Once we had the blessings from our nearest and dearest to get married abroad, the search for the perfect wedding venue became more complicated.
We had to consider the proximity of venues to airports, the availability of direct budget flights to England, the range of guest accommodation near the venue, and whether the location was sufficiently stunning enough for family and friends to pay to have a holiday there.
And while rain had been the concern when contemplating an English wedding, heat was the new consideration for planning a wedding abroad.
Despite feeling somewhat overwhelmed with the task, we knew we were mega fortunate. We had the freedom to choose a location anywhere in Europe; we could compare prices between different countries and choose the place that made our savings go furthest; and the internet would allow us to organise everything from the opposite side of the world. What’s more, we loved looking at maps and photos of other countries. The research would be fun!
Like a crazy, commission-driven sales team, we dissected Europe into sections, focusing mainly on coastal areas in the south.
A typical research session included phrases like this:
“I’m on beach resorts in Portugal.”
“I’ve got hotels around the Black Sea down to three.”
“This Spanish villa is like a rock star’s!”
“Forget the French Riviera. It’s too expensive.”
Over multiple hours and multiple weeks, our favourites were short-listed, prices compared, reviews trailed through, flight schedules cross-referenced, and images drooled over until the wedding-research stars all aligned and our venue revealed itself: a six-bedroom luxury villa on the island of Crete in Greece.
And so we didn’t choose to marry in Greece because we knew people there, because we spoke Greek, or because we had some kind of special connection with the country, as some people thought.
We got married in Greece because the venue and its location met all of our criteria:
- Gorgeous and unique
- Within an hour’s transfer from an airport with direct budget flights to the north and south of England
- Wedding license to marry on the premises
- Permission to stock own alcohol for the wedding at the villa
- Extra rooms to offer guests
- Swimming pool
- Near a family-orientated small town with heaps of accommodation, bars, restaurants, tourist activities
- VALUE FOR MONEY. (We could have a superstar villa for ONE WHOLE WEEK at a similar price to what some venues in England quoted for ONE DAY.)
What’s more, Crete was almost as far south as we could go in Europe (only the Canary Islands are further south) with summer weather often extending into October. This meant we could get married on October 1st, pay the low season rental price and still have a decent chance of sunshine.
And of course, it also helped that Greece has a reputation for being a lively and hospitable country. What could be more exciting than the idea of a Big Fat Greek wedding?