A Beautiful Beach Wedding in the Greek Islands by Bernard Pretorius
Greek Island weddings are all about the beautiful blue sea and the striking white terraces, right?? Yes. And, no.
Meet Skiathos, Greece’s blue and green island . . .
From the Photographer, Bernard Pretorius: When they met back in 2006 in their first year at Leeds University, Hayley & Daniel became very good friends, until eventually romance blossomed. Throughout their relationship they fostered an incredible love for travelling and exploring the world, so no surprise that they decided on a destination wedding. When speaking with them both it is clear they always knew they wanted to get married abroad on a sandy beach by the sea. Having visited Skiathos the year before, they fell in love with the island and instantly knew it would be the perfect location for a group holiday and wedding celebration.
Skiathos is known as the “blue-and-green island” in Greece, with dramatic pine forests plunging down from the hills until they meet the Aegean Sea. Agia Paraskevi is one of these beaches where the forests meet the sea, and it is also where you will find the Skiathos Princess Hotel. It was always the couple’s favourite location as they dreamt about overlooking the sea during both their ceremony and reception, and the venue offered the perfect spaces for this. For Hayley in particular, she also loved the fairy light décor and the dance floor on the beach.
In the run up to the wedding, their couple and their friends and family descended on the Greek island from the UK – from North Wales, Yorkshire and Scunthorpe, they all made their way to celebrate the occasion. Having had the holiday time together prior to the wedding day, contributed to a very calm atmosphere on the big day. From the very first moment that I met their family and friends, I realised that they are a very lively bunch and that we were in for a cracking day. And I was not disappointed. When we met up with Daniel to do his groom prep photos, he opted for less traditional photos. So we headed down to the beach where he was just hanging out with his family and friends. Everybody was fooling around in the water before enjoying some beers in the sun. Splashing around in the water on a colourful lilo, they were cracking jokes and you could hear their laughter from a distance. At the bride’s villa things were just a calm. Broad, warm smiles around as bride, bridesmaids and bridesman got ready and dressed. The sounds of hairdryers and laughter filling the house.
Guests arrived at the hotel, taking there seats on the beach with a stunning view of the sea as they waited for the bride. There was a real special moment just ahead of the ceremony as the groom’s mum hung bunting in the canopies on the beach (bunting is a big tradition at celebrations in the UK). But this was no ordinary bunting, as his mum added photos from the couple and their friends and families to it. It was an incredibly touching moment to see Daniel and his mum going through each photo – and their faces telling the story as the relived each memory. Finally, as the groom waited nervously for his bride to arrive, she made her way down the big lawn towards the beach. The wedding party, dressed to a Cretian goddess theme, led the way as the bride made her entrance to an instrumental version of “Hey Jude”. Daniel’s reaction as he saw his wife-to-be for the first time was one of sheer emotion. As he wiped the tears away he could not stop looking at her and greeted her with a big hug. The ceremony was conducted by Anastasia, their wedding co-ordinator, under the white canopy with the blue sea and sky as a backdrop – quintessential Greek colours.
Once all the papers were signed, it was time for refreshments before they all sat down for dinner. Dinner was a buffet of delicious traditional Greek dishes, under the stars and lanterns of the outdoor restaurant. Following the meal, the inhouse band took to the stage and the party was in full swing. As a wedding photographer I have seen many live bands at weddings and I have rarely been a fan of them – but these guys were incredible! The music, vocals and song choices were impeccable! The fact that they kept the dance floor busy and everybody tapping along is testament to this. The party continued until the very early hours of the morning, and even included a late night swim in the sea for a lot of guests.
To me this is what a destination wedding should be all about – embracing the beautiful environment of the chosen location, and spending lots of quality time with your nearest and dearest away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. What a privilege to see these guys do exactly that, and above all witness their love and commitment to each other. Να ζήσετε!
Wedding Photographer: Bernard Pretorius
Groom’s Preparations Venue: Skiathos Princess Hotel – Skiathos, Greece
Bride’s Preparations Venue: Villa Four Seasons – Skiathos, Greece
Wedding Ceremony Venue: Agia Paraskevi Beach, Skiathos Princess Hotel
Wedding Reception Venue & Catering: PR Ammos Restaurant, Skiathos Princess Hotel
Music & DJ: In-house band, Skiathos Princess Hotel
Wedding Planner: Alexandra at Skiathos Princess Hotel