Ahhh Santorini…that stunning island in Greece…with pretty stone houses on the cliffs overlooking the picturesque caldera…where sunset casts a spell…where the breeze smells romance... Before Keith and I met, we both heard about all these mesmerizing things about Santorini and fueled the romantic in us to visit that dreamy island someday. We both had opportunities to do so – friends going there wanted us to tag along – but we both held off. We felt it was an extraordinary place that we had to save for something special. After we got engaged in Marrakesh, we both realized what we were saving Santorini for — our wedding.
Arriving in Santorini
We climbed to the deck and checked out the breathtaking view.
The sight of the of the cobalt-blue water of the caldera from the deck took our breath away.
The honeymoon suite at Anastasis, our home for our week stay in Santorini.
The sunset came not long after we arrived. We had the best seat in the house as we watched the best free show on earth – right on our balcony!
They said that the sunset in Santorini was beyond spectacular. They were not kidding!
The infinity pool at Anastasis lit up at twilight. The cluster of lights in the upper right is the village of Oia.
For our first evening in Santorini, we enjoyed a lovely dinner at To Steki tou Nikou, a traditional Greek taverna recommended by our wonderful hostess, Despina. The restaurant sent a car to pick us up from the hotel and drop us off:) The food was simple but fresh and delicious. And we indulged ourselves a bit (ok, more than a bit) with cold ouzo, a Greek digestif similar to sambuca. It gave us a good night sleep!
The day before the wedding.
The day before our wedding, we set out for what became our favorite activity in Santorini – hiking! It’s a great way to see and experience the island. It was also a great way to get some tan before our wedding:) There’s a spectacular hiking trail that hugs the caldera side and stretches from the villages of Fira to Oia. Imerovigli, our home base, is in between these two villages. On this day, we hiked to the direction of Oia on the north side of the island.
We were surprised to see a lot of chapels along the trail. This chapel hanging on the cliff was dedicated for the safety of sailors.
The dramatic view of the volcanic landscape along the trail, a relic of one the biggest recorded volcanic eruption in history.
A crevice on a cliff.
Another chapel on the trail. The village of Oia can be seen on the background.
We took a break on the terrace of the chapel and enjoyed the scenic view of Oia and the sea.
Pretty cluster of homes that sit on the steep cliff of Oia.
One of the many traditional churches in Oia.
This deep-blue domed church dominates the skyline of Oia.
Exploring the charming narrow streets of Oia.
We stopped for lunch and a beer at one of the tavernas overlooking the caldera. I looked at Keith’s hand and realized that it was his last day without a ring on his finger!
A bougainvillea vine clinging on a whitewashed wall is a typical sight in Oia.
View of the village on the cliff from the tip of Oia.
The Bay of Armeni.
Boats on the tiny port of Ammoudi that lies 300 steps below Oia.
Donkeys and a boat resting on the steps that lead from Oia to the port of Ammoudi.
Colorful boats docked on the port of Ammoudi.
Excellent traditional tavernas lined the port of Ammoudi.
Stunning view of the port village of Ammoudi and the village of Oia on top of the hill.
We followed a path on the left side of the port that led to a swimming hole teeming with bathers.
Bathers resting on top of a rock.
We climbed back up to Oia from Ammoudi and waited for the sunset at one of the outdoor bars.
While waiting for sunset, we witnessed a wedding taking place just below the bar. It looked romantic! We were happy for them. It would be our turn the following day – only ours would be more private, with no hundreds of tourist gawking at us from different directions. Such was the advantage of our rather private location in Imerovigli.
Sunset and twilight in Oia.
Our Wedding Day!
The stunning view of the caldera with its cobalt-blue water as we look back from the trail.
The view of Oia from the trail.
We were thrilled to finally see the view of Fira from the trail.
Perched on an impressive cliff, Fira is the capital of Santorini and is the largest among the villages.
We walked around Oia exploring its charming narrow streets lined with cafes and cozy shops.
We explored the shopping streets of Oia as we searched for…a lipstick! I realized I was getting married and didn’t have a lipstick. I don’t normally wear one and didn’t own one but I thought it would be nice to wear one for the wedding pictures:)
…and at 7:15 pm, with the sunset as our guest of honor, we got married.
A town official officiated our wedding. He conducted the touching ceremony in both Greek and English. He took his time and made the ceremony really special.
Our wedding was as special as we wanted, it was just Keith and I, just all about the two of us. It was not about the wedding dress, or the flower arrangements, or the guest list and seating arrangements, etc. It was all about us getting married and not about having a wedding. A month after we got home from Greece, we had a very intimate and fun wedding celebration with close family and friends. We ate glorious food, we drank fine wine, we danced and danced and laughed until we dropped. No stiff ceremonial stuff. Our wedding in Greece and wedding celebration back home were both very meaningful, memorable and stress–free. We wouldn’t have done it any other way.
How to get married in Greece: Wedding in Greece is universally accepted. Both civil and religious ceremonies are considered legal by the state. According to U.S. Statutes, marriages performed abroad, which are valid under the laws of that country, are generally accepted as valid by any state in the U.S. We found the requirements for non-Greek nationals pretty reasonable. The following are the required documents for a civil wedding (note that religious weddings require additional documents):
- Copy of passport
- Certificate of no impediment (proof that you’re free to marry and can be obtained from city hall)
- Original birth certificate
The certificate of no-impediment and birth certificate should be notarized and affixed with Apostille stamp (in the U.S. this stamp is obtained from city hall or local state department).
All the documents must be translated in Greek. In our case, we sent all the documents to our hostess Despina, the owner of Anastasis Apartments, and she took care of the translation for additional fee outside of the wedding package. Once they were translated and as part of the package, she then took care of the other requirements such as obtaining the marriage certificate, posting the announcement in the local newspaper, scheduling the ceremony with the mayoral office, and arranging for witnesses (herself and her sister). Despina also took care of the photographer, flowers, music, cake and champagne. Really, we just showed up at our wedding!
If you’re interested to get married in Greece and have a lovely and stress-free wedding, we recommend that you contact Despina at Anastasis Apartments.
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