An interview with Flora Koukli from Island Events, her journey in organising weddings, her signature style and the unique features of Kambones 1615 as a wedding venue.
Read on for a deep dive into the artistry of wedding planning, the historical backdrop of Kambones, and the evolving trends in the wedding industry.
Kambones 1615: How long have you been organizing weddings, and how did you start your wedding business?
Flora: I embarked on the exciting journey of organizing weddings in 2015. The inception of Island Events was a beautiful collaboration with a dear friend who shared the same passion for aesthetics and meticulous planning. We started our wedding business out of a genuine love for creating memorable moments and a deep appreciation for the artistry involved in orchestrating weddings. What began as a shared vision has since blossomed into a thriving venture dedicated to turning dreams into reality.
Kambones 1615: What inspired you to become a wedding planner?
Flora: The inspiration to become a wedding planner was rooted in a profound appreciation for the art of celebration. Witnessing the transformative power of well-planned events and the joy they bring to couples and their guests sparked a desire to contribute to these meaningful moments. I found immense fulfillment in the idea of curating experiences that go beyond expectations, making each wedding a unique reflection of the couple's love story. It's the genuine connection with clients and the opportunity to turn their dreams into reality that continues to inspire my journey as a wedding planner.
Kambones 1615: How would you describe your signature wedding planning style?
Flora: My signature wedding planning style has evolved over the years, much like my own personal growth. I believe that as individuals, we are constantly changing and expanding, and so is the way we approach our craft. What has remained constant, however, is my commitment to creating weddings that are a seamless blend of the couple's vision and the natural beauty of Naxos.
Picture an authentic scene that unfolds like a romantic movie, where every detail feels like it belongs to the landscape. This approach ensures that each celebration is not just an event but an immersive experience, where the love story comes to life against the backdrop of the picturesque Cycladic surroundings. As I continue to grow as an individual, so does my style, creating weddings that are not only visually stunning but also authentically connected to the unique charm of the island.
Kambones 1615: Can you share one of your favorite or most memorable wedding planning moments?
Flora: It's truly difficult to pick just one favorite or most memorable moment, as each wedding we plan is so unique and holds its own special charm. Every celebration is a canvas of individual stories, dreams, and love. However, if I had to pinpoint a common thread that weaves through all these moments, it would undoubtedly be the exchange of vows. The most precious aspect of each wedding lies in the genuine connection with the couple and the magical emotions that unfold as they express their love for each other. Witnessing the commitment, the promises, and the overwhelming joy that accompanies these vows is a perennial favorite. It's an everlasting moment, a declaration of love that resonates uniquely in every celebration, making each wedding a cherished and distinct memory.
Kambones 1615: What is the ideal timeline for organizing a destination wedding? When is it too late, and is it ever too soon to start?
Flora: The ideal timeline for organizing a destination wedding is a crucial aspect to ensure a stress-free planning process. While flexibility is key, here's a general guideline that I often recommend:
○ 12-18 Months Before the Wedding: Initial Planning & Venue Selection.
○ 10 Months Before the Wedding: Confirm Key Vendors, such as photographers, caterers, and florists & Legal Requirements.
○ 8 Months Before the Wedding: Guest List & Accommodations.
○ 6 Months Before the Wedding: Detailed Planning including decor, entertainment, and any cultural or local elements & Travel Arrangements.
○ 4-6 Months Before the Wedding: Finalize all Contracts & Attire.
○ 2 Months Before the Wedding: RSVPs to finalize numbers & Wedding Day Timeline.
○ 1 Month Before the Wedding: Final Touches & Packing the essentials.
Starting 12-18 months in advance allows for a more relaxed and thoughtful decision-making process. On the other hand, it's typically considered too late to start planning a destination wedding if you're within six months of your desired date. This timeframe may limit venue and vendor availability and could add unnecessary stress to the planning process. However, every wedding is unique, and flexibility is key.
Kambones 1615: Flora, you were the first wedding planner to recommend Kambones 1615 to your couples. Can you tell us what struck you about the venue even though we had not hosted weddings there before?
Flora: Discovering Kambones 1615 was like stumbling upon a hidden gem that instantly captivated my imagination. But it was the genuine hospitality of Sophia Emmanuel that played a pivotal role in my decision. Despite the venue not having hosted weddings before, I knew that Sophia prioritizes the well-being of her guests and that aligned perfectly with the high standards I set for the weddings I plan. Her humble personality and integrity was what captured me once I stepped in.
The tower exudes an aura of timeless elegance, and its ancient energies whisper stories of abundance and luxury from generations past. Sophia and her team, with their meticulous restoration, have performed a remarkable feat in bringing this historic gem back to life while preserving its original charm.
Kambones for me is a living, breathing reminder of old times—a tangible connection to the rich tapestry of history. Every nook and cranny seems to hold secrets of bygone eras, creating an ambiance that feels both nostalgic and enchanting.
In essence, Kambones 1615 struck me as a venue with immense potential to offer a unique backdrop for weddings. The blend of historical charm, serene surroundings, and Sophia’s thoughtful amenities made it a compelling choice, and I believe it has the qualities to create truly magical wedding experiences for couples seeking something extraordinary.
Kambones 1615: What are the standout features of a wedding at Kambones ?
Flora: The tower, standing proudly in the mountains, carries a legacy spanning over 500 years. Secluded among ancient olive trees, it creates a private oasis, allowing couples to exchange vows in the tranquil serenity of untouched nature. What makes it even more special is that it has its very own chapel, nestled within the venue, providing couples with a touch of tradition and spirituality to infuse into their ceremony.
And here's the magic – Kambones isn't just a fixed setting; but a reflection of its gracious hostess. For me the human factor plays an important role so it wasn’t just a wedding at Kambones; it was an amazing collaboration with Sophia and the beautiful result we created together.
Kambones 1615: In your opinion, what type of client is a wedding at Kambones best suited to?
Flora: Kambones is a haven for nature enthusiasts, making it an excellent choice for clients who want to immerse themselves and their guests in the beauty of the natural surroundings. I believe it is most suited to people who appreciate history and aim to create moments that feel like movie scenes from old times. The venue's blend of historical grandeur, secluded mountain charm, and the ability to curate moments that resonate with the magic of bygone eras makes it a perfect choice for couples seeking a wedding experience that transcends the ordinary.
Kambones 1615: How do you handle overlapping events or emergencies on the wedding day?
Flora: Handling overlapping events or emergencies on the wedding day requires a combination of quick thinking, and effective communication. Prioritizing tasks based on urgency and impact helps in addressing the most critical issues first.
I work closely with vendors to ensure they have backup strategies in place, such as additional staff or alternative solutions for common issues.
In the face of challenges, maintaining a calm and focused demeanor is essential. This not only reassures the couple but also allows for clear decision-making. I strongly believe that open and clear communication is key and that collaborating with a reliable team is crucial.
Kambones 1615: Are there common misconceptions about wedding planning that you would like to address?
Flora:Absolutely, there are a few misconceptions about wedding planning that I'd like to address:
Wedding Planners Are a Luxury Reserved for Wealthy Couples.
Reality: Wedding planners can be seen as an investment rather than an added expense. Their expertise can lead to cost savings, efficient use of resources, and avoiding common pitfalls. Many couples find that the stress reduction and the ability to enjoy their engagement make hiring a planner worthwhile.
Wedding Planners Take Over and Exclude Couples from Decision-Making.
Reality: My approach is collaborative. I work closely with couples to understand their vision, preferences, and priorities. The goal is to bring their dream wedding to life while ensuring they have an active role in decision-making. It's a partnership, not a takeover.
Wedding Planners Only Focus on the Big Day.
Reality: Wedding planning encompasses much more than just the wedding day. It involves the entire journey, from the initial consultation and venue selection to design, coordination, and execution. The process is holistic, ensuring every aspect is thoughtfully planned and executed.
Wedding Planners Only Work with Specific Vendors.
Reality: While I have a network of trusted vendors, I'm open to working with the couple's preferred vendors. My goal is to create a team that aligns with the couple's vision and style, ensuring a cohesive and personalized celebration.
Kambones 1615: How have you seen the wedding industry evolve over the years, and what trends do you anticipate for the future?
Flora: The wedding industry has undergone significant transformations over the years, and it continues to evolve in response to changing preferences and societal shifts.
Couples increasingly prioritize personalization, infusing their weddings with unique elements that reflect their personalities and love stories. This shift has moved away from traditional, one-size-fits-all approaches to more bespoke celebrations. And also, are opting for meaningful gatherings with their closest loved ones, allowing for more personal connections and experiences.
There is a growing awareness of the environmental impact of weddings. Couples are seeking sustainable practices, from eco-friendly decor and locally sourced food to minimizing waste. Sustainability has become a significant trend that aligns with broader societal values.
In the ever-evolving landscape of weddings, the anticipated trends for the future bring a profound focus on nature and history. Couples are shifting from merely hosting events to curating immersive experiences. The transition is evident – weddings are becoming not just moments in time but experiences that weave together the timeless charm of nature and the rich narratives of history.
A return to artisanal craftsmanship and handcrafted details is anticipated. Couples may seek unique, personalized items created by local artisans, adding a touch of authenticity and supporting local communities.
Kambones 1615: Thank you Flora, and here's to many more weddings and happy couples!
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