After a short engagement and 10 months of planning, Danny and I got married on September 27th in Naxos, Greece. Our wedding was seriously the best day ever! We are so grateful that we not only had a wedding day but an entire week to spend in Greece with close friends and family. I have a few blog posts in the works on all things related to destination weddings, honeymooning in Greece, and wedding planning in general. But first, I wanted to share a wedding recap and why we chose to have a destination wedding in Greece (and in Naxos of all places!).
Disclaimer: All photos by Alecca Synclair Photography! These are the sneak peek photos! 🙂
Before the Wedding
We arrived in Greece and spent one night in Athens before traveling to Naxos via ferry. We stayed in Naxos a few days before the wedding. On the day everyone arrived, we had dinner with our guests at a restaurant on the beach in Plaka. On the night before the wedding, we had dinner at a popular restaurant called To Elliniko.
The day before the wedding Danny and I were busy planning. I had my hair and makeup trial and we took photos on the beach with our photographer before going to dinner. It was a great day, we just didn’t know that we would be so occupied. A wedding planner would have definitely helped to prevent all the planning on this day. But I was glad that I could have a trial and that we had photos taken outside of our wedding photos!
The Morning of the Wedding
On the morning of the wedding, the power of our villa and the surrounding area ended up going out for several hours. Naxos apparently gets its power from Paros and there had been thunderstorms all night. The weather ended up being *perfect* where we were. It sprinkled a bit at the end of the night (which is good luck!), but there were thunderstorms in all the surrounding areas so we really got lucky.
After the power came back on, I had my hair and makeup done as well as a few others. Danny trekked down the beach with my brother to get Baklava as a last-minute resort. My brother also went with his fiance, April, to the market to grab wine. We didn’t have a car or quad rental at this point, and everyone was so helpful with getting things ready. My mom and April ended up making some food to snack on and my friend Lexus helped add some last-minute songs to our reception playlist. Danny and I wrote our vows into our vow books and then separated to get ready.
Ceremony + Reception
Vendors ended up coming and going to set some things up and our ceremony was at 5:30 pm. After the ceremony, Danny and I went down to the beach to take photos. We didn’t have much of a traditional reception and it was more of a sit-down dinner. The food was SO good. We had several starters, salads, and then a few options for main dishes. They brought the salads and starters out one at a time and served it family style. We were STUFFED by the end of the night.
We had all the traditional dances, and then at the end of the night played Kings Cup with whoever was left up. It was honestly the perfect day for us and everything worked out so smoothly. We wish that a few others would have been able to join us, but it is a huge ask to have someone fly across the world to make it to your wedding so we completely understood and were so grateful that everyone who did come was able to make it.
The next day our celebration continued on a catamaran tour with all of our guests. It was my parent’s wedding gift to us and was one of the highlights of our entire trip! Swimming in the crystal clear, blue, waters of the Aegean Sea with your friends and family the day after getting married is seriously hard to beat. It’s not something that I will ever get to experience again. It was a Mamma Mia moment!
Why We Got Married in Greece
One question that we got a lot is why we got married in Naxos, Greece. Many people have not heard of Naxos, and Santorini is far more popular for holding weddings. We had never before been to Naxos (or Greece), do not have any Greek ties, and prior to getting engaged had been anticipating getting married in the Pacific Northwest where we are from.
We had toured several vendors in both Washington and Oregon, but in short, weddings are EXPENSIVE. Post-COVID, the already high prices of weddings have sky-rocketed. I had always imagined eloping as my parents had. Having a big wedding was never something that I had been inclined to and as a perfectionist, I knew that I would stress myself out planning an elaborate wedding. I wouldn’t be able to have a wedding for myself, I knew I would be basically planning a party for others to enjoy all while stressing myself out for a year or more.
Once we were touring venues, my then-fiance and I realized that looking at a modest venue for 50- 100 people would cost around $10,000 alone, not to mention the price of food, photography, attire, flowers, etc. On top of honeymoon costs, we realized that wasn’t really something we wanted to pay. We chose Greece since we were already planning to have our honeymoon there. Greece is beautiful, and everyone is SO friendly. It really was the right decision and I couldn’t imagine having had it anywhere else.
Why We Chose Naxos
We knew nothing of Naxos prior to wedding planning. Our main criteria when we were searching for where to have our wedding was:
- An island in the Cyclades.
- Affordable (ish).
- At an Airbnb as a venue that was able to hold at least 10 people, is situated on the beach, and would have a location to hold a dinner and ceremony!
I started off by searching for an Airbnb anywhere in the Cyclades. I found a few different options on different islands and ended up not choosing Santorini or Mykonos based on price and crowds. A few other islands I was considering were Ios, Sifnos, and Andros. We ended up choosing Naxos based on the vibe, location, and the Airbnb that we found. Villa Armelina had an indoor and outdoor speaker system, tables/chairs to seat everyone, had 6 beds/6 baths, was situated on the beach, and had a few locations that would work for the ceremony and reception.
Benefits of an Intimate Destination Wedding
According to The Knot, the national average cost of a wedding in 2022 was 30,000. Washington and Oregon have higher prices than the national average in general. Since we were already planning on going to Greece for our honeymoon, we decided to choose this location for the wedding. All-in-all for a wedding with 13 people and spending 3 weeks in Greece, we spent less than the national average. It was also substantially less than we would have spent with a traditional wedding and honeymoon. Our wedding wasn’t a budget wedding by any means and could have been done for far less, but we liked that we could splurge on certain things and not rack up costs for things that didn’t really matter to us.
The cost was a big factor. But, we were also able to spend more time with our smaller group of guests than we otherwise would have with a traditional wedding. We had 10 guests and most were able to stay at our venue (an Airbnb) for 4 nights, have several dinners, visit monuments, and explore the island with us. Rather than having one day, we have nearly an entire week of memories that we will cherish forever.
In comparison, we had much less stress than planning for a traditional wedding. I also didn’t feel the need to impress others and have everything go perfectly according to plan. If something came up that wasn’t according to plan, it really didn’t matter because the only people who were there were immediate family and close friends.
Why Choose Naxos, Greece as Your Destination Wedding
If you are choosing Greece as a destination wedding, Naxos should be on your radar! Santorini is the more traditional destination that people think of when it comes to Greek destination weddings. Naxos is a nearby island with the same stunning views, much better beaches, and more affordable prices. Naxos isn’t as touristy of an island as Santorini meaning there are far fewer people. It was a much more calming and pleasant experience than what we had when visiting Santorini on our honeymoon.
Since Naxos is not typically a destination wedding location, there are fewer vendors on the island. This means more limited choices when it comes to making decisions. However, Greece was so accommodating and we were stunned by the hospitality we experienced. We felt like we were able to have a luxury experience. We can’t imagine that we would have had the same experience in Santorini with how chaotic it was.
We are so grateful for how our wedding turned out! It really was the perfect day thanks to our friends, family, and vendors. I know our entire trip was an experience that I am going to remember for the rest of my life!
As I mentioned at the beginning of this post, I will be posting more on destination weddings, honeymoon travel in Greece, and more. As always, you can find me on Instagram @maddie_deer here, or can follow me on my Facebook page to be alerted of any new posts here.