When planning a Santorini wedding, there’s a lot to consider. Logistics for your guests, the best time of year, accommodations, transportation, and hiring a local florist/planner can all seem like a lot of work. Luckily, We’ve shot a great number of weddings in Santorini and we’re happy to help with advice and will help make your wedding the dream you imagined it to be.
Planning and Timing of a Santorini Wedding
Let’s start by facing the truth- weddings in Santorini are more difficult to plan than weddings in the USA. Not only do the Greeks have a slower sense of time, but they don’t understand a lot of what might be important to you as an engaged couple. Think “island time” when you’re on Santorini. Greeks are great people but chronically late. Weddings in Santorini are truly amazing, but you have to plan for a busy day and allot for extra time, add in buffers of thirty minutes or so after every major event. Leave plenty of time for photos, especially if you’re planning on shooting all over the island. It’s about 25 minutes from Thira to Oia, and more if there’s traffic. Peak season for Santorini weddings is summer, the busiest times being June, July and August.
Keep in mind how many tourists there are in Santorini, people from all over the world want to get married in Santorini. The streets of Oia and Thira can be flooded with tourists, making it difficult or impossible to get photos without anyone in them.
This can also pose a difficult problem when thinking about your wedding guests. People with walkers and mobile difficulties should take extra time and precautions when getting around. Always bring a few extra people to help when going to and from your Santorini wedding.
For the timing of your Santorini wedding, remember that it can get very very hot on the island in the summer. Most weddings in Santorini happen late in the afternoon or early evening to avoid the midday sun. The bride traditionally rides a donkey to the church and meets her groom there. The first time they see each other is in the church as she walks down the aisle. The ceremony at most Santorini weddings is relatively quick, Greek weddings are not as long as catholic weddings. The priest blesses the couple, the rings, and then they circle three times. All of the evens all happen in threes per Greek tradition. Once the couple is married, they can exit the church and enjoy time with their family or family photos. This tends to still be hot in the summer, so most of the time they head straight from the church to the wedding reception.
Receptions for Santorini weddings are straight-up wild. Greeks party a lot, and a Santorini wedding is no exception. The party runs late into the night, often not ending till sunup. Greek dancing, food, gift-giving, and lots of traditional drinks are the backbone of a Greek reception. Celebrating the newlywed couple is often a neighborhood celebration, so don’t be surprised if a few strangers show up to your Santorini wedding, they mean well.
Weddings in Santorini are meant to be a lifelong event, and yours will be remembered forever. Remember to allow for extra time for everything and you’ll be right on time.
Transportation and Accommodations
Getting around Oia and Thira can be difficult, especially if you’re the one driving. When planning for your Santorini wedding, it’s smart to hire a bus or shuttle service for transportation, the bus drivers know the island well. There are many other parts of Santorini you can get married in, but Thira and Oia are the most popular. We’ve shot a number of weddings in Santorini, and they’ve all taken place in one of those two cities. For your guests, I’d recommend everyone stay in the same spot, renting out an entire villa or hotel is not uncommon. This way all of your guests are close and can all party together without having to worry about when the next shuttle leaves. Accommodations can be quite expensive in the peak season, so if you’re getting married in Santorini, be sure to budget for it. This might be the most expensive part of your wedding as rooms can start at $500 and go up to $1500 a night. When you rent out an entire villa or hotel, you can expect better service and fewer “drop-ins” on your wedding as the whole staff is focused on just you and your family. Every time I’ve shot a wedding in Santorini, I’ve had a rental car. This last time I didn’t even use it because the bride and groom provided transportation for us. It was marvelous, and from now on I’m going to request this from future couples whenever I’m shooting a wedding in Santorini.
Recommended hotels that I’ve stayed at would be Cavo Tagoo, Chromata, Kirini, and Katikis, they’re all great hotels and will give your guests the best service.
Wedding Photography in Santorini
Weddings in Santorini are truly a once-in-a-lifetime event and should be treated as such. If you’re going to splurge anywhere, it should be on the wedding photography. Wedding photographers in Santorini tend to take the same shots, you should hire someone who is from America but has shot there before. This isn’t just a self-plug, but I’ve shot a lot of weddings in Santorini, and I’ve been recommended by Greek wedding planners because of just that reason – the photos are something different that Americans can appreciate. Greek photographers don’t do as good of a job, because it’s work to them. An American photographer that comes with you will better understand the importance of your wedding photos and will take you to the best wedding photo spots in Santorini.
When planning for your Santorini wedding, be sure to allow lots of time for wedding photography. I shot two hours with my last couple, we did wedding photos in Oia, Thira, and Anastasi church in Imigiovigli, and two hours was just enough time to get everything we wanted. The light is perfect in the afternoon and early evening, you’ll be sure to get some great shots if you plan accordingly. I’d recommend making a list of all the Santorini wedding photography locations you want, and going over it with your photographer. We adjusted the timeline twice to accommodate wedding photos, and we were luckily able to hit all the spots we wanted. The wedding photos in Santorini are some of the best I’ve ever shot, because of the lighting and the beautiful background. Be sure to hire a wedding photographer for your Santorini wedding that knows about light, understands the Greek traditions, and how to accommodate for the extra amount of tourists and heat that you’ll see on the island. No matter where you get married in Santorini, we wish you the very best!
Are you recently engaged and planning a wedding in Santorini? Congrats, we’d love to be a part of your special day. We’ve shot a lot of weddings in Santorini and would love to chat more. Please feel free to reach out to us today with questions and to set up your consultation. Even if you’re getting married in Santorini and don’t plan on hiring us, we’re still happy to talk. We can offer advice, give referrals, or recommend places to go and things to do. Please contact us today.
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Want more information on Santorini? Check out their official website here for more information on Santorini weddings.
If you’re getting married and want beautiful wedding photography like you see here, be sure to contact us today and we’d be honored to shoot your wedding!
Want to view more beautiful wedding images? Check out our galleries here!
Article by Clane Gessel Photography