Saturday, 7 July 2018

Mamma Mia

I'm sitting around on my first weekend of Open Studios and it has been a slow day, which is probably just as well after the frantic few days setting up since getting home from Greece. I'm not expecting crowds of people this afternoon either... England are playing football. I find it too tense to watch but pop my head in the room next door every so often when I hear cheering!

So would you like to hear about Greece? We left home at 1am on Saturday morning (I can't believe it's a week ago already) to catch a flight at silly o'clock. We didn't bother going to bed beforehand and we were eating breakfast at Gatwick airport at 4am. Our flight was to Kalamata, where the twenty of us who were on our way to the wedding were met by a coach for the three and a half hours by road to catch the ferry to Elafonisos. 

It was worth it... mountains, turquoise sea and deserted beaches.


We showered, had a cheeky little G & T and walked down to the beach where pretty much the entire wedding party was relaxing and swimming. After meeting the bride's parents for the first time and being treated to a wonderful Greek meal it was back to the hotel for some much needed sleep.


The next day was spent back on the beach and in the sea until late afternoon, when we made our way back to the hotel to shower and change ready for the evening. It was lovely to be able to spend time with my brother and sister in law while we were away.


The entire wedding party congregated at the taverna by the beach until we received word that the bride was ready. We then followed my son Ben, the groom, who was carrying a bouquet of lavender and wheat stems, in a procession up the hillside. Suddenly there was a cry from the rear... "Stop!"


And there was the bride, Alexandra, looking stunning, walking up the hill to meet her groom.


They met, Ben handed over the bouquet...


And then they walked on together and we followed again.


At the top of the hill we arrived at the tiny whitewashed Greek Orthodox church. It was just like Mamma Mia but without Pierce Brosnan singing (thank goodness)


Inside the ceremony was very formal and was sung in Greek by a priest who had been a former opera singer... definitely no bad singing at this wedding!


Despite the formality of the service the atmosphere in the church was very informal. Guests wandered in and out of the church, which was mostly standing room only, they chatted, they took photos. It was wonderful.


As the ceremony drew to a close all the guests were ushered outside...


We waited expectantly by the side door that we had entered while Ben and Alexandra signed the register... oh no! They were coming out a different door... so off we all went to the front door where we all threw rice at the newly weds as they emerged. Apparently the words for rice and roots are very similar in Greek and the rice signifies the putting down of roots together. A wonderful way to wish Ben and Alexandra a very happy life together.


The sun was setting over the sea as photographs were taken.
We then all wandered back down to the taverna for a Greek wedding feast... by now it was past 10pm!


There was eating dancing and drinking all night and we finally rolled back to our hotel at about 2.30am. The younger members of our party stayed up dancing before going onto the beach, where I have it on good authority they were skinny dipping at 5am... we retrieved youngest son's specs from the sea the following day!


Monday was another day on the beach, a late leisurely lunch and drinks on the terrace before an early night. Not quite such an early start as our journey out but we were up at 4am on Tuesday for the return trip. The ferry wasn't running at that time of the morning so we were shuttled in small groups by car and fishing boats under cover of darkness to board our bus on the mainland. It all felt rather illicit.

So a truly Greek experience and the most wonderful wedding that I won't forget. (Also my first time at a Greek Wedding... that must count as a sixty x sixty)

I close up Open Studios for the day in half hour, so I'm hoping it might be a bit busier tomorrow but at least England have won their game today. Then next week it will be on to wedding number two. Someone asked me on Facebook "Where were the waistcoats" and my response was "Next week, next son, next wedding". See you on the other side!

34 comments:

  1. What a wonderful place for a wedding. Very romantic and a gorgeous sunset. Glad it all went well. Good luck with open studios. B x

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    1. Thank you Barbara. It was wonderful... a truly memorable experience.

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  2. Hope the open studios attendance improves and the wedding sounded idyllic. It must feel rather like a lovely dream now.

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    1. It does feel rather like a dream!

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  3. How very very lovely Gina. An amazing experience and yes definitely count it as a sixty by sixty! What busy times you lead, are you not tempted to wear the fabulous knitted cake head gear for the next family wedding? I'd love it - but the next wedding i'm off to is an Umbrian affair in 3 weeks and that headgear would definitely send my internal temperature spiralling out of control!!! Much love and hope you bought some Kalamata olives back with you ! x

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    1. The knitted wig can be worn... I have been known to do it when I give talks! But I think it might be a little hot and uncomfortable for wedding wear! I like the sound of an Umbrian wedding!

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  4. What a great summer for weddings. Enjoy every moment. It was lovely to see you for Cambridge Open Studios - such beautiful work!

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    1. Thank you. We both said how lovely it was to see you. Maybe we should join up to organise a foodie get together once our we've got our wedding season over!

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  5. Great wedding photos, congrats to bride and groom. Hope the Open Studios goes well.

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  6. Ohhhw! Simply lovely. I've always liked the idea of a walking to the church in procession since reading Thomas Hardy. A wonderful,way to start married life. May it be a long and happy one.

    You too.

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    1. Thank you Colleen. It all seems a bit of a dream now!

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  7. What a wonderful wedding! Bet it was worth the early mornings.

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    1. Definitely worth all the travelling and early starts! Still seem to be catching up on missed sleep though!

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  8. How wonderful, a Greek wedding! Everyone on the photos looks so relaxed and happy. Very glad you had a lovely time xx

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    1. Thank you Christina. It was wonderful!

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  9. What a wonderful wedding, and in such a beautiful location. The bride looked absolutely gorgeous, they make a lovely couple. And what a fantastic experience to be in Greece for a wedding. I hope today's open studio goes well. We have a trail around here once a year of open studios, it's really brilliant to be able to go in and talk to the artists and see them at work. CJ xx

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    1. Thank you. I think I might be biased but they are both rather lovely! Had a quiet day on Saturday but good day yesterday.

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  10. Many congratulations to your son and new daughter in law xxx Oh I do love weddings. Greece and the greek islands are so beautiful, a perfect setting for the hansome groom and gorgeous bride xxx

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  11. Oh my, that was so Mamma Mia Gina....wonderful!!!
    Enjoy the next one!! :)

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    1. I'm sure we will... there is punting on the river Cam involved on Wednesday after their legal ceremony. Big party on Saturday though!

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  12. It all sounds wonderful, thank you for sharing

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  13. Looks and sounds wonderful. But another wedding, what were they thinking.

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    1. That's not all... we have a third one at the end of August!

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  14. Oh, it all looks glorious. So good to hear everything went well. Very best wishes to the newlyweds.

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  15. How wonderful! It sounds truly memorable.

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    1. It's going to be a summer of wonderful memories

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  16. That looks amazing, everyone looks lovely and what a fantastic setting to start married life.

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  17. Wow Gina -- what a summer you're having! Looks like a wonderful wedding. I'm sorry you missed the skinny-dippers LOL!

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    1. I imagine all the youngsters were relieved we missed the skinny dipping 😂

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