Has it been a dream of yours to get married in the scenic Santorini? – or any other city in the sunny Mediterranean country of Greece? Well, your dream may be closer to reality than you think it is. Greece is one of the world’s most famous tourist destinations – particularly among couples travelling on their honeymoon. But there certainly can be more to Greece than just a beautiful destination to visit. Perhaps a destination elopement? Here’s our full guide on how to elope in Greece!
Is Eloping What You Think It Is?
In the traditional context, eloping is considered absurd or something that is frowned upon. A few decades ago, eloping was associated with running off to tie the knot with an unapproved partner, bringing shame to one’s family. Today it is not the case. And we can confidently change the context.
Eloping is when two people in love decide to tie the knot with a private celebration. It’s not illegal, and countries like Greece warmly accommodate foreigners who prefer to have an intimate, laid-back destination wedding over a large reception.
Why Choose Greece To Elope?
Greece is one of the most scenic, picturesque destinations in the whole world. Located in southeastern Europe, with a number of mini islands scattered across the Aegean and the Ionian Sea, Greece is not just a place of beauty. It’s also known as the cradle of western civilizations. From political and archaeological values to educational and historical significance, every site to each artefact is worth cherishing.
Apart from this, the beaches and cruises are also considered major attractions for tourists. That’s not all. Greece is also admired for its mouth-watering cuisines. Delicacies that are perfect for a special event like a wedding.
You might also be interested in: Best Places to Visit in Greece
What Do You Need to Elope in Greece?
How to marry in Greece? It’s simple! You just need some documents to make your marriage legal. We know serious paperwork is the last thing you want to handle during a romantic vacation, but it’s an utmost necessity, and it’s not so complex. All you need is;
- A valid passport. (of you and your partner)
- An official Apostille translated into Greek, which can be certified by a lawyer, a foreign ministry’s translation department, a certified translator or the Greek consulate from your home country.
- A birth certificate with the Apostille stamp certifying the copy. (of you and your partner)
- A decree of absolution of your previous marriage. (if applicable)
- Proof of freedom to marry, or affidavit of marriage, notarized.
- A copy of the local newspaper where your intent to marry will be published
Yes. If you’re eloping in Greece, you may have to let a few people know about it. By few Greeks mean the local citizens – don’t worry, it’s pretty common. You can also visit the town hall and state your intent if the newspaper process is too complex. Once you get all these documents sorted, you can visit the town hall and apply for the license which allows you to legally tie the knot eight days later.
The cost for this entire process would vary, but it’s roughly 300 Euros.
So, if you’re in for the elopement only, your expense would be quite low. You would only need to sort out the cost for the documentation process apart from the accommodation, air ticket and visa. However, those looking to plan a destination wedding in Greece may have to do some extensive prepping beforehand. We’ll get to it no sooner.
How To Plan Your Special Day (For Foreign Citizens)
Be it a huge celebration or an intimate wedding, you still need to set up a plan. A plan that helps you manage time efficiently and puts your expenses on record.
Pick a date
First things first, picking a date is crucial. Although the weather in Greece is pretty reliable, the peak seasons attract all kinds of travellers. If you’re aiming for a perfect photoshoot with uninterrupted background, you may have to avoid the busy months of summer starting from early July to the end of August. If you’re still looking to make your Greek summer wedding a reality, June and September are a good choice.
Pick a Destination
Greece is a vast country with so many cities and islands. You need to choose a destination where the ceremony will take place. Santorini is one of the renowned places where destination weddings take place. With its postcard-worthy whitewashed walls, there’s no doubt why it’s the top choice. But sometimes mainstream destinations can get overrated. On the other hand, there are so many islands in Greece, and they are simply breathtaking. Just perfect for destination weddings.
Apply For Your Visa & Book Flights, Insurance and Accommodation
The next most crucial part of your trip has to be planning the trip itself. If you’re from a non-European country, you have to apply for a Visa, which would take some time, and for certain citizens, multiple processes. Booking the air tickets on your preferred airline, looking for good insurance, booking accommodation and tours for the honeymoon should be done beforehand to avoid last moment situations.
Find Your Vendors
If you’re preparing a full-on wedding, be it for a photoshoot or one with guests, you need to find vendors that are reliable and not tourist scammers. You can contact a wedding planner to be on the safe side and take the hassle of planning an event, off your head. But if you’re running on a budget, you can still find renowned vendors who’ll be glad to help you out in making your dream wedding a reality in Greece. Always check for genuine reviews when searching for vendors. All your discussions will happen virtually, so make decisions concerning all elements clearly and wisely.
Are Same-Gender Elopements Allowed in Greece?
Well, the answer is yes and no. There’s a thin line between same-sex weddings being allowed and not being legal. According to Greek law, you cannot marry your partner (of the same gender), but you can elope with your partner to Greece and have an extravagant wedding. In fact, many LGBTQ couples have had their awe-struck weddings in Greece. If your country doesn’t allow same-gender marriages or frowns upon events of such, you can elope to Greece and have it, Grand, with a photographer.
If your state has legalized same-gender marriages, you can register your marriage first and then plan an informal elopement to Greece, where you combine your honeymoon and your wedding photoshoot. On a side note, if you’re pretty keen on tying the knot in scenic Greece itself, you and your partner can sign a cohabitation agreement which we will look into next. Marrying, either way, it doesn’t matter it’s your special celebration, so make it a one to remember.
3 Methods On How To Elope in Greece
Apart from the documents and paperwork we discussed earlier, there are three other ways that you can legally elope in Greece. One is civil marriage, and the other is a religious marriage. These two methods are valid for locals as well as foreigners. As long as you and your partner are above 18 years of age and the consent is mutual, you can tie the knot without a hassle.
Civil marriages are usually conducted by the town’s mayor, and both civil and religious ceremonies take place in the greek orthodox church. The traditional greek orthodox weddings take place as two different events – the engagement and the Stefana (a lot like a wedding and a homecoming).
The other method of legally eloping in Greece is the cohabitation agreement. It literally means its context – two adults of any gender or religion, agreeing to live together. This method is vastly used by those that are not from the Christian faith, and those that are from the LGBTQ community. Although it may seem just an agreement, it does get your marriage legally registered under the registry of the municipality. However, it cannot be considered a complete marriage contract, hence resolving a marriage under cohabitation is not so complex.
Which Destinations To Visit for Your Elopement
Now that you pretty much know the entire procedure of eloping in Greece, it is just a matter of planning your ceremony/getaway. Greece, as we know, is a country with so many beautiful destinations, which means countless choices. We are here to narrow it down to the top destinations for a dazzlingly breathtaking elopement ceremony.
Located in central Greece, Meteora is a destination out of a fantasy movie. In this region, there is a serene ancient village located by the foothills of Pindos Mountain named Kalambaka. Surrounded by medieval houses and monasteries, it’s the perfect destination for a fairytale wedding. You can plan your elopement here and a laid-back holiday as well.
The all-time favourite Santorini cliffs of the Cyclades islands is a beautiful backdrop for a wedding ceremony. With its whitewashed cubiform buildings, blue-hued streets, white sand beaches and gorgeous sunsets, who would say no to a magical Mediterranean Greek wedding?! Finding accommodation in Santorini will not be a hassle. However, planning an intimate wedding may be a little of a hassle.
Blue Caves of Zakynthos
Zakynthos Island is an underrated summer resort located in the Ionian Sea. The bright blue waters bring many beach admirers to this island. Couples looking to get married in a scenic coastal destination will find this place absolutely stunning. But the best part of Zakynthos is not the coast itself. The blue caves are tunnels of waterways that illuminate in a glowing blue during daylight. You and your partner can have your wedding photos taken on a boat inside the tunnel, above the glowing waters.
Volcanic Rocks of Falakro
Located in the Aegean Sea, Cape Falakro has one of the most stunning natural landscapes in the whole of Greece. Especially the Volcanic Rocks of Lemnos – a site that many travellers visit when in the region. The Lemnos rocks are solidified lava that came in contact with the sea. During sunset, the orange hue spreads over the rock formation, making it a sight to cherish. A perfect place for a unique wedding ceremony.
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Greece Elopement Checklist
Before we get to the end, let’s also look at a complete elopement checklist that would make your wedding planning easier.
- Find accommodation for the entire stay – you don’t want to walk around looking for hotels just after your wedding.
- Book a venue of your preference – always compare prices and the offerings. Some hotels may hike up prices for tourists. Why pay unreasonably to get the same backdrop you can get from a better-priced location.
- Confirm the food for the guests and the choice. (we suggest the local cuisines)
- Book your wedding planner if it’s within your budget range; if not, separately book your vendors and try to get their input as much as possible.
– Decorator and Florist (use of olive branches and iris for decorations and such)
– Makeup artist
– Furniture provider, caterer and lighting (if not held in a hotel)
- Depending on the theme of your wedding, pack your dresses, jewellery and shoes just before you leave for Greece, or purchase the dresses from Greece at your earliest. We don’t suggest online purchasing
- Book your honeymoon tours
There you go! The complete procedure on how to elope in Greece with recommended destinations. It may seem a little complex, but if you have it all planned, it won’t be an issue at all. You have the freedom of having an intimate ceremony or a big fat Greek wedding, and no one can say anything about it cause it’s your special day!