Honeymoon in Greece

I am finally getting around to posting pictures and sharing all of our honeymoon adventures in Greece! Please keep in mind, I’m a wedding planner not a photographer. A lot of these are fun phone pictures or ones taken with a Nikon by an inexperienced individual – bear with me. Luckily Greece speaks for itself.

If you didn’t follow along on Instagram – After an amazing wedding day, we were stuck in the St Louis and Chicago airports from 7:30 AM to 8:30 PM. American Airlines delayed our flights causing us to completely miss our flight to Greece. For a while we didn’t even know if we were going to have a honeymoon. It was a frustrating, tear-inducing, tiring day of navigating airports, being told no, and not eating. We finally, through the gift of my aunt, got to a hotel to rest before finding out our honeymoon fate the next day. When we got back to O’Hare at 10 AM the next morning, AirItalia employees told us immediately they would re-book us for their flight that day and not charge any fees or cancellations. It was the most amazing thing we had heard since, “I now pronounce you as husband and wife.”

So fast forward – A day late and exhausted from 36 hours of travelling – we finally made it to Almyrida. Almyrida is a small town in Crete on the side of Chania. This part of our trip was for relaxing and beach time. Definitely needed after the work it took to get there! The views were amazing and the blue waters do not disappoint. The water was so clear that even my ocean-fearing husband swam every day.

Even though we were exhausted, we spent our first few hours on the island exploring the little town, going to the beach to see the sunset, and eating the first of many amazing meals. [You’ll see a trend throughout that we really enjoyed the food in Greece – and still talk about it on an almost daily basis.]

We stayed at an AirBnB apartment which was perfect. We had our own space, bought cereal for breakfast, had lazy mornings, and still had cleaning services every day.

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Caprese Wood Fired Pizza

Our second day, we slept in (obviously) and went for a jog to see the views of the town. We spent most of the day on the beach and what is so great about this little beach town is that all the restaurants are ocean-side. So we could get meals to go and eat on the beach or we had an amazing view from our table. Plus all our meals were actually much less expensive than we had budgeted for!

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This was our first day trying gyros (pork), (real) Greek salad, and the acclaimed saganaki (fried cheese with honey). I hate to say it, but we did not enjoy saganaki like we assumed we would. It is one of the foods that anyone who has been to Greece LOVES – and maybe it was the hype that made it disappoint. But, to each their own and I’m sure you would still enjoy it if you tried it! The salad and gyros were amazing though – so fresh and full of flavor. It is amazing how RED their tomatoes are compared to what is in stores in the U.S.

We watched the sunset every night from atop a cliff overlooking the blue waters. Then we would wander into the town again and pick a new restaurant to eat food at.

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The food and restaurant below ended up being our absolute favorite from the trip. The customer service here was incredible and they really pulled out all the stops – homemade dips and bread, special drinks, and free dessert. But the meal …. chicken souvlaki (skewers) with fries and a four cheese penne pasta that I still dream about. It was legitimately the best chicken and pasta I have ever tasted in my life (and I eat pasta a lot).

The owner of the restaurant even gave us his beach side chairs the next day, brought us drinks and pizza right to the beach.

A few quirky things in Greece:

-Their restaurants are split apart by a street. So the kitchen and prep space is on one side of the main road and then the dining area is on the other side. People also drive crazy in Greece so it’s a wonder the food makes it to the table.

-They have LARGE sizes of drinks and lots of experimental ones too. We don’t necessarily recommend the Snickers shake..

Our final day in Crete we went “hiking” to see the sunset from a farther west cliff. Conner was bored in the process and started playing baseball with a stick and a rock.

After the hike back to town, we capped it off with an ocean-side cheese bread and gyros.

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The next morning, at 4:30 AM, we drove to the airport for our leg in Santorini. Here’s the thing about Greek islands – you have to fly back to Athens pretty much anytime you want to go to another island. You can also take a ferry but it takes a lot more time. So we ended up with 10 flights during our entire 9 day trip.

Once we made it to Santorini, we explored the surrounding shops and a bit of Fira. Our first meal was more chicken saganaki and white cream pasta at Katerina’s.

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We stayed at a hotel called the Pension George in Karterados, a small town right next to the capital of Fira. Things people don’t tell you when they post pretty pictures of Santorini:

-the beds are not comfortable (sorry, but I’m a girl that needs my memory foam mattress)

-the water is not drinkable. ALWAYS buy water bottles (they are very cheap due to this)

-the island is so small that internet is very spotty, if available at all

-you can’t flush toilet paper, it has to be disposed of in a trashcan

Fira was a short walk from our hotel – they had some amazing restaurants and cute shops. I promise that pictures of Oia and Imerovigli are coming up, but I think the most surprising thing to me about Greece is how barren it looks unless you are in one of the white-washed, blue-domed cities.

Lucky for us, Santorini is a very small island and relatively cheap, even though it was tourist season. We were also concerned is was going to be too hot since we were there in August – but the temperatures remained around 82 degrees and there was always a nice breeze being so close to the ocean.

Our second day we rented an ATV (HIGHLY recommend – they are easy to drive and ours cost only $40 for 24 hours in peak season). We took one of the two main roads in Santorini up to Oia. Knowing there are always crazy crowds that visit this city each day, we went earlier around 10 AM and the streets were almost empty. It was so great to explore this city without the crowds pushing at you and everyone taking the best photo spots.

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The winding alleys and marble streets are so amazing to explore. There are doorways to nothing and paths to beautiful views. Let me tell you, the first time you step out on the edge of the city and see the city at it’s fullest, it does not disappoint. My whole life I had dreamed of the moment I would see it and both Conner and I were speechless.

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Cue endless pictures of this beautiful place.

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All the shop owners are so used to tourists that they take your camera and snap pictures of you.

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Another neat thing about Greece is that all the restaurants display their menus and prices outside of their doors. So you can look through all that they offer, pricing, and descriptions. I did have to Google a lot of things and had a cheat sheet for many of the common foods for quick reference.

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The best pizza of the trip was also consumed in Oia – with a breathtaking view of the city and unbelievably blue water. DSC_0110

We are so glad we went early because after just a few hours in Oia the streets were so flooded with people and tourists and cameras. Through the winding alleys and buildings we finally managed to find our ATV again and headed back out of Oia. We drove along the coastline all the way around the island. It only takes about 30 minutes to drive from the top to the bottom of the island! We ate gyros for dinner and drove the ATV the few miles to Imerovigli to watch the sunset.

Most people will tell you to view the sunset in Oia as it sits out on more of a cliff and has the unhindered view of the ocean – but after careful research and whispered secrets – we discovered people enjoy the view from Imerovigli even more. A big bonus is that there are very few people so you aren’t fighting for a spot and you get to enjoy the sunset in peace.

Conner also got bored during this sunset, “These last forever!” Cue the nap.

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After the sun (finally) set, we headed back to Karterados and walked until we found an ice cream shop. This was definitely a highlight for both of us (specifically Conner) because it cost only $1.60 for two large scoops of ice cream. Safe to say, we went back the next three days.

A few other food highlights from Santorini:

Our beloved ice cream shop also made waffle ice cream creations. They were amazing and still so cheap. Definitely recommend these! Another of my favorite things was the potato fries below – I wish I could have these at every meal.

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Our final day in Santorini we walked to Fira to explore the city, ate our final Greek pizza and salad with another great view, and view the old port / cable cars. Yes, there are still donkeys that transport people down the winding roads to the port. Cable cars or a donkey, that’s the only access they have down the mountain!

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We did not try these flavors, but how interesting what they choose to experiment with!

Our final part of the trip was to go back home. Even though we lost a day of adventure, we were both ready to come home and settle into newlywed life. At about 8 PM we took a shuttle to the Santorini airport to wait for our midnight flight back to Athens. As many tourists that go in and out of Santorini, their airport is by far the least conducive to travelers. So beware!

When we arrived in Athens, we found a spot amongst the other late night travelers and settled in for our six hour layover. Neither of us slept much so we ran on about 7 hours of sleep for the next 32 hours.

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The perk? Our tickets were again messed up from the first day in Chicago so we got bumped….to FIRST CLASS. It was a glorious moment and Conner cried.

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It was a pretty amazing experience and I won’t ever be able to fly cabin again. Not after the four course meal, special headphones, toiletry bag, and seat that turns bed. If you ask Conner, this was his favorite moment of the trip. I can’t really say I blame him.

So if you are planning on going to Greece anytime soon, just keep price watching those flights! We took AirItalia and their service was really great with no issues or delays! If you’re looking for any other tips or tricks, comment below!

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Chris & Katie: Engaged

I think I’ve been waiting with eager anticipation for these two to get married for quite some time now! Katie met with me in October of last year and we have been planning the day of their dreams ever since. I’m so excited to finally be able to work at Silver Oaks Chateau alongside the lovely Courtney Smith Photography, Roses & Mint, and more. Katie & Chris are full of so much fun, laughter, and have been through it all together. Keep scrolling to see how amazingly photogenic they are and read all about their special day coming up on December 15th!

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How long have you been together?

We are from the same hometown in Marion, IL and started dating our Junior year of high school.  Life took us our separate ways for a little while in college but we ended up re-connecting towards the end of college and the rest is history 🙂

Share one of your favorite dates.

Every fall Chris and I go to Eckerts to pick pumpkins and apples then go to the Loading Dock in Alton, IL for dinner and drinks on their patio. It is something we started doing a few years ago that has become one of our favorite fall traditions!

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When did you know they were the one?

Katie: I knew Chris was the one when I moved to St. Louis after graduating from Nursing School to be closer to him while he was in dental school. It was a time full of a lot of changes and stress in my life with living in a new city and just starting out as a new nurse on night shift but through it all Chris was the one who made me feel the most comfortable and at ease. He could always comfort me and I knew that as long as we were together everything else would fall in place.

Chris: I think that part of me has always known since high school that Katie and I were meant to be together but we definitely took our time getting engaged. When I moved to Alton, IL for dental school, Katie and I had to hold a long distance relationship from Alton to Murray, KY. When we were apart for that year and a half it was hard, to say the least, but I think during that time I realized how much happier I was when Katie was with me. After she moved to STL I knew that she was the only person I could ever see myself spending the rest of my life with!

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How did he pop the question?

We have been engaged since July 15, 2017! Chris told me that he had planned a date for us for the day and then had made a dinner reservation for us that night so that I needed to be ready in the afternoon and to wear something nice. He took me to The Hill to eat for lunch (my favorite food of all time is pasta!) and then we went to the Botanical Gardens. We had never been to the Gardens before so we were just walking around looking at everything when he led me down a little path out of the way of everything. I kept telling him I didn’t understand why we were going down that way because there weren’t any flowers back there! To my surprise he took me under this gazebo with beautiful greenery all around and proposed! He had somebody there who was taking our picture the entire time and then we walked around the gardens and took a few more pictures! I was so surprised! He then told me he had one more thing for us to do and we drove to Ballpark Village. I was really confused at this point but when we walked in all of my family, his family, and our closest friends were there to celebrate! It was the perfect day!

Was the proposal a surprise?

Yes! It was a complete surprise! I thought we would get engaged after he had graduated Dental School the following May. 

What is your favorite thing about your fiancé?

Katie: My favorite thing about Chris is the way that he makes me laugh and can make me feel less stressed just by being around. His kindness and carefree personality make me a better person.

Chris: Definitely the way she scrunches her nose when she laughs. Just laughing with Katie in general is my favorite thing!

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How do you envision your wedding day?

We envision a very happy day surrounded by our closest family and our friends from all walks of life. We want our day to be all about the love that we share and a celebration of our new life together.

How did you decide on your venue?

We wanted a venue that felt small and intimate while being able to accommodate our large guest list and when we found Silver Oaks it was that and more! It felt very cozy and warm while also being elegant. We immediately knew this is where we wanted to get married! The only date they had available for the 2018 year was December 15th so we went with it

 

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Are there any special or family traditions you’ll be incorporating?

Yes! Chris’s family always sings the song, “My Girl” to the bride at every family wedding.  Katie is already sweating thinking about it.

What are you looking forward to most about your wedding day?

Katie: I’m looking forward to spending the day surrounded by all the love of our family and friends and the Hot Chocolate Bar 🙂

Chris: Making Katie feel awkward by trying to dance with her all night. I also am just really looking forward to having both of our families in one place to celebrate!

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Stay tuned for December 15th for all the fun and celebration!

PC: Courtney Smith Photography

Jake & Sarah: Engaged

Sarah & Jake will be tying the knot on November 17th at The McPherson venue in the Central West End. These two have been together for four years as of September 17th and they are excited for the next chapter and celebrating with family & friends! Read below for their story and pictures taken by Michelle Marie Photographie.

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How did you meet?

We met online on OkCupid. After several messages back & forth we agreed to meet in person at Kirkwood Station Brewing Company. We enjoyed a night of each other’s company with the Cardinals playing in the background & sipping on pumpkin beer.

Share one of your favorite dates.

Honestly any time that I spend with Jake is my favorite – from a night in cooking dinner then cuddling on the couch to watching a movie to fancy events out on the town. My favorite date probably includes our first visit to Eckert’s during the fall. See the response below but on the way home that’s when I started picturing our future together.

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When did you know he/she was the one?

On our way back from one of my favorite fall activities of visiting Eckert’s- he was driving I looked over at him with the sun shining, windows down, music up on the radio (perfect fall day) & realized I finally had someone to do everything & nothing with all at the same time.

How did he pop the question?

I’ve always said 11:11 make a wish and knew 11.11.17 fell on a Saturday but when Jake hadn’t proposed, I knew that date had come and gone for our wedding. We had multiple events planned that Saturday- his brothers birthday, my cousins kids birthday, and then trivia with his friends. He got me to his family farm by saying it was a birthday party for his brother. He had gotten out of the car to close the gate to the farm and he came around to the passenger side of the car. He asked if I trusted him and then surprised me by blindfolding me at the base of the farm. He led me to the front of the barn, got down on one knee, and asked. He had a sign and pumpkins and someone taking pictures. All my favorite things! My parents and some of his family were at the top of the farm to celebrate and then had the whole day of events to tell people in person.

Was the proposal a surprise?

We had looked at rings months prior so I knew & was hoping it would happen sooner rather than later. With the significance of the date I had a slight suspicion but it was a surprise!

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What is your favorite thing about your fiancé?

Jake says my good-natured heart is his favorite thing about me. For me, I have several things that I love about Jake. His willingness to help those closest to him in times of need, the love he has for his family, & that he’s a jack of all trades (chef, woodworking, cars, even piecing together parts from dryers to make a working one) are just some of the many reasons I love him.

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How did you decide on your venue?

After visiting several venues, we toured the McPherson and it checked off most items on my spreadsheet. With it being a newer venue I liked that none of our friends/ family had weddings there before & every detail was thought of in planning. I loved the convenience for guests, including the location in the Central West End. It had the simple but elegant vibe I wanted without much need for decoration and the bridal suite to get ready in that morning won me over.

What are you looking forward to most about your wedding day?

We are both excited to call each other husband & wife, finally! Soaking in all the special moments celebrating with our friends & family.

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Stay tuned for next Saturday’s big event!