Meet Ekaterina, a Greek woman with an amazing talent for sharing humor in our daily Big Fat Greek lives! Read her guest post and find out everything about her wedding in Cyprus!
My husband Soto and I met at his family’s Greek restaurant a mere 3 weeks after I moved to Wimbledon to ‘focus on my career‘. Well I ended up focusing on something else…!
We got engaged in November 2011 after dating for 8 1/2 months. My mother met my father in Greece on the 3rd day of her stay there and they were married after 8 months so in their eyes we had taken our time!
My husband and I are both Greek Orthodox, so a traditional Greek church wedding was always expected, but I was determined to make it less ‘Big and Fat’ and more ‘Simple, elegant and classy’.
We chose to get married in Larnaca, Cyprus on September 2nd in the beautiful old Greek church Ayios Lazaros, followed by a reception and dinner at the E-hotel in Pervolia. The church itself is steeped in history and we had a real fight on our hands trying to secure it for our wedding!
I was attracted to the E-hotel as it sits right by the sea and has an amazing outdoor seating area for the dinner. You can’t get married in a hot country and not be outside! I had a real struggle finding any hotel that catered for an outdoor party so, with its rustic stone flooring and beautiful view, the E-hotel was my perfect choice.
The church service didn’t start until 6pm so most of the day was spent preparing and calming the nerves!
I bought my wedding dress from Teokath in Wimbledon, after spotting it in the window when I first moved to Wimbledon, even before I met my future husband! It turned out that the owner is a family friend so I was well looked after. I chose the Adela dress – a fishtail design with beautiful lace detail, a delicate neckline and shoulder straps. It was important for me that I felt as comfortable as possible in the dress, particularly due to the oppressive Cypriot heat! I was also mindful of that fact that the church is very conservative and I didn’t want to expose too much flesh.
I bought my pearl hair accessories online from the little things in life but my wedding earrings were a gift from my mum who had them handmade. I also bought our stefana from a Greek website Annula Designs and chose one fittingly named ‘Ekaterina’ which was adorned with swarovski crystals and accentuated with pearls.
I wore my grandmothers diamond ring which had been a present from my grandfather, as my something old. My something borrowed was a beautiful pearl bracelet from my mum. My something blue was my garter which had a tiny blue bow on it. And my something new was of course the dress!
Although I loved my wedding dress, I was adamant from the start of the wedding planning that I wanted a dinner dress to change into. I wanted to be comfortable when eating and dancing and most importantly I didn’t want to damage the dress! After searching desperately for months I eventually found an ivory embellished floor-length gown in South Molten Street’s ‘Aftershock’ boutique. I then had the dress tailored to my size and customized with a slit at the side, to let the fabric move when I danced.
My shoes were very important. I wanted a medium heel and something that didn’t look like it could only be worn with a wedding dress. After a fruitless search in all the wedding shops I eventually turned to ebay and found success – a pair of satin diamante bridal shoes with an ivory heel made from Thai silk (picture attached). Never under-estimate the power of eBay!
I bought my two little bridesmaids both Nina embellished ivory dresses from Monsoon (funnily enough my nickname is Nina). I wanted to get them something that was light and fun and that they could wear again. The two page boys wore ivory shirts and gold waistcoats (couldn’t fit all the pics here) also from Monsoon. My sister’s dress was from Put Dresses and she then had it customized with diamantes. It had a similar delicate back and neckline to mine.
My mum and I did all the hair and make up on the day. I wanted to look as natural as possible and certainly didn’t want the caked-on look running down my face! We plaited the bridesmaids’ hair into a balletic bun adorned with flowers and my sister and I also wore our hair up with pearl and diamante pins and crystal and pearl headbands (all from the little things in life)
Soto and his father and uncle all bought tailor-made suits from William Hunt. I managed to persuade them to opt for different shades of blue as opposed to staunch black, in order to get that fresh summer feeling. My theme was gold, so the blue classically cut suits fitted in beautifully with the gold and ivory flowers!
Again I wanted the flowers to be as simple and elegant as possible, opting for ivory roses. I asked the florist to make little gold butterflies for the children’s bouquets which they could then keep as a souvenir!
I ended up designing my own wedding cake as I didn’t want too many Greek frills and was determined to have the top two layers made of chocolate as opposed to the traditional fruit (something the in-laws weren’t pleased about but I WILL have my cake and eat it on my wedding day!).
Transport to and from the church was fairly easy to organise. Soto’s father has owned a classic 1979 W116 280se orange mercedes for over 30 years and it was Soto’s dream to turn up at the church in a car that held some of his most precious childhood memories. Traditionally in some Greek and Cypriot villages, the bride is meant to turn up on a donkey but I managed to track down an owner of a gorgeous vintage ivory Mercedes convertible, which proved to be a big hit with all the guests on the day!
After the intense nerves surrounding the church service, the reception and dinner was a chance for everyone to let their hair down. We chose to have a buffet dinner so that the guests could help themselves whenever they liked and we also found a fabulous candy shop who provided a sweet treat table consisting of a chocolate fountain, fruit and marshmallows. This was initially intended to be a treat for the children but I caught most of the adults with chocolate smeared around their mouths!
We had a fantastic live Greek band who played throughout the night and a Greek dance troupe who entertained everyone with their exceptional glass balancing skills. The night was filled with happiness and plenty of dancing and I felt particularly emotional when I danced with my father who has been my rock throughout all the wedding planning stress! It came as a surprise to many that Soto even got up to join in the Greek dance (he himself declares he has two-left feet and previously had refused to dance on the day), which just goes to show how genuinely relaxed we both were.
After all the strain and worries that had accompanied all the planning, the day itself was more beautiful and meaningful than I could have ever imagined.
Most importantly, it was a day where we could share our happiness with all the people who we treasure in our lives. And in the end it was everything we both could have ever wanted in our big fat greek wedding.
About the author:
Ekaterina Botziou is a Greek writer and actress, a theater – lover, living a big fat Greek life.
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Sia Aristidou is fascinated by the rituals and traditions celebrated in Greek culture. Sia writes about love, marriage, family and tradition and sells beautiful handmade wedding gifts at the Greek Wedding Shop.
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