Ashley and Mark’s pre wedding shoot

Ashley and Mark’s pre-wedding shoot

Oh the stresses of a wedding- making guest lists, arranging the venue, and even making millions of decisions like the color of the flowers all add up quickly. But it can be different when you elope. But don’t take my word for it, here’s what Ashley had to say:

The flowers were the wrong color, but when you are in Santorini, WHO CARES :). It was SOOO beautiful!

I’m glad I was a part of their elopement journey. I had the opportunity to see their eyes and hearts light up in their first look. It was amazing how much trust I got from the couple to capture the intimate moments. While Mark was waiting on the roof Zenith Blue Hotel in Imerovigli (http://zenithblue.gr/) I helped Ashley with the dress. When I got to the roof it was a signal to Mark – it was time. He turned away just to see his beautiful bride in front of him seconds later.

To be honest, it is hard to have bad pictures with such a radiant and loving couple. Their energy and love captured me and I just held on to this wave as I captured these. I really feel all the work paid off when I received this sweet email:

I think we definitely did the best thing :) We explored, we had fun, and it was SO romantic. We had the best time, and we still talk about it all the time. Plus, EVERYONE LOVES YOUR PICTURES. People say how they wish you lived here. :)

 Well Ashley, thank you but my heart is still in the magical island of Santorini.
I wish you the very best and I’m waiting for you to come back for your anniversary.

Santorini based vacation photographer Anna Sulte

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2016 HIGHLIGHTS – WHAT A GREAT YEAR IT HAS BEEN!

2016 HIGHLIGHTS – WHAT A GREAT YEAR IT HAS BEEN!

We’re well on our way in 2017 and I’ve been busy with shooting and planning to make this year even more awesome than the last. Today I just wanted to thank each and every one of you for being a part of my growth journey on this small Greek island in the Aegean Sea- Santorini.

Each opportunity to photograph an amazing couple is a chance to perfect my skills, make other people happy and soak up the love that surrounds you! Thank you for the unforgettable moments and kind words, I promise I will not let you down in 2017.

Have a great year and remember to laugh and love often and a lot!

Anna Sulte Santorini based vacation photographer.

 

INTIMATE WEDDING VOWS AT THE FOOT OF THE SKAROS ROCK

INTIMATE WEDDING VOWS AT THE FOOT OF THE SKAROS ROCK

This adventure began with the kindest words any photographer could receive. Melorie and Michael were going to have an intimate wedding vow exchange here in Santorini and wrote Both of our families have been all over your website, telling us how beautiful your photos are! They are so excited that you are taking the photos! It makes them feel better about not going with us. Well, after this I knew I had to put all my effort in. Just the kind of thing I’m working for – saving precious moments and memories for relatives, couples and the generations to come. It was really an honor to be chosen to be a part of this special moment.

Before the big day, they also wanted to explore the island and get some photographs out of it. Could not be more perfect. They were really excited about two locations in particular – Oia Village & the Skaros Rocks. Not only was this a good way to relax and get to know each other a bit, the images turned out great!

Our adventure began next to their hotel Alta Mare. After a short conversation it was clear that this couple has a special creative spark and I had the feeling that this is going to be a great. We had a small walk in Oia and then headed to take some first look shots on this gorgeous balcony. Then it was time to visit the Scaros Rock and have some other shots along the way.

Then they saw the spot, it was like an instant connection – they knew they wanted to exchange their vows at this exact spot. So they did. And I had the joy and responsibility of capturing it. Only wind, mountains, nature and the two of them. It was magical.

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Santorini photographer Anna Sulte. Elopment and post wedding photo shoot

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LOVING COUPLE FROM PARAGUAY

LOVING COUPLE FROM PARAGUAY

I must say that Denis and Keiko is one of the most loving couples I have encountered and it was a true pleasure for me to capture the first moments after their recent marriage. They had come all the way from Paraguay to enjoy the romantic solitude that the island of Santorini has to offer to lovers from all over the world. They share that special bond that only lovers know and the fire in their eyes communicates that perfectly.

That day the streets were empty of people but full of love.

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Honeymooners in Santorini, photographer Anna Sulte.

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WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW BEFORE GETTING MARRIED IN A SANTORINI CHURCH

WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW BEFORE GETTING MARRIED IN A SANTORINI CHURCH

The traditional Greek wedding ceremony is truly a beautiful thing full of traditional rituals, which I have explained in my article here. Much has been said about the Greek way of getting married; however little is known about the actual practicalities — arranging everything, handling expenses etc. I taught I could give you few tips about this today.

  1. First of all, I must say that there are really many chapels in Santorini, but only a few do wedding ceremonies. If you have chosen your dream spot for your perfect day, it is worth enquiring if they do these type of ceremonies. Few Santorini chapels to check –here.
  2. Leave the planning for professionals. Santorini has some of the most experienced wedding organizers out there, so don’t be afraid to look for help with the arrangements for your special day. They will approach it in a practical manner, suggest venues, calculate pricing and stick to your budget!
  3. Prepare all the necessary documents! Wedding in Santorini has its legal details — you should really find your wedding planner before arriving to Greece, so that you would be absolutely sure of the documents you need to proceed with your plans, have them translated etc.

These are some of my remarks to help you along the way — I find that handling all the practicalities get a bit confusing sometimes, so I hope this helps! But the most important thing is — let yourself go and enjoy this amazing experience in Santorini!

I’m working on mini-series of posts on Santorini villages.  There are 15 villages on the island and plenty to explore/choice from for.

Here I add link to my previous blog post about Greek wedding traditions and here.

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Santorini portrait photographer Anna Sulte, based on the Island of Santorini.

WEDDING CHAPELS IN SANTORINI

WEDDING CHAPELS TO CHECK OUT IN SANTORINI

Hi, all! This is just a quick list of some of the wedding chapels you absolutely must check out before making your final decision about getting married in one of them! First of all, you should probably decide if you’re going to have a Greek orthodox of catholic wedding. Here are some great Greek orthodox chapels that will amaze you:

Orthodox Metropolitan Cathedral. This is the most widely known church in Santorini, which is located in the centre of the island. It has an incredible view of the caldera, the landscape is really special there.

Santa Irini Chapel. It is said that the name of the island originates from the name of this chapel — when pronounced fast, it really sounds like “Santorini”. The chapel is amazing night or day. Chapel is located near the Fira town,

Panagia Katefiani. This church is located in Perissa. It is very tiny but it has its own unique charm.

Panagia Episkopi Church. One of the oldest chapels in Santorini. It really stands out in terms of size and authenticity.

If you’re catholic, your options are limited:

St. John the Baptist’s Cathedral in Fira. This is a really grand church and definitely one of the best choices. I have to say that there have been some rumors circulating that it is planned to limit or prohibit foreign couples from getting married there, due to commercialization.

You should definitely enquire about the possibilities before planning something serious in any of these chapels. I hope this list is a good start :). Good luck with planning and see you in Santorini!

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Santorini post-wedding session in Santa Irini Chapel.

MAGNIFICENT COUPLE SANTORINI PHOTO SESSION

MAGNIFICENT COUPLE SANTORINI PHOTO SESSION

It happened again. I met the most wonderful couple the other day. I must say that Shing and Yang really look amazing together, but there’s something beyond that in them as well. You cannot really put it in words, but you feel a certain sense of love and care when being around them and it kind of embraces you as well. Santorini is really a magnificent destination for loving couples and I am really lucky to have a chance to capture this couple’s magic in photographs.

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Destination photographer based in Santorini, Greece.
Post wedding photo shoot photographed by Anna Sulte.

CAMERA SHY? TRY THESE STEPS BEFORE YOUR SANTORINI PHOTOSHOOT

CAMERA SHY? TRY THESE STEPS BEFORE YOUR SANTORINI PHOTOSHOOT

Let’s admit it — all of us experience that weird feeling when standing in front of a camera from time to time. You kind of don’t feel yourself, all of a sudden you feel that weird awkward feeling and you don’t seem to be able to pose. Let me offer some of my insights today —here are some of my observations on the topic.

First of all, as I already stated — it is absolutely normal! Once you understand that and embrace it, you’ll be able to overcome the feeling easier.

Secondly, think of what are you going to wear. Think not only about how it looks, try to make sure that your outfit is comfy as well — you would be surprised how relaxed you could get with the right pair of shoes. These little things actually have great impact on how you act and feel in front of the camera.

Thirdly, just relax. I know how stupid it sounds sometimes, but really — just forget about the photo shoot and chill out and be yourself. Good photographers don’t need to make you strike some special poses. Just be your loving self and enjoy the awesome time in Santorini with your loved one, the photographer will take care of the rest. Focus on the beautiful surroundings, the magnificent Santorini streets and allow yourself to be amazed by the great views of this small Greek island.

What it really comes down to is not over thinking the whole photo shoot experience — remember that photo shoots are for you and your loved one and they should in no way be treated as a sort of test which you can fail or be great at. You should just come and enjoy Santorini with me, that’s all (I’ll just bring my camera along to make sure that some of the special moments are captured).

 Enjoy your holiday and I hope to see you in Santorini soon!

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Santorini photo session in Perissa village.

THE UNIQUE SANTORINI CHAPEL CULTURE

THE UNIQUE SANTORINI CHAPEL CULTURE

Chapels and small churches are a big deal in Santorini. There are loads of them around here and that means you have a lot to choose from when deciding on your wedding venue.

Really you have the choice of having your wedding ceremony in churches of all shapes and sizes — you can go for a very intimate setting in a chapel not larger than the average Greek living room or you can exchange vows in a grand church. It really depends on what type of ceremony you’re going for. All in all, there are around 600 churches and chapels in Santorini alone (not to mention the neighbouring islands). Most of them are the traditional kind and in the traditional Cyclades architecture (my previous posts on architecture can be found here and here). There is a small catch though – not all of the chapels are public. There is a tradition to have a family chapel on the island; however, Greeks are welcoming bunch and the chances are that you could arrange your ceremony there anyways. :)

Whatever location you choose just be positive — enter the chapel, have a look around and talk to the people there. I guarantee that all of them will feel honoured for a chance to take part in the most special day of your life.

You might be interested in reading some more on Greek weddings, here are some links to my previous posts on Greek wedding gowns and two posts on Greek wedding traditions here and here.

Enjoy life and see you in Santorini :).

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Photography by Anna Sulte, Santorini, Greece based photographer. 2014.

Few more shots of Santorini churches here.

GREEK WEDDING GOWNS

What to wear for your wedding!? Of course, this has been and always will be a question of high importance in all times and all cultures. Although times have changed, it’s still very important to observe some traditions when getting ready for your Greek wedding. I am no wedding expert; however, I have attended quite a few weddings and have done some wedding photo sessions, so I might have a couple of pointers.

Of course, the bride is always the centre of attention, but there is some etiquette to be observed for the guys as well. There is a Greek tradition that the grooms friends gather to help get him ready on the big day. The most important friend – the best man of the koumbaro – will shave the groom. This symbolizes the mutual trust and friendship between them. All the other friends help the groom to get dressed – button his shirt, help him put the jacket on etc. to symbolically help him get ready to enter a new phase of his life. The CEREMONY of getting ready is a special one for men, other than that there usually are no special rules for WHAT to wear; a sleek dark suit will do, although you might skip wearing a tie. Usually you would get rid of the jacket during the party if your wedding is in the blistering summer heat. Be sure to wear comfortable, yet elegant shoes – there’s lots of dancing in Greek weddings!

There is also a special tradition the bride should observe while getting ready. It is customary that the friends help the bride to get dressed as well. The bride then writes the names of her unmarried friends on the soles of her shoes. The belief is that the friends whose names will have faded out till the end of the wedding party will soon get married themselves. Once the bride is dressed, she has to look back at her parent’s house when leaving – it is believed that so she can ensure that the children take after her side of the family. Brides usually wear simple, elegant, flowing Greek style dresses – it’s really the best choice for this weather. However, there is one piece of clothing which is the most important – SHOES! The ceremonies are usually held in small chapels to which you have to get through small, winding cobblestone streets (very often you have to walk), there is lots of walking and dancing throughout the day, you will most probably have a wedding photo session, very often it would involve some climbing etc. What I’m trying to say is – choose really comfortable shoes! Maybe it’s worth choosing a smaller heal, your feet will thank you later!

As you might have noticed, there are no strict rules governing WHAT to wear for your wedding, but what’s important is HOW you wear it and HOW you get ready. Of course, you should ask the church if they have some extra demands. Greeks usually do not get overly fancy, elegance and comfort is valued when choosing wedding gowns, and it’s for a reason. Believe me, love is beautiful enough, you don’t need to spend a million on your dress.

More posts about wedding traditions in Greece:

SOME OF THE MAIN GREEK WEDDING TRADITIONS

GREEK WEDDING TRADITIONS

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Photographer based in Santorini.

LOVELY LITTLE WEDDING OF A GORGEUS CANADIAN COUPLE at the SKAROS ROCK.

LOVELY LITTLE WEDDING OF A GORGEUS CANADIAN COUPLE

Recently I took part in the most delightful little wedding ceremony; the kind of Santorini is perfect for. It was the untraditional wedding of Alli and Erick. I mean that it was different in the best sense of the word. It was just the two of them and some of their closest friends.

I had the wonderful opportunity to capture some shots from their first meeting in the wedding day- FIRST LOOK. All dressed up, they saw each other next to the church – the look on their faces says more than I can explain in words.  The amazing view from the church hill complimented this special moment very well. Afterwards we moved on to have a small, private wedding ceremony which was attended solely by their closest friends – even Officiant, who wed them, was their friend from back home.  As the sun started to set he united the couple in wedlock on the amazingly beautiful Skaros rock while I tried to save at least a part of the magical moment in these images.

I wish you the very best and I hope to see you on your anniversary soon!

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Photography by Anna Shulte, Santorini based photographer. 2014.

Post-wedding session.

This year has bean amazing (it is not over yet, though).
Because of my photography style (- joyful and free), the people whom I have met have bean happy and free and I have enjoyed every moment of our photo sessions.
Thank you so much!!

I cannot wait when I will be able to share all the sessions I have had this season.

Here is a wedding and a photo shoot in Fira town area with Megan and Stefan. A couple who do not like to be photographed but they did photo shoot anyway, so they would have some memories of this trip and of this amazing day.
Congratulations! :)

Just married in Santorini Wedding with Megan and Stefan Before a wedding Newly weds After wedding photo session Post-wedding session Post-wedding shoot After wedding session Wedding session

Photography by Santorini based photographer Anna Shulte

Greek Wedding Traditions

Greek Wedding Traditions

A Greek wedding is a special one. The wedding day consists of many rituals that have not changed throughout history – the sacrament of the Orthodox Greek wedding ceremony has survived throughout the centuries. Everything has its own meaning and symbolism. I am by no means a wedding expert, but let me tell you about the main things to be observed.

First of all, even the day matters – Greeks usually hold their wedding ceremonies in Saturday or Sunday evenings. If you can’t make it on those days, you should definitely avoid the periods when it’s forbidden to get married in the Greek Orthodox church: the fasting periods (40 days before Easter and 40 days before Christmas) and the first 15 days of August before Panayia (a celebration devoted to The Holy Virgin), August 29 (Beheading of St. John the Baptist), September 14 (Exaltation of the Holy Cross).

Post-wedding photo session

The ceremony itself is a very spiritual one and it has been following the same steps throughout the history of the Greek Orthodox Church. Some say that the ceremony is rather long, but there is definite symbolism behind every ritual performed. Afterwards, the two believers are joined into one in the eyes of God. The marriage ceremony consists of

  • The Exchange of Rings
  • The lighting of the Candles
  • The Crowning
  • The Readings from the Bible
  • The Drinking of the Common Cup
  • The Ceremonial Walk
  • The Proclamation of Husband & Wife.

Moreover, it is customary to have a long celebration after the wedding (it might run for a couple of days). Of course, I doubt I could fully explain the traditions related to the ceremony in a short blog post, but if you need help with that you can walk into any church in Santorini and they will gladly explain everything in detail – the biggest and most beautiful is the magnificent Orthodox Cathedral located in the centre of Fira. What I know for sure is that Santorini is a very scenic place for holding wedding ceremonies, and I can truly recommend coming here for a special wedding! Make sure you devote some time to a wedding photo session between the wedding preparations and ceremonies.

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Photos from Santorini portrait session in Firostefani with Lynsey and Andreas.

MAGICAL BEACH WEDDING PHOTO SESSION

Post-wedding photo shoot

MAGICAL BEACH WEDDING PHOTO SESSION

Recently I had the pleasure to photograph a wonderful wedding couple from Moscow. I met Oleg and Anastasia after their wedding ceremony in the Saint Irini chapel. There’s something magical about the newlywed couple taking a walk on the beach after they have said ‘’yes’’ to each other just a while ago. Santorini has many photography spots besides the town with the charming white cottages and Kalder – there is much beauty to be discovered all around the islands. One is for sure – the warm weather goes well with the warmth in their hearts, and it really shows in the photographs. I was really glad I had the opportunity to be there to witness these moments and capture them in photographs.

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Post-wedding couple portraits by Santorini photographer Anna Shulte.

 

Just married in Santorini

Newly weds photo shoot. Santorini.

Just married in Santorini.

This month has been amazing. The people I have met have been so different, but all so nice. Santorini photo sessions for weddings, honeymoons, engagements and holidays. :)

Here are some shots from last wedding with adorable Monika and her fiance Liutauras.

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Photos by Anna Shulte Santorini located photographer.