Ask us and we’ll tell you, a destination wedding is the ultimate vacation wrapped up with love. Take this duo, who planned their Big Day on the serenely beautiful island of Mykonos. Because when it comes to dream destinations, this one tops the list with unforgettable backdrops with loving details. Shaun Menary Photography captured it all to share and this ultimate escape waiting in THE VAULT!
From Shaun Menary Photography…These two have our hearts. They currently live in Qatar and wanted to throw a wedding celebration for family and absolute closest friends in a place that everybody would be able to visit. They landed on Greece, and it was perfect. There were 20 guests, and I believe that every single person, at some point, jumped into the pool at least halfway clothed.
Their wedding was intentional and meaningful, with little details like Kate wearing her grandmother’s pearl necklace, and Donovan wearing Chicago Cubs cufflinks. The place card holders had been collected from a market in Qatar, and Kate’s graphic design background is responsible for ALL the custom design elements, including all the paper goods.
They had a three-day celebration, complete with a pool relaxation, dinner on the beach, and of course, the ceremony overlooking Mykonos town and the ocean, followed by an authentic family style Greek dinner and a poolside dance party. Basically, they’re the tops.
From The Bride…Both Donovan and I are not people who plan. We’ve done a good deal of traveling to developing countries and not booking more than flights and hotels. We enjoy being surprised by the unexpected and seeing what we can make of a place without overthinking it. We knew we’d have to do more than this when it came to wedding planning, but we also didn’t want an event that wasn’t “us.” I think we did a pretty good job at finding a spot right in the middle. We talked about the things that were most important to us, and focused on those things and we were willing to let the rest just happen. We focused on finding the right location, good photographers (!), food, and drink.
It was important for us to pick a destination that fell somewhere between the U.S. and Qatar. We didn’t want to pick a place so far away from the states that all of our guests were jet-lagged and asleep for the whole weekend. After some discussions, we said we’d look for hotels in Spain and in Greece. I found Leonidas Summer Houses online more than a year before the wedding — which was great because we were able to make sure the place was exactly what we wanted by visiting and talking to the owner. Our intention during the trip was to stay at the Summer Houses and check out other hotels on the island to compare the options on the island. But Leonidas won us over almost immediately and we never actually looked at any other venues. We knew we’d found the place… so it was time to start planning.
Photography is probably where I did most of my research — I’m a designer, so I had a very specific style in mind. We’re both pretty laid back people, and the wedding was so small and informal that I really wanted photos that felt realistic (but pretty) and candid. I’m also not very photogenic — I always seem to be closing my eyes! So it was important for me to get along with the photographers, so that I could feel comfortable and hopefully get over my blinking problem. I also really wanted to find someone that could hang with our group without making people feel uncomfortable — it was such a small group that I was afraid the photographer would always be noticed and we’d lose the calm feeling of the wedding weekend.
Anyway, I looked for quite a while at photographers in Greece, and then in Europe and couldn’t find anything. Then I started looking on design blogs and found Shaun and Shannon. When I found their images, I saw the look that I’d been searching for… and when we met via Skype, I felt even better about it.
The drawback to choosing a smaller hotel was that all of the services weren’t provided. Of course, Leonidas helped as much as he could, but really it was up to us to find our vendors. It wasn’t easy finding a caterer from another country — many email conversations, and at least two vendors that didn’t work out, we settled on Dimitrios at Yefsi Restaurant. Language and time differences proved challenging, but when we arrived at his restaurant for a tasting of the food, we knew everything would work out just fine!
I should say that without our wonderful friend, Emily, the day wouldn’t have felt quite as personal as it did. She’d been listening to both of us talk about what we hoped the day would look and feel like, so she knew what to do. And she spent the entire day making sure it was exactly what we wanted.
I hadn’t been able to find a place to get flowers online and we ran out of time during the few days that we had to finalize everything on the island before all of our guests showed up, so we’d just decided not to have flowers (this is where the idea to walk down the aisle holding our champagne glasses came from). We were ending the ceremony in a toast, anyway, so it was practical, ha! Anyway, Emily woke up early and found a flower shop. She’d seen my Pinterest board and knew the look that I liked (the green leaves on the dinner plates, the white and green center pieces, and the all green details in the make-shift altar) — but, mostly she did what she’s good at. She made it more beautiful than we could have hoped for.
I’d designed the invitations and the website for the site around a logo that I’d come up with as a theme for the collateral and after finding a shop on etsy that would make logos into stamps, I went a little crazy stamping everything I could (invitations and envelopes, gift bags, name tags, place cards, thank you cards…) It was really fun to see it all together!
Mostly, we just wanted the whole weekend to be comfortable and fun for our guests (who’d flown quite a distance from home for us). If we’d over-planned every detail, I don’t think that feeling would have come across, and then it wouldn’t have matched our personalities, our relationship, or the location for the whole event. We wanted our closest friends and family members to enjoy each others company and to relax in the marvelously beautiful island resort that we loved so much the first time we visited.
Photography: Shaun Menary Photography | Floral Design: Emily Wilson | Wedding Dress: Truvelle | Bride's Shoes: Nordstrom | Catering: Yefsi Restaurant | Venue: Leonis Summer Houses | Bride's Ring: Diamonds Chicago | Custom Stamp: Doodle Stamp | Floral Shop: Studio 7 | Groom's Ring: Lovestruck Soul | Rehearsal Dinner Venue: Konstantis Beach Restaurant | Welcome Bags: The Paper Source