So, you’ve dreamed about your gorgeous Greek wedding, the glorious sunsets, your spectacular gown, and all the fine dancing and food. But, what can you do to actually make it come true? Especially during these tough economic times, it is easy to give up on the idea and just day-dream about it. However, with a little bit of think-ahead, research, and some tips from the experts, you can make your dream a reality. This last segment of “Your Dream Wedding: a la Greque” will plug in the details to make it happen.
As we stressed before, you cannot do enough planning for a destination wedding. It is the planning for the wedding party that you can cut costs. By really thinking through your list and inviting those close enough and worthy enough to take part in your sacred event, you will probably eliminate 70% of those who don’t deserve to be there anyway.
If you have your dedicated bridal party commit to traveling together for the event, you can probably get a group discount on air and hotel tickets. Greek travel agencies such as Homeric have a 30% discount policy for special occasions such as funerals, weddings, and feasts. If you book your reception at the same hotel your party will be getting accommodations, you could even haggle down them down to what amounts to an all-inclusive deal.
If you make a reasonable budget, then you can work around it once you get some quotes. By keeping a log of expenses, you can then work to prioritize to separate non-essentials from requirements. What is more important for you–the decor or the food, the hotel or the gown?
TIPS FOR KEEPING COSTS LOW(ER)
*Book it on the Off-Season. Schedule your wedding in the off-season (after September 15th or before June 1st). For Greece, weather is not a problem. In fact, a September or October wedding will be more comfortable temperature-wise, less touristy, but with the same amount of sun and fun. Greece’s temperate climate is ideal even for winter weddings.
*Elope! Wedding planner Stella Moscha has noted this is a growing trend. Instead of a couple dishing out a fortune on dinner arrangements and favors for estranged family members or familiar strangers (who will only talk bad about them anyway), they choose to create a personal, intimate ceremony just for the two of them.
*Choose a less pricey island. While Santorini, Corfu, or Mykonos might be the top three destinations for an island wedding, there are equally picturesque islands to tie the knot without breaking the bank. Some of the surrounding Cycladic islands such as Naxos, Ios, Poros, Paros or Syfnos make just as beautiful a backdrop. Although some of these lack in choice for flowers, decorations, and food, they make up for in simple traditional fare (fished and grilled) and locally available flora (olive branches, wild flowers and fragrant herb bunches, even bouganveillia bouquets, and seashell ornaments.)
*Shop around and haggle. If you are going to do it yourself without contracting the services of a wedding planner, it is worth the effort to shop around and get a quote from a few vendors. (If you can speak Greek or get someone who speaks Greek to make arrangements for you even better as the native language advantage helps to keep quotes reasonable and not necessarily inflated when vendors hear a foreign accent.) Don’t be afraid to set your own price for services and stand firm within your budget. Greeks can be haggled down.
*Save on the VAT. As a non-EU resident, you are eligible to have what you paid in VAT taxes refunded before heading back home. Make sure to keep all receipts, invoices, and stubs. Contact the EU-VAT tax exempt office (there is usually an office in the airport), fill out a tax-returnable form and submit your materials to the tax department. Although it might take several weeks to get your refund, it will be worth it as the exchange rate is favorable on the Euro to dollar conversion.
*DIY favors. You can cut down on costs by making your own wedding favors (some of which you can purchase stateside and carry or ship over.) With a bit of imagination, you can come up with very tasteful, classy and functional favors. The traditional Greek favor is a tulle satchet of sugar-coated white Jordanian almonds. But you can expand on the tradition by including your own assortment of Greek food stuffs. (Some suggestions include, thyme-flavored wild-flower honey, homemade marmalade, Greek cookies, hand-made soaps, sweets and candy, ceramics and silver objects, such as blue-eye talisman, key chains, objects d’arte.)
LIST OF LINKS
Here is a list of links to explore more options.