This summer we did something that we had not done before, ever…..
we catered for a small English wedding! Here at the Hotel Nafsika we have catered for weddings before but they were Big, Fat and Greek! So when Paul and Stevie first mentioned that they wanted to have their wedding at the Hotel Nafsika, I was really honoured that they would entrusted me and all at the Nafsika with this task. I have known Paul and his family for the longest of time. Paul was a youngster when he and his parents, Craig and Sandra first started coming here in the 1980’s along with his other siblings. When he was older he would visit Corfu by himself and later with Stevie, the love of his life, and wherever he stayed on the island he would always come to say Hello! to us here in Agios Stefanos Beach where ever he might be staying on the island. This shows you the type of person he is and his love for the Hotel Nafsika and the village!
Once they have secured the venue, Paul and Stevie needed help with the other wedding arrangements, so I sent them the San Stefanos Travel, as they were the wedding experts in the village. They have done many weddings of this type and I knew that they would arrange everything without hitch!
As I said, we have catered for many Greek weddings from our very early years of our existence. When the hotel was first built-in the late 1970’s my father purposely made the dining room large so that we could cater for weddings. Only when the guest list began to be 300 and 400 plus people large did we decide to stop doing them. Other reasons are that most weddings take place in the winter as in the summer it interferes with the running of the restaurant in the hotel and in the winter Agios Stefanos Beach is too cold and unreliable with the weather to guarantee a trouble-free wedding.
The weather of course can make or break a wedding, not only here in Corfu but anywhere in the world which is why all of the world most take place in June, a nice safe month! Here we can have them all summer long! My biggest fear though was having a Maestro, a fierce northerly wind blowing on the day of the wedding. Not that this wind would have spoilt the wedding but it would not have been ideal. But the actual wedding day was blessed and perfect in every respect!
Having been to an endless amounts of weddings in America I knew how to arrange this one along similar lines. Sandra, Paul’s mother and I were emailing each other all winter long deciding how to organize the reception. We both agreed on having a cocktail hour beforehand at the Hotel’s pool bar, BarOne, only that we would serve Prosecco with cherries as they were in season instead of cocktails. Sandra thinking small ordered 10 bottles for their humble group of 19!
The meal would consist of a medley of Greek Mezzes (starters) and a choice of 3 main courses: a fish dish, a chicken dish & a meat dish. Being our first English wedding and wanting to please my long time friends, I might have gone a bit over board with the starters as I kicked off the wedding banquet with: bruschetta, taramasalata, tzatziki, hummus, ktipiti, meatballs and a few others dishes. There were so many starters that I had to cancel a few that I have not mentioned as the wedding party were clearly defeated by my onslaught of Greek appetizers.
The main course meals consisted of Fennel Fillet of Sole, Rosemary Chicken, and as Craig and Sandra wished, Spit-Roast Leg of Lamb!
All this was followed by the wedding cake and fruit and of course, Greek dancing! Sandra wanted to surprise the newlyweds with a live band and even though Paul and Stevie found this out as someone ‘let the cat was out of the bag’ but they took it in true fashion by asking me to teach them a few Greek dances. The music all evening was all Greek, in fact, very traditional folk music at that, but went like a charm with everyone dancing to it regardless of nationality. Sandra and I both agreed that the hotel guests should be considered as honoured guests and not be excluded from the festivities so what started out as a small English wedding, it turned out into a Big English Wedding!
During the evening Sandra had given all the guests a Thai Sky/Fire Lantern to let loose into the night sky. It was very beautiful as it was as quite a few of the lanterns reached the heavens. Personally, I prefer our old fashioned declaration of setting the wedding in progress by letting off fireworks or even the more traditional Corfiot custom of exploding dynamite! All serve the same purpose, to announce to the world the joining of 2 people into a sacred bondage. Needless to say, they did not burn half of Corfu doing it, though it did cross my mind!
What made this wedding so fabulous is that everyone participated in the festivities regardless of any cultural difference, you must remember the band was playing Greek folk music so when I asked them if they knew any modern English songs they told me that they knew how to play ‘O Sole Mio’ so they played it… and guess what? Everyone danced to it!
I would like to thank Paul, Stevie, Sandra, and Craig along with the rest of the family guests and honoured guests who all contributed to a magical summer’s evening, enjoyed by everyone!