Travel

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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HIT LIST 2015 – JANUARY

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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HIT LIST 2015 – APRIL

The girls decided, that location scouting for “Love Floris” at the Cycladic islands during Greek Easter season, was ideal and they were right!

The trip started with Santorini, a beautiful island with impressive folk traditions, as well as recipes to die for!!

 

Holy Week in Orthodox Christianity is the week immediately before Easter. It is the last week of the 40 day Lent that leads to Easter Sunday, the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

Here are some highlights of our great trip and some of our traditions:

Eggs are dyed red in a big pot and then shined with olive oil, on Good Thursday, symbolizing the blood of Christ.

On Holy Saturday after the celebration of the resurrection at midnight, people “use” the red eggs by trying to smash the “opponent’s” one, before peeling them off to eat them, the breaking of the egg symbolizes the breaking of Jesus’s tomb stone!

Easter sweet cookies /(kulurakia), another culinary tradition, are offered in every house, accompanying Greek coffee or sweetening breakfast time!

Spending “Good Friday” at Pirgos in Santorini was an unforgettable experience.

The mourning day of Jesus’s crucifixion, was commemorated with fires lit in metal baskets decorating the ledges of every house, offering a magnificent view in the evening.

The ‘Love Floris’ ladies pay their respect to the icon of the crucified Jesus, the smell of the Epitaph lilacs in the church was surrounding them.

Last but not least the experience of tasting a unique traditional pastry, “melitini”, in a cozy ( reminding the old times) local café at Kasteli, with the personal touch of Ms. Nafsika Lagada.

 

Ios was next, were we visited Vaso and her dynamic group of people.

They took us to all the beautiful sights, including Agalia (Hug) and Pathos (Passion), loving every moment of it!!

 

Our final location was Sifnos, were the weather was not that friendly but the people made up for it!

Marina Vernicos, a dear friend, of whom we have seen great work through her photographic lenses, graciously welcomed us in her home for a wonderful dinner.

That night was full of surprises with the epitome Takis Zacharatos, an old friend that I hadn’t seen for a very long time!!

We enjoyed every moment of our time there, what a beautiful island with my favorite spot being, a small church called Panagia Poulati.

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Holy Week in Greece!

Holy Week in Christianity is the week immediately before Easter. Is the last week of the 50 days Lent that leads to Easter Sunday and the resurrection of Jesus Christ (of our souls, dreams and spirits)!

This year the Love Floris’ ladies spent it in the Greek islands! Here are some highlights of our great trip and some of our traditions:

Easter eggs dyed red on Good Thursday “Maundy Thursday” symbolize the blood of Christ. They are dyed in a big pot and then shined with olive oil. Following the Easter Tradition , on Holy Saturday’s midnight people in pairs hold an egg in their hand and hit it to their partners’s one to break it, before peeling them off to eat them! Saying at the exact moment of the “crush” that Jesus has resurrected!

Easter sweet cookies /(kulurakia)! A unique taste for both the eyes and the mouth! Can be offered in every house, accompanying Greek coffee or sweetening breakfast time!

Spending “Good Friday” at Prirgos in Santorini was an unforgettable experience. The mourning day of Jesus crucifixion commemorated with fires lit in metal baskets decorating the ledges of every house, offering magnificent view in the evening. The Love Floris’ ladies pay their respect to the icon of the crucified Jesus, felt the smelling surroundings of the Epitaph lilacs in the church. Afterwards tasted traditional pastry “melitini”, in a cozy (and reminding old times) local café at Kasteli, with the personal touch of Ms. Nafsika Lagada.