“Hey, Sveta! It’s so long since we last met !” – I got the message from Elena in January, 2022. “This time I am getting married.” Wow! I was excited to hear that, because I kept the warmest memories about Elena’s daughter wedding. The event also took place in Rethymno, but 5 years ago. I remembered very well these sincere people. And I expected that this wedding would be something fun!
How it all began
Elena met Steven, a handsome British gentleman, in Kiev (Ukraine) a few years ago. Elena was living there because of business and Steven came to visit his friend. The romance blossomed quickly and a couple decided to get married. That wasn’t the first marriage for both. Elena’s daughter, our ex-bride, travelled to Crete from Turkey. Three daughters of Steven traveled from England, the US and Australia. You see, Crete unites families!
The most stressful and sad part of planning flow was a moment when Russia invaded Ukraine. Luckily Elena and Steven managed to flee. The number of invitees was reduced to the short list of the closest friends and family members. We had to change the wedding decor concept. There wasn’t enough time to get the documents for the civil marriage in Crete done.
Elena and Steven decided to get officially married in the Maldives. The local government facilitated marriage procedure for foreigners. However a solemn ceremony is an integral part of the wedding. So we hired an experienced wedding celebrant to conduct the symbolic ceremony to make the wedding more formal.
Wedding venue and decor
Elena is an easy going person. However she knows what she wants and she pays attention to detail. Since Elena adores Rethymno, she wanted the ceremony venue to be somewhere in the Old Town, and in private use. Therefore, I thought about Veneto Hotel & Restaurant. It’s a historic, 600-years old building, a former Dominican monastery. In addition, there is a nice restaurant with great kitchen and impressive collection of wines from all over the Europe. Elena didn’t want the ceremony and the reception to be in the same place. We discussed a few venues in Rethymno area that accommodate intimate weddings. Elena’s choice fell on the Dourakis winery. There’s a beautiful rustic terrace that you can get private for reasonable money.
Regarding the decor concept Elena was precise: “I want colours!” Elena sent me the image of colour palette on Whatsapp. Have a look and check below what we did.
A wedding day
It was the 27 of May, 2022. The couple stayed at a spacious villa ( 25 minutes drive from Rethymno). Guests stayed in Rethymno and were supposed to get to the ceremony place on their own. It is easy to find the Veneto restaurant using Google Maps. Steven left the villa earlier to meet the guests at the venue, and Elena arrived later, a few minutes before the ceremony.
Some raki for courage! “Dear guests, please, take you seats”
Elena entered escorted by her best friend Emil’.
I would like to know why it always works that way. Even if a man and a woman share a house many year, have kids together many year, they are very emotional before and during a ceremony. I guess, it has to do with commitment and full acceptance – two things we dream about all our lives. It is so touching.
Steven was very moved by the celebrant’s speech. While planning a wedding, we offer to adjust a standard speech to the personal story of a couple. Sometimes we edit a speech together with a groom or a bride or their close friend. It depends on a wedding day concept.
After the ceremony group pictures and a small buffet took place. Elena and Steven left for a photoshoot on the Rethymno streets. Our small city is a perfect decoration for romantic pictures.
Do you remember a popular child’s riddle: Two mothers and two daughters – how many people were there? The correct answer is three! Three generations of one family. I asked Vasilisa, Elena’s daughter, who have been married in Crete in 2018, how she felt about being inviting on her mother’s wedding. Vasilisa said: amazing! Look at them, such a great couple!
Once the formal part of the wedding was over, newlyweds and their guests headed to the main Gate (Megali Porta) to get a transfer to Dourakis Winery where the reception was supposed to be.
Located in the picturesque village of Alikampos, Dourakis Winery is 35 minutes by car from either Chania or Rethymnon. As you approach the estate, you notice the spectacular landscape surrounding the village and the vineyard. Dourakis Winery consists of a botanical garden, a big terrace and a traditional winepress located in the main building. Inside, the production, bottling, and aging facilities explain why Dourakis wine is internationally recognized, with exports as far as America.
Many visitors come here for a wine tasting daily. But you can also book an entire venue just for yourself. It’s an opportunity to organise any event you may aspire for, either it is a wedding celebration or a casual evening out with friends and family. We booked the small terrace area, which was great for the intimate wedding celebration.
Some brides use two or even 3 outfits on a wedding day: a morning dress, a ceremony dress and a party wedding dress. As far as Elena who loves dancing, she continued partying in her White Bride Converse.
When in Dourakis winery, don’t miss an opportunity to have a walk in the garden and the wine cellar.
The hidden gem of Dourakis Winery is an underground wine cellar. It’s an ideal place for a photo shoot in summer. Since it’s underground, it’s naturally protected from the summer heat and the temperature is very comfortable.
Geia sas, Elena and Steven! I will be happy to meet you in Crete again!
Photos by Alexey Dobrovolsky