Observing all Greek wedding customs and traditions was top of mind for Emilia Bechrakis Serhant (31 and an attorney) when she wed Ryan Serhant (32 and a real estate broker and star of Bravo’s Million Dollar Listing New York) on July 7. And what better way to honor her heritage than to tie the knot in Corfu, Greece, with all of her and Ryan’s loved ones? “I wanted our wedding to embody Greek summer,” Emilia says. “We wanted it at sunset by the gorgeous green and blue Ionian water. We incorporated a Great Expectations style with romantic flowers and candlelight at the reception, not wanting to veer away from the destination.”
The couple had a classic Greek Orthodox ceremony at a Byzantine church from around the 12th century, where royal families used to wed. Emilia and Ryan wore the traditional stefana—crowns that are exchanged during the ceremony—and had Jordan almonds (called koufeta) and a carafe of wine at the altar, which was decorated with olive leaves and wild roses imported from Holland. A 12-person choir sang Byzantine hymns throughout the ceremony while a string quartet played. The couple also had two priests, with one reciting parts of the ceremony in English for the non-Greek-speaking guests. Emilia walked down the aisle wearing a custom champagne-colored Romona Keveza dress with pearl beading and a hand-draped tulle bodice, which she paired with a tulle cathedral-length veil. Ryan sported a custom blue and gray VK Nagrani tuxedo with vintage cuff links. A color palette of green, peach and white accented the tabletops, where guests feasted on a delicious seven-course Greek meal and sipped fresh and fruity margaritas, Bellinis and caipiroskas. The newlyweds and their guests started the bash with a live Greek band and finished the evening with a DJ and fireworks display. And the after-party went until 7 a.m.!
See a few shots of their nuptials below, and pick up The Knot Winter 2016 magazine, on stands now, to see the rest.
Emilia and Ryan’s breathtaking reception venue, Villa Sylva, which was featured in the James Bond film For Your Eyes Only, overlooked the ceremony church on Pontikonisi Island. The couple and their guests traveled separately to the spot on Greek boats.
The bride and groom at the historic church of Pantokrator on Pontikonisi Island.
Ryan waited for Emilia on the church steps with her bouquet.
Keeping with Greek tradition, Emilia and Ryan wore platinum bands on their right hands:
Emilia helped design the handpainted invitations.
Ceremony Site Pantokrator Church, Pontikonisi Island, Greece | Reception Site | Villa Sylva, Corfu, Greece | Photography Dimitrios Kambouris/Bravo | Videography World of Wonder/Bravo | Planners Kevin LeeProductions; Lorraine Young | Flowers Rizos Garden | Wedding Dress & Veil Romona Keveza | Shoes Jimmy Choo| Makeup Niki Metz | Formalwear VK Nagrani; shoes: Scarpe di Bianco | Engagement & Wedding Rings Desiree Nemati | Jewelry Desiree Nemati | Stationery Invitation design and watercolor: Anticipate Invitations; escort cards, menu cards & programs: Lorraine Young | Catering Venetian Well | Cake Cake Boutique | Music DJ Spartakos | Registry Bloomingdale’s | Accommodations Villa Sylva