Alexia & Tom were married on the Greek Island of Lefkas. Claire from Lefkas Weddings organised all the arrangements and is sponsoring this blog post to hopefully connect with other Australian couples who are looking to plan a destination wedding in Greece.
A search for the Greek island of Lefkas returns dozens of images of a beach of outstanding natural beauty. White cliffs curve and surround the cove which cradles a stretch of white sand. Endless turquoise waters of the Ionian Sea stretch before you invitingly as soft foam of the waves beckons you for a relaxing swim. This is the beach of Porto Katsiki and the setting for our wedding story.
Our bride Alexia is from Melbourne, Australia and she knew this was the only place she wanted to get married one day. Her father’s family are originally from the village of Karia and emigrated in 1962. Growing up, Alexia visited over eight times, discovering the island and learning to love the place her father grew up.
Although attending school together, Alexia and her groom Tom were not destined to meet until Alexia started to work at Tom’s company. She soon realised that his frequent stops by her desk to delegate work tasks might be more than an interest in her To Do list!
Romance blossomed and Tom asked Alexia to marry him. On the subject of where their wedding would take place, Alexia had no hesitation in declaring Porto Katsiki, Lefkada her wedding dream.
They started to look for information on how they could organise their wedding at the beach and soon became apparent that, whilst some couples had wedding photography from next day shoots at the beach, no couple was yet to marry there!
The search for a wedding planner to help them bring the dream to reality began. Alexia told us:
“We found Claire at Lefkas Weddings and explained our ideas to her, she was very good and went through with us all the logistical issues and elements we needed to consider. Tom and I discussed these together and looked at some other suggestions but we had our hearts set on Porto Katsiki”
Under the guidance of Claire the couple began to put together ideas for the day and the wedding began to evolve from emails, skype calls, messages, pictures and sketches. The unique ceremony was kept under wraps from the guests as much as possible. “I really just wanted everyone to have that wow moment when they arrived at Porto Katsiki!” explained Alexia.
In the background, Claire was facing some logistical issues of her own. “Suppliers thought I was crazy when I asked for prices for getting furniture, catering etc. to Porto Katsiki for a wedding ceremony but I found some great people to help make the dream happen.
As the weeks to the wedding grew closer Alexia and Claire struck up a friendship through the Skype calls about menus and flowers. Alexia had spent some time working in London so enjoyed discussing UK and Greek life with Claire. “Because of the 10 hour time difference, one of us was always waking up whilst the other was on their way to bed!” laughed Alexia.
Everything arranged, the couple, made their way late August to Lefkada via some days in London and Italy. “When we got to Lefkada, I really wanted Tom to like it and love it as much as I do” said Alexia. He was used to the blue and white buildings typical of Santorini so the lush green landscape of the Ionian was a new side of Greece to him. “We rented a car and I drove him around the island, making our way down the west coast to Porto Katsiki and won him over with the natural beauty of the island’s four different coastlines.” Tom told us “It was one of the best beaches I had ever swam at and I didn’t believe that wedding buses would even be able to reach that part of the island.”
As the guests were travelling all the way from Australia the couple wanted them to have a true Lefkadian experience in addition to the celebration of our marriage. They discussed ideas with Claire and decided that the beach location and contemporary décor of NV Beach Bar, Nikiana was the perfect venue to host the reception. It also allowed them to arrive cruise directly from the beach ceremony to the venue by boat as it has its own private jetty.
They had also liked a restaurant on the West Coast with a balcony that seems to extend into the sky. “Rachi has such amazing views” explained Alexia “but they were unavailable for an evening event so Claire persuaded them to host a lunch for us the day after the wedding which everyone enjoyed greatly, it was incredibly mind blowing.”
With the majority of the younger guests arriving the Saturday before the wedding, Alexia and Tom wanted them to get into the party mood. We arranged to go to Kathisma beach for the afternoon and enjoyed the weekend vibe and the beach bars there before heading back to the capital Lefkas Town where we had a big table for reserved for us all at Gogo Gefsis, a traditional mezedopolio (traditional meze restaurant).
“Claire was brilliant, we kept throwing last minute requests at her and had she had an endless stream of ideas, everything was arranged quickly and efficiently.”
The day of the wedding dawned and Alexia got ready with her bridesmaids at Thealos Village in Lygia. Alexia had chosen her dress by Yolan Cris because it was so beautiful and different.
“I wanted to find a gown that wasn’t the typical wedding dress and wanted a look of beach bohemian. The bridesmaids wore pretty sea foam dresses by I Love Lace.”
Tom and the guests departed first and arrived at Porto Katsiki by road “It was quite surreal to be on the road to my own wedding after months and months of planning.”
A square pergola draped with white muslin and adorned with stunning arrangements of white Phalaenopsis orchids, Lysianthus and Calla Lilies framed the panoramic view of the beach. The chairs were decorated with turquoise sashes to match the sparkling blue sea below and Alexia was to walk down a white carpeted aisle strewn with rose petals.
Alexia arrived accompanied by her father Angelo, with a bouquet of calla lilies and her five bridesmaids had corsages of calla lilies. She walked down the aisle to meet Tom to ‘Something’ by The Beetles. The relaxed ceremony which included personalised vows and an exchange of rings was celebrated afterwards with champagne and fresh fruits.
The newly-weds then led the guests down to the beach to board the waiting boat for their cruise back around the island.
“Everyone on the beach was clapping, cheering and taking photographs of us as we came down the steps, it felt like being famous. It was so nice to chill out with our families and friends, everyone enjoyed mojitos and canapes as the boat cruised towards our reception venue.”
A sleek speedboat met the wedding party at the harbour and whisked off Tom and Alexia. The couple arrived at NV in style to cheers and congratulations from the guests who had gathered on the beach to welcome them and everyone was served Alexia’s bright, summery choice of watermelon daiquiri.
Cream linen, blue napkins and a centre piece of three vases of white hydrangeas, roses and lysianthus set off with dark greenery decorated the tables. The beautiful arrangements from the ceremony had been added to a floating shelf above the tables and it looked perfect. As you descended the steps ceiling near the bar was a cornucopia of white and pale blue lanterns, flower hoops of bay leaves and white lysianthus flowers were suspended from the columns framing the view of the beach. The three tier wedding cake, which was decorated with the same mix of white flowers and olive leaves was cut before they sat to hear the speeches.
The menu was full of their favourite Greek dishes with meze starters and main courses of stuffed kalamari, marinated chicken and traditional roast lamb. Warm and sticky loukoumades with honey (Greek doughnuts) were served as desert and wines from the award winning Lefkadian vineyard Lefkaditiki Gi flowed in the glasses. Tom told us:
“The grilled octopus was by far the best I had eaten on the island. There was so much food!”
The party commenced with Greek dancers as they wanted to celebrate Alexia’s Greek heritage. The dancers taught the guests the famous Zorba the Greek dance and then followed it with a traditional dance for the Bride and her Father “Orea Pou Ine I Nyfi Mas”. The DJ then kicked of the party and the evening cumulated with a firework display and fountains glittered and lit up the jetty as the couple walked to the waiting speedboat which was to take them to their hotel.
Alexia: “We were quiet nervous of what to expect as we had spent over a year planning this special day and as we hadn’t seen everything physically we were just hoping for the best and putting our faith in Claire.
We were so blown away by the whole two days. The wedding was action packed and full of surprises and the Lefkas people couldn’t do enough for us and our guests. Claire and Lefkas weddings exceeded our expectations beyond words and we still receiving compliments from our guests months later that is was the best wedding they have ever attended! Attention to detail was incredible! I wish we could relive the experience over and over again!”
Tom: “After some last minute fine tuning of the wedding day, it was so amazing to see it all just unravel as the day went on. I loved that we packed so much intoone day – bus rides, an amazing beach, an even more amazing boat cruise, speed boats, Greek dancing and fireworks. Everything just worked perfectly – the decorations, the transportation, the food, the music. I think we set a really challenging wedding for Claire to plan and she really pulled it off. We had many people say that it was the best wedding they had ever been to. We were adamant that our wedding was going to be one of a kind and with as much of our own personality in it as possible and Claire really did a great job of pulling it off.”
Wedding Planner: Claire Salisbury at Lefkas Weddings Venue: Lefkada, Ionian Islands, Greece – Porto Katsiki Beach and NV Nikiana Florist: Gourioti Flowers Photographer: V&A Giotopoulos Film: GC Cinematography Event Services: Tulip Lefkada
This article has been written by
Claire Salisbury Lefkas Weddings.
UK: +44 7889 823380
GR: +30 6987 095647
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