Although I can’t take you on an actual holiday this Saturday morning, you can easily de-stress and unwind while looking at Julie and Dave’s Mediterranean wedding day, which was held on the 19th of May 2016.
As a compromise between Dave’s more traditional ways and Julie’s modern views, they decided to have a destination wedding that would feel more like a relaxing and fun holiday for them and their close family and friends. So, off they went to the Greek island of Mykonos for five days of sunshine, ocean views and of course, a mighty big celebration.
My favourite aspect of their day was the way they extended the revelry by having cocktails with their guests before the ‘I-dos’. Not only would this have been exciting, but then they all walked to the sunset-soaked ceremony location (a picturesque lighthouse, no less) together as a group. Love this idea!
THE PROPOSAL | Traditionalist Dave wanted the proposal to have meaningful significance and settled on Boston as the ideal destination. We’re American and had lived there prior to London. It is where we first became a couple and had made most of our adulthood friends. During our visit, the plan was to get Julie to walk together through Boston Common where we first met in a running club, and propose there while a willing accomplice grabbed some paparazzi shots from behind nearby trees. Only minutes before Dave dropped to one knee, it almost hit a snag when some strangers chatted up the secret photographer. But all ended well with Julie saying “Yes!” After such a big occasion, the natural next thing to do was have an ice cream to celebrate (Coffee Oreo to be exact). Serendipitously, along the way we passed a couple taking wedding photos and the song “Dear Future Husband” was playing at the ice cream shop when we arrived (not part of the plan despite how much Dave wishes he could claim credit!). The final touch was a surprise gathering of some of our closest friends for a celebratory drink at Top of the Hub, overlooking the city.
THE VISION | Although Dave pines for tradition, Julie, on the other hand, runs away from anything that falls under the heading of: “because that’s the way it’s supposed to be done” – wedding included. So after much debate, we agreed on an intimate, relaxed destination wedding that was meant to feel more like a vacation for all rather than a wedding. We’d both wanted to go to Greece and thought, “Well this is as good a time as any!” So we hosted 30 close friends and family members in Mykonos for 5 days; it was incredible and touching to watch people from different parts of our lives and different parts of the world bond and relax together during that week.
THE PLANNING PROCESS | Julie’s good friend Siobhan had gotten married the year before and within 5 minutes of our engagement announcement, Julie had Excel templates and Pins in her inbox from her, ready to go! We’re both natural planners, so between Excel, Pinterest, and the Moleskine Wedding Planner, Julie was invincible! However, her ambitions were quickly tempered when she realised that she’d need to adjust her type-A tendencies to island time. The Greeks weren’t exactly on board with planning every detail 10 months in advance. We quickly adapted to doing everything we could do, then letting many of the day-of details ride until the last minute.
BUDGET | Since we wanted this to be an experience and gift to our loved ones, we spent a majority of our budget on villas for our guests for the week. Seeing their reaction and gratitude to the beautiful accommodations was just what we were hoping for – it was wonderful! Our spending on everything else was quite disciplined; it was a major DIY affair. Our friends are unbelievably talented, and they pitched in with the flowers, handmade decorations, and music. It was such a fun chance to show off everyone’s secret skills.
THE VENUE | The venue(s!) are places that we still dream about and cannot wait to revisit – hopefully sometime soon and one day with our future kiddos. We started with G&Ts in the breathtaking Villa Melmastia. Consuming celebratory drinks before the ceremony was a stretch for live-by-the-rules-Dave ;) but Julie insisted. Then, the crowd informally proceeded on foot to Armenistis lighthouse, our favourite spot on the island; this is where we had the ceremony and watched the sunset together. Finally, everyone caravanned to the dinner and dance party at Zinas Villas.
THE DRESS & ACCESSORIES | Even though Julie loves shopping almost as much as coffee and chocolate, she could not wrap her head around paying four digits for a dress that she would (presumably!) wear once. To get around this – and because she likes to be different – she had dreamed up wearing a non-white dress that would be reusable. Brilliant! But Dave the traditionalist had visions of white on the special day, so she complied and found a beautiful and simple white(!) wedding dress that had been “gently used.” It was the perfect compromise.
As for jewellery, she found the perfect pearl earrings online but realised that the link was out of date and they were no longer made. In an amazing twist of fate, it happened that a friend owned the same pair and was thrilled to share them. Also, she wore an heirloom gold bangle; there were plenty of something-borroweds that day! Lastly, the Grecian blue shoes were from J. Crew. She was torn if they were special enough, but they felt casual and natural.
FINDING THE DRESS | Dress shopping was one of the most fun and special weekends in Julie’s life. Siobhan (who once again was ready for the engagement) had insisted on a dress-shopping weekend somewhere between the friends’ two homes of Santa Monica and London. After a several-week debate of where to meet, Nashville kept popping up. After many hours of Instagram stalking, the shopping targets were The Dress Theory and its sister store for consigned dresses, LVD Bridal. For someone who originally had no interest in white dreamy dresses, Julie quickly adjusted. She loved every single dress in both boutiques, and the specialists were incredible; they know how to make a girl feel like the most beautiful person in the world. Another friend who was pregnant and wouldn’t make it to the wedding joined too. It was a perfect weekend of shopping, incredible food, and time by the pool.
GROOM’S ATTIRE | A custom-made navy blue suit from Cad & the Dandy was Dave’s Christmas present, and a close friend (same as the earring-provider – she was full of goodies!) bought Dave the perfect Grecian blue and white striped tie from designer Paul Smith.
THE READINGS & MUSIC | Julie’s former boss-turned-friend Annmarie read an excerpt from Captain Corelli’s Mandolin. There was no plan for music at the outdoor ceremony; but while everyone was waiting for the ceremony to begin, Julie’s theatrical friend Emily (who also DJ’d the dance party) started an impromptu sing-along of “Be Our Guest” from Beauty & the Beast – Julie’s childhood favourite movie. It couldn’t have been more perfect; she was still doubled over laughing when the ceremony started.
BEAUTIFUL BRIDESMAIDS | The guest list was so small that there were no bridesmaids; essentially all the females in attendance would’ve been in the bridal party. It’s a complete coincidence that everyone matches perfectly in every shade of blue!
THE FLOWERS | Sorry to disappoint but no formal flower appointments either! For the months preceding the wedding, we’d been saving clay La Fermière yogurt pots and brought them to Mykonos with us. The day before the wedding we found a local nursery and bought succulents and cacti and potted them in the pots and then scattered them around the reception site. There was also no bouquet plan, but our mutual friend Jess (who was also the officiant) insisted on a bouquet and just so happens that she worked in a florist shop during university. Voilà… talented friend to the rescue again!
THE CAKE | Julie met the unbelievably talented Beth at a yoga retreat the year before the engagement. After a week of incredible eating, she took her information just in case… Beth and her husband Zaid were really the stars of the week! They cooked one meal a day for the group to bond, including an out-of-this-world Mediterranean spread for the wedding meal and the cake. Non-conformist Julie didn’t want a cake but acquiesced when Dave agreed to an Oreo cake. But don’t try this at home (in the UK); four different friends all brought Oreos from the US to make sure that we had the authentic version, and it was so worth it. As for the outside… Dave has never let go of his childhood love for dinosaurs, so the T-Rex topper was a surprise to him when he saw the cake for the first time.
YOUR PHOTOGRAPHER | Anna Pumer of Anna Pumer Photography was a dream come true! We were apprehensive about having a photographer because we didn’t want anything to feel staged or unnatural. In addition, we went back and forth on a videographer. Julie had visions of watching the wedding video each anniversary, but this idea added to the apprehension. However, Anna suggested Leanne Perrins of Blooming Lovely Films, as they had previously worked together, had great chemistry, and swore that neither would feel intrusive. And she was right! Both slipped right into our set of friends, and we really just wanted to hang out with them all week! Everyone kept commenting about how much fun they were having; it made us so happy that everyone was relaxed and having a great time.
THE DETAILS & DÉCOR | Just like the flowers, the decor was somewhat ad hoc and just trusted that it would all come together, since we had such a gorgeous backdrop. Along with the succulents, we’d bought fairy lights from Amazon, and that was pretty much it. The most amazing part is that we left our friends to do most of the decorating while we were getting ready. Dave’s friends put themselves in charge of moving furniture, and Julie’s friends arranged all the plants, set up the impromptu bar, etc.
THE HONEYMOON | We haven’t gone on one yet (although there’s not much to complain about; we take full advantage of living in Europe, so long weekend trips to amazing places abound!). But as soon as Julie’s done with grad school, we are taking a serious holiday.
MEMORABLE MOMENTS | The absolute best part of the entire week was the ceremony. Every single thing was perfection. Miraculously, it stayed warm through sunset, was not windy on the cliff that evening, and all the little things that weren’t exactly on plan flowed into an effortless, gorgeous sequence of events. An important reason for this was our mutual friend Jess who officiated. She is just so dear to both of us and one of the few people who is equal part friend to both Dave and Julie (she and Dave were co-captains of the running club where we met). Throughout the whole ceremony we were laughing and crying, as she told her version of our love story; and she even found a flawless way to make it interactive with the guests who were huddled around us. She is an incredible human being and shared so much of herself with us during those 20 minutes and throughout the whole week.
Some of our favourite candid moments were watching the inflexible guys participate in a group yoga session, seeing so many guests unintentionally coordinate their outfits in Grecian blue and white, and a perfectly-timed execution of a group shot throwing confetti from party crackers!
ADVICE FOR OTHER COUPLES | Be willing to compromise on small things if your partner really has his/her mind set on them. Chances are, it’s not worth starting an argument over and it will pay dividends seeing the smile on your partner’s face on the day of the ceremony.
Along those lines, Dave conceded that just because “it’s the way you do things” isn’t a good enough reason to do something a certain way. Choose to plan things a certain way because that’s how you want them to be done. It’s your wedding, and while making sure the guests have a good time, it’s ultimately you that will have the most vivid memories of all the little things so do what makes you happy.
Lastly, we found that finding ways to incorporate your guests into the ceremony and reception was very rewarding for both sides. When people ask, “What can I do to help?” take them up on it! It helps to reinforce the bond between the couple and the attendees, and for us, we liked that it took some of the attention away from us since neither of us like being the centre of attention.
CREDIT WHERE CREDIT IS DUE |
Suit | Cad & the Dandy
Catering and Cake | Beth’s Bakes
Film | Blooming Lovely Films
Julie and Dave, thank you for sharing your awesome ideas and romantic festivities with us. It looked like it was a heavenly five days with your nearest and dearest.
If photography and travelling are your thing, keep scrolling to find out about Anna Pumer’s upcoming workshop! Abby xx
*Anna Pumer is hosting an amazing photography workshop (Kick Ass Workshop) in the south of France for 3 full days from 11-13 October and is perfect for wedding photographers wanting to break away from the crowd, book their ideal couples and take super-fun photos. It also includes one to one portfolio review sessions and one or two epic styled shoots! (Plus there’s a heated pool and a hot tub in the woods!)*