A Santorini wedding with a spectacular sunset

05 Dec 2019

Having set her sights on her wedding venue many years before, Rebecca Bate's wedding to Adam Ashton was a dream come true

How did you meet?

We met in a local bar/nightclub in 2011. 

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Tell us about the proposal

We got engaged at Prime Restaurant at the Bellagio Hotel in Las Vegas. Adam proposed in my favourite hotel in Las Vegas overlooking the Bellagio fountains. Adam had planned the meal and had requested an outside table if possible, but this was not possible due to a wedding taking place. We managed to get a table inside overlooking the fountains which was still beautiful.

Adam proposed as soon as we sat down as he was nervous and wanted to get it out of the way so that he could enjoy his food. Adam told me how much he loved me and that he wanted to spend the rest of his life with me and presented me with my dream ring. I had seen it in a local jewellers and had mentioned it to him. Adam went to the jewellers in secret and bought the ring and hid it at my mum's house so I didn’t find it at home.

The restaurant knew about the proposal so they brought over a plate which had some chocolate truffles on and it also said 'congratulations'. All of the waiters came over too to say congratulations to us after we had eaten our meal.

One thing that stuck in my mind when Adam proposed was that he said he had done his bit by proposing so it was over to me to plan the wedding. I ran with this idea and the wedding was booked within two weeks of landing home from Vegas.

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What was the theme for the day, and did you have a colour scheme?

Pink, white and silver for the flowers, stationery and wedding cutlery. I always knew that I wanted black bridesmaids' dresses so they were not in the colour scheme that I went for, but they tied in with the suits that we chose.

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What venue did you choose and why did you choose it?

I saw Dana Villas in Thira before I was even in a relationship with Adam and instantly fell in love with the location and the views. I had visited Santorini on a cruise and fell in love with the vibe of the island and how beautiful it was.

We had spoken about where we wanted to get married before we were even engaged and I had shown Santorini to Adam and he too said it was beautiful. When we landed home from Vegas we started to discuss seriously where we wanted to get married and I mentioned Dana Villas again to Adam.

We toyed with the idea of getting married in the UK but decided that we wanted to go abroad and make it a week’s long celebration. I got in contact with The Bridal Consultants based in Chester and discussed my thoughts and feelings with Lisa. Lisa provided packages for all of the venues in Santorini that they work with on the island and we went away to discuss what we wanted. This didn’t take long as we had already decided on Dana Villas before we knew the cost. My mum kindly paid the deposit and we were able to reserve our dream venue.

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When did you know when you’d found ‘the’ dress?

The dress was Dracme by Pronovias. We went to Majorca on holiday before we were engaged and while in Palma we walked past a Pronovias shop and I instantly fell in love with the style of dresses and in particular the use of lace. As soon as we got engaged I began looking on the Pronovias website at the dresses that they had and found the Dracme dress and knew it was the one for me as soon as I saw it.

I did look at other style and designers but I kept being brought back to the Dracme. I booked some appointments at local shops to go and look at dresses on my birthday in 2017 with my mum and sister. I went looking for the Dracme dress to see if it lived up to my expectations and as soon as I tried it on I knew it was the one. It felt amazing even though it needed alterations.

Once I had found my dress I then started to look for a veil and came across Lisa Carrington Veils on the Santorini Brides Facebook page. I contacted Lisa with a picture of my dress and Lisa designed the perfect veil for me. I wore a beautiful headpiece made by Rocks for Frocks based in Liverpool; I chose this specific headpiece due to the crystals being the same shape of diamond as my engagement ring.

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Who were the bridesmaids and what did they wear? 

My bridesmaids wore custom-made Kirsty Doyle 'Holly' dresses in black. I got in contact with Kirsty and booked an appointment to go and discuss ideas – Kirsty understood my vision straight away and we came up with the idea of having a glittery top and plain tulle skirt. All of my girls loved their dresses and they altered the top when we started to party so that they could move their arms. The bridesmaids were my sister, Gillian (maid of honour); best friend, Jessica (chief bridesmaid); university friend, Olivia; and close friends, Cathryn and Helen. 

I have known all of my girls for 15 years and would be lost without them. They are the best friends you could ever wish for and I wanted them to feel as gorgeous as I did on my wedding day. I paid for their hair, make-up and dress but they bought their own shoes as I feel that this is a personal preference and wanted them to wear what they felt comfortable in.

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What did the mother of the bride wear?

My mum wore a grey/silver dress from Veni Infantino by Ronald Joyce. My mum gave me away as my dad passed away when I was 15-years-old. She wanted to look a million dollars on the day and she definitely did.

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Where did you find your suits?

We got the groomsmen suits from Groom in Warrington. I was the cruel bride who wanted everybody in a three-piece suit in 30-degree heat, but I wanted to have classic wedding pictures. There were some moans along the way but in the end everybody agreed that they looked smart and once the sun went down and the drinks were flowing, everybody soon cooled down.

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Tell us about your floral arrangements.

The flowers were out of this world! Planning my flowers with Eleni was one of my favourite bits of the whole wedding planning; I found her on the Santorini Brides Facebook page. My ideas changed on a weekly basis but Eleni was always so patient and understood what I wanted the flowers to look like. My bouquet was made of artificial flowers, but they were so realistic, and I ordered buttonholes and corsages for the mums. The bridesmaids had smaller versions of my bouquet.

We also had the venue dressed by Eleni, which included the gazebo. We had dried flower confetti which we bought from the Shropshire Petals. I bought these over a year in advance and chose a delayed delivery so that the order only came two weeks before the wedding. One of my favourite pictures is the one where people are showering us in the confetti.

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Often the aspect that makes a wedding original to the couple is the detail – tell us about the details of the day.

  • We honoured my dad by having favour cards made by The Paper Doll in Liverpool, which had a little poem on it and also a picture. I then added a charity pin from the British Heart Foundation so that the money could go towards helping the work that the charity do with their research into heart disease.
  • We also had a guest book made by Catsi Creative which had a map on the front of the UK and Santorini. We also had signs made by The Paper Doll which included a guest book sign telling our guests to sign the book but also to take a picture with our Instax Camera.
  • We had floor fireworks for our first dance. We kept this secret so a lot of our guests were shocked and some of the pictures we have seen of this have been so special.
  • We had an open bar. We thought that this was a small gesture that we could give back to our guests for travelling to Santorini and they definitely took advantage of this.
  • I made personal items for each of the bridal party which included gift bags, hangers, champagne flutes for the girls and pint glasses for the groom's party. I also bought cards from The Paper Doll and added messages to each of the special women in my life. There were a few tears when these were opened – happy tears, of course.
  • I also had a Liverpool FC clip inside dress in honour of my dad as he was a massive LFC fan. I also had a love heart of my dad’s handkerchief sewn into my dress near to my heart so that he was next to me on my big day.

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How did you feel as you walked down the aisle?

I felt really calm and in a bit of a bubble. I wanted to get to Adam and just see him as we had spent the night before apart and our wedding was at 5pm, so I had really missed him. I was also watching my step as I did not want to stand on the front of my dress and end up falling over. I didn’t even look at our flowers when I was walking into the ceremony; I was just focusing on Adam. We just looked at each other for the whole ceremony and even had a giggle about how hot we were.

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How did you make the ceremony personal to you? 

We asked Adam’s sister, Carley, to give a reading as we wanted her to be involved. We also had a number of songs included in the ceremony such as a string version of A Thousand Years by Christina Perri – this is the song that I walked into the ceremony to. We then had Take That's Greatest Day for when we were signing the register and a Spotify playlist when pictures were being taken and drinks and canapés served.

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What was your most memorable moment?

The most memorable moment was having our first dance to Chris Brown's Forever with the floor fireworks and then going into a dance with our mums. We wanted to do this as the second dance would normally be done with the father of the bride. Adam is very close with his mum also and we thought that it would be an extra special touch.

We then moved onto a dance with all of our guests and they all lit the sparklers that we had provided and we walked through the tunnel they created. This was a picture that we wanted and it is also included in our video.

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What was the most challenging aspect of planning this wedding?

The most challenging part of planning the wedding was the small matter of Brexit – we agreed to pay the full wedding four months ahead of schedule to make sure that we weren’t affected by the exchange rate dropping. We had spoken to Lisa and agreed to bring the final payment date forward, luckily we had managed to save what we needed to do this. We paid for the wedding in March 2019 and Brexit didn’t even happen.

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What was the most important investment for you?

We invested in having the open bar at the wedding for all of the guests. This included all spirits, beer and shots. We wanted to show our guests how much we appreciated that they had travelled all the way to Santorini.

We also spent extra on staying at Dana Villas for three nights after the wedding. We had originally booked the honeymoon suite but when we went to check in after the wedding we had been upgraded to the Infinity Suite. I was already emotional that we had the best day, so this really was the cherry on top. 

I also really wanted a videographer but Adam wasn’t so sure about it as he is not the most comfortable in front of the camera. Adam’s sister got married in 2018 and she said her biggest regret was not having one, so I persuaded Adam to let me book one.

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Did you have any evening entertainment?

I made a Spotify playlist as the wedding was so small and intimate we felt that a DJ was not needed. I also made a playlist for the meal, so we had love songs playing while we ate and when the sun went down the party started. Once the drinks started to take effect we danced the night away, no entertainment was needed.

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Did you have a wedding cake? 

We didn't have one in Santorini, but we had one back in the UK at our home party.

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Did anything go wrong on the day?

Nothing serious went wrong, just a small hiccup that my friend/bridesmaid did all of the make-up for the other bridesmaids, mother of the bride and me, and she left her own make-up until the end and this meant she was rushing when the photographer came. This is the only stress that I felt all day. We managed to all get dressed, have pictures and leave the hotel on time.

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Was there anything you wish you’d known before?

I wish that I had known the cost of the legalities of getting married in Santorini, but we still would not have changed a thing about it. We added the cost of the legal paperwork into our package with Lisa of Bridal Consultants.

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Where did you go on honeymoon? 

As a wedding gift I bought Adam a trip to Las Vegas in June 2020. We have decided that we will celebrate our marriage while we are there and go back to Prime for a meal. Since coming back from Santorini, we have booked our official honeymoon and we are going on a Med cruise which allows us to go back to Santorini the day after our first wedding anniversary.

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Do you have any advice for couples in the planning stages?

Do not stress about people saying that they cannot attend your wedding, the people who want to be there will be. Also with a wedding abroad, especially in Santorini, you do not need to spend money on overly dressing the venue with light-up letters or photobooths. The natural surroundings are enough and your guests will be blown away with this alone. 

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Steal their style: 

Wedding planner: The Bridal Consultants 
Venue: Danas Villas
Photography: Ben and Vesna Wyatt 
Videography: Santorini Wedding Video 
Dress: Pronovias from Brides of Chester
Veil: Lisa Carrington Couture 
Headpiece: Rocks for Frocks 
Bridesmaids' dresses: Kirsty Doyle 
Groomsmen suits: Groom
Mother of the bride outfit: Veni Infantino by Ronald Joyce from Aubergine
Hair: Julia Popova 
Floral decorations: Paper Flowers Cyprus
Stationery: The Paper Doll
Confetti: Shropshire Petals

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