With the COVID-19 rules for travel, quarantine and social distancing being constantly updated, the implications for holding a wedding abroad are many and varied.
With months and even years of planning, suppliers booked, deposits paid and guests to worry about, couples getting married abroad have had to make some difficult decisions. We talk to one couple who managed to defy the odds and successfully tie the knot in Greece during COVID-19.
Real Wedding in Greece during Covid-19 – Daisy & Peter
With a wedding abroad destination on the UK Green list (in August 2020), a reduced guest list (46 from 96) and a lot of faith, Daisy and Peter married in a gorgeous rustic wedding abroad on the Greek island of Crete. Below, Daisy answers questions on having a wedding abroad during COVID-19.
At the time of your wedding were there any particular COVID-19 restrictions in place in Crete that impacted your wedding abroad?
In the lead up to the wedding, the restrictions were changing constantly. Initially there was no travel allowed but then the UK put Crete/Greece on their Green List. It was all great but closer to the wedding rumours started swirling about a quarantine on the UK side being enforced. This was worrying as half our our guests (including my mother) wouldn’t be able to travel if that was the case due to work commitments.
Some of our friends cancelled because it was too risky. At the time we were devastated but we continued to push on, knowing that it would be special regardless. It then got to about 5 days before the wedding and everyone was either in Greece or on their way. It was at that point Crete announced that additional restrictions of max 50 people at events was brought in. Thank goodness we now only had 46 guests!! If we had the original number (96 guests) we would’ve had to cancel people’s attendance which would have been awful. We like to think it was fate :).
A few days later, I got the dreaded notification that there were more restrictions in Crete. I frantically looked at the website and saw that there were restrictions of max 9 people gathering and no events or social gatherings in Chania. Chania is 1 hour away from Rethymno (where we were getting married) so again, we lucked out! So it was really cutting it fine right until the last minute.
The only restrictions that impacted us was the curfew and having tables of 6 rather than big long tables.
Did any of the restrictions impact your holiday in Greece?
Not at all! Greece was very good with all the COVID-19 precautions. I honestly cannot think of one restriction that impacted our holiday in a negative way.
How many people cancelled and were the suppliers accommodating with the reduction in numbers?
The suppliers were incredible. They were flexible throughout the whole planning process. We went from a guest list of 96 down to 46 so a big change but the venue was great. Usually when you have less than 50 guests you would need to pay an additional fee for the venue hire but because of the limitations on numbers they agreed to waiver that fee. I can’t recommend them enough, they were so fantastic.
How did your guests feel about travelling and did any cancel due to COVID-19?
Yes lots – some were due to fly from Australia which currently has a travel ban so physically couldn’t. Others were in the extremely vulnerable group so couldn’t take the risk. A few of my friends are teachers and couldn’t risk having to quarantine and miss school term time. Then there were others that pulled out earlier on to avoid the risk of losing their money. For the group that did make it, they felt very comfortable travelling. There are lots of precautions in place to make flying safe and Greece is so much safer than the UK right now so it wasn’t an issue at all.
Did the safety measures implemented by the airlines / accommodation etc. make you and your guests feel safe?
Yes, as far as I know, everyone felt safe and comfortable whilst flying and in their hotels/airbnbs!. Cretans are so hospitable normally but during this scary time they were even more so!
Did you have a Plan B?
We went through multiple plans – B, C, D, E, F….We thought about postponing but then there was no guarantee it would be okay the following year. We also knew that if we made the change, people were more likely to lose their money.
We did think about cancelling and just getting married in the UK but a) planning another wedding was not high on my priority list, b) at the moment UK weddings have got even more restrictions than Greece, and c) Greece was always the dream. To cancel the plans just wasn’t an option so we decided to just stay optimistic and believe it would happen.
You can learn more about Daisy and Peters gorgeous rustic wedding in Crete here. Held at traditional organic farm situated amongst olive groves and vineyards, their wedding was the chilled, relaxed and fun day they had dreamed of.
If you would like the support and guidance of other couples and wedding professionals during COVID-19 and beyond, join our Weddings Abroad Guide Community.
The Perfect Partners
Wedding planner: Unique Wedding Concepts // Wedding Photographer: Graham Hodgetts // Wedding Videographer: DG Films // Ceremony & Reception Venue: Agreco Farms, Crete // Wedding DJ: Mike Vekris DJ // Flowers: Manfler // Wedding Stationery: Manousenia // Hair & Makeup: Michalis Tsotras // Brides Dress: Madi Lane Elora // Grooms Attire: Hugo Boss