On the largest of Greece's Dodecanese Islands, known for it's beach resorts and ancient ruins, Rhodes became the breathtaking backdrop for the most intimate and beautiful exchanging of vows and celebration of Paulina & Stasi. Guests sat amidst a long table that lined 19 meters of florals flown in from Amsterdam, and as the sun set against the horizon at Ktima Lindos the night sky was filled with twinkling lights, surprise fireworks and a shake up from an earthquake on a nearby island. We chat to Paulina, an Event Coordinator who knew from day one she wanted to be her own wedding planner despite the distance!
DESTINATION: RHODES ISLAND, GREECE
WAS A DESTINATION WEDDING ALWAYS THE PLAN?
No, it wasn't the original plan. We had originally booked and secured our venue and suppliers in Brisbane and a month or two into the planning process my husband and I realised this is not for us. Working in the wedding industry I know how quickly the day goes and I felt like my wedding was just another job. It wasn't exciting. I knew i always wanted a destination wedding and would flirt with the idea but didn't believe it was ever possible. What we envisioned for our day was something more. So we decided to call a couple of our friends and family and test the idea. We were so surprised with how many people loved the idea. The next morning we cancelled all our suppliers and venue and started to plan our destination wedding, and just like that we were getting married in Greece.
HOW DID YOU CHOOSE THE LOCATION?
As we're both from Greek backgrounds, there was no doubt we would have chosen anywhere but Greece as it holds a special place in our hearts. We researched between Santorini for its beauty and Rhodes because my husbands parents were born there. Once I stumbled across Ktima Lindos I was sold and knew it was definitely happening in Rhodes.
HOW MANY PEOPLE TRAVELLED?
We had 45 guests travel from all over the world. Brisbane, Hong Kong, Paris, San Fransisco, Boston and London.
DID YOU GO WITH LOCAL SUPPLIERS OR DID YOU FLY OVER YOUR VENDORS?
We used both local and Australian Suppliers. Our Photogarpher/videographer, Sarah and Jason from Lucas & Co along with our Florist/Stylist, Charlie from Stylised Events were from Australia. Everyone else was referred to and supplied by Manolis from Ktima Lindos. This included the celebrant, DJ, saxophone player, bouzouki player, fire works and lighting. Prior to leaving i did a makeup tutorial in Brisbane and decided i wanted to do my own hair and makeup. I wanted something more natural and practised a couple of times with my bridesmaids. We somehow we managed to pull it off.
HAD YOU BEEN THERE BEFORE?
I had traveled to Greece quite a bit but I had never been to Rhodes. I knew absolutely nothing about it.
DID YOU HAVE A WEDDING PLANNER?
I am an event coordinator and knew I wanted to be my own wedding planner. With the help of Charlie from Stylised Events and Manolis from Ktima Lindos we all worked closely together. I'm a slight perfectionist and don't believe I would have been able to have someone else be my wedding planner.
HOW WAS PLANNING FROM AFAR?
I'm not going to lie, its hard! One of the hardest things was booking a venue from the other side of the world without knowing what the island or venue had to offer. I was booking our wedding based on a couple of photos and just had to cross my fingers. I researched for months after making my decision on Ktima Lindos and was very hands on. There was a lot of correspondence between the suppliers and myself throughout the year of planning.
DID ANYTHING NOT GO TO PLAN/DID THINGS GO WRONG?
Everything went exactly to plan. It was only when the day before the wedding my husband walks in on a meeting with my stylist and myself and announces he has two additional guests attending. Mind you all seating allocations and custom made bonbonnerie were in place. As he wished, we rearranged everything to cater for the new guests and 30 minutes after the ceremony during our photos my husband informs me that they are not able to make it. Seating arrangements quickly changed back to the original before any guests were seated. Oh and towards the end of the night while we were drinking and dancing there was an eathquake on a nearby island. Our venue was shaking but 70% of our guests were too drunk to realise what had happened!
ANYTHING YOU WISH YOU KNEW BEFORE PLANNING A DESTINATION WEDDING?
1. Don't have any expectations- go with the flow!
2. Flowers will die quickly in the heat. So choose the right florals and make sure the venue knows not to place them out too early.
3. Be prepared for loved ones not being able to attend.
YOUR BIGGEST TIP TO OTHERS TRYING TO MAKE THE DECISION?
Do all your research and don't let little hick ups get in the way. Your in another Country enjoy every moment. I would highly recommend having your bridal party carry their wedding attire on flight in case baggage goes missing.
THE MOST CHALLENGING MOMENT:
The most challenging moment was finding out that my husbands parents, both our grandparents, my sister and niece were not able to be there on our wedding day. We Didn't let this affect our plans, instead we decided to have a civil ceremony in Rhodes, followed by a small Orthodox ceremony for our family and close friends who were unable to make it to Greece when we return home.
THE MOST MEMORABLE MOMENT:
The whole experience was full of memorable moments. Seeing the past year of planning come to life on our wedding day and how surreal the venue and location was. One moment that really stands out was on the wedding night I had organised fireworks without my guests or husbands knowledge and as we were cutting the cake the fireworks go off and the look on my husbands and guests faces was priceless. Along with ordering 300kilos of flowers from Amsterdam and having my entire bridal party sit there with me for 5 hours de-thorning, blooming and sorting through them.
THE SCARIEST MOMENT:
To be honest I was never nervous or scared about anything. I have knowledge in the industry and I had great people around me to assist when needed. Anything we needed Manolis or Charlie were able to assist.
THE FUNNIEST MOMENT:
There were so many funny moments. We hired a house for our bridal party and had five days of pre and post wedding celebrations. I wouldn’t be able to pinpoint one moment and we swore what happens on tour stays on tour.
LOOKING BACK WOULD YOU CHANGE ANYTHING?
I have asked my husband this question and we both agreed we wouldn't change a thing. Everything turned out better than we had imagined. I don't think anything could have upset us.
WHERE DID YOU HONEYMOON?
We travelled to Mykonos and Santorini with a group and continued celebrating. From Santorini my husband and I I did our own thing travelling through Kythira, Napflion, Kefalonia, Zakynthos, Rome and Florence. I have family in Kefalonia which my husband got to meet for the first time so that was really special too.
WHERE DID YOU FIND MOST OF YOUR WEDDING INSPIRATION?
My initial wedding inspiration came from a snippet of your wedding video I came across on social media. The location, simplicity and intimacy gave me butterflies. I then continued to get inspiration from The Lane, Pinterest and Instagram.
You can see more of Paulina's Wedding & Greek Travels here
Photo a mix of guest photography and professional shots by Lucas & Co.