Santorini weddings are romantic, sea-scaped and sunset filled days of joy. And we don’t say this lightly. Those among you who’ve always imagined your perfect day to be something approaching a fairytale wedding – this is your island. Ice white terraces gleam in the sunshine – providing the perfect blank canvas for your colour scheme. Caldera views and – sorry for the cliche – sparkling seas are your backdrop. Plus Santorini’s wedding venues come with everything from on-site accommodation to firework displays and gourmet food. But it’s not all glitz and bridal glam. Santorini beach weddings are no less impressive – but there are venues where the main focus is a chilled out vibe and, of course, the after party.
You’d be right to be cynical about our love for Santorini. But just one glimpse of any of the bloom-strewn terraces and picture-perfect receptions and you’ll be just like us. Smitten.
Before you’ve even looked at Santorini wedding venues, the weather question will have cropped up a few times. And while we can’t promise to predict conditions on your perfect day, we can clue you in to what to expect over the Santorini wedding season.
If you’re budget-minded but want spring vibes, April, May and early June are your months. Looking for a hot, beach wedding when Santorini’s season’s in full swing? Late June, July and August are for you. Holding out for September? Expect spaces to be sparse everywhere. This is Santorini’s ‘Goldilocks’ month, where almost all conditions are near perfect. If we had one word of warning for September? Things can get a little breezy. If weather’s not on your radar and you’re in the market for something quiet, low key and low cost, October through the winter months are the times to bag the best bridal deals.
If you’ve been day-dreaming about a coastal cliff top wedding, chances are it looks very much like the terrace at Le Ciel. Chic, elegant and suitably luxe, Le Ciel can host you and up to 120 guests for your ceremony and reception. Prized views over the caldera form the backdrop to your vows and the air-conditioned indoor venue keeps any weather concerns to a minimum. As you’d expect, the menu tends towards the gastronomic end of the spectrum. Le Ciel is the kind of Santorini wedding venue where your guests may well be distracted by any number of things – the ever flowing drinks, the show stopping plates or the sunset views. A definite contender for ‘perfect wedding location’.
Perched on a hillside in Pyrgos, the Santorini Gem also delivers those all-important caldera views. It’s slightly more spacious – with room for up to 160 guests and includes some of the extras Le Ciel charges for. And while the Gem might not quite be as high-end as Le Ciel, you’ll still get a meticulously planned day – with a slightly more relaxed vibe. Wedding planners, a wedding villa and swimming pool are all nice touches. As are the chargeable extras. Fireworks are always a show stopping way to end the day. Santorini Gem’s private estate and gardens guarantee exclusivity – and some rare greenery for your wedding photos.
If you’ve done a bit of Santorini wedding research already, you’ll no doubt have browsed through a lot of similar looking scenes. Cliff views, clean, white lines and swish locations. If your wedding is just going to be one big party, consider Theros Wave Bar. Firstly, you’ll be about as close to the ocean as you can get. And Theros Beach Bar knows how to balance a distinctly chilled event, while making sure everything runs smoothly. Food, dancing and drinks into the very small hours will definitely deliver a reception to remember. We can also recommend the fireworks for that final wow factor. Just be sure to arrange a sturdy enough vehicle to get here. The road in is a little bumpy…
Not everyone wants a big blowout event where the guest list runs into triple figures. For an intimate wedding – we’re talking 10 people or less, Katikies Santorini fits the bill. It’s in Oia – which will immediately have you picturing your wedding snaps in front of those blue-domed buildings Santorini is known for. And it’s a luxury hotel. Which means you and your guests don’t have to worry about transport. Relaxed, high end and low key – and, perfectly placed for Santorini’s stunning sunsets.
If you’ve looked at all the Santorini wedding terraces and want something a smidge more unique, take a peek at El Viento Villa. Santorini’s oldest windmill adds a much-needed touch of shabby chic charm to what’s still a very luxurious setting. Venue, views and the volcano are all present. An open air bar and the private terrace add some wedding essentials to the ‘fairytale’ setting. The nearby village of Megalochori is a real charmer – and worth nipping to for a bit of variety in your Santorini wedding photo album. Worth considering this spot for your wedding proposal too…
Church and Chapel weddings
Depending on your religion, this is where things can get complicated. Unlike civil ceremonies, your options are limited. Catholic weddings only take place at the cathedral in Fira – though there was a phase where even this was off limits to visitors. Greek Orthodox weddings have the island’s many chapels and cathedrals to choose from, but both of your religions will need to be one approved by the Greek Orthodox church. Lastly, same-sex marriages aren’t legally binding in Greece. Though you can still have a symbolic wedding – just remember to sign those legal documents once you’re back home.
All the venues we’ve listed, with the exception of El Viento Villa, offer their own in house catering. But that doesn’t stop you shopping around for something more suited to your – and your guests tastes. Mario Catering has been in the business for 35 years – and with traditional recipes handed down from Grandma, you know you’re in for something suitably Aegean. Spicy Bites Catering is a tad more eclectic, Greek, Indian and even a chocolate fountain appear on their menus. If you’re concerned about organising your canapes and mains, consider the services of an event planner. Organised and in-country, companies such as Marryposa Royal Events can plan everything from your flowers and photography to catering and music.
Santorini Wedding Traditions
You’d be forgiven for thinking you’ll need to stock up on a few plates for your Greek wedding. But the stereotypical post-wedding plate smashing is mostly a thing of the past. By all means still smash a few – venue allowing, but Santorini weddings have a few more refined customs to choose from. We’re quite charmed by thought of musicians gathering at the groom’s house on the morning of the wedding. They then accompany him to the bride’s house – where they then provide the soundtrack all the way to the church. A tad flamboyant – but what a way to make an entrance.
If you’re looking for something a little easier to slot into your big day, it’s traditional for guests to throw rice and flowers at newlyweds as they leave the church – though you could easily adapt this for any Santorini wedding day. There’s also a rather elaborate tradition involving the priest, best man, a few villagers and a trip to a winery. The priest is there to gather vines for your wreath, the best man is needed to hand over sweet wine – to bless the vines – and the villagers? We’re still none the wiser. As with all the best traditions, there’s a slight air of mystery about this one. And those wreaths, a big part of the Greek Orthodox ceremony, they are then kept under your marital bed for luck.
Perhaps there’s one Greek wedding tradition we can all get on board with – the celebration. Big parties, with big numbers – and a great excuse to invite everyone to a lavish wedding in Santorini.
Looking to taste a selection of fine wines for your big day? Check out our wine tasting tour of Santorini for all you need to know.
Got your guest list sorted? Get one step closer to your big day by sending the Orbzii app to your phone to dream, plan and book your ultimate wedding in Santorini.