A whimsical decision to change plans (and bookings!) midway through their Melbourne wedding plans, Danielle and Steve decided to follow their hearts to Santorini with their favourite people in tow, to exchange vows amidst the balmy sea air and luminous light of an exotic seascape.
Romanced by the idea of friends & family staying to follow the journey from wedding day to a sun-drenched holiday beyond resonated profoundly. The bride, effortless in a beautifully intricate lace design by Paolo Sebastian, enhanced the relaxed yet glamorous compositions of the Rocabella Hotel Santorini.
Captured by the incredible detailed eye of Kristen Cook.
NAMES: Danielle & Steve Bleas
WEDDING DATE: 1ST July 2015
GUEST NUMBERS: 30
HOW WE MET: We met on a night out 10 years ago.
OUR ENGAGEMENT STORY: One Saturday afternoon Steve and I planned to go to the Atlantic at Crown for lunch. After lunch the waiter asked if we would like to go for a drink in The Den – their basement cocktail bar. Unbeknown to me, Steve had arranged for just the two of us to go down there. I started getting nervous when the waiter started pouring champagne when we hadn’t ordered any drinks yet! It all happened so quickly and before I knew it the waiter picked up a black book with the words “Our life so far” scrolled over the front before leaving us. I picked up the book and nervously started flicking through it without reading what was inside. Steve stopped me and asked me to slowly read what’s inside the book from start to finish. Each page had a collage of photo’s from previous milestones in our relationship such as “remember our first trip to Europe… remember our first housewarming party…” The final page had no photos, it was left black to fill in a photo of our own and it said, “remember when I asked you to marry me?”
Then he got down on one knee and asked me to marry him. I was so excited I took the ring before saying yes!
MARRIAGE TO US MEANS: Creating an incredible and unforgettable life experience with family and friends while committing to spend the rest of our lives with each other.
(Interview continued beneath gallery..)
WEDDING LOCATION: Santorini, Greece. Steve and I decided to have a destination wedding the day after our beautiful engagement lunch at Moon Under Water. We woke up the next day and agreed the engagement day felt like a wedding with our family and friends already, we realised what we truly wanted to do was get married in Santorini. We decided to cancel our plans (and bookings) for our Melbourne wedding and start planning the wedding overseas. We basically handpicked our ultimate dream team and dumped them on an Island together with the most phenomenal backdrop – and got to call that our wedding!
Ceremony – Dana Villas
Reception – Rocabella Hotel Santorini
After months of research we decided on Dana Villas for our wedding ceremony. Dana Villas has a white rendered rooftop that sits on the middle of the Santorini caldera facing the sunset. It has uninterrupted views of the whole Island of Santorini on either side of it – which made for such amazing photos during the ceremony.
We decided to have our reception on the infinity pool rooftop at the Rocabella Hotel. This space was the perfect size for our wedding party and featured the gorgeous infinity pool that looks out towards the Santorini Sunset. We didn’t tell any of our guests (even bridal party) that the reception was at a different venue to the ceremony. We wanted to spoil our guests and keep a bit of a surprise element incase any of our guests Google’d the venue ahead of time! This created more of a wow factor when they were transported to the Rocabella and walked into the venue to find it set up with mood lighting, white floral arrangements on a long banquet style table next to the infinity pool, Grecian style curtains swaying in the wind all while the sun was slowly setting over the horizon…
THEME/STYLE: We aimed to create a relaxed European summer vibe for our guests but still incorporate a glamorous, modern and elegant feel. When you’re getting married and have the gorgeous backdrop of Santorini as your canvas – half the work was done! The aim was to create an unforgettable experience for our guests that had made the effort to travel to the other side of the world to be with us on our wedding day. Everyone was in holiday mode – relaxed and ready to celebrate which made for an epic party we will never forget!
PHOTOGRAPHY: Kristen Cook travelled to Santorini with us to capture our special day. Originally we had our wedding planned and booked in Melbourne and had asked her to photograph it for us, however, she was already booked that day. You can imagine her surprise when we called her and said we had cancelled our Melbourne wedding plans and were getting married in Greece and wanted her to join us! We were drawn to Kristen’s photography because of her natural “fly on the wall style” of capturing the day. We felt completely comfortable at our initial meeting and loved the fact she had an incredible way of telling a story without giving direction to the bride and groom or making them pose in unnatural ways. Photography was very important to us and we didn’t want to travel to the most beautiful place on Earth to get married and then be disappointed with the photos down the track – so we took our favourite photographer with us!
BRIDE’S DRESS: Paolo Sebastian – Need I say more…My dress was completely custom designed. I went to Paul with no inspirational photos at all, I just wanted to see what we would come up with using a summer destination wedding as a brief. We decided on a completely hand beaded sheer gown. I wanted a dress that would be suitable for a hot summer wedding that was modern, glamorous and elegant. We incorporated the sheer areas as I wanted the dress to have a bit of a risky element, as it was not a traditional style of wedding.
BRIDE’S SHOES: Jimmy Choo. I chose modern nude heels that I can easily wear again.
BRIDESMAIDS DRESSES: Alin Le Kal designed the bridesmaid dresses. The colour of the dresses was a soft eggshell blue. The style was a modern take on a traditional Grecian style dress. Effortlessly flowy with a white strappy shoe.
WEDDING RINGS/JEWELLERY/ACCESSORIES: Steve opted for a white gold plain wedding band that compliments his Rolex DATEJUST II he received as an engagement gift from me. My wedding band was a white gold diamond band to match my solitaire diamond white gold engagement ring.
GROOMSMEN ATTIRE: Groom and groomsmen’s outfits were custom designed by Oscar Hunt. Steve opted for a summer style-wedding suit with large lapels to give it a smart dinner style look. Steve wanted to create a nice balance between having a Summer style suit without loosing the traditional tuxedo look. The lighter pant ensured it was not too formal so the groom and groomsmen suited the destination and style of the wedding. All groomsmen were fitted with beige cropped style pant and crisp white matching shirts to go with our European summer feel.
HAIR: I opted for a high ponytail with soft loose waves. It was important to me to feel like myself on my wedding day and to complement fashion forward feel of the wedding dress. I didn’t want to opt for a style I would never wear again and look back and regret.
MAKEUP: I wanted mainly a flawless look with lots of highlighting, contouring and lashes. I’m not a fan of heavy eye shadow on a bride so the main thing was that he achieved a soft dewy complexion with lots of lashes.
STATIONERY/INVITATIONS: Custom design and letterpress invitations by Wedding Paper Chic in ocean blue had our guests excited about a destination wedding from when they received them. We incorporated a sketch of the gorgeous Santorini backdrop on the invitation to give it a strong destination-wedding feel! Wedding Paper Chic also created custom made service fans for our ceremony that guests found very handy to cool themselves down and block out the sunlight. The service, product and quality were beyond expectation.
BONBONNIERE: Our great friend Wax Pouring Chick’s designed our custom made wedding candles for each guest. We used these candles as name places on the table. These were a great idea as not only did guests get to take home a scented candle with their name on it – it was also a memory of our wedding day with “Danielle & Steve, Santorini, 01-07-2015” printed on it.
FLOWERS & BOUQUETS: Our floral inspiration was “white wedding” with soft green accents so the white did not get lost amongst the Santorini backdrop! Fabio Zardi design is luxury floral and event design studio in Santorini. We worked closely with him over email in the months leading up to the wedding to design our bespoke project for the day. The bridal bouquet was made up of white Peonies’, as was the mini bridesmaids bouquets. Fabio imported all the floral’s from the UK for the wedding as none of the flowers we choose can be grown on the Island of Santorini.
PREPARATION: The night before the wedding I checked into the bridal suite at Rocabella with my mum and three sisters who were my bridesmaids. Because the ceremony was at 5pm we casually went to breakfast later in the morning and then spent the afternoon getting ready.
WEDDING PLANNER/ WEDDING STYLIST: My wedding planner and stylist was Evita from Santorini Glam Weddings. When we contacted Dana Villas to book our wedding they notified us we would definitely need a wedding planner and Evita came recommended. I would definitely recommend a wedding planner when planning a destination wedding. 100’s of emails went back and forth over the year before our wedding and its important to have someone to recommend local vendors and coordinate everything on the day. We choose Evita from Santorini glam weddings because her style complimented the theme/style of wedding we were going for.
CAKE: We had a two tier white chocolate and chocolate cake made by a local pastry chef. It had a few real Peonies’ as decoration.
ENTERTAINMENT: My Husband is a DJ so he sent a lot of the music to the dj that we had hired prior to the wedding to use as the playlist. Steve has dj’d at many of the renowned nightclubs in Mykonos so our wedding planner told us the DJ we hired was really nervous to play at our wedding – which we thought was cute!
WEDDING SONGS: Our entrance song was Robin Shultz – As the sun goes down, First Dance was Coldplay Sky Full of Stars – We arranged for fireworks to go off during the song, which was a fantastic surprise for our guests!
FOOD & BEVERAGES: The food we arranged for our guests was a Greek style banquet. Guests were greeted with canapé’s and a full open bar, which included a long list of yummy cocktails. The traditional aspect of the wedding was the platter of coal-grilled gyros and Greek style meats followed by large seafood platters for guests to share on the single long banquet style table. My favourite dessert is Loukoumades, which is a Greek style donut in honey and cinnamon. Rocabella made this as a special request and used their grandmother’s original recipe with a modern twist – covered in Nutella!
HONEYMOON: After our wedding day the celebration continued – this is the beauty of a destination wedding. You don’t have to go back to work on Monday and you don’t have to leave your family and friends behind! We spent the next two weeks in Europe on our “friend-moon” celebrating with family and friends. Then Steve and I travelled for another two weeks around Europe and honeymooned on our own.
A MEMORABLE MOMENT: My mum walking me down the aisle to meet my husband, fireworks going off at our first dance, everyone you love having the time of their lives in the most beautiful place on earth, the friend-moon, everything!!
IF I COULD GIVE OTHER BRIDES TO BE ONE PIECE OF ADVICE: If you’re umming and ahhing over whether to do a destination wedding – DO IT! Don’t plan the most important day of your lives around everyone else. We took other people’s advice and did what made us happy - we will never look back!
DANIELLE & STEVE’S CONTACTS:
PHOTOGRAPHY: Kristen Cook
BRIDE'S DRESS: Paolo Sebastian
BRIDE’S SHOES: Jimmy Choo
BRIDESMAIDS DRESSES: Alin Le Kal
GROOMS FORMAL WEAR: Oscar Hunt
WEDDING RINGS: Anthony’s Manufacturing Jeweller’s – Collins Street Melbourne
STATIONERY/INVITATIONS: Wedding Paper Chic
BOMBONIERE: Wax Pouring Chicks
FLORIST: Fabio Zardi design
WEDDING STYLIST & PLANNER: Santorini Glam Weddings
WEDDING VENUE: Dana Villas
WEDDING RECEPTION: Rocabella Hotel Santorini