Weddings are all about what a couple craves, what they revel in, and what they pursue. Or at least they used to be about a year ago. With months rolling by since the onset of the pandemic, and a great pause in-between, destination wedding couples began to rethink the creative process that goes into hosting the party of a lifetime and started focusing on more personalized and intimate celebrations. My first thoughts about curating this shoot regarded the team. I sought out a powerhouse lineup of creatives that would breathe new life into one of my most beloved themes, that of a black-tie, sophisticated, urban affair. The second was, of course, the idea behind the concept. For all we witnessed last year, I was certain I wanted our work to come with a message for future brides and grooms, a mantra of mine that couldn't resonate more with the coming season: In all its contradictions, limitations, conditions, and surprises, be it fortuitous or otherwise, Life is what we celebrate.

I'm always inspired by the seductive glamor of Athens city, the sharp architecture, the multifold of locations, the vestiges of the past residing in the most unexpected of bends. Where one may find individualism at an exclusive hotel, the other may unearth it in romantic hills clad with olives and orchards. This time, however, I was infatuated with the idea of setting the scene someplace that would be a little more outre, but at the same time authentic and imbued with spirit, since history is an integral part of the Greek heritage. There seems to be some obsession with antiquity when it comes to Grecian fetes. Our goal, however, strayed from that notion and went for a different age. Falirikon is an industrial-era art space at the Athenian Coast of Pireus. Now serving as an event venue. However, it was its partly dilapidated, open terrace that caught my attention. Peeking out above a sea of post-modernist roofs adjacent to a 19th-century printing house, its rooftop portico still carries the ambiance of the edifice that once stood here. The Dunmore-cream old stuccoed walls and antique flooring became a wonderful canvas for our team to draw upon and aligned perfectly with my vision.

The floral recipe for the glamorous soirée involved botanical installations crafted by Jim Labrakopoulos, who delineated our setting drawing from the terrace's weathered looks and the nuances of blush emerging still bright among the faded blacks and washed whites. His idea of employing florals in wild, unruly shapes that move and wriggle all naturally and do not segment the space in the form of stereotyped arches thrilled me. Jim crafted three impactful accessions, a dangling one for the couple's ceremony, a thick runner garland for the reception dinner, and a cascading statement bridal bouquet. Rendering a totally worth bookmarking result, he used Ecuador roses, black-eyed Delphinium, peonies, orchids, anemones, and the triumph-evoking Odessa black Calla to accentuate the glamorous feel, Grevillea, giant plumage monsteras, monochrome painted Phyllanthus, and dried fern, pairing them all to ostrich feathers. I also loved that he contrived a floral fashion moment for our bride with the welding of according blooms for a unique bridal earring. We also used a luxurious distressed silk carpet, matching black and gold candlesticks, as well as a fan back slipper chair.

We focused on the main palette for the dinner scene, adding just the right amount of color pop with a Sangria-colored silk tablecloth. Each place setting was set with the loveliest details such as linens in soft pewter grey, brick-rose dessert plates, gold silverware, and gold-rimmed glassware. Bright White Design brought forth the plume effect by incorporating the featherlike texture of a Passion flower, which degrades from Sangria red to black, into her dramatic and sultry papeterie suites. Α nod to the deeper nuances and emotions of the big day, an x-ray of a rose decorated the couple's heartfelt thank you message to their guests. We also used pieces from the florals for the presentation of the menus but still made certain the table was long enough to provide ample elbow space. Poulette Pastry combed our conceptual floral design into a jet-black three-tiered matte cake, adding to the charm and encapsulating our collective vision in her candy.

Of course, no glamorous wedding can go without crispy whites, and we loved this magnificent gown and ostrich feather-trimmed cape from Anemomilou, looking absolutely seductive next to the groom's Papadogamvros white tux. For the bride's trousseau, sky-high stingray leather heels from Kotsonas and iconic black diamonds from Iordanis paired to haute joallerie earrings, completing the alluring and daring looks. Giorgia Christodoulou, our MUAH artist, gave our bride a polished, soft, radiant Meghan Markle look, offering her insights on the absolute trend for keeping bridal skin as real and natural as possible and wishing the eyes to almost "flutter" as the bride looks at the groom. Finally, collaborating with super-talented Panos and Sofia from Panos Demiropoulos Studio, who not only captured every little detail so perfectly but also went absolutely insane with the styling of our flatlays, has been quite the experience. If like us, you think that life is what we celebrate, I'm pretty sure you're already looking them up.

Event planning & design: IoannaKaratzaEvents

Bridal dress: Anemomilou_anem

Floral artist: Jimlabraco

Hair & Make-up artist: Giorgiaxristodoulou

Groom's attire: Papadogamvros