Barefoot in Greece
It’s not just English brides and grooms who are choosing to marry abroad in some of the world’s most gorgeous locations, so when Italian couple Giulia Formichetti and Giovanni Matellon who live in north-east Italy met and fell in love whilst working on the Greek island of Rhodes, it seemed only fitting that they should return to the island with their friends and family for a barefoot wedding on the island’s magnificent sandy beach.
FINDING ‘THE ONE’
We met in Rhodes in Greece at the beginning of the summer season in 2009. We were the new members of animation team in a 4-star hotel. It was definitely love at first for me, but not so much for Giovanni – I was the one wooed him!
It was just a normal day in a week. I was preparing dinner at home, cutting courgettes with a big knife when he came in the kitchen with a small, unmistakable packet. He came over to me, showed me the ring and said something strange – “Back to Rhodes or nothing!” It was absolutely unexpected as we always said we will never be married, and we “do not need” a wedding to prove our love, and things like that, so it was a lovely surprise. First of all I loved the way he proposed and surprised me, in a very easy simple way, without get down on one knee, in a normal unexpected night. When I realised he’d proposed I was exhilarated – I totally couldn’t imagine it!
We always dreamt of bringing all our family out to Rhodes, to show them the island, the sea and the place where we meet, so we took the opportunity for our wedding.
We started to plan our wedding a year before the event, and thanks to “WeddingsRhodes” wedding coordinators and planners, especially Margarita, we made our dreams come true. When its time to organize your wedding you realise there are so many things to think about, and some of them are not even in your language, for example documents, bureaucracy or how to reserve a ceremony venue. When you use the services of a wedding planner to organize every single aspect of your wedding, with attention to all the details, it offers a solution for all tastes. Moreover they have contact with many suppliers and they know about the logistics and they can suggest your best solution. We used a tour operator to book our stay, which is the best solution when you are organising a holiday for 21 people. Everyone was very helpful, especially the Greek people, who were so nice and helpful with their hospitality and kindness.
We had 36 guests at the wedding, 21 family members and the rest were friends. My family stayed in an all-inclusive hotel. Our friends booked a villa all together and some already live in Rhodes. We invited our guests one year before, to give them plenty of time to organise with work, summer and holidays. Not everybody could make it, but the most important people for us were there!
Getting the look
First of all I have to tell you the truth, I am not the usual type of bride, I never dreamt about my dress and the first time I came into a bridal shop I had a nervous breakdown crying in front of my sisters! When I realised that I was not that kind of bride I decided to make my own tailored suit and in the end it was perfect, wonderful and just the right shape for my figure for that special day! A friend of mine is a great designer with a lot of patience and good advice; she made me feel beautiful, comfortable and unique. My accessories were simple and elegant –two white pearls as earring and a diamond necklace. My hair was styled by a Greek hairdresser, recommended by local people and make-up was done by one of my friends who is a professional bridal make-up artist.
Something old, something new?
Something old: necklace, from my mama’s wedding! Something new: my lingerie J; Something borrowed: earrings from my twin sister; Something blue: I had the beautiful sea as my backdrop.
I had a wonderful bouquet with soft pink roses, and our cake was apparently a disaster! It’s funny to remember the caterer’s mistake but thankfully it tasted delicious, which is the most important thing!
We had our unforgettable ceremony in one of the most beautiful beaches in Rhodes. It was quite a short service – just 20 minutes, and we were married by the Mayor of Lindos. After the ceremony we hired a bus to take us all to the reception venue, which was definitely the best solution.
We booked a table for 36 people in our favourite Greek tavern, Ristorante Palestra, which is located in Lindos bay on the beach. We had our dinner with an amazing full moon and had a wonderful view of the Lindos Acropolis.
We organized an aperitif with Mojito cocktails, Prosecco and soft drinks with a little fried shrimp. Our guests appreciated this aperitif, during our wedding photo shoot. When it was time to sit we shared dinner like the Greek locals with all the food in the middle of the table. We ate traditional Greek food with fresh fish washed down with good wine. The decoration of the tables was crisp and simple with flowers, given to me as present from my lovely wedding planner! We did our First Dance to Elvis Presley ‘Can’t Help Falling in Love’.
One of my favourite memories about that day was having the photographs taken. Margarita, our wedding planner, works with an extremely professional team! The wedding photographers, Savvas Argirou and Vicky, took moments; smiles and emotions discretely with attention to detail and the results were wonderful. Vicky had a great empathy. She made us comfortable and took great pictures! We had 400 pictures in all and printed 100 pictures. They offer you any service you prefer. My favourite wedding photo is the one where I kiss Giovanni in Lindos Bay, with the Acropolis on top and white houses around. In that picture Giovanni’s smile is fabulous and the landscape reminded us of our beautiful island with one of the best views ever.
My best memory was arriving with my parents down on the beach. The only disaster on the day was the cake, but as I said before, it tasted delicious!
The whole wedding cost around 15000 euros. That was right on budget – and sincerely less that what we initially thought!
A few days after wedding we moved in Santorini by boat. But the real honeymoon will be in March – destination Australia!
The wedding venue
Private beach of Lindos Memories Hotel, Lindos.
Restaurant venue :
Ristorante Palestra, Lindos bay, Lindos.
Margarita Kasfiki, Weddings Rhodes., weddingsrhodes.com
Tell us about your wedding
Did you marry abroad? Whether you said “I do” on a palm fringed sandy beach or in a French Chateau, or even in an Icelandic winter wonderland with the Aurora Borealis dancing in the skies above, we would love to hear from you, and feature your wedding on our website .
“I loved every moment of the day, but the best moments were the fireworks after the first dance – we had kept this a secret from everyone, and played Klondike ‘Jubel’ throughout the display, it was just so special!”
Need help planning your wedding?
Brides Abroad, in conjunction with Brilliant Honeymoons can help you every step of the way, from finding the venue, arranging the details and helping with the paperwork to organising the flights, accommodation and transfers for you and your wedding party.