Mama Mia style in Zante!
Nicola and Andrew’s vows on a stunning Greek island
When Nicola Campbell and Andrew Smith of Coalbridge, North Lanarkshire in Scotland decided to marry on the stunning Greek island of Zante, they celebrated in true Greek style reminiscent to the hit movie Mama Mia! And whilst embracing the local customs and traditions, they still managed to incorporate some distinctively Scottish touches into their big day in the Greek sunshine.
Finding the one
We met six years ago through a mutual friend whilst on a camping trip, where it rained torrentially for the entire time. We were all completely wrapped up so I couldn’t even see Andrew’s face! We spent the full night talking and laughing and I think I fell in love with him a little that evening without even seeing what he looked like! We started seeing each other a month later and we had moved in together within four months.
We had been on a short caravan holiday at Turnberry Caravan Park. The sun was starting to set, and the sky was orange and absolutely breathtaking when he asked me if I wanted to go a drive and watch the sun set. We drove to Dunure Castle and found a place to sit on rocks by the sea. We took pictures of the sunset and snuggled up for a while. Next thing I knew Andy got down on his knee with a ring in his hand and asked to marry me. I was in complete shock, but I soon came to my senses and said: “Yes!” Then he brought a bottle of Champagne out of the boot of the car and we sat watching the last bit of the sunset with a Champagne toast. It was completely perfect. A year previously I showed him a picture of my dream engagement ring. He had got his friend from Harkness Premier Jewellers to make it for me. I had no idea he could keep such a huge secret and give me the best surprise of my life!
We had attended quite a few wedding prior to our engagement and both agreed that we hated the formal feeling to it all. This made us decide on a more relaxed and much less formal wedding for ourselves. The weather was another important factor. Also, very importantly, we wanted our guests to enjoy themselves fully. We decided that Greece would be ideal for this, as it was close enough for guests to be able to attend. We wanted a private location, which was child friendly (we had seven children under 7 attending) and didn’t want sunbathers in the background, so we spoke to our wedding planner, Lisa Burton from The Bridal Consultant, and explained exactly what we were looking for. She then came back to us with quite a few options, but the one we chose stood out significantly was a private island in Zante called Cameo Island, which is just like the island in Mama Mia! I cannot begin to describe how beautiful this place is. I could search the world and not find anywhere more perfect than this little island that time forgot.
We booked our wedding through The Bridal Consultant and they organised absolutely everything for us. They used a company in Zante called Tsilivi Travel to arrange the details for us over there. They were so professional, and they organised all the legal paperwork for us as well as the wedding. The Bridal Consultant made our dreams become a reality with minimum effort from us, we simply booked our holiday through Thomson and the only thing for us to organise was our clothes. We also took extra favours for our guests even though sugar almond favours were included in our package.
Altogether there were 34 of us in our wedding party who travelled to Zante – seven stayed at one hotel and the rest of us stayed at another. All of our guests booked individually and arrived within 24 hours of each other. We were all in the town of Tsilivi and the hotels were within walking distance from each other. We didn’t give out invitations as such for the actual wedding as we didn’t want to put pressure on anyone to come, so we basically told everyone the dates and place, and made it an open invitation to everyone. With the exception of just a few we had all of our closest friends and relatives with us, so it made it extra special that so many people had made an effort to come. Most guests turned the trip into their summer holiday.
Getting the look
My wedding dress was from a little boutique called Ivory Pinks. I probably tried on 50 dresses before I picked ‘the one’! I ended up choosing one that I had tried on near the start – every other dress I tried I found myself comparing it to that one. The only issue was that it was absolutely huge – not what I expected to choose for a wedding abroad. I went to my travel company and made sure I could actually get the dress abroad, and thankfully there was no problem. Looking back, I am so glad I chose that dress and was not put off by the size. My wedding jewellery turned out to be a last minute choice, as on the morning of the wedding my bridesmaid brought me a gift from Andy – tiny diamond earrings and the most stunning diamond necklace, which he had made especially for me by his friend in Harkness Premier Jewellers.
My brother’s fiancée (Nicole Dutreuilh) is a professional make-up artist and hairdresser and has worked with many celebrities – including Peter Kay and Rebecca Ferguson. I don’t think I could have been luckier than to have her in our wedding party to do my hair and makeup. We had hired a separate hair and make-up artist to come in and do the bridesmaids and few of the guests so that Nicole had the full day to pamper me.
Something Old, Something New
Something Old were my flip flops. My dress was very long so you couldn’t see my feet. I decided I wanted to be comfortable that day so I chose to wear an old pair of flip flops, which was a great decision as we were on the beach for photos. Something New was my dress.
My Something Borrowed was a little charm that I borrowed from my little boy, Campbell. There is a bit of a story behind that. When he was 12-weeks-old we went on holiday to Turkey. One evening an old Turkish man came over and clipped a little ‘blue eye’ charm onto his pram. He told us that this would protect him against “The Evil Eye”. I clipped this into the underskirts of my dress and wore it for my wedding. My Something Blue was the little bow stitched onto my garter.
Groom and bridesmaids
As we are Scottish the Groom, Best Man and Pageboy (my son) wore a traditional Scottish kilt with a modern twist in a beige colour material with the tartan imprinted on it. We chose not to have them wearing jackets as it was too warm so they just had waistcoats on.
For the bridesmaids I wanted floaty dresses, so I chose long dresses made of chiffon with each of the bridesmaids in a different colour – a pale dusky pink for my sister Jodie, my chief bridesmaid; a nude colour for my other sister Cheryl and pale lilac for my bridesmaid Stacy.
We didn’t choose a particular theme for our wedding but had everything in light summer colours. The attention to detail was amazing and the tables were absolutely stunning. For our flowers we opted for a mix of local blooms, using the colours of the bridesmaid dresses. For our cake we chose to have one tier chocolate, one vanilla and one mixed then covered in soft pink icing with white piping on it in the shape of little flowers – it tasted delicious!
The ceremony took place at 6pm on a small, lush island near Lagunas in Zante, called Cameo Island, which is very rustic and overgrown. We paid for the private hire of the island so nobody else would be on it. There is an old wooden bridge, around 400 yards long, which crosses the sea to the island. You then need to climb old stone stairs to the top and back down again at the other side to take you to the beach where the ceremony takes place. As I walked down the aisle with my dad, my brother played the guitar and sang Christina Perri – A thousand Years. An arch full of flowers had been set up just in front of the beach. The noise of the sea in the background during the ceremony was beautiful.
The ceremony itself was conducted by the mayor of Tsilivi in Greek, and then translated by our wedding coordinator into English. It was a very short ceremony, probably no more than 10-minutes in total. After the service we had a Champagne toast for our guests, with music playing in the background. We mingled with everyone for a while then we went to the top of the island for photographs. The whole thing was like a huge fairy-tale.
The reception was held in a beachfront tavern back in the town of Tsilivi, which we had hired out privately for sole use of our wedding party. The guests were driven back here on the bus while Andy and I were driven in our wedding car. Once we got close to the venue we transferred into a horse and carriage for one of the most fun parts of the day. We followed the Greek tradition of driving through the town in our horse and cart with our wedding car in front beeping its horn. The town’s people all came out of their houses and restaurants to wave to us. It was amazing to see so many people line the streets and it felt like we were actually famous. When we arrived the guests were gathered outside waiting on us. As we drove round the corner the old song “She’ll be coming round the mountain” was playing loud and everyone clapped and cheered! Then we joined our guests on the pier and everyone was given a pink release balloon, after a short countdown everyone released their balloons and we watched as they soared above us into the sky. After this we moved inside for the meal, which was a BBQ buffet – with every type of meat available, plus Greek salads and pasta. The room had been decorated for us and was stunning – each table had candles and gems scattered, watering cans full of flowers, seat covers with matching ribbons, little woven hearts hanging on the walls. I couldn’t possibly have done it any nicer myself!
The music of love
After dinner we had hired Greek dancers to get everyone in the mood to dance. They danced first and then started getting people up – and by the end every single person was on their feet dancing and having an absolute blast, and everyone stayed on the dance floor for the rest of the night. Our First Dance was the John Legend song – ‘All Of Me’. Our second song was “I Want To Spend My Life With You’ from a Scottish band called the Proclaimers – I don’t think the Greek staff were quite prepared for 34 Scottish people singing at the top of their voices! At the end of the night we had a firework display. After the fireworks we did our traditional Scottish ‘Auld Lang Syne’ to end the evening.
We had a photographer included in our wedding package, he and his colleague captured so many magical moments and made everyone feel at ease. We also had a DVD included in the package.
My best memory was definitely the horse and carriage ride. I laughed so hard it hurt and it was one of the rare times that day that Andy and I got to spend on our own. My funniest memory was when Andy and his Best Man decided to get the photographer to take a picture of them pulling their kilts up. Scottish tradition says that to be a real Scotsman you cannot wear anything under your kilt. Anyway, lets just say I wish there was another photographer there to take a picture of the photographers face! Everyone was laughing and it’s safe to say that picture did not make its way into my album.
The whole wedding cost us around £15,000 and then probably another £3000 for the party back home. We planned on spending around this much so it was on budget. And it was definitely a lot cheaper than a wedding in the UK!
Our guests that came to Zante for the wedding stayed for one week and then they travelled home and left us to have the second week as our honeymoon. Even my little boy went home which was hard at first but it gave us time to relax.
WEDDING PLANNER UK
Lisa Burton The Bridal Consultant
WEDDING PLANNER ZANTE
Cameo Island for the ceremony
Terrazzo Beach, Part of the Alexander Beach Hotel for the reception.
Lukas Agelasto of Story Studios.