Your Guide to Getting Married in Santorini
Are you considering a destination wedding? Have you always dreamed of tying the knot somewhere beautiful and exotic? If so, Santorini tops the list in terms of locations. If you’re starting the process and wondering where to begin, here’s your go-to guide on all the basics for getting married in Santorini.
When you hear “Santorini,” you likely think of blue skies, blue seas, and white houses. It’s an incredibly picturesque location as an island surrounded by the Aegean Sea. It has something for everyone — history, views, wine-tasting, sunsets, swimming, tours, and more. Destination weddings often become mini-vacations for those who attend, and there’s no better destination than Greece. In fact, it’s one of the most popular choices for weddings abroad because it has so much to offer.
What’s the best time of the year to get married in Santorini?
The best time to get married in Santorini is from April to October. This six month period is generally when it’s both warmest and driest, which means you’ll get sunshine and blue skies more often than not. Both April, May and October are considered shoulder season which means they’re good in terms of weather but do not attract the same tourist crowds as May, June, July, August or September. This can mean a couple of things.
- You want to opt for one of the “high season” months to guarantee the weather and to go when Santorini will have everything open (they often close restaurants and other attractions in the off season)
- You want to select the “shoulder season” months to avoid the crowds and possibly get better wedding deals
The important thing to remember is that you really can’t go wrong in this time frame. Each month has it’s advantages and disadvantages (heat, wind, etc.), but Santorini is still known as one of the most beautiful travel destinations in the world. Regardless of the date you choose, your wedding will be gorgeous.
Where to start when getting married in Santorini – destination wedding planning
Planning any wedding can feel overwhelming, but planning a wedding abroad (even if it’s your dream wedding) can feel impossible. Where do you begin? How do you know how it works so far from home? How do you navigate the time change and language barrier? Never fear!
- Start early. While domestic weddings can be planned in a relatively short amount of time, destination weddings can’t be thrown together quite so quickly. For example, if you get engaged in May, you likely won’t be able to throw together an October wedding for the same year in Santorini. You’ll need the entire year to plan the wedding, let your guests know, and coordinate with vendors. Since Santorini is a popular destination wedding spot, it also pays to plan early so that you can book your preferred location and vendors.
- Create a budget. Budgeting is a big factor when it comes to weddings, and destination weddings are no different. Chances are you’re going to have to budget a little bit higher than if you were having the wedding in your home town. Set a realistic budget and do your best to stick to it. Factoring in those extra expenses now will benefit you later.
- Make contact with a local provider. While some couples opt not to use a wedding planner for a domestic wedding, utilizing a local provider for a destination wedding can help make your life much easier. They’ll be able to help you navigate any challenge that arise on the ground in Santorini. Do research to find someone who aligns with the wedding that you envision and work with them to get to where you want to go.
- Understand the legal requirements. As romantic as your wedding will be, marriage is — after all — a legal process. This means that you need to work within the Greek legal system in order to get married there. Read the section below to understand the documentation you’ll need to get legally married. You can also double check with your provider to ensure you’ve get everything down.
- Take a trip to Santorini before your wedding. Yes, this is expensive, but it’s so worth it to make sure everything aligns with your visit. If you’ve picked a solid local provider, they’ve hopefully been helping you get everything ready, but there’s nothing like seeing it yourself. You don’t want to show up on your wedding week and have to fix little details. No couple wants to deal with that! Save yourself the trouble and do a dry run with an initial trip out to your destination.
What type of documentation do I need?
You may be overwhelmed from the legalities perspective when thinking about getting married in a country outside of your own. However, it’s getting married in Santorini is relatively easy, which is another reason (outside of their stunning views, perfect weather, and wide range of activities) that it attracts so many couples in the first place. Here are some of the items you’ll need to think about in advance.
- Both parties must be at least 18 years of age
- The parties cannot be related (blood, marriage or adoption)
- Two witnesses are required and must have their passports with them
- There is no residency requirement to marry in Greece
- The parties must obtain a marriage license in Greece through the following process:
- You must bring your passports, full birth certificates, a certificate of no impediment (issues by your local Registry Office no more than 3 months prior to your wedding date)
- If you were previously married and divorced, you must bring your original marriage certificate as well as your final divorce papers
- If you are widowed, you must bring your spouse’s death certificate
- If you are adopted, you must bring your adoption certificate
- If you have changed your name by deed poll, legal proof of this must be shown (stamped and dated by a solicitor)
All of the above documents must be translated and certified by the Greek Embassy or Consulate in your country. You will need to remain in Santorini for at least one day after your wedding to have your Marriage Certificate signed at the Town Hall. After that, it will be sent to you by post.
Your dream Santorini wedding awaits you! While it may feel confusing now, the steps to getting married in Greece aren’t that different than in your home country. Keep calm throughout the planning and enjoy the process.
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