I read about Ionian weddings in a press release and was astounded by the excellent value for money weddings that they arrange in Greece. I wrote about the hiring your own Greek island for your wedding ceremony and a reception for 20 guests which costs 3800 euro in the Wandalust blog. I contacted the founder of Ionian Weddings, Andreas Palikiras and asked him if he’d do a guest interview for the Europe a la Carte blog.
1 What is the aim of your business?
We want to be the number one wedding planning consultancy for brides and grooms planning to marry in Greece. This means a bespoke, unbiased and personal service here in the UK right up to the couple’s departure matched by professional and friendly planners at our featured destinations to make each wedding experience unique and unforgettable.
2 What prompted you to start your own business?
Our own wedding in Corfu. Even though I am Greek, speak the language fluently and understand the culture, my wife and I found that we spent a lot of time and money researching venues, chasing replies from local suppliers and we realised how difficult and stressful it would be for a British couple
who didn’t speak Greek to try to do this, especially from a distance. At the same time we realised that Greece had huge potential for weddings as there are some stunning venues to choose from, the weather is fantastic and it costs a fraction of the average UK wedding. When our guests (both Greek and English) commented that ours was the best wedding they had been to and joked that we should organise weddings for a living we decided to make a go of it!
3 What has been the hardest aspect of having your own business?
As we specialise in the Greek islands, we spend a lot of time on resort and venue inspections, meeting our partners and constantly developing new wedding ideas. We always try to combine these trips with some holiday time but it never quite happens! But then, we’d rather be working on a beautiful Greek island than in a stuffy office in central London!
4 What is the funniest thing that has happened to you running your own
We have a policy of speaking to the couple rather than other people on their behalf. Sometimes parents ring up or enquire and on one occasion we were dealing with the father of the bride. When we asked to speak to the bride to get her views, he wrote back saying “The bride is my daughter who has been sat here with me reading your mails. Believe me she is not bound and gagged even though it may sound like an arranged marriage by dad”.
5 Is there anything you would do differently with the benefit of hindsight?
Starting Ionian Weddings earlier. We have witnessed a huge increase in bookings in a relatively short space of time and people are now searching for our brand name which is fantastic. We love what we do and wish we had taken the leap to starting our new business earlier.
My comments – Andreas, I can relate to planning to have a holiday and it ending up being a business trip, it is hard to switch off when you are running your own business. Unfortunately the increase of the value of the euro against the British pound must have increased the cost of Greek weddings to British clients but it’s still fantastic value for money for a romantic wedding in a beautiful, sunny location.