Photo by worldislandparadise.com
Bling on my finger. Check. Wedding dress diet guilt. Check. Five proposals, four countries, seven engagement parties, two years, one wedding date. Check. Location? Location?! Location! Gulp.
I’m proud to announce I have no Big White Wedding early conditioning baggage (i.e. dreams). Alright! Alright. Stop twisting my arm Beachionary. Fine. No weddings wishes except for one…
When studying evolutionary biology in the Galapagos islands with my experimental middle school I distinctly remember thinking paradise deserves a return visit. Perhaps for a big event? Perhaps… a wedding. My wedding? Brand spanking new thoughts glowed against tropical beach backdrops.
Playa las Bachas - Photo by Flickr user lightmatter
First time considering such a thing. For me. Perhaps a bit premature. I’d only just had my first kiss the night before. A local boy. On the beach. To the sound of sea lions’ calls and under Hailey’s comet.
Sigh. Ahem! Oh yeah, the beaches were perfection too. All things for all kinds: black sand on some, bleached white on others; penguins in the waves over here, flamingos fawning over the puddles over there; large manta rays and long sun rays.
Perhaps my dreams peaked too early. The farther I moved from the Americas the more I had to re-calibrate the coordinates of that wedding-on-a-beach dream. Hawaii! The next best idea.
Growing up in Alaska, Hawaii was not so far way. Honestly! There was a lot of whale watching, boogie boarding, banyan embracing and jumping from beachside pool to bathwater beach. Miles and miles and miles of temperate waters, iconic surf and idyllic sunsets.
Hanauma Bay Beach - Photo by Flickr user jdnx
When my news editor partner and I first got together I’d sing a little song occasionally (ok, repeatedly) as we complained about the London weather. “I’m gonna beach beach beach, beach beach beach, until I get to MAUI.” (Spot the pun.)
He ignored me. Cold shoulders spoke clearly: there are too few international news desks on volcanic archipelagos. It was my fault I fell in love with a hairy bear bound to the European continent, anyway. So flash-forward five years, he gets down on one knee and we start planning for our Big Fat Greek Wedding.
Not wanting to frighten off my new fiancé I start planning every detail. Here’s my reasoning: If a tri-heritage girl meets a bi-heritage boy where do they get married? The warmth. The blues. The sands. Right, (sleeves rolling up now), he’s got more family than me. All based in Greece. Convenience calls to tie the knot nearest the majority of guests. Bonus: they’ve got beautiful beaches.
So, where exactly? The Greeks can boast over 2,000 islands that all smell nice and rarely rain. Now, let’s break it down: If I’m marrying a Greekity Greek man who looks all Spartan warrior-like (in good light) then I don’t want any of that architecture-influenced-by-Italians stuff going on in the Ionians over there. If I’ve got friends flying from all over the globe then I don’t want your transport-unlinked can’t-access-under-a-week far-flung kinda place. And don’t you dare think you’ll be getting us dancing to novelty tunes amongst the bachelor parties of the mega resorts. If I’ve got a beach wedding dream to live, dammit, then I’m going to tavern it up in a non-mainstream place just utterly dripping with grape-vines and integrity. Or so I hope.
One eye on the prize, narrowed it down to the Cyclades. Aptly, islands named after the Cyclops. Good transport links. Scrumptious food. A bouzouki player or two. Fine sandy beaches… Focused in on one island and LIKE A FOOL shared my dream with his parents. Without giving me time to explain how much I love their beaches, they start with the open door wedding concept. If father-of-the groom invites more people then mother-of-the-groom wants to invite more people… I smile, ‘Have we invited the cat?’
Golden Beach - Photo by user www.thassosisland.gr
One parent likes the idea of the island we fancy. The other demands the island literally a stone’s throw from the first. Ugh. Battle of the egos for them. And for me? One word of thanks? One word? Any ‘Hey, future daughter-in-law, thanks for embracing our country and culture, reading our books, knowing our myths verbatim, being on a first name basis with our philosophers, learning our language and preparing to celebrate your big day at our convenience.’ No. None of that.
My mother has one rule only: she is not riding a donkey to get to the venue. Fair enough. Neither up a beach nor down a beach. Ok ok. I got it. My man retorts ‘Right, I’ll book one goat.’ She narrows her eyes. I source a wedding planner.
The summer is now earmarked to explore the sunny Cyclades with the fiancé, aiming to select a venue. My family will fly to meet his family and we shall discuss. All set? Flip-flops at the ready? This sun worshipper is getting hitched.
Tamar Levi is an Alaskan raised, Cornish-Jewish, London based author and illustrator who has spent her life triangulated between desk, bookshelf and easel. Find more about Tamar’s books and illustrations here.
COMING SOON: Wedding on a Beach- Part II: The Doing Stage