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109741 polyxeni gerards kastellorizo island greece destination wedding by theodoros chliapas

Polyxeni & Gerard

In the depths of winter, the one thing that can lift us out of the cold is dreaming of sunshine-filled European holidays. Today’s destination wedding ticks all the boxes for a loved-up, sunny celebration on the sweetest, tiniest island of Kastellorizo in Greece.

Our newlyweds, Australians Polyxena and Gerard – who shared their love story from the early years of high school – decided there was no better way to tie the knot than by returning to the bride’s homeland and a place where the couple had shared many happy holidays together. There was a waterside ceremony, a long dinner as the sun set and the most amazing backdrops that only Greece could provide. What magic!

Photographer Theodoros Chliapas joined them on the day to capture plenty of stunning imagery and beautiful moments.

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The bride wore a gown created by Sydney fashion designer Sant Elia.

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Tradition played a big part in the day, the bride choosing a traditional lyre player to play her down the aisle as she walked with her father, mother and sister.

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The bride and groom chose the small island of Kastellorizo for their ceremony and the reception venue. The island has a population of just 500, proving the most beautiful backdrop for their intimate day.

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Living far away, the happy couple chose Golden Apple Weddings to plan and execute their vision. The Golden Apple team note, “The main challenge of planning a wedding in Kastellorizo is that mostly all vendors have to travel from Rhodes Island as, because of its small size, the location does not have local suppliers. During the planning process, we discussed all needed arrangements and booked a group consisting of 11 suppliers to work for the beautiful day.”

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Of their photographer the bride tells, “Theodoros’ photos of a previous wedding in Kastellorizo is what first made us fall in love with the Island; so it was a sure thing he would be the wedding photographer! A great man who captures the wedding moments in the best way!”

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The bride and groom joined their guests at a long table set by the water at Alexandra’s Restaurant for an evening reception. The bride explaining, “Our love of food is beyond measure. We had to find somewhere to celebrate that was truly authentic, local and above all abundantly delicious…and then our planners talked about Alexandra’s. A family-run restaurant, Mihalis is the owner and his mother is the cook. Seafood is locally caught, olive oil comes from the family’s olive trees in Rhodes, oregano and thyme are found wild on the island and a small herb and vegetable garden supplies the restaurant.”

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109710 polyxeni gerards kastellorizo island greece destination wedding by theodoros chliapas

As a nod to the groom’s Dutch heritage, the couple gifted their guests boxes of traditional Dutch sweets. Each held a name tag written by Nikki Design Co and was adorned with fresh eucalyptus.

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Soft neutral tones wove their way throughout the day. The bride tells, “Our main palette is the soft green tones of eucalyptus and the brown colour added by brass details used in our decoration, such as candle holders and utensils! Beautiful foliage matched with white flowers offers a natural yet elegant wedding style that is perfectly matched with the beautiful setting of our restaurant!”

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A big congratulations to Polyxeni and Gerard on your marriage! Thank you for allowing us to share your day. Thank you also to Theodoros Chliapas and Golden Apple Weddings for sharing the day with us.

Photographer: Theodoros Chliapas / Wedding Planner: Golden Apple Weddings / Bride's Dress: Sant Elia / Bride's Jewellery: Vivianne Kats / Bride's Shoes: Billini / Groom's Attire: Epitome Suits / Calligraphy: Nikki Design Co / Reception Venue: Alexandra's Restaurant / DJ: Despo Mania / Wedding Ring: Gary Thyregod
Polka Dot Honeymoons Directory Mid Banner
Bamurru Plains, Mary River. Image via Peter Eve Tourism NT

Bamurru Plains, Mary River. Image via Peter Eve/Tourism NT

Winter. Is. Here. And if you’re getting married during the frosty season or perhaps planning a wedding to be held during this time of year, there will be one thing at the forefront of your mind: the weather.

Let’s say you’ve decided to have your wedding in Melbourne, Sydney, Adelaide or… gulp, Hobart, then you’re already aware that it’s going to be chilly.

And since it’s winter weddings month over on our Polka Dot Weddings blog, I thought I’d throw a curve ball at you and find a few ways to defrost after you’ve said your nuptials.

One destination sprang to mind immediately: the Northern Territory – a place which conjures up images of red earth and glorious sunsets.

Northern Territory Minister for Tourism and Culture, Lauren Moss describes it as a place of “diverse landscapes and culture”.

“The Northern Territory is a place of great diversity and natural beauty – from our incredible national parks, including Kakadu and Uluru-Kata Tjuta, to our fiery sunsets and dramatic landscapes. It is also home to awe-inspiring artwork of the world’s oldest living culture.”

It’s also worth noting that the ‘top end’ of Australia has two distinct seasons, the ‘Wet’ and the ‘Dry’.

The Wet spans from November until April during which you can expect monsoonal rains and storms.

But from May to October, it’s ideal wedding conditions – sunny days and cool nights – although it may stray into the ‘too warm’ territory for some. Expect temperatures to range from from 21C (70F) to 32C (90F).

So let’s take a look at a few places you can defrost  in the NT after your Winter wedding. And remember, these don’t have to be honeymoon destinations, you could always change your mind and have a destination wedding – leave your thermals at home!

Ubirr sunset Kakadu National Parl Peter Eve Tourism NT

Ubirr sunset Kakadu National Park. Image via Peter Eve/Tourism NT

Ubirr, Kakadu National Park Kakadu

Ubirr is an iconic destination at Kakadu National Park.

You’ll be overwhelmed by romance as you hold hands and watch the sun set over the floodplains. Expect rainbow skies and reflective blue billabongs. Side note, it’s also not a bad spot to pop the question, if you haven’t already! More information here.

Sunrise Hot Air Ballooning, Alice Springs

Anyone who has ever been hot air ballooning before, knows it’s a truly unique experience. However, throw in views of red desert sands with sunlight slowly appearing over the horizon – and you’re in a whole new world (Aladdin reference intended). You can also get your hands on a couple of glasses of champagne while you’re in the air – it’s a win-win! More information here.

Litchfield National Park, Darwin

Are you and your partner outdoor junkies? The Litchfield National Park is home to cascading rainforest canopies, diamond-hued waterholes and stunning waterfalls. You can pitch a tent and cast a line to grab dinner and so much more! More information here.

Florence Falls, Litchfield National Park. Image via Sean Scott/Tourism NT

Florence Falls, Litchfield National Park. Image via Sean Scott/Tourism NT

So, there’s a few ideal honeymoon locations in the NT in order to defrost. However, if you’re still in the planning stages of your wedding – and looking for a destination a little out of the ordinary, the NT is brimming with amazing wedding locations as well! Here’s just a few to spark your interest:

Wildman Wilderness Lodge, Kakadu

Located in the Mary River National Park wetlands of the Northern Territory, Wildman Wilderness Lodge is a luxury bush camp. Picturesque and teeming with wildlife, the lodge will give your wedding that unique, remote feeling – and it’s only a domestic flight away. Expect romance, untamed wilderness and crisp white linen – a rare combination to be sure. More information here.

Weddings on the water, Darwin Harbour

Are you and your partner in love with the water (as well as each other)? Slip aboard a Darwin Harbour yacht and sail to an isolated beach for your nuptials. Sail Darwin will collect your wedding party and even take care of the shore front set-up. Win! More information here.

Darwin Harbour. Image via Peter Eve/Tourism NT

Darwin Harbour. Image via Peter Eve/Tourism NT

Bamurru Plains, Kakadu

Another one for the outdoorsy types, Bamurru Plains boasts a private luxury resort on the edge of Kakadu National Park. Their suites are designed to blend in with the surrounds and provide a safari like stay. More information here

Uluru Lookout, Voyages Ayers Rock Resort, Uluru

Journey to the Red Centre to exchange vows on your own private dune with Uluru and Kata Tjuta as your backdrop. Experience the wonder of Uluru as it blazes with colour at dusk while you sip champagne with your significant other. More information here.

So there you have it, a bunch of different ways to escape the cold, whether it be a destination Winter wedding or that post-winter wedding defrost. Now get planning!

Ms Zebra Says: Wow! The Northern Territory has been on my list for ages, but this list of amazing places & beautiful romantic spots have definitely put it back to the top of the list! Imagine defrosting in 30 degree weather by one of the Waterfalls or overlooking Uluru! I’m there!

About the author Mr Houndstooth: I am a happily married man. I enjoy a fine whisky, a new suit and swashbuckling around town with my beautiful bride. Looking back on my wedding day always makes me smile, even though it began to rain just as I said ‘I do’.

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Image via Yarra Valley Lodge

A Romantic Winter Weekend Away – 48 Hours in Yarra Valley

Whether it’s a honeymoon destination, lover’s weekend getaway or perhaps a reconnoitre trip to plan your dream wedding, the Yarra Valley – and Yarra Valley Lodge provide the best backdrop to explore, eat and drink your way around! 

Friday Afternoon:   Check into the Yarra Valley Lodge

Check into your accommodation in the luxurious Yarra Valley Lodge, perfectly situated within the picturesque Yarra Valley wine region. Snuggle up with your partner and relax taking in the stunning views and watching the sunset over the rolling hills from your balcony with a wine in hand.

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Image via Yarra Valley Lodge

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Image via Innocent Bystander

Friday 6pm: An early dinner at the Innocent Bystander

Enjoy an early dinner in the cozy ambience of the Innocent Bystander with attentive staff and exceptional service. You will enjoy the paella and pizza options, tasting the local beers, wine and delicious cider made on site. The live music creates a great atmosphere and it will be difficult to drag yourself away, however with an early start planned for tomorrow it’s best to make it an early night.

Saturday 6am: Hot Air Ballooning

An early wakeup call is worth it to experience the breathtaking views of the Yarra Valley in a hot air balloon. Watch the landscape awaken as the sun rises over rolling hills, farms and vineyards and even take home an inflight photo of the two of you flying high in this truly memorable and unforgettable experience.

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Image via Yarra Valley Lodge 

Saturday 8:00am: Yarra Valley Permaculture Organic Market

Enjoy a tasty breakfast washed down with an aromatic coffee using organic coffee beans when you arrive. Then explore the local stalls and fresh seasonal produce – try picking up organic breads, meats, fruits, chocolates and more at the Yarra Valley Permaculture Organic Market. These will all come in handy for your adventures tomorrow!

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Image via Yarra Valley Permaculture Organic Market

Saturday 10:00am: Enjoy a private Yarra Valley winery tour

It’s a romantic escape, so drop off your goodies from the market, leave the car keys behind and enjoy a private tour with an experienced tour guide from Wild Wombat Winery Tours and spend the day exploring the incredible Yarra Valley.

Saturday 10:30am: First stop – Domaine Chandon!

Domaine Chandon offers the closest experience you will have to experience true French Champagne-making in Australia.   Chandon is the only Australian sparking with genuine French heritage which began over 30 years ago when a team of Chandon’s wine experts in France struck gold in finding the perfect home in the Yarra Valley. Chandon has the same blood line as the Moet & Chandon, Domaine Chandon and combines its French heritage with Australian expertise to create one of Australia’s best bubbles. The well-manicured vineyards and gardens are also worth exploring. If you are not a fan of bubbles, then there are some lovely reds to enjoy as well.

Gallery Whitlands Vineyard

Image via Chandon Winery

About Gallery LoungeBar

Image via Chandon Winery

Saturday 11:30am: Wine tasting and Lunch at De Bortoli

After tasting incredible wine at the DeBortoli cellar door, it’s time to enjoy a seasonal tasting plate followed by something a little more filling from their Italian influenced menu as you continue to enjoy the wine you enjoyed the most taking in the ambience and the breathtaking views. Enjoy a coffee but hold off on dessert there is more to explore this afternoon.

Saturday 2pm: Discover hand-made farmhouse cheese at the Yarra Valley Dairy

While you have had a long leisurely lunch, there is always room to taste the incredible offering of fresh cheeses at the Yarra Valley Dairy. The cheese factory uses locally sourced milk from the Yarra Valley Dairy farms and goats milk form the neighbouring Victorian region of Gippsland and if you like something a little spicier you cannot go past the ‘Firey’ marinated cheese, if chilli isn’t your thing, the Persian Fetta is delish and the ashed pyramid is mouthwatering. Make certain you stock up on a few items before you leave!

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Image via Yarra Valley Dairy

Saturday 3:00pm: Round off your tour with a Gin Tasting

Finish your tour with a visit to the Four Pillars Gin distillery. At the distillery cellar door, you will learn how to taste gin properly and really feel the flavours appear. The flavours on offer are distinctively Australian, with Eucalyptus, lemon myrtle and Tasmanian bush peppercorn being only some of the ingredients you will be able to recognise in the four varieties of gin. While you are there you can look through the glass windows at the three copper stills in the distillery itself.

Saturday 7.00pm: Dinner at The Stables

Dinner at The Stables at Stones is the perfect location for an intimate and romantic dinner. Originally built in the 1800’s as stable hand quarters and beautifully restored and converted into a stunning restaurant retaining its historic feel with red brick walls, manicured gardens and a quaint outdoor terrace area with the most incredible views.   Here you can enjoy an exquisite five or seven course degustation tasting menu with matching wines from the region making this a night to remember.

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Image via The Stables at Stones

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Image via The Stables at Stones

Sunday 9am: The Perfect Buffet Breakfast at Bella Restaurant

Enjoy a Sunday sleep in followed by a leisurely buffet breakfast at Bella Restaurant at the Yarra Valley Lodge. Here, you can enjoy an abundance of fresh regional produce and continue to take in the stunning views as you watch kangaroos, birds and other wildlife that call this area home.

Sunday 10:30am: Check out of the hotel and Check into nature

It’s time to check out of the hotel – but the romantic weekend is far from over! So, lace up your walking shoes and gather up your locally sourced cheese and goodies you purchased yesterday (and your favourite wine purchase) and its time to set off and explore a different side of the Yarra Valley.

Sunday 11:30am: Redwood Forest Tree Art

Where else in Australia can you walk around a California Redwood Forest?? Yarra Valley that’s where! Some of these trees stand nearly 180 feet tall. The forest is filled with art installations made from nature and plenty of walking tracks and wildlife.

Image via Visit Yarra Valley

Sunday 1:30pm: Picnic Lunch at Coldstream Winery

Coldstream Hills winery allows you to BYO a picnic on their balcony and land (you only need to purchase a glass or two from them!) … so fold out the picnic blanket, unpack all of your gourmet locally sourced goodies, open up that nice bottle of wine, and after all that exercise its time to enjoy a relaxed and romantic picnic together enjoying the surrounds and watching the wildlife.

Sunday 3:00pm: Homeward Bound … After a stop at Yarra Valley Farm

These guys source fresh produce from around the Yarra Valley region, so you won’t go home empty handed! Plus they have not only produce, but homewares, handmade jewellery, freshly pressed Yarra Valley olive oils, cordials and more. It’s right next door to Yarra Valley Lodge so easy swing by en route home!

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Ms Zebra Says: Talk about a heap of amazing activities?! I’m literally booking this right now! What an amazing weekend getaway – so much glorious food, wine and exploring!!! 

About Yarra Valley Lodge: Beautifully appointed and set at the foothills of the stunning Yarra Ranges, Yarra Valley Lodge is positioned in an area of outstanding natural beauty surrounded by superb manicured gardens and rolling green hills. Yarra Valley Lodge is a perfect destination for your wedding  – whether it be boutique and intimate or large cocktail celebrations – featuring magnificent reception venues with an idyllic natural backdrop all within a comfortable drive from Melbourne.