Tips & Advice
Destination Wedding Insurance
I sincerely hope no-one ever has to use this type of insurance but I would strongly advise couples to consider factoring overseas wedding insurance cover into the overall wedding budget or at the very least to investigate the exact features, benefits and level of cover available. Having this type of insurance policy will give you that extra peace of mind when planning your Santorini wedding knowing you are covered in the event of any unforeseen circumstances or mishaps. It is widely available on the market for a relatively small fee in comparison to the overall cost of your wedding. Just be extra careful like you would be with purchasing any insurance policies do your research, compare the market, know exactly what you are covered for and more importantly what your not covered for, pick a package that suits your specific needs and always read the small print before you purchase !
Not to frighten you but two days after we returned home from Santorini after our own wedding the airline company we all traveled with 60 + of us went bust and all flights were suspended from that point on-wards, we were very lucky with the timing. It would have been a complete nightmare if it had happened a week earlier and we had no insurance purchased. For this reason I feel confident in saying that this is something that should be at the top of your wedding to do list .
Setting a date
Before you set an exact date with venues, familiarize yourself with all the flight information for travelling to Santorini available from your area. Ensure this is up to date information and not likely to change before your wedding. Always book your flight /holiday with a reputable and fully bonded travel agent. Aim on having the wedding day in the middle of your stay allowing plenty of time for other guests to arrive, also this give you time to get a nice tan (not too much though you don’t want sunburn or tan lines !!!!!) and leaves you time afterwards to enjoy your honeymoon. Take into consideration any legal requirements regarding the length of your stay before and after the wedding. Once you have a date confirmed with your chosen venue send out your invitations, you will need guest numbers attending to start organising transport, budget for menus and seating arrangements at the meal and much more.
There is only so much you can do on your own, most couples will require the services of a planner especially when dealing with the essential paperwork and legal requirements. So, the search for your planner begins!
A wedding planner in my mind is someone you put your trust in to organise one of the most important days of your life. It took me a visit to the island in 2007 and many weeks of careful research online to find our planner.
When it comes to picking your wedding, planner do your research compare different wedding packages available, the costs involved and location options to choose from. Make contact with some companies to see if you feel comfortable dealing with them. I would maybe ask what is the actual fee for the planning services weather it is a fixed fee or a percentage fee or how it is worked into the package, maybe get a breakdown of costs. You probably know from looking at the websites that the wedding planner packages available are for couple only weddings allowing you to add on services to cater for larger parties. When you start to add on additional services required through the planner this means more work for them and unfortunately adds on a substantial amount to your final bill. The wedding industry in Santorini is well established and very popular with couples worldwide, making wedding planners very busy all year round, so book a date well in advance to avoid any disappointment.
I know the idea of planning certain areas yourself is a bit nerve wrecking, some people might feel they simply don’t have the time or the skills required to organise such details, but making the contact is the hardest part.
Most hotels or restaurants catering for wedding functions in Santorini can be dealt with directly via emails and nearly always have someone dedicated to this area. You are doing the same amount of work, as you would have to be emailing your planner regularly to see how things are progressing. This way you are in control, you know exactly what is happening, and you know your costs. If you have the luxury not to be budget conscious and just looking for a reputable planner to organise the whole event I can advise you on some well-established agencies.
This the one area I would advise you spending extra money on to get the best results, after all when it is all over apart from your memories this is the only physical evidence of the whole event! With weddings abroad not, everyone will be able to attend so your photo album acts like a story book for these people letting them get a real feel for the day you had. Let’s be honest everyone wants to look amazing in these all-important photos.
I would strongly advise doing extensive research into finding a photographer that suits your individual needs. Some people don’t like very posed photos feeling uncomfortable and tense preferring natural pictures, on the other hand some people prefer these as they know exactly what kind of photos they want. Every couples style will be different but I think a good mix of both types is the right balance. The backdrop is so perfect and romantic for these types of photos that it is very hard to go wrong.
Most wedding planner packages have a photographer included for a very small price compared to what you would pay at home, so make sure if you are using the agencies chosen one that you know what exactly you are getting e.g. how long they are with you, how many shots you get, what you will receive afterwards disc or album. Make it known if you have any special requests i.e. you want family and guest shots also. Find out do the crop and organise your pictures, otherwise you will be left with all the hard work when you get home. It is very time consuming and expensive to try and fix, crop, select, print, all your chosen photos for your photo album, which will be on demand the minute you get home.
This is an area overlooked at the start of the planning process, but when you start to look at various different locations and venues across the island you understand how important a factor it is. With weddings abroad, you are responsible to ensure your guests have transport to and from the wedding. This is one of those add on features with wedding planner packages and can work out very expensive with some planners depending on the size of you party. So, budget this in from the start you don’t want any unexpected costs arising.
*Where possible have your ceremony and reception in the same venue this means fewer bus transfers, costs you less money, saves you time on the day (which you need because it will fly by) and is a lot less hassle for you and you guests. Put someone in charge on the bus to make sure everyone is accounted for or give a list of names to the transport company.
I would advise having your ceremony at 6.30 – 6.45 this guarantees that you will have plenty of time to get beautiful photos as the sun sets in the background. The transport company will advise on how much time to allow to get to the ceremony from your location. The ceremony takes around half an hour depending on the celebrant. You will need time after the wedding with the photographer also. Your meal could start at 8.00 – 8.30 leaving more than enough time for your after party. Remember you have a lot to fit in speeches, toasts, wedding cake, first dance etc … (this is if it is all in the same venue for photographs etc)
Some areas of the caldera can get windy and cool in the evenings so advise guests to bring shawls, a light cardigan or jumper especially if outdoors. Also advise on having mosquito spray for any unlucky guests who get targeted!
Yes as brides we think the more flowers the better! true when you are at home and having a church wedding, but when you have such magnificent scenery as your background loads of flowers is not essential if you are watching your budget, only minimal decoration is needed to create more of a wedding atmosphere. If you are lucky enough to be able to get married in one of the many beautiful churches in Santorini you may want to decorate the church with some beautiful floral arrangements if so look no further than Betty Flowers Santorini they can cater for any occasion, view sample work here.
Step by Step Plan
First of all make sure and carefully read over the ‘Your Santorini Wedding’ website pages on TIPS & ADVICE, note the information about travel dates etc. before you set in stone an exact date.
Familiarise yourself with the SANTORINI MAP, get to know the well-known and popular areas for holding weddings or for accommodation.( Fira, Imerovigli, Oia, Kamari, Perissa)
Try have an idea of your NUMBER OF GUESTS attending, this is essential for doing any research into booking certain venues and helps planning your overall budget.
Decide on what TYPE OF DAY you think you would prefer either a Caldera view ceremony & reception ( the volcano side of the Island) or a Caldera view ceremony & seaside view reception in Kamari/Perissa might suit you and your guests wants & needs better.
Take time looking at the various LINKS ON THE WEBSITE for popular hotels & restaurants that cater for wedding functions on a regular basis. You can contact them directly about dates available, sample menus and prices or for any other queries you might have
If you decide to use one of the many hotels who offer FULL WEDDING PACKAGES and planning, you may not need a separate planner, but if you decide to have the local help of a well-known planner for the legal aspects contact them as soon as you have a date in mind to reserve it and book the registrar for the ceremony. Most wedding planner packages are for the ceremony only and allow you to organise the wedding reception
Once you have the DATE SET YOU CAN START PLANNING on all the other aspects depending on the sort of venue you are opting for (at this stage you could send out your invitations unless you want the venue details written on them) use TripAdvisor for independent reviews for hotels restaurants and planners.
At this stage you have all aspects of planning covered and everything will be coming together for you. Concentrate on your dress, shoes, accessories, bridesmaids, grooms suit, wedding rings, any specific decorations you want, colour themes, flower selection and colour, your first dance song, specific music selection for the DJ, planning any other events for the holiday like sunset boat trips, group nights out or day trips, holiday bookings for you and guests, car hire etc.
Keep in contact with your planner all the time and know the deadline for having all paperwork sent to them. Send to them with plenty of time to spare to check in case anything is amiss or wrong.
Wedding Day Ideas
TYPE a. A hotel ceremony/reception (all in the same venue)
Look at pictures of the wedding area, ask about the decorations they use, see menus available, price per head, waiter serviced or buffet meal, wedding cake selection and price, wine price list, bar drinks price list. Room rates available per night, if you are only staying here for the wedding night they nearly always offer discount as you are having your wedding with them. Find out any rules/regulations on music or entertainment, if you want a DJ, weather have they dance-floor area and what time can you have the music until? Are you allowed fireworks? Once you know these things and you are happy with it all you have to do is a seating plan for your meal if you want one that is. Once you have your venue confirmed you can start booking your DJ, fireworks, hair/makeup, putting research into your photographer and transport options using the direct links to service providers on the website
Type b. A Winery / chapel ceremony & restaurant reception.
See winery options available find out if any rental rates apply to the ceremony sites. Look at restaurant options available taking into account your party size, distance from ceremony site, transport costs, what decorations are used, menus available , price per head, wedding cake selection and price, waiter serviced or buffet, wine and drinks price list, firework regulations, private toilets, if any dj is allowed as not all will allow them and some might have restrictions on the time they are allowed play until, do they have a dancefloor area for your party. All these aspects will help you determine which options will suit you best.