Today we have the pleasure of sharing with you an interview with Sanya Styles, the editor of the blog and online magazine Ellwed, that its goal is to inspire couples that are having a destination wedding in Greece, but also everyone in the wedding business.

How did you get into the wedding industry? And what was the idea behind Ellwed?

Oh wow, this is a long story from so long ago. Well, in short, it all started with our love story that happened like in a movie! Many, many years ago, I met my true love on the internet. And this was before Facebook and before online dating was even a thing! I always say it was fate. One in Greece and me in a small town in Slovenia. We were just destined to be together. As we both did not like to chat online, but that one night we both find ourselves on the same chat room, because our friends made us do it. We simply clicked and ever since, we are still together. I moved here to Greece and after my masters in design, could not find a job in the worst Greek crisis. It was that time, I got introduced to the world of weddings, décor and planning! As a creative person, I was immediately taken by all the excitement! But as soon as I started, I saw the need for some information about weddings in Greece, for destination brides and vendors, who don’t speak or read Greek. This idea was in my head for years and it kept coming back! So last year I said ok, we are getting a domain name and no matter what will happen! Ever since that, Ellwed is growing and becoming a true international community of brides and professionals from all over the globe! How exciting is that?! I love helping people and giving back to the community and this platform is the one that makes this possible. And coming from design and branding backgrounds, it is just the perfect match to satisfy all my desires for art, design, graphics and of course weddings! I love creating and Ellwed allows me to do just that!

Some might be curious about the name. Well, I took a long time debating on that and you can read the story on our site. Nonetheless, the name “Ellwed” comes from the word “Ellada” (Greece) and the word “Weddings”. Together they stand for Weddings in Greece. The idea was to offer support and advice to destination brides and community support for the professionals. To create an online magazine for weddings in Greece that would accompany the blog and our Vendor Treasury. A publication, where brides can see curated inspirations and editorials from wedding professionals and gather ideas for their wedding in Greece. After a short term on the market, the publication took the centre stage of Ellwed and is still going very strong!

Ellwed is the first digital wedding magazine in Greece focusing on destination weddings. What can a bride-to-be find in the pages of Ellwed?

Yes, we started digitally. An online medium is the best solution to reach all these brides from all over the world. It is easy to use and download to keep on your phone or laptop. Of course people also started asking us for prints, so we just needed to add this to our collection as well. But, for the future we want to focus more on the digital platform and our growing Treasury of Selected Vendors, which is still free to join for now. We try to keep our magazine informational and inspirational for all brides, but mainly offer advice to brides that wish to get married in Greece specifically. Rather than advertisements, each issue is filled with more useful articles and expert’s advice from different professionals in the field of beauty, fashion and of course the wedding industry, from all over the world.

Our goal is to inspire and inform the bride and the groom about their wedding in Greece. What to expect before coming here, places to visit, vendors and suppliers to choose and of course, lots of inspiration of the gorgeous weddings that are happening throughout the year. Our magazine is divided in sections for wedding related articles, real and styled wedding stories, venue and honeymoon locations in Greece, and then also fashion and beauty expert’s advice. All in all, Ellwed magazine is full of advice and inspiration for everyone that has anything to do with weddings.

A bride-to-be can find interesting ideas and real weddings on Ellwed blog as well, while downloading the online issue. But how can someone get their hands on the printed copy?

We hear a lot that print is dead or dying. In fact, I thought so too. But let me tell you, it’s not true at all. There is just something special in holding a book in your hands. Actually, many brides and vendors love the idea of holding the printed copy. Not only that, many alreday have our magazines or “lookbooks” on their coffee tables to display in their homes or offices. As I said, we got lots of requests for printed editions in the beginning and that is why we decided to also start with print. However, our magazine is not the typical bridal magazine you get to buy at your local paper store. We make sure to print quality coffee table lookbooks that display luxury and class. We want the print to express the design and trust me when I say, I get to see every issue we had in print, and I always get excited with every new copy I hold in my hands! To feel the thick paper and to see the gorgeous photos from our cover shoots printed on the pages of our luxury publication is just so exciting! I would recommend to every vendor and every bride that has been featured in our publication, to invest and get one print for yourself to proudly display in your office or home to admire. You will love it! For now you can subscribe or order the copy on our website at ellwed.com/magazine.
(To purchase directly: https://ellwed.bigcartel.com/)

Do you believe that Greece is becoming one of the top destination wedding locations in the world?

Hmm… this is a tough question. For sure Greece is becoming more recognised and talked about on the international media, but there are so many gorgeous destinations in the world for couples to choose. Having said that, Greece does offer a lot of variety and top notch hospitality services. I’m so happy to see Greek professionals becoming better and better in the tourism business. There are so many professionals that want to learn and offer excellent services to the couples coming to Greece. This was also one of our reasons for Ellwed. I wanted to offer wedding pros a community to learn, share experiences and grow together!

Many tourists tell me that they love coming to Greece every year and they see the tourism business evolve and becoming better every year. I believe that a lot of credit should also go to all these new international expositions and workshops for weddings, tourism and hospitality industries happening in Greece all year around. This is how we all grow and by making our services better, we get to have repeating customers that loved the experience and also recommend us further. Destination weddings are good for everyone, not just the wedding experts. Taxis, hotels, restaurants, Airbnb-ers, bars, airlines, etc. All benefit from wedding tourism and satisfied clients will spread the good word and keep coming back. To sum up, as destination wedding locations go, I do believe Greece is amongst the top out there!

We know Santorini and Mykonos are two of the most popular destination wedding locations. What are some other locations in Greece that are ideal for a destination wedding?

Oh, this is one of the questions we usually ask our vendors that we interview in our magazine. It’s a really good and important question. We constantly try to show all these amazing locations Greece has to offer. And yet after so many issues, we still discover new and amazing locations not many have heard about. With well over 3000 islands and gorgeous locations on the mainland, it is hard to choose from! But personally I love Paros, Korfou, Monemvassia, Crete and also the Athenian Riviera is amazing for weddings. For winter months I suggest Thessaloniki and the area of Ioannina, Zagorochoria and Meteora, to really experience the winter months!

What are some of the advantages and disadvantages, if any, of having a destination wedding?

One bigger disadvantage could be the fact that not everyone can attend the wedding, if this is something you want as a bride. Then again, this could also be one of the advantages. Destination weddings are perfect to keep the wedding smaller and more private, which of course means more romantic. Destination weddings are not everyone’s cup of tea of course. It all depends what the couple wants, but these weddings can be so much fun as the whole groups spend time together before or after the wedding. On the other hand the couples that love to elope, destination weddings are a perfect choice for that. And in Greece, they can have their wedding and honeymoon as well! Many couples choose to have a wedding in one location or island and then decide to visit other locations or islands, we call it “island hopping”! Some couples, mainly coming from the States, even decide to get hitched in another European country and then also come to Greece to visit some of the famous islands like Santorini & Mykonos. Others just care for pretty photos from a certain location. For sure, destination weddings have many advantages and cam really be a fun experience if you plan and prepare before your arrival, to know what to expect and not get disappointed.  

What do you think are the upcoming wedding trends for 2019?

This year we saw many beautiful weddings and so much innovation from lights, transparent materials like plexiglass to new and exciting floral structures and round arches, suspended installations and overall personalised wedding themes and activities. This year was all about the couple and their wishes, which I believe will continue well into 2019. I believe that “pleasing the parents and the guests” is slowly being pushed out and replaced by “wowing the guests” and “doing what the couple loves”. The couples nowadays want to spend quality time with the closest guests and family, have interactive activities before and during the wedding and as well as share a piece of their life.

Regarding décor, I believe we will see bolder, more innovative pieces, to spike the imagination and inspiration of everyone involved. Couples will start using technology more, to incorporate with the theme of the event and to interact with the guests. Each event will be signature to each couple to express their true nature and beliefs. Destination weddings will be more private and truly unforgettable for the whole party, as the events will last many days or even a whole week!

What is a wedding trend that you don’t want to see being repeated in 2019?

Every wedding is unique to each couple and I wish that all couples would design events that express them and only them. This is the way we can truly have distinctive and individual events that will inspire future brides to be. But for 2019, I wish not to see any rustic weddings or weddings that are just classic copies of every other dated wedding out there. And if the rustic look is your absolute favourite look, I would urge you to be creative with it and put your twist on it!

And finally, what keeps you inspired every day to continue doing what you love and providing your readers with good quality material, so that they can also be inspired for their upcoming wedding?

Starting something new can sometimes feel overwhelming, scary and hard. But one thing that really keeps me going even in tough times is the feedback from the community I keep getting! The idea for Ellwed magazine and blog was to create a community of creatives, where we can all share ideas, battle stories, collaborate and inspire each other. And seeing the appreciation from the pros in the community, to hear from people that they really like the magazine and overall concept, is the greatest gift I could ask for! Overall, I listen to the brides and the professionals in the wedding industry and from my experience, I try to answer their questions and issues they face while taking on the project of planning a destination wedding. And as you also know, I love hearing stories from pros I meet and like to share them with the audience in the form of an interview. I believe people need to hear our story to get to know us, our brand and what we stand for. Only then we can connect with the people that truly resonate with us. And on that note, thank you for giving me the chance to also share my story!

We would like to thank you for sharing your story and Ellwed’s story with us and our readers. It was really a pleasure Sanya. We can’t wait to see more things from Ellwed in the future!

Visit Ellwed www.ellwed.com for more inspiration!

Photography Credits: All photos of Sanya Style are by Vanessa Tivadar Photography / Photo of magazine by Two Clicks Photography

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