Our FAQs

Your Most Common Questions Answered

There is absolutely no legal requirement whatsoever that you must be on the island for minimum number of days.  Some tour operators may tell you there is a legal requirement to be on the island for 7 days before your wedding, and if you have a Civil wedding, you must be on the island for 14 days.  This is complete mis-selling and their way of getting you to stay in their accommodation longer.

Also challenge a tour company to provide written legal evidence from the town hall in Santorini stating this is a requirement.  You may ask, why is it tourists can leave cruise ships that dock for 1 day, get legally married on that day, and leave the island?

From a planning perspective, I always recommend you arrive at least 3 to 4 days before your event because your pre-wedding meeting is usually 2 days before, which allows us to make any final changes.

We usually have 2 separate meetings. The first is between the planner and the couple to go through the timeline of the day and to confirm Suppliers and ensure everything is as we have planned. there is usually another meeting with the venue to discuss and finalise the run through of the day, menus, drinks etc. You also have the opportunity to have a rehearsal at the Venue.

All CMW weddings have at least one Wedding Coordinator on day, this may increase to 2 or 3 depending on how many guests you have and the service you have requested.

A civil wedding means you are legally getting married and you must provide legal paperwork from your home country, such as a Certificate of Non-Impediment, Birth Certificates, Divorce, Adoption, or Deed poll certificates.  These usually need to be apostilled / legalised in your country but if you are from an EU country, legalisation is not required, but everyone must have their documents translated into Greek.

There is a process we must follow for a civil wedding, and we explain this in more detail during the enquiry stages and planning.  You must  have at least 2 witnesses on the day and if you are eloping (2 people only) we will provide those witnesses for free.

A blessing is also known as a symbolic ceremony and looks almost identical to a civil wedding, the main differences are, it is cheaper, there is no legal paperwork, you do not sign the marriage register, witnesses are not required, and no translations or visits to the town hall. But when you leave the island, you are not not legally married.

There are hundreds of civil weddings in Santorini, if the mayor visited every wedding, they would get nothing done. In short, the mayor never visits a wedding and you certainly do not have to pay a fee.

Certain venues are more popular than others, so dates book up more quickly than others, and we advise that you have up to 3 different preferred dates that you would like to have your wedding on. The celebrant does not usually confirm your ceremony time until around November, the year before your wedding date.

If your Wedding is more than a year away, for example 2024, the Celebrant doesn’t usually confirm until November/December 2023. If you are a 2025 wedding, we will not get your confirmation until around November 2024.

The ceremony approximately lasts between 15-20 minutes, depending on the type of ceremony you have. A humanist ceremony is usually around 30 minutes, an Orthodox church ceremony is usally around 40 to 45 minutes.

You can usually have 2 readings during the ceremony, we need to know in advanced, so we can inform the celebrant.

Payments - Very Important

Bank transfers, are usually the accepted method of payment, followed by cash, and lastly credit card.  As a result of Covid, a lot of venues now refuse to accept credit card payments and there are reasons for this.

If you pay a venue or supplier directly with your credit card, then your credit card offers you a significant level of protection.

If you pay a venue or supplier indirectly using your credit card, then you lose the protection the credit card offers you.  An example of paying indirectly, is PayPal, Western Union, Wise, Monese or any other third party, these are known as intermediaries.

If you use an intermediary the credit card company may see this as the main transaction, and not the transaction to the the final recipient receiving the money.

UK Clients can research this, look for Section 75, it is well discussed by the money saving expert, and this does not only affect weddings, but it can also affect your everyday life if you use your credit card a lot.  https://www.moneysavingexpert.com/reclaim/section75-protect-your-purchases/

This is one of the main reasons why venues and suppliers may not accept credit card payments. Please note that if you pay by PayPal or Western Union, the supplier will not accept the charges for this transaction, it is something you must pay on top of the payment to the supplier.

Do not consider credit card protection as alternative to wedding insurance.

The venues all have different T&C’s.  Some require the immediate balance to be paid, this is usually the very small venues.  Others require 40% or 50% of the venue hire fee upon a confirmed booking, so this is immediately.

Each venue has further payment conditions when the balance for the venue hire should be paid. Always remember, you may have multiple deposits to pay in a short time frame, so plan carefully.

Food and drinks, if provided by the venue, are usually finalised around 60 days before you wedding day, and payment would follow shortly after.

Planning deposits, the first deposit is required after we have received a signed service agreement and client notification form. The service does not start until we have received these documents back followed by an initial planning deposit.

Additional planning payments are usually paid in 6 monthly instalments to ease the financial burden, allowing you to budget for other payments that may be required.

Supplier deposits are usually paid as soon as you confirm the supplier.  Final payments are usually requested just before you arrive in Santorini, or when you arrive on the island.

We have seen an increase in venues and suppliers removing the possibility of refunds in the event of force majeure occurrence, and sadly, some venues refuse to give any refund even if you have been diagnosed with a potentially life-threatening illness, we strongly advise you to take out wedding insurance.

Planning payment refunds depend on the amount of work that has been undertaken by your planner. If you are at the very start of your planning journey, then the amount of work done will be minimal, the closer to your date, more work has been undertaken.

Refunds are only considered if the Government has imposed travel restrictions, such aa closing borders. If you choose to cancel your wedding of your own free will, then, unless your request is for compassionate reasons, the likelihood of receiving any refund may be limited.

We strongly advise you to take out wedding insurance. We are not regulated to advise you which insurance you should take, but you can speak to us about certain things we think you need to consider.

You can choose your own suppliers, and we strongly encourage you not to book anyone until you have spoken to Charlotte.  There are a lot of illegal suppliers working on the island, and if you choose to bring a supplier from your country, they MUST have the correct legal paperwork to work on the island, venues will ask for this, and so will the tax inspectors if there is an inspection.

Please note, that if you choose your own suppliers, the contract is between you and that supplier and you must ensure they are legal to work and have the correct paperwork required to work in your destination.

A lot of planners offer package weddings, and packages limit your options to not only choose your own suppliers but limits your visibility regarding the quality of work undertaken by that supplier, if it is a photographer, you need to make sure you like their work before you say yes to anything.

The planning team will discuss this with you but try to avoid booking on impulse.  If someone recommends a supplier, ask why they have referred the supplier.   Read our blog for questions you should ask. https://www.charlottemayweddings.co.uk/advice-for-choosing-your-photographer-videographer/

Food and drinks do not need to be finalized until 60 days before your Wedding. However, we will discuss your options through the planning as you will have full visibility on the options available to you, as well as the pricing.

External caterers usually require a €500.00 deposit by bank transfer. You don’t have to choose your menu straight away, but the immediate deposit secures the catering company and the final payments are usually 30 days before.

Some venues do not have the facility to support any catering requirements, therefore we must hire a catering company. Some venues have the facility to cater for a limited number, above this number an external caterer is again required.


We have a dedicated team that will be in contact with you, usually around November of the year before your wedding to confirm your document requirements. Guidance and support is extremely comprehensive and detailed, so do not panic about this. If you work and live abroad, away from the country your normally reside in, then the process may commence earlier, but you may also be required to return to your home country to undertake the legal process.

You will lose pretty much all the documents we ask from you, as they are all retained by the Town Hall in Santorini. You will be given 3 copies of your Greek marriage license which are apostille’d as proof of marriage, but this is all in Greek and you are advised to get this translated. Usually the documents retained are birth / adoption certificates, deed polls, decree absolutes, so we advise you to get official duplicates.

You do not have to go if you give a power of attorney to our lawyer on the island, which there is a small fee.  If you choose to go to the town hall, it is closed at weekends and only open for a limited numbers of hours Monday to Friday. Mondays are always busy as marriages from Friday, Saturday and Sunday are being registered.

There is no queuing system at the town hall, so you could be waiting for up to 3 hours, and you will be required to have an official translator which is of course an additional fee.

The CMW team will explain the process to you in detail.

You will receive your official wedding certificates between 6-8 weeks after your wedding. It takes this amount of time as the marriage is registered in Santorini, but your paperwork will go to another island where your official documents are issued. These need to be legalised by the lawyer, and then translated to your language, then posted securely.