A Simple Summer Wedding on the Greek Island of Crete

In September of 2016, Damaris Paputsakis and Roger Stübi were on the island of Crete (where the bride is from!), finishing up the renovations on the summer home they’d bought on the island. “It was a run-down house next door to my grandparents’ vacation home, and we hadn’t planned to buy it, but it was clear from the beginning that it should be ours,” says Damaris. After a day of shopping for décor, she and Roger headed down to the beach to watch the sunset, and it was there that Roger proposed.  

After the proposal, getting married in Chania, the town where they’d gotten engaged, was a no-brainer. But the couple actually found their venue before they were engaged. “We found our wedding venue by accident,” Damaris recalls. They had gotten lost on one of the island’s side streets while running an errand and found themselves at Metohi Kindelis, an estate that is home to an organic farm, rows of olive trees, and airy Mediterranean architecture. “We bonded with the owner immediately, and I told my sisters that evening that we’d found our wedding venue—even though we weren’t engaged yet," she says.

The couple wanted their 120 guests to see what they love so much about Crete, so so they invited everyone to celebrate the island's natural beauty, simplicity, and Greek charm. “We wanted our guests’ enjoyment to take precedence over the stress of timelines and schedules and tried to just let things happen as they would,” says Damaris. “It was hard to plan a wedding in Greece while living in Switzerland, but the owner of the venue, Danai, was so helpful, as were our friends and family who stepped in to make our vision happen.”  

Take a peek at this combination of whitewashed churches, vibrant blue water, and warm island sun, photographed by Liron Erel of Echoes & Wild Hearts below! 

“Finding a wedding dress was so frustrating,” Damaris admits. “I’d found pictures of what I wanted but couldn’t find it in the stores I visited!” So the bride and a friend decided to found The Dress Tribe, a company focused on making the dress hunt as easy and as fun as possible by giving brides all the information they might need about a dress, including where to find it.  

Damaris did ultimately wind up with her dream dress, a custom Laure de Sagazan design made with Calais lace and silk crepe. “I tracked down a photo I’d seen and wound up at the Laure de Sagazan atelier in Paris, only to discover that the dress was no longer in production,” she says. “So we created exactly what I wanted by combining elements of other designs into something simple, fresh, and summery.”

She paired her dress with a crown of white flowers and two pairs of shoes—one that managed to get lost in the chaos surrounding the dance floor. “By the end of the night, I was barefoot with everyone else!” Damaris says with a laugh. Her bridesmaids did manage to sign the soles of her shoes—a tradition!—before they were thrown aside for dancing.

“It never occurred to me to tell my bridesmaids what to wear,” says Damaris. “They are some of the most amazing, unique women I know, and I wanted that to shine through.” In the end, she asked that they wear color in honor of "all the color they have brought into her life."

The couple's flower girl and ring bearer wore causal linen outfits styled with their own hair accessories.

The couple wanted to marry in a church near their venue, and found a small chapel that "stole their hearts." “My uncle has been the caretaker for years, and we knew it was the place,” says the bride. The church was no longer officially in operation, but Damaris’ uncle repainted the building, cut the grass, and convinced the local priests to come do the ceremony. The couple also prepared their guests to stand outside by providing parasols and fedora hats.

The ceremony was full of Greek Orthodox traditions, including the couple donning delicate beaded crowns for the blessings. The couple further personalized the setting by printing the chapel's story on each ceremony program.

Damaris’ father walked her down the aisle. “I am the eldest of three daughters, and walking me to the altar on his home island was an immense source of pride for him,” says the bride.

“There are no vows in a Greek Orthodox wedding, but there is lots of confetti and rice,” says the bride. “The priest had to shield himself as he walked us around the altar for our first steps as husband and wife!” 

In Greek tradition, groom is supposed to give the bouquet to the bride when she arrives at the church, but Roger was so nervous that he forgot! “I did not even notice I hadn’t been carrying one around until a few days later!” Damaris laughs.  

Post-ceremony, the newlyweds took a vintage convertible to the reception venue.

The couple and their guests traded the whitewashed church for the terra cotta tones of Metohi Kindelis for the reception, where the bar featured cocktails made with the couple’s favorite Greek flavors: Masticha liquor, gin, thyme, lemon, watermelon, ginger, and chili.  

A teepee, adorned with a lace dream catcher strung with olive leaves and seashells, was tucked into the corner of the reception. “My bridesmaids and I made all of the signs," Damaris adds. "I was still hammering the morning of the wedding!"

Dinner was served at long tables on the lawn, with vases of eucalyptus and palm (the bride's favorite) between bottles and jars of local olive oil and salt. The menu was Greek with a modern twist, served family-style so guests could taste and share. “It also meant we could visit all of the tables and join each group for a bite without missing anything,” Damaris says. They paired the meal with the caterer’s wife’s locally-made wines.

The couple played traditional Greek music for the ceremony and dinner, and flew in musician Hobo Chic for the dance party. “We danced so much that we forgot to cut our wedding cake, and wound up serving it at the post-wedding barbecue at our house the next day,” says the bride. “It was another one of those ‘go with the flow’ moments, and we wound up loving the fact that it really continued the celebration.” 

In that same spirit, Roger and Damaris went on a “blind honeymoon," hiring a travel agent to plan every detail and not tell them a thing! “We didn’t know where we were going until we got to the airport, and wound up visiting Myanmar, Singapore, and Indonesia,” says Damaris. “It was really lovely after all of the wedding planning to let someone else do all of the coordinating!”  

Page was generated in $time_elapsed_secs