My Grandmother Island A South African Couple

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If we had a grandmother born and raised in Greece, you better believe that we would drag our friends and family to a dream wedding by the sea. But it’s not so easy if you live on another continent, three flights and a ferry ride away…

Antonia and Jonathan knew how important (and obviously beautiful) a wedding on the native island of Ithaca, Antonia’s grandmother, could be. After leaving the South African wedding plans, they decided to take care of the destination wedding planning.

How can a wedding on another continent be so perfectly successful? We believe, and it seems that our bride and groom do too, that it’s all about finding the right planner. Nervous about organizing such a distant business, Antonia was freed from stress after finding the perfect planner Cleopatra.

It is perhaps the most traditional elements of the day that leave us stunned. The Greek Orthodox ceremony with classic stefanas (Greek wedding crowns) adequately honored The heritage of Antonia and the Island. In order not to harm the magnificent Greek Orthodox chapel, the couple and the design team decorated with Greek olive branches and natural additions.


My grandmother, to whom I am very close, was born and raised on the small island of Ithaca in Greece. When we were engaged, Jonathan and I started talking about where to organize the wedding. The obvious choice seemed to be Franschhoek in the Western Cape, South Africa, which has the most beautiful plonk regions in the country. However, Jonathan was absolutely adamant that he wanted to get married in Ithaca (without ever having entered this small emerald of the Ionian Sea).

Ithaca is three flights and a ferry from South Africa. I started to panic about how I could plan an entire wedding from another continent. That’s when I came across Cleopatra’s website. I saw her video “meet Cleopatra” and I immediately knew that I had found the perfect person to plan our dream day and a girlfriend for life. With my mother, I skyped with Cleopatra and gave her a hint of what Jonathan and I wanted for our wedding. Within a few days, Cleopatra had sent an offer-and we were on our way.

Cleopatra understood perfectly what we wanted, and we communicated via WhatsApp and email, sending photos of what we had imagined.

Flowers and style

As Ithaca is a virgin Greek island, we didn’t want anything too glamorous that would spoil its natural beauty and its incredible environment.

As a result, we chose an olive green, cream and white palette to complement the authentic beauty of the Island. Our flowers were composed of olive leaves and various white flowers to highlight the details of the Church and raise the tables that gave a spectacular view of Kefalonia and Vathy, the main village of Ithaca.

The color scheme continued until the wedding day outfits, and the bridesmaids wore olive wreaths in their hair.

Favorite moments

Cleopatra arranged that a magnificent fishing boat, decorated with a heart of shells and white ribbons, would bring the guests to the Lazaretto. My father and I were the last to come and take the last boat to the Lazaret. We had musicians playing Greek love serenades to us while we went to church. The captain blew the horn (so much so that Cleopatra joked that it was going to break) and let the whole Island know that we would come to church while the church bells were ringing. It was the most awesome moment with my dad.


We had a traditional 45-minute Greek Orthodox wedding, which is very symbolic because our wedding crowns (stefana) mean that we are the king and Queen of our wedding. The ceremony took place on a small island called Lazaret, in the middle of the bay of Vathy, by Papa Theodosios and his beloved assistant Louiza.

After our ceremony and our photos, Jonathan, our suite and I boarded the fishing boat and took a tour of Lazaretto Island on the way back to the mainland of Vathy. As we did, the vendors were coming out of their stores (who knew that Lula’s granddaughter was coming back to Ithaca to get married) with passers-by from their stores and beckoning us to shout and applaud. It was really a royal wedding.

Photography and videography

Since Jonathan and I chose our olive green, cream and white color palette, we wanted a photographer who captures the sweetness and authenticity of our day. Maxeen’s photographs are real, but soft and almost pastel, which, in our opinion, would be perfect for capturing daylight and afternoon. Maxeen made us feel at ease and chatted as if we had known her for years. She captured intricate details and the most magical moments that are now frozen in time for Jonathan and I to enjoy.

Photograph Play Love (Nefe Lee and Elia Papadatou) were awesome and captured the special moments to forget in the excitement of the day. Neefe had awesome ideas and integrated our selected music into our wedding video. We were absolutely overwhelmed by the Teaser and the video of the wedding, and we saw it countless times with our friends and family who could not attend.

Tips for other couples

If you have your clothing accessories, sit in your wedding dress to make sure that it is not too tight. I felt so comfortable in my dress and shoes all day and all night, and the only time I cried on my wedding day was taking off my dress when we returned to the hotel.

Don’t sweat the small stuff. It was very windy during our wedding ceremony and my veil exploded. But I didn’t let it take away from the special moments, and I had a fabulous bridesmaid who subtly grabbed my veil anyway.

Take moments, just between you and your husband, to look around the frame and the people who came to celebrate you. There is so much to absorb, but Jonathan and I really took moments to look at what was happening around us, smile and make the magic of our day move.

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