While I'm on the topic of Hydra it's time to finally put up some photos from our wedding! It was such a magical few weeks that I think I came home still processing all of the beauty and happiness. I'm finally just catching my breath. It was a whirlwind and if you've ever planned a destination wedding yourself without a wedding planner then you know just how crazy things can get. Many of our vendors didn't communicate well over email or even speak English and the island moves at its own pace. We were picking out flowers and venues site unseen but I trusted the magic of the island and she did not disappoint.
From the moment Kris and I stepped off the water taxi and onto the cobblestones for the first time we knew it was a place we wanted to return to in the future. When the idea of picking a wedding destination came up Hydra was shot down a few times by family and so we moved on to Mexico. After a few months of planning we realized Mexico wasn't exactly what we wanted, plus it was expensive! In a strange way, Greece would be more affordable for a small destination wedding than Tulum area (we had considered Coqui Coqui in Coba).
Once we decided on Hydra I was able to focus on the dress and getting venues together. Since we visited before we knew a few people on the island to help. We chose a date in May so that we could all arrive before the big summer crowds. That's my favorite time on the island!
In the spring, Kris and I would frequently take walks around the French Quarter just to smell the jasmine that blooms. The sweet scent was intoxicating and he always laughed as I stopped at each wrought iron fence to smell the sweet climbers.
When I was in Charleston visiting family I found Rachel at Betty Bridal. She just had this cool air about her and had the most beautify edited collection of dresses. All of the designers that I wanted to try on were delicately hanging in her brick studio but this dress was off on its own. I never considered a floral wedding gown but something about this dress just looked like magic. The construction, the attention to detail on the flowers and the buttons down the back all were so beautifully crafted. Then she told me:
Oh, that's the Jasmine dress by Carolina Herrera
I knew the moment I put it on that this dress was perfect for both me and the destination. Hydra is an island full of blooms. It's brimming with color and life and I knew Kris would love the significance. I actually forgot to put this in my wedding vows and he didn't even realize it until the next day! I knew Kris would appreciate the story of the Jasmine dress.
Our menus and paper table numbers were all handmade and designed by my mom! It was a special gift to have her work on this and we are so thankful. They turned out beautiful! We ordered handmade paper from Argentina and used sea urchins as placeholders (both from Etsy).
We decided a few weeks before our wedding to switch our ceremony venue to the gorgeous Hydrea Hotel. Kris and I were already staying there that evening so we decided to use it as a place to get ready then just go down the stairs and walk down the aisle on the balcony terrace. This hotel is a historic gem. It was a wealthy captain's house back in the day and then eventually made its way into Richard Branson's hands. Now it's converted to a boutique luxury hotel. I walked out to traditional Greek music and onto the terrace overlooking the port with a grand flower arch.
Our nieces and nephew tossed bougainvillea petals that had fallen from the tree in our house. Jack carried the ring in a little basket. Actually all of these baskets were borrowed from our Hydra house! Kris and I wrote vows and his dad was our officiant. We borrowed a few ancient Greek customs for our ceremony like the exchanging of Stefana crowns.
It's like a second line on a donkey
One of my favorite moments was riding a donkey through the Hydra Port on our way to the boat. The whole town came out to support and waved their arms as we walked by. Our housekeeper arranged this donkey for us and said it would be perfect because he's small and quiet! He came without decoration so we took my niece's flower crown and put it around this cutie's ears.
We chose a seaside venue called Castello in Kamini, a little fishing village around the corner from Hydra port. The building has had many lives from a fort to a pub and now a beyond gorgeous beach club on a pebbled beach with direct sunset views. It completely exceeded our expectations. We arrived to the venue in a traditional Greek fishing boat and walked through a magnificent archway to greet the guests. We had a lovely local string band as our music during the dinner. The guys were a blast and brought in traditional Greek instruments like the Bouzouki to set the ambiance.
I loved our florists! We used Studio 7 in Athens for the dinner, bouquet, flower crowns and pins. We used a local Hydra florist for our floral arch. She did an amazing job! Also, we ended up finding our savior, Kelsey Edwards, on the island to help us do our bidding with vendors. She's a local on the island and has had experience as a planner before. She was such a blessing!
Photography: I really struggled with this because photography is such a passion of mine and I'm such a visual person. You've seen a ton of Marianna's work on my website and she has become such a best friend to me and we ended up deciding it would be best and most sentimental for her to shoot the wedding. She did such an amazing job and kept me sane.
Phew! This is a lot. Kudos if you made it this far. There's still so much more to share! Thanks for letting me share this with you all. I have a lot of thoughts on how to plan a destination wedding without help but I'll save that for another post!