Week 32: Greece!

This week’s something new is based on Wedding 4 of 4 for the year – and what a way to end off the run of weddings I’ve had ❤

My friends V&A chose to get married in Greece since she is half Greek / half German (he’s Egyptian), and so, of course, the Dubai gang put our plans in place to share accommodation and travel together as we have done for weddings of friends in previous years (most specifically the Jordan wedding last year!)

The wedding weekend consisted of many parts where all guests were invited to join social activities, from Greek dancing lessons on Friday to meet-and-greet dinner and then the big day… with lots of additional off-the-cuff drinks get-togethers thrown in for good measure.

Most of the activities were taking place in Vouliagmeni since that’s where the Reception took place on Saturday night, so our group decided to stay in an area close by – Varkiza. It was a little easier on the budgets, but just as beautiful and only an 8-minute taxi ride away from the action.

We stayed at the Stefanakis Hotel & Apartments which was perfect for what we needed – extremely friendly and helpful staff, happy to cater to our ever-changing requests; decent-sized rooms; a lovely swimming pool; cheap beers; breakfast included; great location.

Myself and Natasha arrived a day earlier than everyone else so we used the day to head into Athens city centre and do a bit of sightseeing on a walking tour of Athens. We were both into taking it very easy for the day so after the tour we found a lovely place to have lunch where we sat for hours, taking in the scenery and enjoying local cuisine (and beers 😉 )

The rest of our group arrived that evening and we then headed off to join some of the wedding crew for drinks… and get the wedding weekend off to a fabulous start 🙂

The next day we had Greek dancing lessons – hilarious fun, seemingly simple but actually rather difficult, especially when the music starts getting faster and you have to keep up with it! But a really fun morning – and now I can say that I know 2 Greek dances (Sirtaki – 3 steps; and Kalamatiano – 11 steps)

That night we were all invited to a meet-and-greet dinner, overlooking the Acropolis – just beautiful at night! Most people decided to take it easy (and not go out partying) so that we could be fresh and ready for the HUGE partying expected at the Reception the next night.

The next day was a beautifully relaxing day which we spent walking around our little area, enjoying a few drinks and local cuisine, sitting by the beach, and then enjoying some sunshine and pool time before getting ready.

And then it was time for the Reception – the reason we’ve all travelled to this glorious destination 🙂

The venue – Island Club Reception – was spectacular! Nice and private with fantastic views overlooking the bay, perfect lighting to set the mood, scrumptious food and the most amazing setup for the ceremony to take place.

Bringing multiple cultures together from such different backgrounds, this wedding certainly knew exactly what to do! From traditional Greek dancing to Egyptian belly dancing and drummers, there was no shortage of entertainment, music and fun!

From start to finish, this was a fantastic wedding filled with hours of fun, giggles, meeting new friends, reconnecting with old ones, experiencing new places, learning new cultures and traditions, speeches, dancing, fireworks, shooting stars, a red moon, sunrise parties and sharing the special memories that we all get to take away with us.

The perfect hangover cure

In our house, we like to party. An array of nationalities thrown together in a house full of fun, laughter and friendship.

Which means that we not only live together, but we also party together… ergo, we have hangovers together 😉

Rugby 7’s!

And one of our favourite ways to cure a hangover is to gather on the couch once everyone starts coming to life, order pizza, followed by ordering curry later on that day / night, and watching our favourite YouTube videos, and/or our latest house series.

Some of our favourite videos include:

And so far, some of our best house series’ have been:

Week 13 – A Dubai Wedding!

I’ve lived in the UAE for over 9 years now and I’ve finally attended a friend’s wedding here – this past week! Wedding #2 of 4 this year.

When I first moved to the UAE, I was invited to some random wedding, however since I didn’t know the people and only spent about an hour or so at the event, I’ve decided that my friend’s wedding last week is a more fitting “something new” as my first-time Dubai-based wedding 🙂

The wedding was held at the Ritz Carlton, JBR, on a Thursday evening. Thankfully the weather really played its part as we’d had some awful, temperamental weather up to that weekend, but the night of the wedding was gorgeous with clear skies, a light breeze in the air and perfect temperature – perfect for an outdoor wedding!

She’s Iranian-British; he’s Palestinian-American, so you can imagine the different cultures and nationalities joined together on the night – apparently 30 different nationalities attended the wedding! And it was completely different to anything I’ve ever experienced before.

There were no pews where the family & friends sat, waiting for the bride to arrive, while the groom stands up by the altar. Oh no. For this wedding, there is much fanfair and loud music played on bagpipes and drums while the groom walks up front with his family and groomsmen. The bride then follows with her family and bridesmaids. And all around all of this are the guests of the wedding, all clapping and getting involved in the hype, until the bride and groom reach the front where the blessing takes place.

After all the excitement of the arrival of the couple, there is a blessing done in much the same way as all the weddings I’ve attended in the past – the Christian / Western-style weddings – and after that the guests all sat down again, enjoying a meal and waiting for the couple to have their first dance.

And just like any wedding anywhere in the world (at least, I’m sure it would be so), the newlyweds have their first dance and then the party gets underway!