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First, pick what time of year you want to have your wedding. Santorini’s warm, dry season lasts from April-October, and the colder, rainy season lasts from November-March. Summer is definitely the most busy time to visit Santorini, since all the tourists want to experience the beautiful, warm weather, so keep that in mind if you’re considering a summer wedding in Santorini. Travel costs and accommodations will be a lot pricier with the influx of tourists, but it’s absolutely still possible to find a place to stay away from the crowds, and wedding venues in areas with fewer tourists.
If you’re going to spend money on anything, spend it on a local wedding planner. Whether or not you’re going to have a legal ceremony and will need guidance from a local who has more knowledge of Greek marriage laws, having a wedding planner who knows the area will help immensely with the planning process.
Especially if you’re having a destination wedding and won’t be able to see your venue after your initial visit (or if you’re choosing your venue based on photos/virtual tours and won’t be visiting at all), it’s incredibly beneficial to have somebody local to help you plan everything out. They can help book activities for you and your guests, find vendors in the area, and really just take a ton of stress off your shoulders when it comes to planning your ideal Santorini wedding experience!
I highly recommend looking into Nikos Sirigos of SantoriniWeddings.net – he’s a super awesome Santorini wedding planner that has worked with so many couples to help them plan their dream weddings and does a killer job.
Next, choose whether you want to go through the process of having a legal wedding ceremony in Greece or keep it simple with a symbolic ceremony. You can absolutely still say your vows and participate in some sort of unity ceremony if you opt for a symbolic ceremony instead of a legal one!
If you choose a legal ceremony, start doing research into getting your Greek marriage license ASAP, as the process can take a while. This is where it is super helpful to have a local Greek wedding planner who knows exactly what to do and can walk you through the entire process!
Now comes the fun part: picking your wedding venue! There are tons and tons of epic Santorini wedding venues that make it really hard to choose just one, haha. I’d recommend looking into all the venues I listed above, especially Le Ciel (where I recently photographed the most stunning wedding), and trying to narrow it down from there. Read reviews, ask your wedding planner for advice, and find one that either has accommodations you & your guests can stay in during your trip, or that’s close to some great places to stay.
Once you’ve narrowed down your venue selection & have hired a planner, you’ll want to hire the rest of your Santorini wedding vendors, starting with your Santorini wedding photographer! Photographers tend to book out much further in advance than many other vendors, so I recommend hiring one as soon as possible to make sure you get a photographer you love. I’d love to be considered when the time comes to hire your Santorini wedding photographer – I’ve traveled to Santorini multiple times for weddings and every time I swear I fall more in love!
Deciding who to invite can often be one of the hardest parts of wedding planning. But luckily, it’s a little easier with destination weddings, since it’s likely that not all of your friends and family will be able to take time off and fly to Santorini for a week. Invite the friends & family members that would mean the most to you to have at your wedding, and who will be able to make the trip.
Next, book your travel + accommodations, including flights, a rental car/group transportation for your guests, and overnight lodging. Santorini is packed full of luxurious resorts, stunning hotels, and breathtaking Airbnbs, so you won’t have any trouble finding an amazing place to stay. Bonus points if you book accommodations where you & your guests can all stay together (such as a big villa) and celebrate before + after the official wedding!
You’re making the trip all the way to Santorini, so you might as well fill it with super fun activities & experiences that you’ll remember forever! Plan some activities (free or paid) that you can do with just the two of you, as well as some that you can participate in with your guests to create a memorable trip for all of you. Book a catamaran cruise for all of you to enjoy together, watch the sunset near Oia Castle on your last night in Santorini, or go wine tasting at one of the many gorgeous wineries on the island.
Once all the hard work is over, it’s time to celebrate! I recommend staying in Santorini as long as you can, at least a week or two, to really get the full experience & be able to celebrate without any rush.