As I sat down to write this blog post, I was staring at a white screen for quite some time as I really did not know where to start. I am not a writer, so I am pretty sure my words will fail to convey the essence of this amazing wedding. Loaded with emotion, happiness, tight family bonds and deep friendships. Not only that, but everything about this wedding had a personal touch. So let me start the story (it might be a long one), and then I will let the photos show what I can’t capture in words.

Lize & Gerhard live in my native South Africa, and when they started planning their wedding Lize was one day browsing Google images for wedding venues. Living in Cape Town they were looking at a venue on one of the many beautiful wine estates in the area, and randomly in the middle of all the images popped up a photo of a South African couple that got married in Mykonos. Coincidentally, the island is where Lize went on her first holiday abroad. Having fallen in love with the island and Greece, her and Gerhard visited the island together a few years later after they met. And that was that really – the planning started on their Greek wedding. Lize planned everything herself, not only the wedding, but also the week long holiday they would share with their very close family and friends in the run-up to the big day. The detail and effort she put in was just amazing. Take a look at the photo of the gift bag guests received and you will see what I mean – a very stylish beach bag with their logo embroided, personalised luggage tags, a detailed itinerary, his and her flip-flops and a very chic toiletry / suntan lotion bag.

I joined them the evening before their wedding where they were having a wine tasting at Vioma Organic Wine Farm. The warmth with which Nick and I were greeted was astounding. We immediately felt at home and part of the group – it almost made me sad that we missed out on the prior events! It was also extra special for me to be able to shoot a wedding in Greece, in my home language. Jokes there were a plenty and I don’t recall a moment where I did not hear laughing or saw big smiles around. I was also very impressed by the wine farm – good wines, tasty food and extremely hospitable staff.

The day of the wedding arrived, and it was probably one of the windiest days I have experienced, although I was assured by the locals that it was quite normal. I first joined the groom and the guys where they were getting ready at Navy Blue Suites. Sitting around the pool area, they were joking around, enjoyed a whiskey and Gerhard and his dad shared cigars. From there I darted across to the other side of Mykonos Town where Lize was getting ready at the Rocabella Hotel. All smiles (like she was the whole day), she was getting ready with her mum and sister-in-law-to-be, who also did Lize’s hair and makeup. Her flowing wedding dress was made by a friend back home – perfectly suited to the bride and the backdrop of the whitewashed buildings and blue sea. She also had a very interesting take on the traditional “something blue” for the wedding – all the girls wrote messages on the soles of Lize’s wedding sandals with a blue marker pen. Sandals, which I might add, that were bought in South Africa, but made in Greece. A very touching moment that I won’t forget was when Lize’s mum was helping her to put on her earrings, and then she could not hold the tears back anymore. It is moments like those that make me realise how privileged I am as a photographer to be allowed in, and to capture such precious moments.

The wedding ceremony was held at Agios Stefanos – a short stroll from the Rocabella. Gerhard was nervously waiting at the front of the church as he waited for his bride to arrive. As Lize came walking down with her dad (and a bouzouki player) the emotion was clearly visible of his face – tears of absolute happiness and love. With Lize’s stepdad marrying them, I was very thankful I had a camera to hide behind as even I got teary at times. If you look at the photos it is plain to see how happy these guys are. From the ceremony we all went to the Old Port in Mykonos Town where we boarded the Dolphin of Delos for a boat cruise and drinks reception. I have to admit, given the windy day, it was quite an exciting ride through the big waves as we sailed past Little Venice and the windmills. After we returned to port, guests made their way to Rocabella for the evening reception, whilst I whisked the couple away for photos. We started off around the church of Paraportiani and then made our way through the backstreets to the five famous windmills, before joining the guests at the hotel. After the meal and speeches it was hard to keep people off the dancefloor – from silly dance moves to a very touching mother-son and father-daughter dance. And a wedding in Greece would not be complete without the traditional Zorba J

Lize, Gerhard – I want to extend a heartfelt thanks from both Nick and I for having us share in your day. For the warmth in which you received us and making us feel so at home. Also, thanks for trusting me with the photos and for braving the wind in order for me to live out some of my ideas.
Right – that is enough words, picture time it is…

Ceremony Venue: Agios Stefanos
Reception Venue: Rocabella Mykonos Art Hotel
Hair & Makeup: Leandi Esterhuizen
Wedding Dress: Lane Carstens
Wedding Suit: Hilton Weiner

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