Morning beauties, and welcome to another gorgeous week on the blog. Today is the perfect day to share this magical destination wedding with you as cold October creeps in (Happy 1st of October BTW!). Close your eyes and imagine this – blue seas, white sands, warm air, rustic organic farm and vineyard, twinkling lights, dusky pastel florals, cutesy chapel ceremony….all sounds perfect right!? Well, that kind of gives you the right feels for today’s Greek destination wedding, captured by the beautifully talented Paulina Weddings.
Today’s couple, Zoe and Yanni, decided to marry on the Greek island of Crete as that’s where the gorgeous groom is from. They found the most stunning venue, Agreco Farm, in Rethymno to host their budget, DIY, destination wedding. The couple planned their entire wedding all the way from Cambodia without even visiting the venue before booking. In fact, the first time that they actually saw the venue in person was just one week prior to their wedding!
We planned a wedding without seeing the venue, meeting the vendors, trying the food, or even having many of the small things prepared. I’m happy we didn’t hire a wedding planner and let it all happen organically as so many of our friends and family got involved in helping with preparations. Things have a way of coming together beautifully, and this is proof of that!
This wedding is decorated to perfection; full of charming natural beauty and organic elements, and the bride and her squad did the most incredible job of matching up the DIY décor to compliment the setting. The reception area overflows with flowers, twinkling lights, earthy foliage, pastel oranges and pinks and a whole heap of handmade touches.
Our advice is – if you are thinking of a destination wedding, just do it! Don’t worry or overthink it, as this couple totally prove that you don’t need to sweat the small stuff when it comes to wedding planning. If you find the right team of vendors, you can put your trust in them to create your vision. If your dream is to escape to an island paradise, and if it feels right to you, just go for it. Bride Zoe wouldn’t have had it any other way on her big day. Here she is to tell you all about her chic, rustic, destination wedding….
Romantic Proposal Under the Starry Sky
We went to New Zealand for Christmas of 2016 and rented a camper van to drive all around the South Island. I had been once before but it was Yanni’s first time. I guess I had been madly gushing about how incredible the country is, especially the views of the stars, so Yanni had secretly been planning to propose under the starry, midnight sky. We were in Lake Wanaka, camping at a small, local winery which let us park in exchange for purchasing some of their wine (hard bargain!). We set an alarm that night around 3am and woke up to the entire galaxy above our heads! We got out of the van, set up some chairs, and stared into the sky while I fiddled with my camera trying to google how to take long exposure photos of stars. He popped the question mid photo – so I literally have a picture of the sky at the exact minute he proposed! I think I blacked out with excitement because next thing I know I was wearing the ring!
Natural Beauty at Organic Farm and Vineyard Venue
We were married at Agreco Farm in Rethymno on the Greek island of Crete. Yanni grew up in Athens but spent many summers in Crete as a child with his father’s family. His fond memories combined with our love for adventure, wine, and delicious food made it the perfect choice! We were looking for a beautiful rustic setting on either the sea or a vineyard; somewhere that didn’t need too much more than it’s natural beauty. We fell in love with Agreco Farm online, never having visited it until the week before our wedding…and let me tell you, the photos don’t even do it justice!!! Agreco Farm was the most gorgeous location (an awarded organic farm and vineyard on top of the hills overlooking the sea…) that far surpassed our expectations. This place is beyond dreamy and was such a stunning place to get married!
Inspired by Flowers!
I LOVE flowers. My whole vision for the wedding was for it to be overflowing with flowers. I liked the idea of there being an element of DIY and some details here and there, but for the main element of decor to just be flowers. Planning a wedding on a Greek island from Cambodia wasn’t the easiest, so we did have to put a lot of trust in our vendors to get things the way we wanted without being there! I sent a lot of photos, had a lot of skype sessions, and we were so happy with the results from Manfler Zempili.
Garland Draped Trestle Tables, Polaroid Photos and Hanging Ribbons
The venue was already so stunning without any of our touches! The church, dining area and the dance floor was all in the same small space, overlooking the vineyards and the sea. We set up a photo booth area with a few polaroid cameras and a display for people to clip their photos after taking their names from the seating chart. These photos are such great memories to look back on! The wedding favours were displayed in a vintage suitcase that we found at a local shop. I did all the stationery and name cards myself and the tables were covered with running garlands of flowers. Our head table faced the others and behind us was a gorgeous backdrop of hanging ribbons, twinkling lights, and flowers.
All of the stationery was made by me! My background is in visual arts so I was determined to design as much of the day as I could! I made our invites and menus and had them printed on some beautiful paper handmade locally in Cambodia. I also did the calligraphy for guests names, table numbers, escort cards, etc. I went a little overboard hand-tearing paper and writing everyone’s names for table settings and escort cards days before our wedding. It was a wonderful little project and I discovered that calligraphy is a new artistic passion of mine!
Sweet Chapel Ceremony Officiated by Best Friend
Our ceremony was very sweet. My husband and I each had both of our parents walk us down the aisle which was so special! My best friend also officiated our wedding. Knowing me for a decade and being just as much in love with my husband as I am, it was every bit as perfect as we could’ve imagined! He added in the perfect amount of wit, charm, and sentiment and there wasn’t a dry eye in the house! We each read our own vows and a friend did a beautiful reading. It took place in front of a little pink chapel at Agreco and we stood under a beautiful garland of flowers.
Online Wedding Dress Purchase from Made with Love
I chose to wear Willow from Made with Love Bridal. I wasn’t able to go dress shopping as I lived in Cambodia at the time, so I just had to rely on the internet and recommendations! A friend of mine was getting married and recommended Made with Love, and it was incredibly easy to shop their store online. It was perfect! I also bought another simple white dress online from Vici Collection that was lighter and easier to dance in so I could boogie the night away!
Yanni wore a custom suit by a randomly chosen street tailor in Bangkok with sweet custom made shoes from a local shoemaker in Siem Reap and the Tropicana floral tie from Neck & Tie Co found on Etsy.
Sasha Glasser, my childhood best friend and one of my bridesmaids who is a special fx makeup artist. She was sad to not turn me into a monster (literally she sculpts and airbrushes people into monsters in her everyday job) but did an incredible job doing beauty!
Multi Coloured and Mixed Style Bridesmaid Dresses
I let my bridesmaids wear whatever they wanted – I asked for light muted colours like pink, purple, or green, and for some to be floral. If someone found a dress they loved we just looked at photographs of each one next to the other to make sure they matched enough. The dresses were from ASOS, Vici Collection and Lulu’s. I also had one ‘bridesman’ and I just had him wear a white shirt and grey pants with a flowery bow tie. Yanni’s sisters were ‘groomsmaids’ and they wore dresses with tones to match both the girls and the boys. We loved mixing things up!
Stylist with Décor Props from California
One of my bridesmaids is a wedding event stylist (And Everything Nice Events) and planner and she did all of the table settings and set-up stunningly, even adding her own touches of candles and tea lights and other various décor that she brought over from California. She is an absolute dream! We wouldn’t have been able to handle it all without her. She also kept the entire event running smoothly, organising every aspect of the evening. There were so many things that would have gone wrong without her and I can now look back on a perfect wedding thanks to her expertise.
Louis Armstrong- When You’re Smiling. We love Louis Armstrong and this song just makes us both happy!
Beautiful Photography and Old School Anthems
Our photographer, Paulina from Paulina Weddings, was amazing! She was so kind and went above and beyond to help us with planning and recommending vendors as she knew the area better than us! She was warm, approachable, and easy to work with. The way she captures light and airiness in her photos is just perfection. Our pictures turned out to be incredible and I have already recommended her to many others!
We hired a local dj who played lots of old school songs for us! I wasn’t interested in anything current and wanted everyone to know the music being played. The evening started with a lot of songs from the 20’s-40’s era and progressed through the years as the night went on. There were lots of 90’s and 00’s jams at the end of the night too.
Our first look was so special. We both felt like everything inside of us exploded with happiness when we saw each other! That feeling of giddiness and excitement was just the beginning of the most incredible day.
Don’t fixate on the small things! We planned a wedding without seeing the venue, meeting the vendors, trying the food, or even having many of the small things prepared. I’m happy we didn’t hire a wedding planner and let it all happen organically as so many of our friends and family got involved in helping with preparations. Things have a way of coming together beautifully, and this is proof of that! Don’t be afraid to do things yourself – I discovered my passion for calligraphy in wanting to learn how to do it for our wedding! The most important thing for us was to just spend a magical day with our favourite people. Since it was a destination wedding we knew we wanted it to be intimate and memorable for us and all those attending. We were aware that everyone had to travel quite far to join us for our special day, so we really wanted to make it worthwhile. We made sure to plan lots of activities for all who made the trip to Crete, spending time with everyone in both the days leading up to and following the wedding. We had delicious dinners, cocktail nights, and even a boozy brunch on a pirate ship we chartered the morning after for mimosas!! It was all perfection.
The Line Up
Photographer: Paulina Weddings
Venue: Agreco Farm
Stylist: And Everything Nice Events
Bride’s Dress: Made with Love Bridal | Vici Collection
Groom’s Tie: Neck & Tie Co
Bridesmaid’s Dresses: ASOS | Vici Collection | Lulu’s
Hair and Make Up: Sasha Glasser
Florist: Manfler Zempili
DJ: Wedding DJs Crete