An Elegant Destination Wedding in Greece
Sze and Jeffrey met in an unusual place: the lobby of a movie theater. He organized an outing with friends, she decided to tag along, and they were formally introduced after the film ended. The pair were friends for a year-and-a-half before going on their first date. "We bonded over our love for travel and exploration. We've actually visited more than 24 countries together in the past seven years! "says Sze, the founder and director of a fitness studio in Singapore.
About three years later, Jeffrey (a director at Facebook), took a six-week sabbatical from work to travel with friends and family. They journeyed to New Zealand, where they explored beautiful black sand beaches. "It was winter in New Zealand, and Karekare Beach was quiet except for a few locals walking their dogs," says Sze. "We were taking pictures of the scenery when Jeffrey suddenly dropped to the ground. I thought he had lost his balance on the soft sand and tried to grab him. In that instant, he reached into his pockets, and I finally realized what he was doing!" Sze didn't expect the proposal, since she says Jeffrey isn't great at keeping secrets, and she was absolutely thrilled.
Just over a year after getting engaged, the Singapore-based couple ventured to Greece for a destination wedding at Amanzoe in Kranidi on October 14, 2017. About 80 guests attended the beautiful ceremony, which took place amidst lavender fields with breathtaking views of the sea. Sze and Jeffrey took advantage of the venue's natural beauty by incorporating minimal decorations, lots of greenery, and a neutral color palette of taupe, white, and green.
The wedding took place at Amanzoe, a luxury hotel in Kranidi, Greece. "I fell in love with the property during our venue search," says Sze. "Jeffrey and I are avid travelers with a fond interest in architecture, interior design, and warm hospitality. We wanted to share this love for travel with our loved ones by choosing an unexpected destination off the beaten path." The couple booked the entire property for the weekend, and they also hosted a welcome cocktail hour and dinner there.
The Bride's Look
Sze wore a stunning V-neck wedding dress from Berta with a delicate and sparkly criss-cross pattern. "I probably tried on 15 or 20 dresses before coming back to this one, which was the very first dress that I tried on!" she says. The bride also wore a Homa Pirouz veil, as well as a custom-made tennis bracelet and diamond earrings from Ivy Masterpiece.
The Groom's Formalwear
Studio7 also crafted boutonnières with the same white roses.
A Sweet First Look
Before the ceremony, Sze and Jeffrey shared a sentimental first look.
The Ceremony Site
The ceremony took place in the round lavender garden of Amanzoe. A circular arch by Studio7 drew the eye to the surrounding countryside and Aegean Sea. Short shrubs of greenery separated the rows of seats, creating a naturally rustic aesthetic.
A Statement-Making Backdrop
The show-stopping arch was adorned with greenery and tiny white flowers. Shrubs clustered at the base added depth and texture. "The wedding concept was 'the circle of love,'" says planner Anna Sourbati of The Event Company. "We believe the circle is a universal symbol with very strong meaning, since a circle of wholeness is made of two opposite halves: love and devotion."
Nailing the Details
To protect guests from the Greek sun, Amanzoe placed white wide-brimmed hats on some of the ceremony chairs. As for those wooden lawn chairs, the couple searched high and low to find ones that had the look they were going for. In the end, it was more affordable to buy them than it was to rent them, so Sze and Jeffrey purchased all 80 seats ahead of the wedding.
Finding Their Vendors
A string quartet situated under an olive tree played during the ceremony and cocktail hour. "We visited Greece to plan our wedding in May. On our last night in Athens, we were going through our checklist over dinner when this band started playing. We sat through their entire set, and we went up to them and asked if they are available to play at our wedding!" says Sze.
Sze and Jeffrey shared the same favorite moment: the groom's processional to the Star Wars theme song—a complete surprise to him. "I loved the laughter from our friends when music came on," says Sze. "I imagined Jeffrey feeling like Luke Skywalker walking down the aisle!" After this funny moment, Sze and her father processed to Pachelbel's "Canon in D" played by the string quartet.
The couple had a non-religious civil ceremony officiated by the Jeffrey's cousin, who he considers a big brother. They wrote and read their own vows. "In the morning, we also observed a simplified version of a Chinese 'bride fetching' and tea ceremony," says Sze. "This includes enjoying a bowl of rice-dumpling soup (tang yuan), which signifies happiness, union, and perfection. My mom brought the ingredients to Greece from Singapore and taught the hotel's culinary team to prepare it."
Ivy Masterpiece designed the custom wedding bands; Sze chose a sparkly three-tiered band covered with diamonds, while Jeffrey opted for a plain and simple number.
"A Lover's Concerto" and "Minuet in G Minor" played during the recessional and loved ones tossed white petals at the newlyweds. Afterwards guests attended cocktail hour, where they listened to the string quartet, sipped beverages, and enjoyed appetizers. The canapes included Vietnamese rolls with vegetables and mango; cheese croquettes with handmade marmalade; tarama mousse with octopus; and mini chicken tacos. The couple had two signature cocktails (grapefruit mist and spiced Moscow mule) and one mocktail (Earl Grey lemonade).
After the ceremony, Lilli Kad Photography took photos of the couple around the hotel. Sze had another custom gown by Tony Ward but instead of changing into it opted to spend more time with her guests.
Sze and Jeffrey entered the reception to "Sweet Pea" by Amos Lee.
The reception took place by the pool at Amanzoe, which provided taupe-colored chairs and round tables covered with white linens. According to Sze, "Amanzoe was beautiful on its own, so I picked a simple color palette that accentuated the natural environment of the space. I wanted everything to look as timeless and clutter-free as possible."
Tall centerpieces by Studio7 towered over the tables. The transparent vases showcased white roses, white lisianthus, and greenery.
The Place Settings
The Paper Details
Papypress designed the minimalistic table numbers and menus. Amanzoe served an amuse-bouche of beetroot and lobster tail wonton, a salad, and a truffle ravioli pasta. For the main course, guests picked between three options: black cod fillet, venison fillet, and orzo pasta with wild mushrooms, thyme, honey, and goat cheese. A lemon and yuzu tart (Jeffrey's all-time favorite dessert) rounded out the meal.
Amanzoe baked a lavender and Earl Grey cake since the bride loves tea-infused desserts. Sprigs of lavender and greenery topped the white buttercream confection. During the cake cutting, the wedding band played "Crazy Love" by Michael Bublé.
A Sweet Moment
Sze and Jeffrey took a moment to hold hands at the reception. The pair didn't have an official first dance, but they swayed to Frank Sinatra's "New York, New York" at the wedding after-party. "As a Bostonian, Jeff totally regrets it," adds Sze. "I was having a good time so it didn't matter," he counters.
The next day, the newlyweds chartered a boat, and they took guests to the island of Hydra while en route to Athens. Then they wrapped up wedding festivities in Santorini with family and friends. "Overall it was an elegant wedding vacation for all our loved ones who traveled from the U.S. and Asia to Greece to celebrate our union of love!" says Sze.
Photography, Lilli Kad Photography
Location, catering, and cake, Amanzoe
Event planning, The Event Company
Vdeography, Jana Buskova Videography
Bride's gown, Berta
Groom's suit, Kevin Seah
Lighting and after-party music, Music Essentials