What could be more compelling than a vision of two lovers creating an everlasting union that is kissed by the winds whispering above the eastern Mediterranean? As I write this, I am reminded of the myths and legends of our new home here on Crete island. The Minoan, or more appropriately, “Keftiu” goddess, looking over a fabled land that knew no war for centuries unwritten. The eternal feminine, we should remember, is what mankind will always be married to. This quote from The Element -Inth in Greek by the great Scottish poet and novelist Alison Fell is a thought to ponder for those to be betrothed soon.
“The carved images on the early Minoan sealstones are tantalising, inscrutable. The Nature Goddess is yanked from the soil like a snake or a sheaf of barley; the Mistress of the Animals suckles goats and gazelles. There are male Adorants certainly – up on tiptoe, their outstretched arms hoisted in a kind of heil, their bodies arched suggestively, pelvis forward, before the Goddess – but there are no masculine deities, not a single one in sight. No woman worth her salt, one might think, could fail to be intrigued.”
― Alison Fell
So, with wedding tourism in mind, I thought readers of Argophilia would like to learn about a few of the unique experiences we’ve discovered over time. With Nice, Capri, Venice, Rome, and Paris, and the rest having been done over and again, here’s some matrimonial bliss you may never have imagined.
On the Throne of Zeus
“Love of liberty, the refusal to accept your soul’s enslavement, not even in exchange for paradise; stalwart games over and above love and pain, over and above death; smashing even the most sacrosant of the molds when they are unable to contain you any longer – these are the great cries of Crete.” – Nikos Kazantzakis in Report to Greco
Everyone we ever sent to Aravanes in the tiny village of Thronos overlooking the Amari Valley called the place “Heaven on Earth.” As the name of the speck of a community suggests, this is a place God would put a throne. The myths say Zeus played as a child in the valley below. And the taverna and lodge Lambros and his family run are appropriately unique too. His daughter Eleftheria works with planners like Crete Within Weddings to organize and plan fairytale events with surroundings that cannot be matched anywhere in the world. I assure you, the stunning images you see here are but a hint at the glory of this legendary Crete venue. The wonderful video below offers another fleeting glimpse of a separate life, a vivid and ethereal memory any couple might wish for themselves.
I’ve written volumes about this magical place. From the extraordinary archaeology of the Minoan palace in the valley below at Monastiraki to the unrivaled beauty of nearby Patsos Gorge, we’ve shared with the world much of what Aravanes and Amari have to offer. Right next to the inn and taverna, an ancient chapel boast frescoes painted by long-forgotten artists. All around, echoes of a thousand lifetimes reverberate. Above the tiny village, a Minoan city once stood. Out in the fields, shepherds and farmers live as Cretans have since before written history, and even the wind whispers with an extraordinary charm. The cuisine, the work ethic, and hospitality of Lambros and his family, even the local animals, cooperate to make Aravanes perfect. The value here cannot be overstated.
Contact: To find out more, readers should Email: email@example.com or Phone Eleftheria directly: at +30 694 538 6447
On a Peloppenese Hilltop
In Greece, to unite in marriage is to become the founders of a new monarchy. Through a traditional ritual known as ‘The Crowning’, two stefana are joined by a single ribbon, and placed on the heads of the couple. The crowns are exchanged three times, and so the married couple becomes the rulers of their own family. Elaborate dining follows, and as day turns to dusk, dancing weaves guests around the reception space ‘til dawn.
As I write this, I wonder if anyone out there ever dreamed of holding their wedding reception in a Greek amphitheater. What a novel idea, right? Well, Aman’s Amanzoe Resort at Porto Heli in the Peloponnese hosts weddings and other events of either intimate or grand scale. And yes, you can have your reception in the said amphitheater, in front of a sacred flame, at the beach club, or create an individualized experience incorporating the traditional splendor surrounding the resort.
Though contemporary in its design, this Aman resort is a neoclassical remembrance of Greece’s magnificent architecture and spirit. Couples can create myriad ceremonial celebrations like luncheons, cocktail parties, family dining experiences, and banquets. I cannot leave without mentioning Amanzoe’s amazing 2,850-square-metre Spa. This hilltop resort does leave you speechless.
Contact: To find out more, readers should Email: firstname.lastname@example.org or Phone: +30 275 4772 888
At Aphrodite’s Island
“The force that unites the elements to become all things is Love, also called Aphrodite.” – Empedocles
Cyprus is a magical island where Aphrodite, the Greek goddess of love and beauty, was worshipped before the 12th century BC. So, discovering that the island is also a legendary spot for tying bonds is no surprise. Looking about the island for unique experiences for this story, we came across Cavo Zoe Seaside Hotel, a familiar boutique hotel just recently re-envisioned. The hotel’s GM, George Motsios, tells us a big part of the hotel redux involves weddings and other events hosting. However, he was quick to point out how the new ownership of the hotel worked to optimize the hotel’s proximity to the sea and the Chapel of St. Andrew (Εξωκλήσι Αποστόλου Ανδρέα Πρωταράς) sitting overlooking the sea from directly in front of the property.
One of the providers working with Cavo Zoe is luxury wedding planner Elizabeth Anne whose expertise trends toward trailblazing possibilities for her clients. Experiential travel is the trend now. Elizabeth (Liz) works hard to deliver unique events at unforgettable destinations. Another amazing organizer, Sally Payne of Perfect Weddings Cyprus, helps couples create truly unique events. Cavo Zoe is a prime location for weddings where couples look for more complete, understated, stress-free events. The chapel by the sea Motsios mentioned makes the location idyllic in anyone’s imagination.
Contact: To find out more, readers should Email: email@example.com or Phone: +357 237 305 00
From the Bosphorus
“If the Earth were a single state, Istanbul would be its capital.” – Napoleon Bonaparte
Every couple searches for a time, a place, and an atmosphere that is unique to them and to remember their brightest occasions. This is appropriate if somewhat challenging to accomplish. That’s one reason I was delighted to find the venues I’ve mentioned. This is why I include another legend, more myth, and striking conjured imagery in this last suggestion. When you hear the name “Istanbul,” what do you imagine? Today, I imagine a loving couple enveloped in romance, excitement, intrigue, and the unforgettable. That’s what Ajia Hotel, Istanbul is. If you don’t believe it, then just look.
Situated right on the Bosphorus, this famous hotel can host 300-500 people, depending on the seating arrangement. Once a lavish Ottoman mansion, the hotel offers a range of exciting services like a shuttle boat service to Istanbul, special candlelight dinners and events, and gourmet Mediterranean cuisine. Put it this way; you don’t have to work too hard to imagine your dream wedding experience here. The fabulous Pasha Suite here will consummate anybody’s forever-after memories.
Contact: To find out more, readers should Email: firstname.lastname@example.org or Phone: +90 216 413 9300