WHERE: Both Luke and I are Australian, however we met and have lived in the UK for many years and therefore had always wanted to marry in Europe where we had spent some of our happiest times together. Luke was particularly fond of the Greek Islands and when he took me there after he proposed in 2010, the backdrop was persuasive! After we met Chara Kourti from The Red Bicycle, a well known, beautiful local who runs a fantastic restaurant, jewelry shop and café in Oia and her friend Dimitra (Demi) Bratika, we were welcomed with open arms and both truly fell in love with the people and landscape of Santorini. Demi introduced us to a villa that was still being built at the time and we knew as soon as we saw C-Sky, that it was there, in Santorini in the Greek Islands, with the help of Chara and Demi, we would marry.
GUEST NUMBERS: Luke and I wanted an intimate celebration with our closest family and friends. Children were invited to the location and we had wonderful local nanny’s to look after them on site, so that parents could enjoy the wedding but still be able to pop their heads in to check on the little ones. We had 60 guests, including Kim’s niece, Bronte (10) and Henry (8).
BRIDE’S DRESS: My mum was in the UK ten months before our wedding date and while I wasn’t planning on choosing a dress so far in advance, it was a pleasure to have Mum’s opinion, particularly when we live so far apart. A close girlfriend came with my Mum and I to the Amanda Wakeley boutique in South Kensington and we fell in love with the beautiful designs. I thought I would end up in a strapless dress, but was really taken with the detail on the back of my dress and as soon as I tried it on I knew the decision had been made. Having a close girlfriend and my mother with me made the experience so exciting… I will always remember the goose bumps and excitement when I walked out to show them the dress I would get married in!
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BRIDE’S SHOES: Luke had recently spoilt me with a pair of beautiful Christian Louboutin shoes which I love. I knew Luke was delighted that I loved them enough to wear on my wedding day, knowing how much consideration I always put into shoes! I hadn’t really considered comfort, but the shoes were terrific!
BRIDESMAIDS DRESSES: My stunning best friend lives in Australia and I wanted her to be comfortable wearing something that was as much her style as my own. Luke and I were keen on a fairly neutral colour, but the rest I was very relaxed about. My best friend chose Zimmermann, I knew that she could have worn a paper bag and still have looked as amazing as always!
FLOWERGIRL: Bronte is my very special 10 year old niece and she was, without question, the star of the show! She wowed everyone with her beautiful big smile and newly found confidence and was more excited than anyone I know. She wore an ivory silk dress (similar fabric to my wedding dress) and carried a single Hydrangea for the bouquet. She showed me more affection and love during the day than I could have imagined… the perfect flower girl!
JEWELLERY/ACCESSORIES: I wore earrings which I hunted around for and finally found in Paris. I fell in love with them as soon as I saw them! The earrings are from Lanvin and I didn’t wear any other jewelry. When it got cold, I put a beaded poncho over my wedding dress that I had packed without thinking about what occasion I might have use for it! It was from Camilla in Sydney.
WEDDING RINGS: Our beautiful rings are from Abrahams in London.
GROOM/GROOMSMEN: We met up with a wonderful bespoke tailor who came and met Luke, Chris (Best Man) and I, at our house. David Brooke from M&BT Tailors was perfectly dressed in a crisp, well fitted pinstripe suit and we immediately trusted his style and judgment.
HAIR: Wendy Sullivan (my Aunt)
MAKEUP: Jess Winterburn (friend)
STATIONERY/INVITATIONS: Designed by me!
FLOWERS: Flowers were really important to me and the selection was somewhat limited given we were married on a small Greek island. Thankfully, our wedding planner Demi Bratika has a similar sense of style to me and was able to introduce us to a local wholesale nursery who although did not speak a word of English, managed to deliver what we wanted. My grandparents used to grow hydrangeas and I really wanted to carry them in memory of my wonderful childhood in Wollongong with my Pa. I included peonies and a few white roses, some lavender and olive a couple of small olive branches. They were tied in a tight white/ivory bunch with a big green leaf. On each table at the reception we had a tall olive tree. We also used small vintage glass bottles full of herbs (thyme, rosemary, lavender, oregano etc) on window sills and in the bathrooms.
PHOTOGRAPHY: I was looking through one of London’s leading wedding planner’s website and stumbled across an amazing portfolio of Nikole Ramsay's photos. I immediately sent the web link through to my fiancé (Luke) and he was blown away by the images too. At this stage we hadn’t even 100% decided on which country to get married in, let alone booked venue and everything else! By coincidence, when we looked closer at the albums, we found images of friends and an ex-boss of my fiancé in Nikole’s portfolio. We asked our friends what they thought and the feedback was outstanding. I don’t particularly like being the centre of attention and posing for photos in front of people is definitely not my bag, however Nikole made the whole experience feel like fun! We laughed and had a really good time with her and can honestly say we made a great friend in the process. I also loved the way Nikole developed an independent and respectful friendship with Luke. So many wedding photos we had seen were all about the bride looking perfect… from every angle! Nikole focused more on our mood rather than the ‘picture perfect’ shot. As a result, we have some wonderful photos before, during and after our wedding which we look at all of the time and smile, laugh and sometimes cry. I guess you could not want anything more than true memories to be told through your photographs, which is exactly what we got!
WEDDING PLANNER: Demi Bratika
CAKE, FOOD & DRINKS: Red Bicycle, Oia, Santorini. Once featured on Giada De Laurentis's Food Network show, this sophisticated café and restaurant is located at the north end of Ia's main walkway, just down the steps; its big terrace with sail-like white awnings overlooks the bay. Owner Chara Kourti warmly touts her cheese balls with almond and honey or the fig-nut pie with cheese; and no one will complain about the beef in red sauce with white eggplant purée. Desserts are a specialty; try galaktoboureko (warm custard pie with dates, raisins, and rosewater syrup). The Bicycle opens at 2 pm and closes late.
WEDDING SONGS: My oldest family friend, Adam Hammersley sat on a rock at the top of the cliff overlooking the Adriatic Sea and played the acoustic guitar while guests arrived at the ceremony – this was particularly special for me (the bride), as I grew up listening to Adam strumming the guitar since I can remember. I walked up the aisle to: What A Wonderful World by Israel Kamakawiwo’ole; Signing of the Registery: Fields of Gold by Eva Cassidy; Guests walked to champagne reception to: Nessun Dorma by Luciano Pavarotti; Our First Dance: At Last by Etta James
EXTRA DETAILS: My best friend, Nick Hardcastle sang John Denver’s Annie’s Song as soon as bride and groom sat down for dinner – very emotional and sang beautifully. My oldest family friend, Adam Hammersley played the acoustic guitar and good friend Jane Cho played the acoustic violin. Very special indeed! Sky Lanterns: Because our venue was uncovered and perched upon a cliff top, we thought it would make a nice touch to light some sky lanterns. They looked magical floating over the ocean (and were 100% biodegradable!) Island Tradition: We wanted to do something traditional without smashing plates! Chara, our wonderful Chef suggested the Santorini tradition of sharing Koufeto which is a traditional sweet, served at weddings, (during the champagne reception), to signify and represent ‘a toast to sweet life together’. We also did a photoshoot the day before the wedding with our photographer and it was a beautiful opportunity to have photos together in the setting, in a relaxed and informal way.
A MEMORABLE MOMENT: During my husband’s speech, my niece, Bronte (flowergirl aged 10) ran up and hugged Luke when he started to become emotional… it was unprovoked and in front of everyone – we were all quietly seated and she jumped out of her chair and gave him a bear hug! I also remember just before Luke and I joined everyone for the champagne reception, I popped in to see all of my nieces and nephews who were being babysat by local nannies on site. The children had been told that a ‘princess’ was on the way and when I opened the door to all of them (eldest is 5 yrs), their mouths dropped! Oskar had prepared a ‘trophy’ for me, which was filled with petals and little bits they had collected that afternoon. When I asked if they wanted a cuddle… they squealed and ran under my dress… we have some great shots of the kids using the train of my dress almost like a tent!!! The look on their faces was priceless and still makes me grin from ear to ear!
When my father walked me down through our guests to meet my fiancé, it was truly the single most memorable moment. My Dad looking very dapper in a crisp white shirt and navy suit…. I am quite sure he was just as nervous as I was. I will never forget his huge hands helping me down the small stairs and his strength as he led me up the small steep path to where everyone was waiting.
The moment he gave my hand to Luke, as cheesy as it sounds, I knew it was the first day of the rest of our lives together and I was delighted to be leaving one wonderful man (my Dad) and joining another… my husband!
PHOTOGRAPHY: Nikole Ramsay
BRIDE'S DRESS: Amanda Wakely
BRIDE’S SHOES: Christian Louboutin
BRIDESMAIDS DRESSES: Zimmermann
GROOMS FORMAL WEAR: M&BT Tailor made for Groom and Groomsmen
WEDDING RINGS: Abrahams Diamonds
JEWELLERY & ACCESSORIES: Lanvin
CAKE & CATERING: Red Bicycle, Oia, Santorini
WEDDING PLANNER: Demi Bratika
WEDDING VENUE: CSKY Hotel
VIDEOGRAPHER: Allora Visuals