October 26, 2018 Claudia 3Comment

Crete is such an amazing destination! Not only because of its magnificent beaches but mainly because it is such a diverse island. It is the largest of the Greek islands, and also one of the most popular, but it does not change the fact it also allows the privacy and intimacy with its small beaches, national parks and small islets. There is a lot to do!

I see Crete as a perfect wedding destination. It not only has a great weather, mouthwatering food, delicious wine, but also a lot of opportunities for a potential wedding venue.

 

Legal Requirements

As you might have seen in my previous articles – I prefer to write about the legal procedures before I proceed on with the nice stuff. I think it saves a lot of hassle. So I did some research and it shows the weddings in Greece can be civil, religious or a combination. All types of weddings are legally recognised. An officiant performs all the civil ceremonies, while a minister or priest performs religious events.

Greece is known to be a liberal European country, but also a religious one. The Greek Orthodox Church opposes gay marriage, which means same-sex civil marriages are still not legally recognized.

You don’t need to be a citizen or a resident of Greece to get married there. However, if you’re marrying a Greek citizen or resident, he or she must hold a valid residence permit. Some legal requirements may vary depending on the city or island where you plan to get married, so it’s always a good idea to check with local authorities.

The legal minimum age for marriage is 18 years old. Younger couples can get married if they receive special dispensation from a court, which also requires parental permission.

  • A valid passport
  • A birth certificate with the Apostille stamp certifying the copy
  • An official Apostille translated into Greek, which can be certified by a lawyer, a foreign ministry’s translation department, a certified translator or the Greek consulate from your home country
  • Proof of freedom to marry, or affidavit of marriage, notarised, in both English and Greek
  • A decree of absolution of your previous marriage, if applicable
  • A copy of the local newspaper where your intent to marry was published

What are the costs of such procedures?

 

  • €7 for affidavit of marriage
  • Between €200 and €500 for documentation costs

 

How to get there? When is the best time for a wedding?

There are several ways of getting to Crete. Unlike the rest of the Mediterranean islands, Crete has two airports – Heraklion and Chania. It depends on which part of the island you want to explore, but the flights from the UK and Germany are pretty frequent and rather affordable. May-June is a cost of 50/60euro return from both countries, even if booked last minute -it is not a condition though, I recall from my experience from May 2016 and September 2018. We missed our flight back  home and booked another one with Ryanair with the cost of 40 euro one way with a day advance ( Chania- Wrocław, Poland).

The best period of getting married in Crete is said to be September-October. I met some of the tourism board representatives and Greek ambassadors during World Travel Market in London last year and I was given an explanation – September is the most beautiful Month of all! Not only the fall colours are simply astonishing and would make a great photoshoot background, but the temperature is simply perfect for an outdoor wedding. The way I see it, end of April-June is also fine, but I once visited Crete during that time and the evenings were a bit chilly. July-August are the hottest Months, but it depends on what you are after. In general, December-March is the very low season on Crete and you might not achieve the ‘WOW’ effect during those months.

Get married in the capital!

Heraklion is the capital of Crete. It is the largest city on the island with the variety of sights including the Venetian Port, University and the bronze age Palace of Knossos located nearby.

We had a pleasure to stay and experience the new luxury Legacy Gastro Suites, located in the heart of Heraklion, only a stone’s throw from the marina. Staying at the Legacy Suites means you will see and experience the real Greek food and Cretan heritage. As they say ‘(…) Legacy Gastro Suites will change the way you experience the cultural heritage and culinary traditions of Crete, stirring all your senses along the way.’ Well, it is hard not to agree.

We had our breakfast served to our suites – every morning with the first glimpse of the late September sun. The procedure of ordering breakfast is also different from what we have ever experienced. The guests are expected to pick what they want with the receptionist, who is well informed about the Greek food and what to recommend. We especially loved the selecion of cheese and pastries – most of the samples are hard to get, even in Greece, which makes it even more special.

12 luxurious, sea-view suites are very chic and luxurious. They would definitely make of a perfect honeymoon destination. Our room, ‘The K Suite’  was named after Nikos Kazantzakis, who was the author of ‘Zorba the Greek’. The room is very elegant and represents the intellectual character of Kazantzakis. The bed is framed in a bookshelf and the glass wall is covered in quotes, which gives you a romantic feel and transforms you somewhere in one of his novels.

What you would also find in your room is the selection of wines with the special white wine cooler, a selection of Greek snacks including cakes, cheese and dried fruits. The balcony also features a special dining area, which is a great idea for a honeymoon dinner.

Legacy Gastro Suites offers wedding packages and honeymoons and they are really good at it. You could have your ceremony organized outdoors in one of their premises on the beach – it is up to you. The rooftop setting in Heraklion on the top of Legacy Suites will be ready next year (expected Spring 2019), so it might be an amazing idea for a small boutique wedding as well! One thing you could be sure of is that you would get the most amazing service and… the most amazing experience! The food is specially adjusted to the couple’s needs and the menu is always created with the couple.

 

 

SIMPLE HAPPINESS PACKAGE

  • Wedding at the beach
  • Registrar and two witnesses
  • Wedding exclusive planner
  • Professional photographer (inclusive of)

o    Photography/drone/video during ceremony

o    Photography/video during dinner

o    The day after photo shoot – Heraklion Prefecture

  • Decorated gazebo with textiles and flower bunches
  • A decorated path to the gazebo area with lanterns, candles, rose petals
  • Bridal bouquet
  • Wedding cake
  • Ceremony coordination
  • Transfer to and from the beach
  • All taxes and VAT included

 

Package price: 2.800€

 

SINGING HAPPINESS PACKAGE

  •  Wedding at the beach
  • Registrar and two witnesses
  • Pre-wedding meeting with a wedding planner
  • Professional photographer (inclusive of)

o    Photography/drone/video during the ceremony

o    Photography/video during dinner

o    Day after photo shoot – Heraklion Prefecture

  • Decorated gazebo with textiles and flower bunches
  • A decorated path to the gazebo area with lanterns, candles, rose petals
  • Bridal bouquet- groom’s boutonniere
  • Ceremony coordination
  • Wedding Cake
  • Transfer to and from the beach
  • Bridal make up
  • Bridal hair
  • Bottle of champagne after the ceremony
  • Live lounge music playing during the reception
  • All taxes and VAT included

 

Package price: 4.000

 

  • The dinner price per person is 60€ standard and 110€ luxury. The minimum number of attendees for the wedding reception is 20, and the maximum is 30.
  • Basic beverage package is 15€/pp
  • Full beverage package  is 20€ /pp
  • The package prices concern 20 persons
  • The maximum number of people to stay in the hotel is 24.
  • The wedding cake price varies according to the number of attendees.

May – September 2019

Approximate Wedding Package Prices: Stay cost for 24 guests attending the wedding reception at Legacy Gastro Suites for 3 nights is around 450€per room

 

Wedding Planning

 

Organising a wedding abroad or even a wedding within a country is quite of a deal, one must admit. In some cases, the bride and groom to be don’t have spare time to fly in and out the destination country. Moreover, there are the whole decorations part, flowers, brochures, guest setting. It gets people really stressed. For this reason, I would strongly advice to hire a wedding planner in order to help you make your Big Day come true. Mariangela from ‘My Planner’ is a passionate lady, full of great ideas and fresh, revolutionary opinions. As she claims Do what you love and you will never have to work a day in your life. Planning is not “a job” for me, it is creation. It is art.’ Mariangela was born in Crete, Chania, which means she knows the island very well. Being a local allows her to have an access to the best network of local florists, DJs, photographers, not to mention she knows the best food and wine suppliers!  MyPlanner does not do packages , they treat every couple differently and with a very personal approach. Mariangela does her best in order to spend the couple’s budget in the best way. I have got some photo samples of her work in order for you to see who she is and what My  Planner does.

 

 

WHY CRETE?

Crete is such an amazing island – mainly because it offers a lot! It is the largest of the Greek islands and definitely one of the most exciting ones! There is a lot to see and do, and such wedding destination would please even the most demanding travellers. There are the mountains, national parks, the beautiful paradise beaches as well as the heritage sights, such as Knossos Palace. Choosing a wedding destination also means you are choosing a holiday for you and your guests. It is improtant to ensure your guests would get the most of the place as well as to deliver the best attractions – sunbathing is ok, but the couple should be more creative in keeping their wedding guests enternatined! Crete seems to be just perfect for a great vacation!

Balos Beach

Crete has some of the most amazing, idyllic, Maldives-like beaches, such as Balos and Elafonisi. The beaches are one of the top attractions, so I would strongly recommend to arrive in the early morning to be able to … enjoy the beach. Visiting Balos Beach in the high season might not be the best idea, as it gets really really crowded. The walk from the parking place to the beach is quite long and… demanding. Flat shoes are a must 🙂

Altenratively, I think Balos Beach would make of a perfect wedding photo shoot location!

Samariá Gorge

Samariá Gorge is the National Park located in the southwest Crete. It is one of the top attractions of the island – is it not perfect for after-the-wedding activity? 🙂 The village of Samariá lies just inside the gorge, You could drive up the hill and leave the car on the free parking space for the whole day. The ‘entry’ to the National Park is quite tricky to find, but you could ask the locals who are very friendly and will definitely guide you.

A must for visitors to Crete is to complete the walk down the gorge from the Omalos plateau to Agia Roumeli on the Libyan Sea, at which point tourists sail to the nearby village of Sougia or Hora Sfakion, where they could spend a night there, or they could catch a coach back to Chania. The walk takes five to seven hours and can be strenuous, especially at the peak of summer.

 

Spinalonga

Spinalonga – my fiance’s favorite attraction on the island. Spinalonga is a little islet located in the northeast Crete. Originally, Spinalonga was a part of Crete but it was separated from the island during the Venetian times in order to serve as a fortress. It the 20th century it was subsequently used as a leper colony (from 1903 to 1957) which is how it because worlfamous. Spinalonga is easily accessible from Plaka, Elounda and Agios Nikolaos. Tourist boats depart from all three towns every 30 minutes every day (in the high season). Round trip fare from Plaka is 8 Euro, from Elounda 10 Euro. Entrance to the island costs 8 Euro/adult. There is no accommodation on Spinalonga, which means it would only be a day trip. It takes around 1 hour driving from Legacy Gastro Suites to Plaka, where you could depart from.

Heraklion

As previously mentioned, Heraklion is a capital city of Crete and the largest city on the island. It is very lively and has, the way I see it, a good vibe about it. Legacy Gastro Suites has a very good location – only 10 minutes walking from the old Venetian Port, which is the main attraction in the city. Alternatively, you could also visit the Archeological Museum and the Palace of Knossos, which is located nearby. The Palace of Knossos is said to be a must-see, but do not ever go withot a tour guide. There are some things in this world that require an explanation and the ancient Greek ruins are definitely one of them.

 

Chania

Chania is informally known as ‘the second capital’ or even ‘ the capital of the West’. It is the second largest city on the island. The city is very colorful and romantic – with all its narrow alleyways. Chania is perfect for a day trip – perhaps it is a good idea to stay there before your departure (if you fly home from Chania Airport). Chania is located quite far from Heraklion – around 2,5 hours driving, but it is worth to see the city while going to see the west side and its beaches.

Bachelorette/ Hen Party

Crete is also oh-so-perfect hen and bachelorette party destination! It is not only warm and sunny but also offers the best wines and food! What is the best venue for a big once-in-a-lifetime party? Cabana Mare is a chic sea club located in Agia Marina, only around 10/15 minutes driving from Chania! We spent our first day in the club and we absolutely love the vibe! It is not only a chic and luxurious place but spacious, with a private beach and a huge swimming pool. The cabanas are stylish, designed in a Balese style and featuring some great Mediterranean views!

There are loads of parties going on at Cabana Mare in the summer time, but you could also organise a private event. You can rent a private luxury cabana, private Jacuzzi and even a pool to yourself.  The food and drinks are a top class – with Moet Chandon as a leading brand! Apart from that, Cabana Mare offers the choice of top wines and champagnes. You could also enjoy shisha – you have loads of flavours to choose and enjoy in in a private cabana.

As for the food, Cabana Mare is known for its delicious Japanese cuisine and  Greek iconic dishes at Dictamo, their Creative Cretan Cuisine Restaurant, where you can find fresh fish and seafood. It is recommended to order their delicious crayfish or super luxurious fresh lobster from their aquarium.

 

3 thoughts on “Big Fat Greek Wedding on Crete

  1. I had not realised that getting married in Crete is so popular! I lived in Chania for a bit over 1 year and I definitely second your thoughts! Stunning photos too 🙂

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