Hiring a wedding planner certainly makes things less stressful when planning a wedding abroad. They will help you navigate your way through the legalities, find brilliant local wedding suppliers and in some cases.. charter a plane for 160 of your wedding guests when two days before your wedding, all ports in Greece go on strike and there’s no other way of getting to your island venue! Jenny and Wissam made the very wise decision early on to invest in the services of The Twelve Events and my goodness did they save the day! Not only did they manage to turn the disaster around, it ended up being one of the brides favourite moments over the weekend. Everything about Jenny and Wissams Autumn Wedding in Vouliagmeni, Athens is pure gold and with the very talented Sotiris Tsakanikas behind the lens, we are so thrilled to be able to share his capture of their wedding day with you on FAB today. From the bride, Jenny

“I came to Ghana for a one-year job assignment and at the end of that year, Wissam and I met through a common friend. Accra has a small community so we had seen each other before but never really talked. I always found him funny and liked how he made everyone laugh. I went with my flat mate to the beach house of a friend and Wissam was there. That weekend I realised that there was so much more to this funny man and we had really great conversations. Soon after that he asked me out for dinner. Around the same time, I found a new job and stayed and four years later we were married.

How did you get engaged?

Initially Wissam had planned to propose to me in Austria, where we spent a week hiking with my parents in the summer of 2015. He had planned to do it on the top of the mountain but it turned out he had developed a fear of heights and never made it to the summit! I had no idea about his initial plans but later my friends and his mum told me they were waiting and waiting to hear our news and thought he had changed his mind! 

He eventually asked me a week later when we were in my home town of Hamburg.  We were about to go out to meet some of my friends for dinner and quite spontaneously, he proposed in our hotel room! I think, as his first idea hadn’t worked out, he just couldn’t wait anymore and just popped the question! I have to say it took me by surprise as I had never really thought about marriage much and especially not in that moment when we were getting ready for the evening!

But once I said yes it felt amazing and I was more than happy that we were in Hamburg so that we could celebrate with my family and long-time friends. When we travelled back to Ghana, our friends there threw us a big party. It was such a happy time.

Why did you decide to have a destination wedding?

Wissam is from Lebanon, I am from Germany and we both live in Ghana, West Africa. All three countries were not really an option for our wedding.

Ghana is very far for family and friends from our home countries, flights are expensive, visa and vaccinations are needed, accommodation is not that easy to arrange for many people.

In Lebanon, weddings are usually very big as it is normal to invite almost everybody you have ever met in your life! From every family member to neighbours, school friends, business partners to acquaintances of your parents and anyone who has ever invited you to anything. We wanted to have a slightly more intimate wedding with our closest friends and family – which in the end still ended up being 180 guests!

It then didn’t feel right to choose Germany over the Lebanon and the weather (even in summer) can be very tricky so, we decided to host our wedding in a completely different place – somewhere easy to get to for everyone and beautiful!

There are just so many beautiful places in this world, at first I found it hard to choose a location. I started some research and we soon took a trip to Italy where we looked at venues at the Amalfi Coast and Lake Como. The locations we saw were beautiful, but something was always missing. Mostly we felt that the area around the venues didn’t offer much to do. We thought, when all your friends fly around the world for us, we wanted the celebrations to last at least three or four days and we wanted our guests (with all their different preferences and tastes) to be able to enjoy their time around that. The places we saw in Italy all seemed a bit too quiet for our mostly crazy friends.

I always had Mykonos in the back of my head and thought of it as this magical island with many different things to do. We weren’t really convinced of a pure beach wedding but I decided to look further into it. I found The Twelve Events researching online and was amazed by their Greek wedding pictures, the stunning venues and their attention to detail. Quite spontaneously, we decided to go on a trip and met with them in January 2016 to see some locations in Mykonos. As the season wasn’t open in Mykonos we stayed in Athens and – now that we were there anyway- also had a look at some venues in Vouliagmeni, the beautiful and picturesque peninsula, situated on the eastern edge of Athens.

There we fell in love with the last venue we saw on our first day. Both of us just had the feeling that this was it. Located directly on the sea, it was still very classy with a gorgeous garden and a beautiful view over the ocean. It also offered two different venues next to each other, one for our symbolic ceremony and one for the reception and party.

From then on everything just fell into place. We flew to Mykonos for a day, decided on the venue for our beach-after-party (Panormos the most gorgeous, Bali-style, unique seaside beachclub in Mykonos) and confirmed the dates.

We travelled again to Greece 4 months later with Wissam’s mum and my parents for the food tasting, table arrangement and to finalise some other details. During that trip we accidentally found the most perfect place for our Welcome Dinner. We just went to go for a little walk and stumbled across Lake Vouliagmeni.

When we left three days later, we were extremely happy and everything felt exactly right. The rest of the planning just worked and was uncomplicated thanks to our planners.. until just before we were to leave for Greece!

We received an email three days before our departure that all ports in Greece were closed due to a national strike. It was just a 48 hours strike, but exactly during the time where we and our 160 guests were supposed to go from Athens to Mykonos by ferry. We had booked all the tickets and everything was arranged for our beach party in Mykonos. Taking the ferry a day later would have ruined everything… Thank God Panagiotis from the Twelve Events and his team were able to charter a plane for our group. The flight with everyone was such a fun experience.

 

What was the best decision you made?

To have more events than just the actual ‘wedding day’.

We had friends from all over the world and many of them hadn’t met before. Over the four days they really got to know one another. Weddings pass so fast, but prolonging our trip meant that the beautiful moments lasted a bit longer and we have so many different happy memories. I couldn’t imagine only having one day and then everything being over.

Any advice for other couples planning a destination wedding?

Have as much fun as you can! Don’t care about the weather!! We were very unlucky with that part. Apparently, it never ever rains in Vouliagmeni but on our welcome dinner and the wedding day it was pouring!

I was so worried the whole time and it really got me down a bit. In the end, it really didn’t matter at all!

At the welcome dinner, when it rained heavily, all our guests came closer under a big tent which made for a great atmosphere. When the rain eased up, everyone was so eager to dance that we just danced under the rain and no one’s mood was affected by it even for a second.

If you have great people around you in a beautiful place with the right music- the rest just doesn’t matter. Don’t stress about things you can’t control!

At the end of our wedding night my hair was destroyed by the wind, my make up ruined and my dress muddy and torn- but I had danced with everyone and forgot about the rest. The positive vibes and mood I was in is really what I remember.

Photography; Sotiris Tsakanikas | Ceremony Venue; Island art & Taste | Videographer; Aris Basias | Reception Venue; Island art & Taste | Wedding Planner and Florist; The Twelve Events |Catering; Aria Fine Catering | Wedding Dress; Monique Lhuillier from L’atelier Blanc | Bridesmaid Dresses; Faviana New York | Grooms Suit; Hugo Boss | Hair Stylist and Make Up Artist; Roula Marinopoulou | Rentals; Zazoo Event Rentals 

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