romantic wedding in venice

Venice; Just uttering the word takes you to a world of romance, love, being with the one you love…., what an inspiration when planning a wedding at one of the most romantic places in the world.

It was a July afternoon when the phone rang. A young talented LA actress, Mary, who currently lives in Athens announcing that she was getting married to the love of her life, Dimitris. She already chose the date: September 6th, and we suggested the place: Venice of course.

The exciting plans began with a brainstorm of ideas. The church: none other than the 16th century Greek Orthodox Cathedral of St. Giorgio dei Greci; the oldest and historically the most important church of the Orthodox Diaspora. The reception: at the Hotel Bauer Palazzo, a 19th century hotel with its known 18-century facade in Gothic-Byzantine style.

Indeed, that’s where it all took place, but that was not all. Let me share with you the exciting itinerary that made it even more unique:

Guests from different countries arrived for the special event. But prior to the arrival of the couple’s big day, we all needed to get to know each other better while enjoying visits to some important spots of the city, a Tour of the Grand Canal, a visit to the Peggy Guggenheim Museum, and a private tour to St. Marko Cathedral, only to mention a few.

The big day was special for the happy couple, but truly unforgettable for the rest of us.

The bride looked amazing in her Vera Wang dress, while the church was beautifully decorated with the artistic creations of local florist Munaretto. Surprises where not only there for the guests of course. A surprise was also planned for the bride herself; an old friend of hers flew in from New York for the wedding: that friend is also my beloved daughter Vivia.

The reception, was an international gathering of fashionably dressed and well behaved guests who enjoyed the celebration of the couple’s marriage. All under the roof of this Venetian ballroom with its Murano Sconces.

The formal dinner event was more than just simple food as you understand.

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Traditional Ethnic Chic wedding in Northern Greece

Modern history is woven on tradition and cultural heritage when a young couple choose a traditional village to marry their love with folk music and dance in a cobbled picturesque setting in the folds of the mountain of the gods.

Time goes back to the origins of the village wedding that’s preceded by the “glenti” of the night before as forever held in the central village square with everybody invited and dancing and clarinets lasting through the night to see the sunrise.

And on the wedding day, as the cobbled winding paths bring the guests to the village church for the ritual of the ceremony, beautiful red cheeked girls in traditional costume strew them with rose petals and dance to the music preceding the bride.

She is beautiful, she is radiant and she comes to her groom towed by the band of her Pontus heritage, the lyre, the drums, the bagpipes, and the distinctive energy of the steps and the shoulder tremors of the Pontiac dance.

A memorable crowning of love with tradition. Today. At the village of filoxeno (hospitable) Old Panteleimonas on mount Olympus, where the gods lived, the air is still crisp and fresh and travelling back into time feels natural as nature itself would have it.

THE GREEK TRADITIONAL DANCE is an expression of human feelings and everyday life. In fact, the Greek word ΧΟΡΟΣ (CHOROS), referred to both dance and song. The English words chorus, chorale, choir, and choreography all come from this same Greek word. The Greeks danced at religious festivals and ceremonies. They danced to ensure fertility; to prepare for war and to celebrate victories. They danced at weddings, to overcome depression and to cure physical illness. Almost every dance has a story to tell and dance was regarded as one of the highest forms of art. Plato agreed with his mentor Socrates that every educated man should know how to dance gracefully and by dance he meant the manly exercises that kept the body strong and supple and ready to do its duty on the battlefield. The Pyrrhic (πυρίχιος), or weapon dance (a form of mock combat) taken from Crete and perfected in Sparta, was the ideal.

The dance, of all the arts, is the one that most influences the soul. Dancing is divine in its nature and is the gift of the gods. Plato

THE PONTUS DANCE. Pontus lies in the region of present day Turkey on the eastern Black Sea into Russia. It is an area inhabited by Greeks from ancient times until the population exchange of 1923. Pontiac music and dance are quite distinctive. Its music and dance is easily recognized by its nervous rhythm, the use of knee bends and unusual shoulder tremors, unique to Pontus. The Pontiac lyre is the most distinctive instrument. Other instruments include the angion (bagpipe) and the zournas. The dances of this area include Omal, Dipat, Tik, Kots, Trygona, Kotsari and Serra.


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Being Back Home

In the southern part of Greece, in the Peloponese, lies a traditional village, which even though it stands at an altitude of 950 meters, it is situated on the foothill of beautiful colorful mountain, the Parnon filled with chestnuts and walnuts.

This traditional village has the name of Karyes. Karyes is related to the Caryatids, the young girls of Karyes, which are illustrated in the famous monument in the Erechtheion of the Acropolis.

Karyes is also my hometown, my place of birth.

This year, on the 28th of October, a National Day in Greece, also known as “OXI Day”, being in Karyes brought about an extra sence of pride in being a Karyes girl myself.

The day began with everyone’s presence in church for the mass followed by a doxology or a praising the Lord prayer.

The children, all 15 of them, dressed up for the parade to honor the flag and recite the parralel poetry fit to praise the day.

As known Greek tradition goes, lunch was cooked and served for everyone in the square of the village, an event that filled us all with the sence of celebration, unity, sharing, and caring. The plate of the day: cooked goat, a traditional dish that fits the Autumn season. Of course, after food comes dancing, an important part of the celebration.

But what really makes it home is the home itself. Our house in Karyes was build 50 years ago as a traditional house of Karyes. One year ago, my daughter Vivia decided to renovate this house, the Floreico house as we call it. Her grandparents, my parents, never left this house. Thrilled with the renovation they helped in keeping all the details that grandpa, or “pappou” has put in it that mark his style and his life there with grandma or “giagia”.

I feel quite blessed that they are there where they feel that they belong and where I feel will always be home.

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Moving Greece to New York

What an unforgettable experience, a client of ours decided that he wanted his birthday to be Greek themed. The tricky thing was it took place in NY!

We brought Greece to New York literally, from blue donkeys to Greek white dishes for the traditional “opa” breaking.

The main color was blue so it was like we were in the middle of the Mediterranean, it’s true what the say, where there is a will there is a way, bravo Vivia!!


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I have to start with the launching of a life time plan, the LOVE FLORIS CONCIERGE experience!

A project dedicated to offer a unique experience to those searching a relaxing holiday combined with Greece’s natural beauties exploration of cultural wealth, both ancient and modern. LOVE FLORIS vacationing scheme designed to provide exclusivity, authenticity and high quality services.

The person who made this concept a reality is my daughter Vivia, for whom I am extremely proud of her endeavors.

A close to heart project that I took over for LOVE FLORIS CONCIERGE was the creation of a calendar, an ode to ancient Greek gods and the equivalent contemporary  Hollywood ones.

This project could not be complete without the efforts and talent of the LOVE FLORIS wonderful girls.

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