The idyllic Sani Resort on Halkidiki’s azure coastline has long been a popular wedding destination for UK couples looking to tie the knot abroad. Now the resort has taken the extra step of building its very own church within its landscaped grounds! Over the winter months Sani Resort has been carrying out the construction and decoration of a beautiful Greek Orthodox Church which will be open in April for the start of the 2010 season.
Couples holding their wedding or renewal of vows at Sani Resort will be able to read their vows in front of the church on the lawns and enjoy champagne cocktails under the sun with friends and family before their choice of reception. The church will also be open to all guests for prayer and lighting candles.
Constructed from local sandstone, the church is faithful to the traditional Byzantine style of Basilica with Dome, usually seen at the monasteries of Mount Athos. The iconostasis - as the screen decorated with icons which divides the sanctuary from the nave in Orthodox Churches is known - is custom-made from marble by a famous local sculptor residing on the island of Tinos. Tinos, located in the Cyclades island complex, is home to the famous Halepa School, which specializes in training craftsmen in the tradition of marble sculpture, one of the oldest art forms.
All doors and windows of the church have wooden frames and the entire roof is constructed from wood. The floors and the church’s altar is made from solid marble from the area of Dionysos, the same marble that the Parthenon on the Acropolis is made of, known from ancient Greek times for its exquisite quality. The walls are decorated with icons crafted by a well-known Greek artist, Giorgos Bogdanopoulos, a distinguished religious iconographer whose work can be seen in churches around Greece, as well as at the Benaki Museum in Athens. The lighting will be atmospheric (as opposed to the bright lighting typical of most Greek Orthodox Churches), with stained glass windows, detailed ornaments in the various colours of the glass, and generous beige decorative shades creating an abundant feeling of serenity.
Other beautiful locations perfect for exchanging or renewing wedding vows at Sani Resort include Sani Hill, which has stunning panoramic views of the Kassandra peninsula and the Aegean Sea, and aboard the resort’s traditional Greek boat “Kaiki”. Sani’s very own wedding planner, Anna Wohlfart, works closely with each couple, talking through the organisation of the event and all the options possible to ensure the day is unforgettable.