Real Weddings

An Architectural Wedding Inside an Abandoned Wine Factory in Greece

Photography by La Dichosa.

Henna and Alex’s wedding inside an abandoned wine factory-turned luxury hotel on the Ionian Sea was an alchemy of architecture, art and fashion. Dexamenes Seaside Hotel on the west coast of mainland Greece in Kourouta was converted by K-Studio in 2018. Imperfect concrete, combined with steel, glass and timber are a nod to the historic building’s industrial past, and was the perfect canvas for an architectural seaside wedding in Greece. Colossal steel drums rise out of the water at the hotel’s center which created a striking backdrop for the couple’s ceremony. Runway style seats were placed around the aisle and soft neutral florals and foliage were used to style the altar.

This artful wedding in Greece was captured by Majo and Xavi of La Dichosa.

Architectural Seaside Wedding in Greece

Architectural Seaside Wedding in Greece

Our Story

Names /  Henna Alexandra Ahmad & Alexander Christian Kornblum 

Location / Kourouta, Greece

Wedding Date / September 17th, 2022

Guest Numbers / 75

Budget / $100,000

Architectural Seaside Wedding in Greece

Architectural Seaside Wedding in Greece

Architectural Seaside Wedding in Greece

How We Met

We met on Tinder of all places.

 

Henna: I decided to give dating apps a try. I was only 22 at the time, and I was bartending my way through college. The only boys I would meet were people in the bar scene and I was not having any luck with the guys I would find “in the wild.” I saw Alex’s profile and he just looked so nice. Also very handsome, but he had a kindness to him that was evident through his photos. We instantly matched and within minutes he sent me a message saying “beautiful eyes.” It was actually quite sweet.

 

Alex: Of course, I swiped for her – she’s the most beautiful woman on the planet. I was just stunned that she actually wanted to see me. Her university campus was about one hour away from where I work, so I tried to make my best impression and meet her close so that she wouldn’t have to drive. She ended up taking me to the world’s worst Irish pub. She was sitting in the booth visibly stressed studying for an exam drinking a Guinness. But she also had the most beautiful curly hair and she was wearing this super cool green army jacket.

 

Henna: The bar wasn’t that bad. When the Irish fiddlers came out though, I was a bit embarrassed considering I was not expecting people to start step dancing. We ended up talking all night and found out that we had so much in common. It was just such a natural and easy conversation. At the end of the night, he walked me to my car and it started pouring rain. Our first kiss was by my car in the rain and it was so romantic. He was actually listed as “kiss in the rain guy” in my phone contacts for the first 4 years of our relationship. It was a really casual yet romantic first date, and the romance hasn’t stopped since. 

Industrial Style Wedding in Greece

Architectural Seaside Wedding in Greece

Architectural Seaside Wedding in Greece

Our Engagement Story

Henna: Our engagement story is actually really anticlimactic. We were in our apartment in Paris, I knew exactly what kind of ring I wanted, so I showed him online. He did his correspondence, paid for it a few hours later, and sent to my sister in Oregon to avoid sales tax. My little sister was so stressed about having possession of my ring and I am actually so annoyed that she was the first one to try it on. She ended up bringing it to us, and he just gave it to me in our little home.

 

Alex: I maybe should have done something more elaborate, but she had seen it before and knew that her sister had it. At the end of the day she got the ring she wanted and I’ve gotten her several rings since. She likes to wear different engagement rings based on her outfit or mood. I love that she has such an amazing sense of style, and I think it’s actually really sweet that she dedicates time each morning to decide what ring she wears to indicate our marriage.

 

What we love most about each other…

Henna: Alex is a stable and calming force in my life. I am definitely a stressed and sometimes manic person, and he is so patient with me. He is the kind of guy who anticipates my needs and does everything he can during the day to make sure those needs are met. He’s such a considerate person and he is constantly finding ways to make, not just my life but, our life together better.

 

Alex: Henna is like sunshine. She radiates warm energy and shows love to every single person she meets. Whether it is bringing home baby kittens or teaching me new things on our travels, she is just an ideal partner in every way. She is absolutely hilarious and has me cry-laughing on any given day. Seriously, I think she should start stand-up because when you’re around her she has this amazing way to make you laugh and smile with her ridiculous stories.

The Setting

 

Wedding Location

Henna: The wedding was held at Dexamenes Seaside Hotel in Kourouta, Greece. It was actually kismet the way we landed on this venue. Our friends and family live all over the world, so there really were no limitations when we were finding the “where.” The second we got engaged, the first people I reached out to were Majo and Xavi with La Dichosa. I had been following them for a while and I knew that I had to have them to shoot our wedding. One day, I simply asked them straight up, “Is there any place in the world that you’ve been really hoping to shoot a wedding?” They were so creatively engaged and they sent me Dexamenes’ Instagram profile. Ironically enough, Alexander sent and suggested that same place the night before.

 

Of all the places in the world, both my fiancé and photographers, sent me to a new hotel that had never hosted a wedding before. It felt so meant to be and the place really spoke to me. Greece also holds a special place in my heart. My grandfather died in 2021, and the last conversation we had was about his time stationed in Greece. He was giving me travel advice and I hold on to that memory very dearly. 

 

It is an architectural marvel and the story behind its sustainable conversion really spoke to me. The clean mid-century design and the natural tones were perfect for the modern wedding that I envisioned. It was important to me that the place was comfortable and accessible for our guests too. The rooms are amazing and the overall energy is so calming. It was a perfect canvas for us to really create the architectural wedding we were going for.

 

Aesthetic

Henna: Once we decided to get married in Greece, I was pretty adamant that we were having “a wedding that happens to be close to the beach” rather than “a beach wedding.” I didn’t want the barefoot seashell vibes, but I was rather influenced by different artistic movements. Particularly, the Bauhaus movement and the philosophies behind it really guided the vision. I wanted everything to be intentional when it came to the style. If I had to define the style it was modern, natural, and artistic. As a fashion stylist and fashion editor, the looks were all really important to me so there were definitely fashion influences in there as well.

Architectural Seaside Wedding in Greece

Architectural Seaside Wedding in Greece

Preparation

The morning of the wedding was actually one of my favourite parts. I woke up, and did a quick stretch and meditation on the beach before anybody else got up. It was the only alone moment I had during the whole week. After a quick dip in the ocean, I decided that I would start the day doing my favourite things. I sipped mimosas with my girls, did a face mask, and had a lovely breakfast and lunch. After a few mimosas, I actually insisted that Majo come to the villa where the girls were getting ready and take “bath nudes” of me. Anybody that knows me knows I love a bubble bath. It was such a funny moment because all of my friends were in this bath trying to create perfect bubbles to cover my boobs. It was really fun and we laugh about it to this day.

 

I gave my bridesmaids gifts and that was a really lovely and touching moment. Picking out a perfume for each one of them, I wrote letters about why the scent made me think of them. I am a mega perfume collector, so this was a perfect way to share one of my passions with my best friends and family. One of my best friends, Autumn, is also an insanely talented hair and makeup artist. She and her mom did hair and makeup for the girls We had chick flicks on and champagne flowing – one of the best mornings of my life for sure.

 

Alex: My prep for the wedding was really relaxing. I chose not to have groomsmen, but I have a strong group of friends I’ve known for many years. I slept in, had breakfast, and spent the day swimming and hanging out with our guests. My dad gave me a beautiful Hermès tie to wear for the wedding, but I left it at home, so there was a bit of a panic surrounding finding a tie. I ended up going to this random Chinese outlet and picked something out. I’m glad that I was able to hide that panic from Henna, because I think she would have freaked out considering the amount of time she spent styling me. Dexamenes is such a chill place so it was great to just post up on the beach and lounge. There were no nerves, just excitement.

Architectural Seaside Wedding in Greece

Photography

Henna: Majo and Xavi of La Dichosa were our wedding photographers we hired. The way they marry art, fashion, and emotions in their photography is what I love. I knew that I didn’t want the traditional posed wedding photos. I wanted movement, and it was important for me to be able to look back at our photos and remember how everything felt, smelled and tasted. Looking at our photos really takes you back to those moments. Alex: They were honestly the best. I still have people coming up to me telling me how cool they were. I don’t necessarily love having photos taken of me, but they made it really easy. Instead of posing us they encouraged movement and it made me feel much more comfortable.

 

Videography

Our planning team recommended Jim Grillas Films to shoot the video for the wedding. He lives only 30 minutes away from the venue, so it was wonderful to have someone local capturing these moments for us. The video style is cinematic and moody, focusing on capturing the emotions of the day. 

Industrial Style Wedding in Greece

Style Notes

 

Ceremony Décor

For our ceremony we really wanted to utilize the incredible silos at Dexamenes. We ended up bringing in these gorgeous benches to place “runway style” beside the silo. We created this beautiful abstract arch with plenty of greens. I wanted the flowers to remain as neutral as possible so as not to distract from the architecture and natural beauty of the place. The entire wedding was held at Dexamenes, so it was nice to see the transition from ceremony, to dinner to reception.

 

Reception Décor

Our reception decor was absolutely magical. We were obsessed with our dinner tables. Our planner found these incredible matte black plate and cutlery sets and they paired so beautifully with these beautiful terracotta vases. We went a little funkier with the flowers, but I wanted the arrangements on the tables to stay small. I wanted people to be able to have space for their meals and also be able to talk to each other. I loved the dinner chairs that Dexamenes was able to provide. They are so modern and really matched the vibe. They also found these incredible ripple detailed wine and water glasses. I think they added some really interesting texture.

 

The dinner was set under a beautiful canopy of trees, complete with beautiful warm fairy lights to add some beautiful ambient lighting. Once the sun set, we were lit by candles and the fairy lights. It was so romantic and sexy. I didn’t want it to look and feel like a wedding. I wanted it to feel like a romantic dinner with friends and family and we certainly achieved that. As far as the dance party was concerned, we moved to another place in the hotel by the bar. We had a few floral arrangements and some red mood lighting to make it feel like a club. We set up a beautiful lounge space for people to relax and rest, but ultimately everyone was on their feet dancing the night away!

Wedding Planner & Stylist

Laetitia Myrilla with The Twelve Events was the most perfect wedding planner we could have asked for. She was calm, collected, and on a mission. The Twelve Events team truly gave us first class service. We didn’t have to worry about a thing and they were incredibly professional. Erietta was the creative director behind the design and she was truly a riot. Such a warm and creative energy. She took my inspiration and made it 10 times better than I could have imagined. She was a lot of fun, and I am happy to call her a friend to this day. They worked beautifully as a team and it was such a pleasure to experience this with them.

 

Flowers

We wanted the wedding flowers to be both artful and neutral. We wanted a unique design, but we didn’t want to overwhelm the space with too many flowers. For the bridal and bridesmaids bouquets, we went with simple white roses with small green touches. I had these incredible sleeves on my gown, so I didn’t want to have anything competing with the wrist details.

Industrial Style Wedding in Greece

Henna & Alex Wedding

Stationery

Another dream vendor of ours was Nicole from Every Little Something. When dealing with artists, we loved taking a hands-off approach. Rather than try to tell her what we wanted, we showed Nicole the venue, our Pinterest board, colors, and the overall vibe of the wedding and told her to do her thing. The result was so unbelievably classy and well done. She is truly at the top of her game and made the whole process so easy. Our save the dates and wedding invitations were beautiful, and we still get compliments on them.

 

Favours/Bonbonniere

I think 3 days of fun at the beach in Greece was well appreciated and we really just enjoyed each other’s company. 

Architectural Seaside Wedding in Greece

Architectural Seaside Wedding in Greece

Cake

The cake discussion was a heated one in the Kornblum home. Alex is a huge cake lover, and he was adamant that the cake be delicious. He doesn’t like fondant or anything that takes away from the taste of the cake. We wanted just a simple white wedding cake decorated with a few flowers. It was a local baker who was able to make that for us.  We actually ended up with two cakes. One was this beautiful vanilla sponge cake and the second was a vegan chocolate cake. The vegan cake was actually the better of the two!

 

Food & Beverages

We are huge foodies so the food and beverages were very important to us. For our welcome party the first night, we had an open bar and passed food around. Everything was so tasty. For our rehearsal dinner, we went to the Mercouri Estate to enjoy the vineyard and local Greek wines.  It was important to us to have a vegan option for our wedding dinner since Henna is an animal rights activist. We were told by many that the vegan option was the best plant-based meal they’ve ever tried. As the chef at Dexamenes Seaside Hotel is world class, we opted for a full service seated dinner. We wanted our guests to be relaxed and treated to a delicious meal.

Architectural Seaside Wedding in Greece

Fashion & Beauty Notes

 

Bride’s Dress & Shoes

Henna: As a fashion stylist in the bridal and luxury spaces, it was really tough to pick out my look. Having styled hundreds of brides in my time, I had a hard time narrowing it down. It was really important for me to highlight designers of color when it came to picking my ceremony look. My wedding dress was a custom gown created by Iranian-Lebanese designer Harith Hashim. The dress was inspired by a daffodil, my favourite flower, and it is made of this beautiful flowing silk crepe with stunning silk organza sleeves and side cutouts. It was light, comfortable, and let me breathe and enjoy dinner and the ceremony.

 

I handmade a birdcage veil with some silk organza given I couldn’t find a veil that I wanted so I figured I would make one! My ceremony shoes are from Cult Gaia. I didn’t want to have the standard basic wedding shoe, but these gave me a modern glass slipper vibe. For the reception, I changed into a stunning beaded vintage gown with a plunging neckline from The Happy Isles. Having been a pageant girl, I knew I had to include a funky nod to Bob Mackie somewhere in the fashion lineup. I paired that dress with Jimmy Choos.

Industrial Style Wedding in Greece

Henna & Alex Wedding

Bridesmaids Dresses & Shoes

Henna: One of my favourite things about my friends is how diverse they all are. With different beautiful body shapes and skin colors, I told them to pick their own black bridesmaids dresses. Of course I helped style them, but I loved seeing their personalities shine through their choices. I know it’s such a clichè to say, but they truly will wear those gowns again.

 

Wedding Rings, Jewelry & Accessories

Henna: The earrings I wore with my gown were actually made by the wife of the owner of the hotel. Her jewelry brand, Rallou, was on display at the reception desk and my mother generously gifted me diamond drops. It was one of the most exquisite gifts I have ever received. For the reception, I found some really cool gold pearl drops on Etsy. They were light enough to dance with and they complimented my beaded dress well.

Industrial Style Wedding in Greece

Industrial Style Wedding in Greece

Hair & Makeup

Henna: My hair and makeup was done by none other than Autumn Hartt, owner of Beauty at Hartt. Autumn was a bridesmaid, and she is literally the only one allowed to touch my face. She did this beautiful slicked back chignon. It was wind and humidity proof and looked beautiful all night. Since my dress had so much volume, I didn’t want my thick hair to throw off the balance of the look. For my makeup, we coined the term “snatch-ural” when describing the goal. I had spent the year leading up to the wedding really perfecting my skin, so I wanted to look healthy and natural, but still sculpted. I loved my simple cut crease with the eyeliner and she did an amazing job making me look my absolute best.

 

Groomsmen

Alex: I wore a black Armani suit with a white Hermès shirt. Funnily enough, my shoes are from comfort brand Ecco. I really wanted comfortable shoes to dance in, so I was really glad that Henna let me off the hook and found me some that are extremely comfortable instead of putting me in a luxury brand.

The Details

 

Honeymoon 

We went to Egypt for 10 days! It was incredible. We started at the Kempinski at Soma Bay, where we had the traditional all-inclusive beach holiday. We love to swim and scuba dive, so we had an amazing trip. Soma Bay is truly a hidden gem. After that, we drove through the desert to make our way to Luxor. We stayed at this incredible boutique hotel, Marsam, and had a guide take us through the temples for 3 days.

 

Gift Registry

We registered for gifts on Etsy. The pandemic hurt so many small businesses, so it was important for us to choose gifts that would give back to people who were affected by lockdowns and an unsure economy. We genuinely loved all of the gifts, but we were given these incredibly Hungarian crystal champagne coupes that look amazing on our bar cart in the formal dining room of our house.

Wedding Songs

Ceremony Song: Eternal Source of Light Divine By Elin Mahanan

After Ceremony Song: Flashing Lights By Kanye West

First Dance: I’ll Be By Edwin McCain

 

Entertainment

We had an incredible DJ. The party was so alive. For the dinner, we played really chill tribal electro music, which allowed people to talk while also creating immaculate vibes. For the dance party, there was a mix of modern and classic hits. Essentially every party jam ever made was played.

 

Celebrant

Henna: My cousin, Emily, was the officiant. She was raised like a sister to me, and she’s one of the closest people to me. She did such a great job. We had a few inside jokes surrounding the ceremony script, since we essentially took the same verbiage and format from Will and Kate’s wedding. I am obsessed with the royals so that was a funny and subtle nod to that.

 

Readings

No readings! The ceremony was short and sweet.

Henna & Alex Wedding

Henna & Alex Wedding

Our Advice

 

A memorable moment…

Our rehearsal dinner was truly spectacular. We invited family only to the incredible Mercouri estate. Everyone was told to wear white and light neutrals and the aesthetic was really stunning. We played jazz music and enjoyed a delicious Greek dinner. It was also the first time that our family was truly all together, so it was special to get to know everyone in a more intimate and controlled setting.

 

One thing I wish I knew before I started my wedding plans…

Planning a wedding truly shows you who your real friends are. While we were expecting to have a beautiful and aesthetic event, we weren’t prepared for the massive outpouring of love that we received from so many people. It was truly beautiful.

 

Sources of inspiration…

We really let the artists do the work. Of course I had a Pinterest board and there were certainly some inspirational photos that we started with as a base, but ultimately I really enjoyed letting our wedding designer take the reins. I didn’t want the same basic wedding that you see everywhere online so we couldn’t really take too much inspiration from other weddings. There were paintings that I loved and natural photographs that inspired me, so with those abstract ideas the design team was able to really just go all out creatively.

 

If I could give other brides one piece of advice it would be…

While we have no regrets and wouldn’t change a thing about the wedding, we would probably say that sweating the little things doesn’t serve you. While every detail was perfect, we barely noticed the flowers, or the lighting, or whatever small random thing we obsessed over for nearly a year. The most memorable moments were those with our loved ones. We were too busy having the time of our lives to acknowledge those small details. Don’t stress about them…that’s why you have a planner! Just let everything happen and trust your planning team.

Henna & Alex Wedding

Our Contacts

 

Wedding Venue /  Dexamenes Seaside Hotel

Wedding Stylist & Planner /  The Twelve Events

Photography /  La Dichosa

Videography /  Jim Grillas

Bride’s Dress /  Harith Hashim

Bride’s Shoes /  Cult Gaia

Wedding Rings /  Messika

Hair & Makeup /  Beauty at Hartt

Stationery /  Every Little Something

Florist /  The Twelve Events

Catering /  Dexamenes Seaside Hotel

Entertainment /  Vassilis Karantzas

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