Adventure-loving Julien and Hermione met each other at a destination wedding in Columbia, and when it came time for them to wed, they decided to celebrate their marriage with a destination wedding of epic proportions. With the bride’s Greek family roots leading to the chosen location of Naxos Island, the entire wedding celebrated their love of travel as well as their French and Greek heritage. Every detail of this couple’s wedding embraced their themes- from the remoteness of the venues and the journeys between them, the Parisian suits and Greek wedding donkey, the enormous wedding cake, the chosen flower arrangements, to the personalised wedding favours celebrating the couple’s journey. Hermione and Julian’s special day was captured to perfection by Bernard Pretorius.

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DESTINATION DECISION

Julien and Hermione wanted to take their guests on a journey that would represent the adventure and travel they love and highlight the charming beauty of Naxos. Hiding away in the heart of the Naxos mountains, the tiny remote church of Agios Isidoros captured the couple’s hearts the moment they saw it. They both love adventure and Julien delights in climbing the highest peaks, so the church offered remoteness and a steep path leading to its entrance. On their arrival the guests were presented with an astonishing view of a lush olive orchard with a natural spring meandering nearby. They were treated to refreshments under the oldest olive tree in Naxos and seating was scattered amongst the trees. The next surprise was the arrival of the bride on a traditional Greek wedding donkey, escorted by a traditional Greek band. Julien and his groomsmen lent a sophisticated French flavour to the traditional Greek Orthodox ceremony in their elegant Parisian tuxedos. The panoramic view of the beaches of Kastraki and the neighbouring island of Paros were the highlights of the cocktail party at the bride’s family home. Live Greek music was played as the guests wandered and enjoyed the champagne and specially chosen appetizers.

WEDDING THEME

Hermione and Julien have a shared obsession with adventure and travel, so naturally travel and discovery were the themes of their wedding. Although both of them were born and raised in France and live in Paris, Hermione’s mother is from Greece so it was a natural choice to combine a far off destination with the glamorous motif of a French celebration. Traveling was blended into every part of the celebration. The guests embarked on their journey on two different buses and travelled during the wedding day to three distinctly different venues. Their first stop was a remote church in the wilderness of Naxos – requiring a bit of a short hike to it. From there they travelled to the bride’s home for a cocktail party with live Greek music and a stunning, panoramic view of the Aegean Sea and sunset. Their final stop was a garden taverna in a small village, where they enjoyed dinner and dancing until the early hours of the morning. At every destination on their journey they were welcomed with champagne shipped to Greece from a French Chateau. The theme even found its way to the wedding favours- and the ingredients actually came from their origins: coffee from Colombia: where they met, salt from Bolivia: where Julien proposed, and olive oil from Greece: where they got married.

DECOR 

The blue and white of the Greek islands were the colours of the flowers, a mix of Baby’s Breath, Delphiniums and Blue Hydrangeas. Blue burlap, white candles and olive branches decorated the tables and chairs at the cocktail party and dinner. Each table at the Wedding Reception was named after a Cycladic island. The bride’s nephew collected beach stones and the bride lovingly wrote the names of each guest on a stone to mark their place. The couple had spent a lot of time gathering pictures of all the guests, which were used as a seating chart. The traditional French wedding cake, a Croquembouche over a metre high, was crafted by a local bakery after much consultation. The biggest challenge, however, was how to get such an enormous cake from the pastry shop in town by the sea, to the tavern in the mountains of Naxos. It eventually made its way (safely) to the reception in the back of a gigantic truck, with four people sitting in the back holding on to the cake whilst the driver carefully navigated the windy roads. Romantic lights hung over the reception’s lush garden setting and the dinner ended with a skit by the bride’s theatre group. The Swing was the dance of choice, the groom swung the bride majestically around the floor until they were joined by their guests, partying until late in the night.

CHALLENGES

Probably the biggest challenge of the wedding was finding the groom after he was reported missing on the morning of the wedding, but luckily he was just out surfing! But on a more serious note- transportation logistics on small village roads and the remote locations, were the biggest challenge with this wedding-  seeing the look of surprise and delight on the guests faces as they emerged from their buses though definitely made all the planning worthwhile!

Photography: Bernard Pretorius | Wedding Planner: Island Events | Wedding Dress: Cymbeline | Groom’s Outfit: Jean-Jacques Cérémonie | Preparation Venue: Finikas Hotel | Ceremony Venue: Agios Isidoros | Reception Venue: Pigi Potamia | Flowers: Anemona Flowers |Cake: Mathiassos Pastry Shop | DJ: Giannis Mellisourgos | Hair Stylist: Love Hair | Make-up Artist: Irini Karouana

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