When I married my husband Ed two years ago in Santorini, I wanted to savour every moment. Having been married previously, I was well aware how true it was that your wedding day flies by and time seems to speed up when you desperately want it to slow down so you can enjoy every second. As the wedding was in Santorini at the beginning of September, temperatures were high and we had to have a late afternoon ceremony. This meant that the day was already a lot shorter than it would have been had we got married in the UK. Looking back, I feel that we could have planned the day a little better to make the most of the time we did have, and I wanted to share 5 tips for destination wedding couples to make the most of your day.
Take Some Time for The Two of You
It is so important to ensure you both have a little time to step back and enjoy the day, away from everybody else. It can be easy to get swept up in the crowd but remember the reason for the celebration is you making a commitment to be together. You don’t have to leave the party or shut yourselves away but just taking a few minutes together will be worth it.
Photos and Video Are So Important
I am a really strong advocate of making sure there are lots of photos taken on your big day. I also feel that video footage is priceless, as it shows you different aspects of the day that you may not have even witnessed at the time. I am absolutely gutted that we only have around twenty professional photos from our wedding ceremony, and none from the reception due to issues with our wedding coordinator. Although I love the photos we do have, and am hugely grateful to one of my best friends and bridesmaids for taking my camera and getting lots of candid shots from the reception, I would have really liked to have more photos of the day from an outsider’s perspective, capturing those moments that can so easily be forgotten as time passes. The video from our wedding was also only of the ceremony, which means that a large section is already a little hazy. I would seriously recommend spending as much as you can afford to, to have photos and video of your day to look back on and share with children and relatives in years to come.
Do Something in the Day
If your wedding ceremony has to be fairly late in the day due to the weather, I would definitely suggest planning something for the daytime. We didn’t start getting ready until around 2.30pm and, for a good couple of hours, I ended up on my own in my hotel room as I didn’t want to go in the pool with everybody else. Although I did visit the hotel spa in the morning, I would plan something for the early afternoon as well if I could go back as I felt I wasted a section of the day just waiting around. Tradition pretty much went out of the window with our wedding so it would have been nice to do something with Ed before I had my hair and makeup done.
Plan the Wedding You Want
It is so important to plan your day the way you both want it to be, rather than trying to please anybody else. One of the bonuses of getting married abroad, for us anyway, was that it limited the amount of guests we had. This meant that we were able to focus our attention on having the wedding we wanted, without being held back by needing to cater for hundreds of people. We had the music we wanted during the ceremony, even though it was frowned upon by our wedding coordinator (seriously, the woman seemed to want to ruin our day from the word go) and we adapted the menu to suit our tastes. Don’t feel pressured to do something you don’t want to because it’s ‘traditional’ or expected. Do what will make you both happy at the end of the day.
Make Plans for the Next Day
This is something we didn’t really do and I wish we had. Although our guests were obviously out with us for the wedding, the day afterwards seemed to go by in a haze. I wanted to spend some time with just Ed, but also with guests and I really should have planned the day in advance to ensure this happened. In the end, I only got a brief walk alone with Ed before meeting my dad and his partner for lunch, and the afternoon was spent by the pool with the children and my mum. If you are worried that you won’t get the chance to spend a lot of time with your guests on the wedding day itself, schedule something in for the following day (if your timetable allows it). It doesn’t have to be a whole day affair, if you’re worried about monopolising another day, but even having breakfast or lunch together would be a nice opportunity to reflect on the wedding and thank them for coming along.