When Marandan and Thomas first contacted me for their engagement photos, they still weren’t sure what their wedding plan was. After throwing around a few ideas – The Maldives, Australia, Puerto Rico, you name it – they decided on a Santorini, Greece elopement!
Enjoy Marandan and Thomas’s beautiful elopement in Santorini and big reception back home in Chattanooga. If you’re planning your own elopement, hit a girl up! I’m always looking for an excuse to travel!
Chattanooga Couple’s International Elopement
Marandan and Thomas have been together for nearly ten years, and this international elopement was their dream **trip. They actually ‘honeymooned’ around the country for several weeks, and I met them about halfway through the trip for their ceremony.
I’ve shot my fair share of international elopements (I’m a sucker for them), but I’d never been to Santorini, so I hit the books hard for this one. I used Google Earth, books, forums, and a friend who had recently travelled there (I bribed them for information with a dinner out). I was able to scout all of Marandan and Thomas’s photo locations from afar. And I did a damn good job, if I do say so myself!
We also had the help of Marandan and Thomas’s venue, this stunning resort in the city of Oia. The resort employs a wedding coordinator who helped the couple plan their day and source their florals. I’m so thankful they had a local on their team!
Marandan and Thomas got ready separately in their suite. Marandan brought her dress from Monica’s Bridal, and Thomas kept it island/cowboy casual with a light white button-down and jeans.
As I tell all my brides, it’s best to do your own hair and makeup for an international elopement. Styles vary across countries, as does the standard of beauty. Plus, if there’s a language barrier, you may not be able to clearly communicate what you want to a local hairdresser. It’s best not to risk it and to opt for a low-stress, DIY hairstyle. Marandan’s curls turned out perfectly, and she was even able to touch them up herself when we got rained on later in the day.
Before their first look, Thomas read a sweet note from Marandan and admired his wedding band. Then, it was time to see his bride!
Santorini, Greece Elopement Ceremony
Marandan and Thomas shared their first look and held an intimate, just-them ceremony on the terrace of their suite overlooking the Sea of Crete. It was simple, sweet, and perfectly them.
While I normally wouldn’t shoot at high noon, Santorini looks the most brilliant when it’s bathed in afternoon light. The sun on the sea brings out such beautiful deep blues, and the island’s iconic white buildings look so clean and crisp under harsh light.
After exchanging vows and rings, Marandan and Thomas headed back into their suite for some cuddly, romantic photos.
Newlywed Couple Boudoir Photos
What better way to wind down after your ceremony than a boudoir shoot? Marandan changed out of her gown and into this sleek white thong bathing suit and flowing robe, and Thomas got cozy in his undershirt and boxers. The two snuggled up on the couch for some lovey, touchy photos. Then, we wandered the resort, took their private hot tub for a whirl, and finally headed back to the room for some saucy photos in bed. (“Like seriously, do you guys want me to leave you to it? I can go!”)
And if you thought they couldn’t get any sweeter, Marandan and Thomas then helped each other get re-dressed for the rest of their Santorini elopement photos. Seeing couples get ready (or re-ready) together on their wedding day gets me every time. It’s always so tender, and you can see the care in every movement. If you’re on the fence about getting ready together on your big day (whether you’re eloping or hosting a traditional wedding), I highly recommend it!
Elopement Photos in Oia, Santorini
Next came my favorite part of the day: photos around the island! Like I mentioned, I’d scoped out a few locations I knew would make for stunning photos, and I was excited to get these lovebirds out of the resort and onto the seaside cliffs.
Santorini is special for a hundred reasons, not the least of which being it has three kinds of beaches: white sands, black sands, and red sands. Since we’d already shot in the bright white city, I decided to take Marandan and Thomas to Red Sand Beach.
We took a 45-minute car ride, hiked up onto the cliffs, and then… it started raining. Like pouring. These two were happy to roll with it, though, and we got some beautiful shots above the red sand cliffs. The raindrops created a hazy effect on my lens, which I actually think added a touch of realness to the images.
Since I didn’t want these two getting absolutely drenched, we packed up early and headed to another cliff for some sunnier photos. Then, we zipped back to the resort (which was on the west side of the island!) for a few sunset shots above the city.
As the sun set, Marandan and Thomas retreated to their room for a private dinner. Then, the resort surprised them with a fireworks show to celebrate! It was a beautiful ending to a perfect day – and a perfect beginning to a beautiful marriage.
The Big Party Back Home
Just because you elope to a far-away destination doesn’t mean you can’t throw a party back home! When they got back to Chattanooga, Marandan and Thomas threw a reception at The Turnbill Building. They had all the makings of a traditional reception – cake, signature cocktails, and a first dance – and they spent the evening mingling with friends and family. May Flowers did the place up with these moody blue florals and white pillar candles (A subtle nod to Santorini? Perhaps!). The newlyweds even showed a video of their Santorini elopement ceremony!
An after-the-fact reception is a great option for couples who want to elope but still want to party. Marandan and Thomas got their intimate moment in Santorini, and they still got to take family photos, share a first dance, and celebrate their marriage with their nearest and dearest. It’s the best of both worlds!
They capped off the night with a dance party and a beautiful sparkler exit from The Turnbull, complete with dips and kisses. What more could you want?
If you’re planning an international elopement, reach out! I’m always down to travel, and I love making memories with my couples in far-off, beautiful locations. And if you’re planning a Santorini, Greece elopement, even better! I’ve already got the scoop on all the best locations.
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