MARQ RILEY | Wedding Photographer & Filmmaker in Greece

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Helen & Paul | Elopement in Naxos

Helen & Paul's Elopement in Naxos

"I've spent a lot of time on this boardwalk," Paul told me when we met at Flisvos on Saint George beach in Naxos. The Cycladic island became a kind of refuge for him after some difficult periods in his life over a decade ago. "I've stood here looking out at sea, taking long walks and thinking. It got me through my divorce and gave me clarity about what to do next."

Naxos has a certain healing effect on you, something you can't quite identify but is definitely there. I could very well put myself in Paul's shoes, as this island has been my adopted home in summers since I was a small boy. I've had the best of days here, and nights dancing under the stars in the 80s and early 90s when Flisvos was still a discotheque. Yes, they let kids in too then. But I've also been through dark stages here, accompanying the final years of my mother's life. And yet the heart always finds its way back to these shores.

For Paul it was meeting Helen, who had been through a similar experience to his. This day of theirs marked a second chance for both with a simple, intimate seaside ceremony, their elopement witnessed only by the municipality's officiant, the planners and myself, while loved ones and their children were present in a collection of greeting cards on the hotel room table. 

You really don't need much to have a wedding. An exchange of promises and rings on the beach, a carriage ride to the old town and a walk around the castle, and perhaps a glass of bubbly at sunset before dinner. But what a setting, there on Palatia rock next to the ancient gate of Apollon. They say if you walk through that giant marble door, you will return to Naxos to find your soul again, because that's where it made its home.

Oh and that setup was by Debbie and Flora of Island Events Naxos, carrying tables and chairs and going just a little bit further to make Helen & Paul's experience unforgettable.