I’ve made no secret of the fact that Ed and I had numerous issues with our wedding planner in Greece, and the travel company who were dealing with our wedding & travel booking here in the UK.
Together, they had me in tears, and we came close to cancelling the wedding a couple of times. Therefore I think it’s safe to say, if we could go back in time the main thing we would have done differently is to use a different wedding company!
Here’s my advice for other couples looking into booking their wedding abroad.
Book with a Company You Like & Trust
As I say, rather than the stress free experience we had been promised, and the company claim to provide, we had months of drama before flying out for the wedding.
It was so horrible at one point that I was crying every night before bed. I didn’t even care how the wedding itself went, I just wanted it to be over and done with so Ed and I could be man and wife. Nobody deserves to feel like that about their wedding. We spent a lot of money on our wedding, as did our guests who joined us out there, and we shouldn’t have been left upset.
There was a different company we had initially looked into using, until we won (part) of our wedding through a competition with the travel company. That company is headed up by an absolutely lovely lady who it’s clear genuinely cares about her couples. I really wish we had of stuck with them as I’m sure our experience would have been incredibly different if we had of done.
Do your research, find a company who you gel with, and go with them. Even if they aren’t the cheapest, it doesn’t matter if they will be able to provide you with the perfect experience you deserve.
If Feasible, Book an Extra Week
We flew out a week before school started back so we were only able to stay in Santorini for one week. This wasn’t really enough. Ed and I couldn’t afford a honeymoon straight after the wedding, we will be looking at having one next summer, and it would have been nice to have had longer to relax after the wedding, before having to fly back home.
Have your Wedding Sooner rather than Later
We flew out on the Tuesday and our wedding was the Saturday. This meant that we had four whole days prior to getting married, but only 2 days before we flew back again.
This was poor planning on my part. I went for the Saturday as it’s a traditional day for weddings back home, but it wasn’t necessary in Greece, where we could have got married in the week. If we had of got married earlier in the week, we would have had longer to relax post wedding, and there would have been less time to get sunburnt before the big day!
Stick to One Venue
This wasn’t our fault, but a mixup by the travel agents and wedding planner meant that we were forced to find a second venue just weeks before we flew out for the wedding. With so little time, there wasn’t much of an option and we had to settle for a reception venue around 20 minutes from where we had our ceremony.
On the day this meant rushing around, not being able to get all the photos we wanted, and not being able to even finish my drink after the ceremony. The second venue was fine, I just really would have preferred to stay in one place to save eating into what precious little time we had on the day.
Keep it Traditional
I was adamant I wanted a Naked Cake, even though I was informed this wasn’t usual for Greek weddings. I put my foot down and ended up with a really ridiculous cake which, when looking back at photos, is laughable. I was left disappointed. Sometimes it’s best to stick to the traditions of the country you are marrying in. Put your trust into their customs and at least you’ll be able to say you had a traditional wedding, if nothing else!
On the other hand, if you want something and will be settling if you don’t have it then push for it. I was told again and again that I would be too hot in a big wedding dress and I should keep it simple.
I ended up choosing a dress which was incredibly plain. Although it looked alright and people complimented me and said it really suited a wedding in a hot country, I didn’t feel amazing on the day. I didn’t feel that special.
When I couldn’t fit into it a week ago when I tried it on for our uk reception I was actually relieved, as well as stressed at the thought of needing to find another dress. I have now found a much more princessy dress to wear for the reception and I’m really excited to put it on.
Don’t make compromises when it comes to your day. Have things the way you want them. What’s the point in having a wedding in a beautiful setting if you aren’t happy?
Embrace the Heat
Yes, it’s hot getting married abroad. So what? I wish I had of embraced it all a little more rather than worrying about how hot I would be. In the end it didn’t matter at all. My hair stayed up, my makeup looked ok (for the most part) and although I felt a little hot in my dress, I forgot about it when I was saying my vows and dancing the night away with my new husband. By all means put provisions in place – bulk buy the fans and stick to a later ceremony time, but just enjoy it. It goes by so fast.
Give Yourself Plenty of Time
As we got married at 5.30pm we had the entire day, stretched out in front of us. Unfortunately, after a leisurely morning of relaxing in the spa, I ended up rushing around to wash the massage oil out of my hair ready for the hair and makeup people to arrive.
I didn’t get a chance to eat lunch with anyone, instead having room service up in the room alone. I then ended up having to give my daughter Carly a bath as everyone had been by the pool until the last minute. It was very hectic and I didn’t manage to get a lot of getting ready photos as I had planned to.
Schedule in time to get ready, and then add another hour on to compensate for any delays. Aim to be ready half an hour before you need to be, and relax with a glass of bubbles.
Don’t be Afraid to Complain
If something didn’t go to plan, make sure the company know about it. I wasn’t happy with our cake, as it was not what we agreed on. Granted, the company did nothing about it (I wasn’t really surprised based on all the issues we had with them throughout the planning), but it needed to be said.
I also complained to Thomas Cook as our return flight home was absolutely awful, with incredibly rude members of staff at the airport in Santorini. Thomas Cook took a long time to respond but when they did they gave us a money off voucher and apologised, which was nice.
Ultimately, whether you get married abroad or in the UK, things may go wrong and you have no way of preventing every single issue. Although we did have some hiccups, I’m still really glad we got married in Santorini, and moving forward I plan to focus only on the positives.