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!