There is a Greek dance hailing from the island of Kalymnos which depicts a man, crippled with decompression sickness, as many sponge divers were. The dance starts off slowly with the lead dancer, the crippled sponge diver, barely able to stand even with the use of a stick. The music starts slowly, but as it builds up so the passion and pride rise. At this point he flings aside his stick and joyously dances, the music seemingly lifting him out of his crippled posture. What does this have to do with a romantic Greek beach wedding ceremony?
The memory of seeing this dance was stirred when Barry (the groom), just weeks after having surgery on his back, decisively and determinedly threw aside his crutches in order to read his wedding vows to Niesha. It was like the rising passion for this momentous occasion was all it needed to stand unaided and make his promises for a shared life of joy. Great moment.
Let’s get this party started! You will be sure to get it started right with Mark as your musician or wedding DJ if you are getting married here in Rhodes, Greece!
I have known Mark for years, I think we’ve both been living here in Rhodes for the same amount of time – nearly 30 years! And I count his wife as one of my best friends. They were both at my own wedding, although sadly not in a professional capacity – in those days it was a good old fashioned bouzouki band! Aside from all the personal attachments, whenever I get to a wedding ceremony in Rhodes and see Mark setting up, I breathe a sigh of relief! I know that I’m going to get a decent microphone, no screechy feedback sounds and that all the music cues will be spot on!
“It’s not just a job, I really care.”
And he really does: “I met a guy a while ago and he has this mindset of exceeding expectations in all the weddings he does. It is something I think about every day and I try and implement it in my work as much as possible.”
You and me both!
See what I mean? Isn’t that just the attitude you want from any wedding vendor you employ?!
But how did it all start? I asked Mark what led him into entertainment for the wedding industry, specifically as a Musician and Wedding DJ here in Rhodes, Greece
I was established here as an musician and entertainer, I got married myself and a good friend of mine came to Rhodes to DJ/Master Of Ceremonies at my wedding. Realizing there was a need and market for wedding entertainment I started honing my services to cover weddings. As a singer and musician I also love being able to use my talents to accompany the bride as she makes her entrance, singing her favourite song with my acoustic guitar.
A consummate professional indeed – but what really drives you and what is it that you love about your work, Mark?
All aspects of my job , being involved with people on their special day , making the girls cry as I serenade them down the aisle shows I am doing a good job. The fun of the party DJing making people dance and their appreciation after. If you do I job you love you never work a day in your life.
The reviews mean the world to me , it is such a pleasure to be involved in making peoples magical memories.
Isn’t it just?
So if you are looking for super, polished, professional entertainment services, or a musician to accompany you down the aisle, or just a great party to follow your amazing wedding ceremony then look Mark up!
I have to be honest with you here, I didn’t exactly meet Irene at a wedding. I met her at a conference for wedding professionals here in Greece. But you know when you meet someone and you just KNOW that they are fabulous at their jobs? Apart from being a super cool and lovely person, through our discussions about makeup, past experiences and service ethics, it was blindingly obvious that irene is exceptional at what she does – a bridal makeup artist in Greece. And she definitely falls in the category of ‘wedding people I love’!
Read on for my interview with irene and why she is so fabulous at what she does…
Irene, you are a professional makeup artist and bridal beauty expert here in Greece. What do you think gives you an edge over other MUA’s?
“My super power is an elegant blend of skilled expertise with an unmatched sensitivity to my clients needs. With my innate understanding and exquisite attention to detail, I have created an outstanding customized approach that enhances your unique features, and embraces your own kind of beautiful through the magic of makeup!”
How did you begin doing what you do?
“My love for art lead me to a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Art History . From a very young age I was drawn to the magic of transformation through makeup. My passion for all things beautiful guided me to find my true calling and so I followed my dreams to the UK where I received my diploma in Makeup & Hair. I started my makeup career working in film and television , this gave me a wonderful opportunity to travel the world. As a result this led me to represent brands such as MAC Cosmetics , Charlotte Tilbury, and CHANEL. I have been creating makeup magic for over 15 years and the wealth of experience I have gained by creating makeup looks for over 500 weddings continues to inspire me to deliver breathtaking fabulous results! “
I agree – just look at some of these gorgeous brides!
It’s easy to tell that you love your work, but tell me in your own words exactly what it is that you love!
“Every moment I share with my brides is a incredible experience. From the moment we meet to the moment she looks in the mirror after the final touches are applied to her makeup, until the moment she is ready to walk down the aisle. I consider it an honour and the most rewarding part of my job as a bridal makeup artist to offer her the trust and confidence she deserves.
It’s about creating beauty that goes beyond a face. It is about emotion and passion, capturing the unique essence of each woman on one of the most important days in her life! Best of all, I get to spread joy and beauty through the art of makeup!”
Irene, I know for sure that I would be happy in your hands, but equally important I know I would also be happy in your company!
As well as being awesome in her work, Irene is also a passionate and proactive human being:
“I am a part of World Vision Canada. This is an advocacy organization that focuses on working to create lasting change in the lives of children, families and communities. The aim is to overcome poverty and injustice through programs for education, food, clean water, healthcare, & child protection. It is important to me to be of service and I wanted to be part of the change in the lives of children around the world through child sponsorship. I have been sponsoring a little girl from Malawi, since she was 1 years old.”
See? Basically, just a bloody nice person!
Irene is based in Athens, but is happy to travel. Her services are ‘onsite’ so she will come to you for both your trial and the big day.
What are you waiting for – this girl gets booked up fast! Contact her today:
How to find Irene and book her to be your very own Bridal Makeup artist in Greece:
Nearly all my couples are dog owners, dog rescuers or even dog trainers! It’s a popular trend these days for couples to involve their dogs in the ceremony: ring bearers, accompanying the bride down the aisle or just being part of the day. But of course my couples are enjoying a destination wedding and there simply isn’t luggage allowance for beloved furry family members. However, I can promise you that they will most definitely get a mention in the ceremony because if I didn’t, they would know…
I too am a dog owner and rescuer so I get it. Anyone who thinks a dog is ‘just a pet’ has never shared their home with one and probably should not approach me to write their wedding ceremony! So I get it, these beings are family members and we love them with all our hearts. So let me share the love and introduce my own pooches with you.
I’ll be honest here. It doesn’t pique my interest who your wedding dress was designed by or where you got your suit from, how many roses you want in your bouquet or where you got your wedding rings from – unless of course there is a reason why you made that choice or a story behind it. Then I want to know ALL about it! Another confession coming up – I was a bit ignorant about how significant jewellery can be. I got that pieces hold sentimental value if they are passed on from precious loved ones and of course I got the significance of rings exchanged during a wedding or vow renewal ceremonies. But I had never considered that the design and materials used to create something new could hold as much of a story almost as a bespoke ceremony. That was until I met Linda Syrigos. Linda is a jewellery designer and the creative energy behind ‘Ilion Design’. She’s the girl you need to go to when you want engagement rings, wedding bands or just anything really important designed to do with jewellery. And she’s pretty cool too. So I would like to introduce you to the lovely Linda and let her tell you about why she does what she does.
How did you begin doing what you do?
I’ve been drawing and creating since I can remember. I made jewellery for friends and family from a young age and was always interested in taking apart old jewellery and revamping it into something more ‘on trend’. I completed a bachelor of Industrial Design where I took on an elective class involving jewellery production techniques and fell in love working with precious materials and understanding the processes involved with jewellery making. After a move to Melbourne, and many years working in fine Jewellery houses, it was only natural to start my own business venture in jewellery.
What do you love about your job
I love bespoke work! Sitting down with clients over a cuppa and discussing their story. Whether it be a love story, special birthday or anniversary, the beautiful part of bespoke work is that you are working together with the client, encompassing their vision and story and creating a piece that will be worn and celebrated for many years.
(See what I mean? How lovely is that?!))
Tell me about one or two of the best moments to date in your work, something REALLY special:
I recently designed a pendant for a client whose mother had passed away. She had a stone that mum held on to in her jewellery box for many years and even though it wasn’t a precious stone it held so much sentimental value to her. We created a pendant design that could be worn in different ways so she can change up the piece depending on the day and carry a piece of her mum with her.
(Now that’s what I’m talking about.)
I’m just releasing my website and a new collection called Amalia, which is such a special moment in my work. Seeing the designs come to life and being involved with every part of the process was both challenging and rewarding. The new collection is about embracing each moment, living present and getting into touch with nature where we can.
What do you believe is your unique selling point?
Producing bespoke celebration jewellery pieces combining rare ‘one of a kind’ gemstones with exquisite diamonds.
Tell me something about yourself that other people may not know
I use to be a Dj and still collect vinyl even though I don’t play anymore.
(I told you she was cool!)
Where can people find you or get in touch with you?
Apparently, the Christmas holidays are the most popular time of the year to pop the question. I haven’t found that to be true with the couples I have written and performed ceremonies for, but what the heck. I’m still going to share some lovely proposal stories with you.
In my job as a wedding celebrant, I always ask the couple how the proposal went down and usually I get rewarded with some amazing, funny or just downright romantic stories! As this is a pivotal point in the relationship, I usually like to include some of the details in the ceremony. Or if it was particularly spectacular, I sometimes get them to re-enact it. Like Ash and Olly. Olly had written a fab proposal poem and set it to the tune ‘O sole mio’ and even got to execute it perfectly on a gondola in Venice just as they rounded a corner into the bright sunshine (although that might just have been Ash’s smile) We couldn’t get the gondola and a canal, but we were by the sea, so Olly went down on one knee and gave us a repeat performance to a standing ovation. Luckily Ash still said yes!
I think that the style of the proposal says so much about the couple and the tone of their relationship. It’s a true litmus test of how well they know and understand each other. Like when Steve proposed to Julia with a motorbike instead of an engagement ring, with ‘will you marry me’ number plates. Knowing that Julia wasn’t a fan of jewellery, but was a huge fan of owning a new bike, showed that he completely understood her and respected her lifestyle choices and taste, that he was prepared to give her something she would truly value even though it meant breaking tradition.
Often the best proposal stories are the ones that didn’t go exactly to plan, but actually turned out to be even more perfect because of it. Chris had planned his proposal to Kelly for their trip to Amsterdam. Their afternoon nap over ran into the evening, losing their dinner reservation, a disagreement about what time of day was the right time of day to go to the ice bar put another spanner in the works and when a great romantic moment on skinny bridge presented itself, neither of them had any battery on their phone to take pictures. But that was ok because an Estonian couple happened to be passing by with fully charged phones and happily allowed them to take selfies to their heart’s content. Not ok was the exchange of email addresses which got lost in translation so that none of the photos were ever received!
And then there was the proposal which was just so awful and badly timed, that I let them have another go with the words and tone that they wished had been employed the first time around.
But one of my favourite proposal stories has to be D and L. For me, it just bodes so well for a partnership of love and teamwork. Plus it’s incredibly romantic!
“I proposed when we went to Greece for summer holidays a couple of years ago. I purchased the ring from a friend jewel setter in Athens and was planning to pop the question at a romantic place in one of our island destinations. I didn’t have a plan as such but was confident an opportunity would present itself, which it did on the island of Amorgos. There was a castle in Chora and I found out no one could go there unless they had the old door keys. These were to be found in a café near the castle where I had to go and ask for them. It is fortunate L doesn’t speak Greek, so didn’t really know what was about to go down! Unfortunately, the key lock proved to be an extremely difficult one and after 10 minutes of frantically trying to open the door of the castle, I was about to give up and try something different another day. As I was thinking what to do next I offered L the keys and asked her to try it one more time. Naturally, she gently turned the keys counterclockwise and after a loud click, the door finally opened! ‘This is it’ I thought to myself, it obviously takes two to tango and I realized more than ever that she is the one to walk with and unlock all the closed doors we might find in our journey together!”
I don’t think there is a right or wrong way to propose, there is only a right answer. Whether it’s elaborately planned and executed like a military operation or spontaneous and ring-less, as long as it’s from the heart that’s what counts.
If you have a wonderful proposal story, I’d love to hear it! And if you are doing the proposing, get in touch and let’s get writing that wedding ceremony!
P.S. the gorgeous engagement ring is from the super talented Linda at Ilion design. Check out their bespoke jewellery over at www.iliondesign.com And you can meet her next week in an interview and hear about the creative process for making pieces of bespoke jewellery – especially wedding and engagement rings!
The photo above was my very first wedding ceremony as a celebrant. At least it was supposed to be. As it turned out, an emergency situation meant that it actually became the second ceremony I performed.
I was prepared, super prepared. I was confident that I had written a beautiful, personal ceremony which not only included some beautiful details from the couples love story, but we had also included our version of the wedding crowns, a nod to the bride’s Greek heritage. So I was feeling pretty relaxed. And so I should, I had weeks, months, in fact, to prepare and email back and forth with the couple to get things just so.
And then I received a phone call from another distraught couple. They believed they had booked a Catholic wedding ceremony at their hotel in two days time. They had family and friends coming from all over Europe. But there was no Catholic wedding happening at the hotel and an unscrupulous staff member had misled the couple, not even preparing their paperwork for a civil wedding registration. They were devastated and mortified at the prospect that their wedding party would feel they had a wasted journey. Would I be able to perform a symbolic ceremony for them at such late notice? Um, in two days time, you say? Ok!
And so that was actually my first ever wedding ceremony. Unexpected and written with the intense focus that only such a deadline can evoke, and with a determination that their ceremony would be even more amazing to compensate for their terrible distress. And it was! We laughed, we cried, we basked in the warm glow of the sinking Mediterranean sun and the love of a couple with a story of restored bicycles and lost buttons.
This was the ceremony that convinced me that I had found more than a new job. It showed me that I could make a difference in one of the most important days in any couples lives. And that I could even do it at very short notice if I needed to!
If you are curious to find out more about me, head over to the official ‘about me’ page here. Or just ask anything you want to know by email, on the facebook page or my Instagram.
I look forward to meeting you, but please don’t leave it until 48 hours before your wedding to ask for a ceremony! Unless you really, really have to of course…
I love it when other people get involved in the ceremony. (But only if they have been invited to do so by the couple, if they are just randoms then it can be a bit awkward.) But who do you choose and most importantly, what do you choose for them to read, and maybe even more importantly, do you let them do the choosing?
So let’s take these decisions one by one.
Who should you choose?
I often see a lot of subtle diplomacy deployed here. ‘Important’ roles are distributed amongst the best friends and family members – maid of honour, best man, bridesmaids, dad/mum/brother walking down the aisle. But oops, the groom has TWO best friends, the bride has THREE BFF’s and there’s a stepdad or a spare brother, how are they going to be presented with a starring role when there just aren’t enough to go round? “I know!” You cry, “We’ll get them to do a reading!” So this is how sometimes your second, but no less significant, best friend gets a reading foisted on her/him when quite frankly they would rather eat their own leg than stand up on one of the most important days of your lives and read a slushy poem.
Your wedding Vows are the pivotal point of your wedding ceremony. With a Celebrant led wedding ceremony, there are so many ways you can choose to conduct your wedding ceremony, elements you can emphasise or even exclude, but the wedding vows will always remain. After all, it’s this exchange of promises that seals the deal. How you choose to exchange your vows is a very personal decision. You might only want to say ‘I do’ or you might want to write a stream of declarations and promises. Discuss the way you want to make it happen with your partner.
During the wedding ceremony, we usually arrive at the Vows before the exchange of rings. If the rings are a tangible, physical signature to the agreement, then the spoken words of your vows are the fine details. So you don’t want to get them wrong! Continue reading “How to write wedding vows”
It came as no surprise to me that my Greek brides would want to include some significant Greek wedding traditions into their ceremony – they may have been second generation from parents that emigrated to the states and Australia, but there is nothing more Greek than a Greek that lives outside of the motherland! At both weddings we incorporated the wedding crowns (you can read all about these in my guest post for the Celebrants directory here) But it wasn’t just the Greek brides that wanted to include it Continue reading “Get your Greek on – the bits I loved from 2017 continued”