ shop in Atlanta (Bridals by Lori), where we live, which was amazing because ever since we got engaged my mum has watched that program daily (she loved meeting Lori, too). I had tried on about 10 prior to this in the UK, but it took about 4 months to find the one – it was nothing like any I had tried on before, but I immediately loved it. It’s so true what they say, you really do know when it’s ‘the one’!
What about your shoes and accessories? Where were these from?
My shoes are Badgley Mischka and accessories Givenchy & Pandora. The shoes were SO uncomfortable though, I had tried wearing them in for 6 months before the wedding but on the day, I only lasted about 1 hour, max, and had to switch into my 2nd more comfortable pair (they were Carvela).
Luke looks great in his attire! Where was this purchased?
We bought the suits from Debenhams after Luke making two trips to Bristol with the lads to look for suits (all of which were awful), I found them in one day. They were light and comfortable but also smart looking.
They were Racing Green brand in a natural colour.
Your bridesmaids look lovely in their dresses. Where were these from and why did you choose this style and colour in particular?
The bridesmaid dresses were Dessy. I always knew that I wanted to have different styles for my Bridesmaids as they are such different shapes and sizes, but the same colour. I found a local Bridal shop that stocked Dessy and had the girls try them on – done in an hour. The colour is Rose Quartz. The good thing about Dessy is you can order swatches of the material and colours to see what you like, which was so useful!
Your bouquet, what flowers did you choose? Were you happy with your choice?
I didn’t have a specific request on the type of flower, but I did provide inspiration from Bridal magazines. I knew I wanted elegant with greenery, ivory and a touch of pink – the florist did an amazing job seeing my vision and I was so happy with the bouquet on the day!
What was your wedding theme and how did you incorporate this into your day?
Elegant, informal, travel and fun was our theme! We love to travel and given it was a destination wedding we knew we wanted to incorporate that but also tied with our family and friends. At every stage of the planning we thought about how everyone could have fun and enjoy the day, given they had all made such an effort to get to Zakynthos!
We would love to hear about the smaller details you added to your private villa wedding.
Again, we were always thinking about what we actually cared about and learnt from previous weddings we had been to. So, one of the big things was ensuring there was enough alcohol and that our personalities came through in everything.
We had a cocktail hour where we had three cocktails that were tailored to us and where we had been or travelled to. During cocktail hour Sasha found a fantastic violinist and pianist who were simply amazing – I could hear them from inside the villa before the ceremony and it brought a tear to my eye.
We themed the tables with countries or places we had visited and put people on those tables that we’d shared that travel with, creating poems that would make people chuckle.
The menu was served family style, on platters, and we went for a good amount of Greek traditions; lamb, soulvaki, cheese pie, it all went down a storm!
The cake was also a vision we had and was amazing, we love salted caramel and I found a photo on Pinterest that provided the inspiration.
We didn’t bother with a guest book as it’s one of those things people never tend to do at weddings and we didn’t do favours on the day, instead we had a boat trip before the wedding and personally handed out welcome bags which included essentials (hangover tablets, energy bar, ouzo, water, koozie, gum and sweets) plus a personal welcome note from the Bride & Groom.
Finally, we had a basket of flip flops for the tired feet which went down very well with everyone when the DJ started!
How did you find the planning experience from booking to the big day?
The hardest thing was understanding how relaxed the Greeks are, as I work in events it’s always hard to relinquish control, but Sasha did a great job of helping us navigate that and reassuring us throughout the process. Everyone was telling me that wedding planning is so stressful, but I didn’t find that at all, thanks to Sasha! The planners on the day were fantastic too, there was a warning for thunderstorms, so everyone worked calmly to put plans in place but in the end the sun shone all day and it was totally fine!
What’s your best memory from the day?
There are so many, but the best was probably the fireworks at the end – we didn’t tell anyone that we were having them, so everyone was shocked, and it really ended the night on a high.
What do you think makes a wedding abroad stand out from a wedding in the UK?
I had thought the weather, but that was stressful in the run up with the threat of thunderstorms! Aside from the weather, it’s the relaxed nature of the wedding. Everyone was on holiday and enjoying their time, so naturally it was a completely different atmosphere. That and the fact we made it a three-day event (boat trip before, wedding day, and pool party the day after) which was so lovely to ensure you could talk to everyone and make your money go further – rather than it just being one day in the UK!
What advice would you give to future brides and grooms who are getting married abroad?
Worry about the things that you and your guests will care about – ignore traditions and spend money on what you think is important to ensure you have a day to remember with your loved ones! Also, accept that the cultures are very different and so it may not move at the pace you would expect of the UK!
For a list of suppliers mentioned in this Picturesque Private Villa Wedding story, please see below.
We hope you enjoyed reading about this Private Villa Wedding in Zante, here are a list of the wonderful suppliers involved.
Photography – Story Studios | Bride’s Dress – Matthew Christopher – Say Yes to the Dress | Bride’s Shoes – Badgley Mischka | Bride’s Accessories – Givenchy and Pandora | Groom’s Suit – Debenhams – Racing Green | Bridesmaids Dresses – Dessy
Budget Key | £ – 10k and under | ££ – between 10k and 20k | £££ – over 20k.