Buckle up as we're off to the wonderful Greek island of Crete for the intimate wedding of our real wedding lovebirds, Ashford and Emily. If you have your dream day set on a romantic destination, where your guests eat, drink and dance the night away under the stars, then we know this low key celebration will inspire! Our bride and groom spotted this idyllic venue on Instagram and instantly knew it was the one. They flew their nearest and dearest to Crete, and gave them a three-day wedding full of sweet memories. Take a look below at Magdalene Kourti's gorgeous images...
Emily who is from Kentucky, USA and Ashford from Chesterfield, England first met in Sheffield back in 2015 when Emily was studying for her master's and Ash was finishing up his bachelor's degree. After a very successful first date, the couple's relationship took off, leading to a very special day at Robinhood's Bay near Whitby, England. "It's a place we have been to many times and is probably one of our favourite places in the world. Ash Facetimed with my parents about a month before the proposal to ask for their blessing, as well as the ring that my grandfather and father had used to propose previously. My mother sent it in the mail to England and I was shocked to see he had gotten it when the proposal happened. It was actually a rainy, foggy, and cold day, but after a picnic on the beach against the elements, Ash proposed!" says Emily.
Simple foliage made for wonderful aisle decor - it added so much fresh and rustic character to the outdoor ceremony and backdrop arch beautifully!
Opting for a destination wedding was a very fitting choice for these lovebirds, because of their love for travel. "As we are currently waiting for our spousal visa for the UK, we decided to move around a lot. We have spent the past few months in Normandy, France, and the US, and then Ireland for a few months while we wait for Emily's visa!" The vibe was very laid back for their Crete wedding day, but with some traditional Greek touches. It was elegant but not stuffy, with a focus on the beautiful venue!
We adore everything about Emily's bridal look. From her simple, and totally unique linen wedding dress to the romantic sweetheart neckline and bell sleeves, paired with the perfectly un-done hairstyle. Underneath that wonderful gown, hides a pair of something blue bridal sandals, and the bouquet bursting with peach florals, thistle and rustic greenery creating a rustic arrangement, perfect for the laidback day!
Important elements to the couple in their wedding planning were ensuring the wedding was intimate, laidback and surrounded by their close friends and family. "We also knew we wanted to do a destination wedding because we are from different countries, and we wanted to be fair to both families. We love Greece, and previously took a holiday with both of our families to Athens at Christmas a few years ago, so once we found the venue, it was an easy decision. We really wanted everyone to feel relaxed and included from beginning to end, so we planned events for each day of the weekend to get everyone acquainted. On the day of, we didn't want a stressed-out wedding party, so we didn't have one. We kept things simple and made sure it just felt like a laid-back dinner and party with friends and family.
We must know how the newlyweds stumbled upon such a romantic wedding venue. Agreco Farms, a private resort nestled amongst the vineyards, featuring its very own chapel, St Nicholas, and has won an award for the best organic restaurant. "We had never been to Crete or seen the venue until the day before the wedding! I saw an Instagram post of another wedding at the venue and as soon as I saw it, I showed my then fiancé and we both thought it was the perfect place. Agreco Farm has such a beautiful aesthetic, to begin with, it was easy to just add some personal touches to what was there. We loved the classic Greek country style and the fact the dinner was served family style sold me," says Emily. A personal touch was custom gift bags made by the bride's family filled with beer from a local craft brewery, wines from a local wine shop, olive oil, honey, and loofah from the local market and handmade chocolates from the bride's aunt's chocolate shop in Kentucky - now that's what you call wedding favours made with love!
The intimate group of guests, who travelled to the dreamy destination wedding, were treated to much more than just the wedding celebration on the day. "Since everyone was coming from abroad, we made the wedding into a three-day event. Friday evening we had a casual night out with guests as they arrived in the old town of Rethymno. Saturday morning and afternoon included a boat trip for Emily with her closest friends and a day at the beach for Ash and his mates. Saturday night we had a welcome cocktail party with a light bite at a gorgeous oceanfront restaurant called Yialos!" they add.
Besides the awe-worthy Greek surroundings that influenced the decor, the true look they wanted to achieve was creating a day to reflect their love of family and friends and to capture these moments in a candid way. The couple explain: "We wanted to look back at the pictures and not feel like the wedding was from any particular year. We wanted the pictures to be unposed and capture the joy that everyone was experiencing on the evening. We wanted it to feel like a family celebration and not make people feel they needed to act or look a certain way." Many of Emily's family, unfortunately, could not make it, and Emily's uncle Steve usually says Grace at all family weddings, so the couple had a video broadcast of his prayer before dinner, which was really special.
The al fresco wedding reception was held underneath a stunning olive tree with long dining, family-style tables, with the tablescape garnished with vases filled with candle and florals. As guests took to their seats to enjoy their meal, music was played in the courtyard, creating the most magical ambience as the sun began to set over the Greek sea.
We asked the couple for some words of wisdom for those planning a wedding abroad. They say: "Don't be afraid to be super direct about what you want. We wanted a day that was stress-free and casual, without lots of fuss. We said this up-front to all of our vendors and it really paid off as everyone was on the same page. For example, working with Magdalene, our photographer, and Eva, our planner, we were able to keep things super low-stress by talking about things in advance. They were both amazing on the day and kept us both calm, making it so much more enjoyable!"
The beautiful bride Emily began the starry-night celebrations with a dress change. Her second dress was embellished from head to toe in colourful floral embroidery, complementing the surroundings to perfection. After cutting their wedding cake, they took to the dancefloor and shared their first dance as husband and wife to In My Life by The Beatles, with a performance by Ash later on, who joined the band to serenade his new bride!
A special to our fabulous couple and Magdaline Kourti for sharing this idyllic Greek destination wedding day with One Fab Day! There are more photos in the gallery below.
Did you fall in love with the dreamy destination wedding? Here are 19 Things to Consider When Planning a Wedding Abroad!