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We are jetting off to sunny Santorini today for the magical wedding of Gemma and James. Having been to Santorini myself for a wedding I know first hand what a stunning island this is and how perfect it is for a wedding celebration. The pace is very slow, the views are out of this world and the island itself is totally stunning. James and Gemma took all of this into account when planning their own day and chose a spot overlooking the ‘Caldera’ that is the perfect backdrop for any wedding ceremony. The whole day is made even more special with the helicopter ride that James and Gemma surprised their guests with. Big thanks to Steve Fuller Photo for the smashing images.
Gemma and James were married on the 3rd October 2016 at Santorini Gem & Theros Wave Bar- Santorini. ‘We always knew we wanted a destination wedding and Santorini was our first choice, it was somewhere we had always wanted to visit and the scenery is stunning making it the perfect choice for a wedding. We had 40 guests and the wedding took 10 months to plan.’
How they met
We live in the same town, and was introduced to each other through mutual friends at our local pub. We have been together 4.5 years.
James proposed to me at my 30th Birthday party in front of all my friends and family! He had always said to me he would never propose on an occasion such as a birthday or Christmas so I was completely shocked and blown away! He did a massive speech about how he had another surprise in store for me so my initial thought was that he was taking me away somewhere. He then presented me with some chocolates and told me to bite the chocolate in half and read the note, to reveal where the next part of our journey was going. The note read will you marry me and there he was down on one knee! I was so shocked I couldn’t even speak to say yes!
How did you allocate your budget?
A lot of our budget went on food and drink, we didn’t want our guests to have to pay for anything as they had all made such an effort to be there so we had an open bar all night.
Where did you splurge and where did you save?
We splurged on the photographer, the helicopter ride and the fireworks. We also spent a bit on the invitations which were a passport style invite that I absolutely loved! We saved on the flowers as I had silk flowers and decorations, as we had our own centre pieces and name places. We also saved on the video. James is a videographer so he had one of his staff fly out and kindly film the day for us, he now has the pleasure of editing his own wedding video!
Why did you choose your photographer?
James met Steve Fuller years ago as they both work in the same industry, he had always said that he would want to use him for our wedding and when he showed me some of his work I was blown away. He captured our day in the best way possible and we can’t stop looking through our gorgeous photos!
My dress was by Essence of Australia, my shoes were by rainbow club and my bag was Jenny Packham. One of my bridesmaid’s lent me their headpiece they had worn for their wedding which I had as my something borrowed which was lovely.
The Suit and Bridesmaids
The bridesmaids dresses were from Chi Chi, what I loved about them is that they are not your usual bridesmaid dress so the girls can wear them again, I received so many compliments over the style and colour of them! James’s navy suit was from William Hunt. The best man, ushers and father of the bride also wore navy suits.
Theme or Colour Scheme
We kind of kept in simple as we had such beautiful surroundings!
I had beautiful Ivory Roses
We didn’t have many decorations and really kept it quite simple. The venues and their surroundings were truly stunning so we didn’t really need to. At the ceremony I had some flowers on the gazebo and for the reception we filled the beach bar with paper tea light lanterns.
We had a traditional Greek BBQ.
The cake was a very simple Greek style wedding cake which was included in our package.
We had fireworks and a DJ.
The invitations I found online by Ditsy Chic. We made the name places ourselves.
Our table names were bottles of vodka, our favourite spirit! So for the centre pieces we had the bottle in the middle, and played a game during the speeches so the guests could win the bottle. And for the favours we had mini bottles of Belvedere vodka and made the labels for them ourselves.
Special Moments or Highlights
One of our special moments was the helicopter ride we took from the ceremony to the reception. I had never been in a helicopter before so it was an amazing experience! Also when we went off with Steve to do our photos, we had them taken in a picturesque village called Pygros, the highest point of Santorini. He had us posing in cobbled passages and climbing over the blue doomed roofs that makes Santorini so famous. This proved a lot of fun to do in a wedding dress!
Advice for other couples
If you are thinking about a destination wedding, you should go for it! The best thing for us is we have made a weeks’ worth of memories with our loved ones. Our planner Anna at Ionian weddings made it all stress free and was so helpful. It’s natural to worry and stress about a big event such as this but on the day everything comes together perfectly! And lastly, remember it’s your day!
The biggest surprise for us was actually surprising our guests! We kept the helicopter ride a secret, so they had no idea when they were told the bride and groom were about to arrive that it was us flying in. The look on their faces when we landed was priceless!