Gay wedding ceremonies in Greece

Gay wedding ceremonies in Greece are still not legally recognised, but gay wedding ceremonies in Greece are totally possible! We hope that Greece will soon join the other 29 countries in the world where gay couples can legally register there marriage, but in the meantime, you can enjoy your wedding ceremony in Greece and complete the legal registration in your country of residence, which, by the way, is something I encourage all couples to do anyway!

What do I know about gay wedding’s in Greece?

When I started writing this blog post, I realised I had little to say, other than ‘your gay wedding in Greece will be fabulous!’. This is because the ceremonies I have performed for gay couples have been just that. But I realised that I had no idea how their whole wedding planning process had been, or how they had approached it and what they had encountered along the way. So I asked them! And I also asked Savvas from ‘The Beloved Republic’, a dedicated wedding planning service for LGBTQI+ here in Greece for some tips as well..

Let me introduce you to the couples who helped me with their answers:

I hope this will answer some of your questions and inspire you to come to Greece for your wedding!

How will your wedding ceremony be

Exactly the way you want it! I approach writing wedding ceremonies for gay couples in the same way I would for non-gay couples because all my ceremonies, like my couples, are unique. I never assume anything and nothing is taken for granted in any ceremony I write. Every detail of your ceremony is created just for you, from how you make your entrance all the way through to how you make your exit and everything in between. Finding the right celebrant is crucial, this is the pivotal part of your day after all!

For Connie, it was vitally important to her to include symbolic elements from Greek traditions. As she had been denied the option of getting married in her church, she at least wanted to incorporate some things from her background. And so in a non-religious way, but in a way that still held meaning for Connie, we did:

“We met and spoke to many people who would undertake the ceremony, but then we found you and my heart just knew you were the ONE! You played a key part in our wedding because I was so nervous throughout the whole process until I spoke to you. You understood the respect I have for my religion (Greek Orthodox) and you respected our relationship.”

Connie & Jade

Eva and Anna Lilja had the personal, heartfelt and non-religious ceremony they wanted:

A lesbian couple walk along the beach after their gay wedding ceremony in Greece
Photo: Dimitris Bilias

You really cared about us and our ceremony. You took us to the location of the wedding, made stones to throw in the water, made a stone Greek eye for us to keep. It was really special to us and we are so thankful for you. You made our wedding day so special and the speech you wrote for our ceremony was perfect. It contained a little bit of everything, humour, seriousness and it also was full of love. 

Eva & Anna Lilja

“You were fantastic, we got to make the ceremony our own, using our own words and keeping it fun (just like we had asked) You made sure you understood our personality, even over email so you could perfect exactly what we wanted.”

Laura & Vanessa

Where will it be

So far, I have conducted gay wedding ceremonies in a private villa in Mykonos, a public beach in Rhodes and on the veranda at the Pefkos Blue Hotel on Rhodes. Next year I’m looking forward Nathan & Matthew’s at Philosophia, a beach side restaurant in Rhodes. So really there is a lot of freedom and choice.  I asked Savvas if he had any other choices to suggest, he agreed with me about private venues and has also used public spaces such as beaches and Gardens.

A lesbian couple in their wedding dresses share a moment in an olive grove on their wedding day in Greece

There are no dedicated gay venues in Greece and even a google search for ‘gay friendly wedding venues in Greece’ doesn’t bring any results, so it’s a good idea to use the services of a planner like Savvas who is familiar with venues that are gay friendly. That’s not to say that most businesses aren’t, I’ve never had a request refused, and neither has Savvas. However, when Connie was planning her ceremony in Mykonos by herself it wasn’t all plain sailing:

“As a Greek woman who was marrying a woman I was under a lot of stress as I wanted the perfect scenery for our wedding, but knew the judgement we may come across in Greece. Not many hotels or beach resorts in Mykonos had held many lesbian weddings and so I was afraid of being a ‘show monkey’. So I opted to hire a private villa.”

Connie & Jade

Laura and Vanessa had an altogether more positive experience however when they chose to work with Louise, a wedding planner at ‘Weddings in Blue’ on Rhodes. They chose to have their ceremony on the veranda at Pefki Blue, a beautiful spot with gorgeous sea views:

“Laura and I were very lucky when it came to choosing our initial wedding venue with ‘Weddings in Blue’, as one of our close friends used to work with Louise (their wedding planner) and got married there themselves 7 years ago, so we already knew Lou would have no issues arranging a same-sex wedding.”

Vanessa & Laura
A lesbian wedding couple enjoy the view from the veranda at Pefki Blue Hotel on their wedding day. The couple are wearing white wedding dresses and are looking out over the blue sea,
Vanessa & Laura enjoy the splendid view from ‘The Veranda’ at Pefki Blue Hotel, Rhodes

Eva and Anna Lilja wanted to get married on the beach. They had never even been to Rhodes before, so they were really trusting in us to find their perfect spot for them! But of course it all turned out great:

“Our wedding day was everything we dreamt of and more. We were so happy with our special day and can’t believe how beautiful and perfect it was. We got everything we wanted, a wedding on a beach with our loved ones.” 

Eva & Anna Lilja

As a wedding planner, I asked Savvas what was the most popular destination requested by gay couples looking to hold their wedding ceremony in Greece – the obvious reply was “Mykonos and Santorini!” But when I asked him what his favourite was, he told me:  “Athens and Attica riviera because it has the best diversity shift for a non-conventional LGBTQI+ wedding. It is a fine combination of sea and sun with cultural events, urban style, and big city nightlife. Not a mainstream romantic place, but a more alternative and diverse place for weddings.”

Exciting, right? So it pays to think outside the gay wedding destination box and not just follow the hype!

How do I find gay friendly wedding suppliers

In my opinion wedding planners are worth their weight in gold when it comes to destination weddings. If you have only visited the place where you want to get married once before on holiday, then you should definitely seek one out. As Connie found out, even though she is Greek and speaks the language, she still struggled to find the right suppliers:

“I flew out a couple of times and met with organisers, a few who I changed along the way as they were not very gay friendly. “

Connie

Laura and Vanessa were more than happy with Louise from ‘Weddings Blue’. Even though they are not a dedicated LGBTQI+ wedding planner, they are most definitely in the gay-friendly category!

“Laura was always nervous about people’s possible reaction, but I don’t think either of us found any issues, even the guests around the pool area clapped as George (the legend of a driver) took as the long way from the ceremony to the reception. we even heard a lady say “oh 2 brides!” so I certainly didn’t feel uncomfortable, Louise had to actually stop some of the staff taking time out of their busy day to watch the ceremony as many of them had asked too. As the first same sex wedding I imagine they were curious but in a nice way and we actually quite liked that.”

Vanessa

And Louise was also able to recommend gay friendly wedding professionals such as myself for the ceremony, and also their wedding photographer, Savvas Argirou:

“He was so much fun, made us feel very at ease (particularly as we both hate our pictures being taken) and the photos are beautiful. He knew how to ensure that the amazing backdrop of such a gorgeous location was captured without taking away the main focus (us, lol)”

Vanessa & Laura

If you want to support dedicated LGBTQI+ vendors, get in touch with Savvas from the ‘The Beloved Republic’ (contact details are below) his mission statement says it all:

“Love is equal for everyone. Marriage and weddings are fundamental human rights between adults. Everyone has the right to celebrate their love and openly declare their love and commitment with their friends and family”

Savvas, ‘The beloved Republic’

Some advice from these couples if you are thinking of having your gay wedding ceremony in Greece:

Connie is unequivocal! “Hire a wedding planner. Do not do it alone, it’s very stressful. But most importantly find a Celebrant/Officiant that understands.” Connie and Jade

“Get a good wedding planner that you trust, tell them exactly what your looking for and they will have the contacts to ensure your day is amazing, we were so lucky with Louise and we couldn’t have had such an amazing and perfect day without her. The entire wedding and 2 weeks spent in Rhodes was amazing, we would do it again tomorrow given the chance” Vanessa & Laura

Eva & Anna Lilja don’t hold back:

“Just go for it! You will not regret it. It was certainly a dream come true for us. If you have an idea how you want your wedding to be, just try and find a wedding planner that you like and don’t hesitate to ask them all kinds of questions regarding wedding plans and ceremonies. Let them know how you want your wedding to be. And we would like to recommend Elizabeth as a celebrant. She really cared about us and our ceremony. She made our wedding day so special and the speech she wrote was perfect: It contained a little bit of everything, humour, seriousness and it also was full of love. Some of our relatives said they had never been to a wedding as heartfelt and beautiful as this one!”

How to plan your gay wedding in Greece

As I touched on before, you will need to perform the legal registration of your marriage in your country of residence and it’s up to you whether you do this before or after your wedding ceremony.

Decide on your destination. Put some feelers out to wedding planners in that area and decide your date. I always give the same advice to everyone when choosing your wedding vendors – meet them! It doesn’t matter if this can only be done over technology rather than in person. It’s important that you like each other, that they are as excited and enthusiastic about your wedding as you are. Find people that ‘get’ your wedding day vision, and if you don’t have one then find someone who can draw one out of you – it’s in there somewhere!

Then lock in your celebrant – as the popularity of a more personal wedding ceremony grows (quite right too!) I am finding that I am getting booked up well in advance.

So whatever gay wedding destination in Greece you are looking for, or if you need some help deciding, get in touch! I’m looking forward to Nathan & Matthew’s ceremony at the gorgeous Philosophia here in Rhodes next year!

Two boys in sunglasses with blue sea and blue sky behind

Thank you to my lovely couples for sharing their experiences and below are the details of the vendors mentioned.

To get in touch with me about your ceremony you can fill in the enquiry form, or jump right on to a skype call to talk it through with me! You can book a free call on the calendar.

Extra thanks to Savvas for giving me some extra pointers, you can find his dedicated LGBTQI+ wedding planning services “The beloved republic’ right here:

Louise from ‘Weddings in Blue’ Wedding planning in Pefkos, Rhodes

Website: weddingsinblue.gr Instagram: @weddingsinbluerhodes. Facebook: weddingsinblue

Wedding photography for Vannessa @ Laura was Savvas Argirou Photography

www.savvasargirou.gr Instagram: @savvasargirou Facebook: savvas argirou photography

Are you a gay friendly wedding vendor in Greece? Get in touch, I’d love to know you are out there!

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