Kata & Warren: A Beautifully Intimate Destination Wedding In Santorini

Kata & Warren: A Beautifully Intimate Destination Wedding In Santorini

It’s our pleasure to bring to you this beautifully intimate wedding on the stunning island of Santorini. Famous for its bright white architecture and equally dazzling blue skies and seas, this Greek island is the perfect getaway for couples who want to embrace the romance of getting away from it all…and don’t get us started on those sunsets!

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Kata and Warren were married in July 2018, and the occasion was made even more special because it was the two-year anniversary of when they met. Kata’s Mum also happens to be the lovely Theresa, who is a wedding celebrant here in Dubai and a good friend of team BCME as well as a vendor club member.

Read on to find out more about planning a destination wedding and to hear how everything came together perfectly on the big day. We’ll also hear from Theresa about attending a wedding as a guest, and how she walked her daughter down the aisle. Enjoy!

How did he propose?

Warren and I were introduced through a mutual friend via Facebook, two years ago in June. I was visiting Johannesburg, South Africa and he offered to pick me up from the airport. At first, I said no, but after talking for two days, when he asked again I said ok, but that I wanted a ‘proper welcome’ with balloons and a welcome sign (as a joke of course, never thinking he would actually do it!). When I landed, lo and behold, there he was, waiting for a woman he had never met before, standing with a bunch of balloons and a sign saying “Welcome home Kata, sorry the brass band cancelled!” He was chatting to an older man and scanning his phone, checking my photos to check what I looked like I guess!

Two years later, Warren proposed to me at the airport in Cape Town. He flew down for work and to see his family, and I flew in two days later to join him. I really suspected nothing, so when I walked out into the arrivals hall, there he was, standing with about 60 balloons and a sign saying ‘Welcome Home Kata’. As I walked towards him, he flipped the sign and it said, ‘Will you marry me?’. Needless to say, I burst into tears, and he got down on bended knee and proposed right there with a beauty of a ring! I was so happy! To top it all, his family was there too filming the whole thing and everyone in the airport around us started cheering and congratulating us. I didn’t even realise they were there at first. It was perfect; it’s where our story began, at JHB international airport, and I couldn’t have asked for a better proposal!

Did you decide on a wedding theme? If so, talk us through your choice…

I wanted to keep the décor simple and elegant as our wedding venue and setting was so unique and stunning, overlooking the Caldera and Mediterranean. It was a black-tie affair, using a colour scheme of white, black, green and gold whilst still keeping a slight Mediterranean feel to it.

Why did you choose to get married in Santorini?

Both Warren and I did not want a big wedding or to get married here in South Africa. We wanted to do something totally different! We wanted a small destination wedding, with only our closest friends and family. My fiancé came up with Santorini, so that we could also combine it with our honeymoon. We decided to have our wedding day on 3rd July 2018, exactly two years to the day we met. Our legal ceremony in Johannesburg was one month earlier, on 2nd June 2018.

I love Greece and being cabin crew for 11 years, Santorini was one destination I had on my bucket list to see, but only with someone very special! I could not think of a better reason and person to finally tick that destination off the list. We had 14 guests and it was perfect!

How did you personalise your wedding day?

We had a symbolic ceremony in Santorini and exchanged our own vows, as we had our legal ceremony here in South Africa, with only the marriage officiant, my Aunt and Uncle (my Dad’s sister), the photographer and us. We wanted to keep the ceremony short, but meaningful.

When our Greek wedding celebrant started to talk, Warren and I both looked at each other and smiled…because we both struggled to understand his strong Greek accent! It definitely was quite unique for us, and afterwards we were given the vows we repeated after him. We did not want to have anything traditional!

My husband spent about three months creating all of the different music playlists for our whole wedding. He loves his music and he really enjoyed preparing all of our songs, from the welcome music and walking down the aisle to the party at the end of the night! Then our wedding planner played it for us through a laptop.

We kept the speeches short. His Mom and Dad, my Mom, his best man and my Maid of Honour were limited to two minutes each.

We wrote our own vows, as we wanted to make them personal and speak from the heart.

We had both my brothers as groomsmen with Warren’s best friend as best man. My sister and two best friends were bridesmaids and Maid of Honour. Most importantly, I had my Mom walk me down the aisle.

Tell us about your wedding planner, they are so important for destination weddings!

After LOTS of online research and emails, I was referred to LovWed by their sister company Poema, who mainly focus on bigger weddings and functions. From the beginning, Panos was so easy to talk to and really understood my vision, what I wanted, and especially what I did not want.

We had one skype meeting with him, and after that Warren and I both knew that we had found our planner. He knew what my vision was from the start, as I did so much research. In fact, he was quite impressed! Panos was always very helpful and assisted with all my questions and requests. He was a pleasure to work with and I highly recommend him to anyone who is planning to get married in Santorini.

How about the venue itself?

I decided on Thermes Luxury Villas as the wedding venue. They were busy building a new terrace and, according to my planner, it was perfect for small intimate weddings. Due to construction, I could not really see what it was going to look like, but if it was anything like the rest of the venue, it was going to beautiful…and it was! When we finally got to see it in real life, Warren and I were utterly delighted.

We kept the venue a bit of a secret for our guests, and when they all arrived there on the wedding day, they were all blown away. It was perfect and we had the most wonderful outdoor ceremony and reception on the cliffs of the Caldera overlooking the Mediteranean.

I decided on one of their wedding packages, as everything I was looking for was included…plus it saved us some money. I was able to speak to the florist to choose my flowers, and there was a wide variety of menus to choose from for the reception dinner (cocktail, buffet or plated) from the top wedding caterer on the island, Spicy Bites Catering. The food was AMAZING! All our guests complimented the food, and for us it was super important to have great Greek food that day, so we were very happy.

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Tell us about your hair and makeup…

I had three make-up artists and hair stylists to choose from, and it wasn’t an easy choice to make. I eventually decided on Eleni Iliopoulou for my makeup and Marianna Nomikou for my hair. They were both such lovely ladies and did a great job with my hair and make-up without any trial whatsoever.

What about photographers and videographers?

We had three great photographers and videographers to choose from to capture our special day. Our Photographer, Triphonas from Dream On Photography, was fantastic and we made a new friend for life! He chose a stunning area close to the venue to capture the most amazing sunset photos!

We could not have asked for a more beautiful wedding video. Kapetanakis Studios captured every moment of our day perfectly. It still brings tears to our eyes every time we watch it.

Tell us about the wedding cake….

I wanted to keep the cake quite simple and not too big. I didn’t see the point of wasting cake! I chose an elegant two-tier vanilla cake with white chocolate ganache icing, decorated with flowers.

Let’s talk wedding gowns. Where did you buy your dream gown?

I had a vision in my head of what I wanted, and I was really hoping I would find my dress on the one day I had to visit bridal boutiques to try on dresses. With my Mom living and working in Dubai, she was only able to come down to South Africa for a couple days. However, after trying on 40 dresses in three different Bridal boutiques, I realised I was not going to find my dress in a store and would have to have my it custom made. After a mild freak out session, due to only having less than three months to have a dress made, I started looking online for designers. I eventually found three designers and ultimately decided on Lizette from Bridal Alchemy, who was amazing! She was the only one who actually listened to what I wanted, saw my vision and gave me advice on how to make it a reality in less than three months!

Most enjoyable part of the planning process…

When all of the research and planning started to fall into place and things started getting ticked off the list!

Most testing part of the wedding planning process as a couple who had a destination wedding…

As an event planner myself, I’m a very hands-on person and a slight control freak!

Planning a destination wedding was tough at times, due to not being able to physically see the venues, caterers and florist; not being able to pick up the phone with questions, dealing with email delays etc…but mainly choosing a venue based on a couple photos, while the venue was under construction and only seeing it once we arrived in Santorini! It was also hard for me to trust the wedding planner’s recommendations and word!

W&K By Xavier

Top three tips for a bride-to-be…

♡ Keep it simple and personal to you as a couple. It’s a day of celebrating you both and your new life together.

♡ Don’t waste too much money on flowers, as they wilt so quickly and so many flowers go to waste after the wedding. Try to DIY some of your own, as this can also be fun!

♡ On your wedding day, slow yourself down to fully enjoy the getting ready process with your girls and Mom; it goes by really fast! The same goes for the rest of the day: enjoy every minute and trust your planner so that you can enjoy your special day with your husband! You really do blink and it’s over! Remember, it’s your day, celebrating you, the couple. Don’t let any drama take over as the day is over so quickly. Make each moment memorable!

Looking back, it truly was a fairy tale wedding and we would not change a thing. It was perfect! Well, perhaps we would change one thing, which would be to have been able to slow down time and make it last longer!

A Note from Theresa du Toit, BCME vendor & Mother of the Bride!

I think everyone knows my absolute passion for marriage, and how I love conducting wedding ceremonies! However, there is one wedding where I only wanted to be the Mother of the Bride, not the Celebrant, and that was when my darling daughter Kata married Warren, the man of her dreams! I am so smiling whilst writing this as the memories of that beautiful day in Santorini flood my mind yet again!

 When I met Warren for the first time, I just knew in my heart he was The One, and each time I spent with the two of them, this was just affirmed in my heart! I can actually say I loved him from the start. The cherry on top was meeting his Mom and Dad, Norma and Doug, and his brother Ross; we got on like a house on fire, as if we had known each other forever. What more can a mother ask for? Happiness overload!

 Celebrations started when we all boarded the EK flight for Greece here in Dubai: All the crew knew that Kata and Warren were getting married (two very happy Moms spreading the news as we went along – you can’t blame us!) and the happy couple were surprised with a celebration cake and some bubbly on board. which I had organised with EK prior to the flight. There was lots of cheering, clapping, and celebrating high in the sky as we were all on cloud nine.

 Walking my precious Kata down the cobbled isle was such a beautiful, emotional moment, filled with so much happiness and incredible joy, and much giggling I can tell you as we negotiated our way downhill in our high heels!

 Kata was radiantly beautiful, and Warren was absolutely beaming as he watched his gorgeous bride walk towards him. My mother-heart was totally overjoyed as I welcomed this stunning man into our family as my son and celebrated the union of our two families who just love each other. This was a match made in Heaven, and, might I add, Dad Philip and step-dad Nick certainly approved from on high!! 

 We partied the night away, with Doug and yours truly singing two songs for the happy couple, and Doug then doing a fabulous solo: Making Whoopee, adjusting the words to Kata and Warren! So much fun, laughter, silliness, celebration drinks and making memories that still make me smile. Just as a wedding should be: a celebration of LOVE!

 My darling Kata and Warren: How I love you! You are such a blessing, and such a joy.

Have fun as you celebrate your love for each other daily, as you discover the wonder of building a love-filled, happy, content marriage!  I love you. MOM xxxxx

The Bride’s Little Pink Book

Venue: Thermes Luxury Villas / Wedding Planner: Panos at LovWed / Legal Ceremony Photographer: Xavier Saer / Wedding Photographer: Triphonas from Dream On Photography / Videographer: Kapetanakis Studios / Dress: Lizette from Bridal Alchemy / Hair: Marianna Nomikou / Makeup: Eleni Iliopoulou / Catering: Spicy Bites Catering

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