Lize and Gerhard from South Africa’s Cape Town travelled to the Greek island of Mykonos to marry last June in an intimate, relaxed and beautiful celebration. We love that the couple asked their guests to dress in cream and white colours, which according to their photographer Bernard Pretorius translated beautifully in the resulting images. We’ll let you make up your own mind, but we suspect you’ll agree! Lots more from bride Lize below on the planning and details of the couple’s big day.

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DECIDING ON THE DESTINATION

“I first fell in love with Greece in December 2008, as this beautiful country was my first overseas destination. Immediately I had a passion for the Greeks and their traditions. And ever since I met Gerhard in May 2010, I could not stop talking about Greece. We always laughed when I told him, if he ever wants to marry me, a Greek honeymoon it would be. Eventually we couldn’t wait until the honeymoon, so we decided to plan a trip to the Greek Islands in 2013 and this was the trip where we both fell in love all over again with Greece.

CHOOSING THE VENUE

After a fantastic engagement in the Tuscan village Vicchio, the search for a wedding venue on a farm in the Western Cape, South Africa started. As we were looking through Google images as part of our search, we randomly came across a photo of a Greek Tavern between all the vineyard photos. We were so curious to know why the Greek photo is amongst all the Vineyard photos, immediately our investigation began. Gerhard and I was convinced that this was meant to be and we announced that we would get married in Greece. The announcement caused great consternation at first with family and friends – travel is expensive and the South African Rand is not the strongest currency in the world. We wanted to keep the wedding personal, so as a result we only invited our immediate family and closest friends to join our intimate wedding abroad. We were only 21 people, ourselves included. We really wanted to have an unforgettable wedding. We did not want only 1 day of celebrations but an entire week. This was also my first vacation with both of my parents together as they have been divorced since I was 1 year old.

THE CHALLENGE OF PLANNING

In order to arrange a wedding abroad, all by yourself, required a lot of patience and wine J Every detail was arranged via e-mail and only one Skype meeting with Kostas, Rocabella Hotel Manager. This was extremely challenging but if I could do it over again, I will not change a thing. We spent days searching for affordable air tickets to accommodate 21 people travelling abroad, and finally we found a special on Qatar Airways. The flight tickets were reasonable, but it involved a 7-hour layover in Doha. Interestingly enough, there is a cost-free three-hour tour of the city of Doha. A visa is not required and it can be highly recommended. For accommodation we rented a villa that sleeps 21 people, so the group stayed together.

THE DETAILS

For the décor Cobalt blue and white is definitely the two colours that always reminded me of Greece and therefore I just had to bring in those colours. Every friend started looking for decor bottles; it was Mythos restaurant in Brooklyn mall, South Africa (of course after all a Greek restaurant) where our 24 blue glass vases was ordered. The tablecloth was a search on its own and had a specific color and style to fit with the cobalt blue bottles. After months of searching for the right fabric, I came across Tea Towels from a store called Poetry. I had to purchase 15 pairs. Each piece was trimmed to size and worked together by myself in order to make one long table runner. The candles were also bought at Poetry and was nicely packed to travel all the way from South Africa to Greece. The Wedding dress was designed by myself and handmade by my friend, Lane Esterhuizen. My shoes (sandals) were purchased in South Africa, ironically also Made in Greece.

THE BUILD UP

Leaving a 40 degree Doha, we arrived in the early evening in Athens for our overnight stay in the Greek Capital. Everyone had enough energy for an evening out so we headed down to Monastiraki for slow cooked Gyros at Quick Pita. The area near the Plaka is always full of people laughing, eating and listening to bouzouki music. Early the next morning we departed with Hellenic Seaways to Santorini, our first island stop.

Santorini is just breathtakingly beautiful! The sea and sky is even bluer than in the pictures and the white houses on the slopes almost hurts your eyes. We stayed in accommodation from Airbnb, scattering the group a little bit. In order to explore the island we rented quad bikes. We particularly enjoyed the beach tavern of Amoudi and a Catamaran day for the group to a volcanic beach with black sand and the most memorable tasty traditional dishes. At the end of four memorable days, we departed again by ferry to Mykonos.

We kicked off the wedding excitement with a memorable Greek night at the Blue Myth Restaurant in Platys Gialos: A night of many ouzos, Greek food, dancing and of course breaking plates, OPA! The evening before the wedding we went on an amazing wine tasting experience at the organic wine farm Vioma. While learning more about the history and traditions of Mykonos we enjoyed delicious wines and tasty Greek meze snacks.

THE WEDDING DAY

Our photographer Bernard also happened to be a South African, but now lives on the island of Paros just next door to Mykonos. Bernard and his assistant Nick arrived the day before in Mykonos and met us during our wine tasting, when they started capturing our memories. After two beautiful summer days with no wind whatsoever, the wedding day finally arrived and the wind was absolutely howling! But nothing could have dampened our enthusiasm. I departed early from the villa, making my way to the hotel with my mother, hair stylist and makeup artist to prepare for the big day while the men smoked cigars and talked nonsense around the pool.

Keeping things very personal, my sister-in-law is a hair-and-makeup artist and I was very fortunate that she was able to travel with us. Not only that, but we were very happy and fortunate to have a minister (Johan Scholtz) in the family that performed the wedding ceremony in Afrikaans for us. Everything just fell into place. An unforgettable afternoon follows. With a traditional bouzouki player accompanying me and my father to the red and white chapel next to the blue Aegean sea, it was a very special moment seeing Gerhard waiting for me.

THE RECEPTION

Following the ceremony we went to the old port to find the sailboat, where we embarked on a Champagne cruise along the coastline, with Bernard taking photos a la Titanic. Afterwards we headed into town for our couple portraits before re-joining our guests at the hotel where we danced to the Zorba until the early mornings like only South Africans can! The wedding reception was hosted at the five star Rocabella Mykonos Art Hotel in Agios Stefanos. The cost per person was very well comparable to a similar hotel in South Africa and the service was impeccable. A florist, who delivered the flowers, was all arranged a day before the wedding. I have always wanted a bridal bouquet of peonies and was actually happy to be able to get it. The hotel was able to provide us with a DJ and he did not mind to play the music that we provided beforehand. Even the wedding cake was baked in Mykonos exactly according to my Pinterest prescription and delivered to the hotel. The staff at Rocabella went out of their way to make the day memorable for us. They even arranged two days ahead of time a separate tasting so that we could decide on the meze starter, main course and dessert. We were also able during the session to make a decision on the wine. Every detail was handled with care and was exquisite and delicious as only Greek food and hospitality can be. Our Greek wedding was not entirely big and fat, but memorable and grand? Absolutely!”

Photography: Bernard Pretorius | Ceremony: Agios Stefanos Church | Reception: Rocabella Mykonos Art Hotel & Spa | Wedding Coordination: Kostas Psarras (From Rocabella Mykonos) | Hair & Makeup: Leandi Esterhuizen (Groom’s Sister) | Wedding Dress: Lane Esterhuizen (Bride’s Friend) | Accessories: Spirit Jewellery | Groom’s Suit: Hilton Weiner | Wine Tasting Venue: Vioma | Boat Trip: Quarantine of Delos |  Guests Welcome Pack Details: Sandals: Havaianas | Bag: China Town, Cape Town | Bag Embroidery: Hadet Embroidery | Stationery/Printing/Tags: Good Letter Press

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