Mara & William Childress

October 3, 2015 in Santorini, Greece


Mara and William’s fairytale love story began in quite an unromantic setting–a work conference. William happened to sit behind Mara, and was instantly drawn to her. “I was rendered speechless by how beautiful she was,” William says. “I thought she must be smart, too. I did everything I could to attract her attention, including knocking off my name tag (more than once) so she would pick it up and talk to me.”
 
According to Mara, “It wasn’t very original, but it worked! I couldn’t help noticing the handsome stranger, who looked like a true Southern gentleman, and I immediately felt a connection.” The two seized every opportunity to get to know each other, especially during coffee breaks, until their relationship blossomed and they started living together in Mara’s Washington, D.C. condo. There, William took her up to the rooftop one night and asked her to be his wife and best friend forever.
 
Since they met while traveling and often saw each other in different cities during the first few months of their relationship, the couple decided it would only be fitting to have a destination wedding. Although they originally thought of getting married in Thailand, they couldn’t resist changing their plans once they came across the beautiful island of Santorini.
 
Planning a destination wedding was daunting at first for Mara; but with the help of wedding planner, Maria Sila, the wedding planning process went by smoothly. Mara also enjoyed searching for local vendors to provide unique experiences for her wedding guests, and was thrilled when she came across photographer Thanasis Kaiafas. “We fell in love with his work and he more than delivered,” she says.
 
Prior to the wedding, the couple had planned various activities to entertain their guests, such as a cruise of the caldera, a swim in the Mediterranean Sea, exploring the caldera hot springs, and a local wine tasting. It was the perfect way for everyone to relax and enjoy their surroundings before the big day, which was met with anticipation and excitement. “We were just so excited to finally see everything come together as we had hoped it would,” William says. “Instead, it turned out far better than I imagined and it was one of the best days of my life.”
 
More than anything, the bride and groom wanted their wedding to be a “thank you” to their guests for traveling so far to celebrate with them. The reception was held at a villa with scenic views of the island and the caldera, and an intimate and glamorous ambiance was created with gold touches, lilies, greenery, and candles. Greek dancers provided entertainment and at the end of the wedding, everyone was full of food and merriment. “We will always love the smell of lilies that filled the air with their sweet perfume,” says the bride. “And the Greek people we worked with were so friendly, welcoming, and generous–we felt like the vendors were part of our celebration.”
 
The next day, the newlyweds and their guests lounged around for a lazy poolside brunch. “We felt gratitude for the whole event, elation that it had gone off without a hitch, and amazement that we could be so lucky to be in such a fantastic place together,” Mara says. “So don’t ever let anyone tell you that fairytales don’t exist today. Fairytales do exist and dreams do come true.”
 
>Written By: Lauren Malamala