An Exclusive Santorini Wedding at Canaves Oia Epitome

Melanie Papadopoulou and Markos Chaidemenos were both working in the travel industry when they met for the first time in 2019.

“I came to Santorini for a site inspection of the Canaves Oia properties,” Melanie shares. “The hotels were incredible, but Markos himself was definitely the highlight.”

As the couple met in one of the world’s most romantic destinations, it was only fitting for the proposal to take place in another dreamy location – Villa Treville in Positano, Italy. It was late-September of 2021, and the two were enjoying some much-needed time off after a demanding work season. Markos suggested jetting off to Positano to relax, and surprised Melanie with the perfect engagement. 

Getting Married in Santorini

Santorini is such a special wedding destination that couples often secure their dates and venues without ever having visited the island in person. For Melanie and Markos, however, their connection to Santorini ran deep.

Getting married at the place where our love story began… was the best way for us to celebrate the most important day of our lives.”

“Getting married at the place where our love story began, and which we consider our 'home,' was the best way for us to celebrate the most important day of our lives with our beloved family and friends,” Melanie explains. “When people think of getting married in Santorini, the 'Caldera' cliffside is the first thing that comes to mind. That's why we organize over 60 weddings and elopements every season at Canaves Oia Suites and Canaves Oia Sunday Suites, both of which are great smaller celebrations. However, for our wedding, Canaves Epitome, located at the outskirts of Oia, on a flat land right above Ammoudi and offering more space and seclusion, was the perfect venue.”

Canaves Oia Epitome

Planning a wedding at Canaves Oia Epitome – the couple’s own hotel – certainly had its advantages. As the Events Manager, Melanie knew exactly how things should be organized. Privacy and exclusivity were her top priorities, as friends and family would be traveling in from all over Greece and abroad for the wedding. Naturally, the couple wanted to ensure that everything was unforgettable from the moment their guests arrived. 

“The entire hotel was exclusively booked for our guests,” Melanie describes, “who enjoyed the amazing rooms, private pools, and the entire resort – an idyllic sanctuary away from the bustling noise of Oia, surrounded by beautiful gardens. The celebration lasted three days, allowing our guests ample time to explore the destination, go on a delightful cruise around Santorini (a must-do experience), and savor the exquisite Greek gastronomy at our restaurants. And, of course, the highlight of it all was the lively party that lasted until the early hours of the morning!”

The bride and groom had their first dance against the breathtaking backdrop of a golden Santorini sunset. A delightful dinner reception was enjoyed surrounded by olive trees, and the newlyweds danced the night away with their loved ones. Even with Greek weddings being notoriously grand – not to mention, loud – Epitome was an idyllic wedding venue for accommodating an epic wedding celebration with more than 250 guests.

Honeymooning in Africa

When she first visited Santorini before meeting Markos, Melanie jokingly told her friends that Canaves would be “the only place on earth” where she would want to celebrate her honeymoon with her future husband. After all, Santorini has all the makings of a picture-perfect romantic getaway: luxury accommodations, exquisite cuisine, and the most magnificent views of the Augean Sea and sunset. Little did she know that life would lead her to making Santorini her home so she could enjoy the island every day.

With Santorini off the table, the newlyweds chose to embark on a real adventure by honeymooning in Africa. It was the first time in his life that Markos took a vacation for a full two weeks.

“Being on a honeymoon is a great excuse for all the workaholics out there,” Melanie jokes. “We began our journey in Cape Town, South Africa, then proceeded to Kruger Park. From there, we traveled to Botswana and concluded our trip in Mozambique, right by the water. The safari experience was something neither of us had ever encountered before. It was a truly unique and life-changing adventure!”


Location: Canaves Oia Epitome, Santorini, Greece; Floral Design: Betty Flowers; Rentals: Stylebox; Art de la Table: White Lilac; Graphics: Bright White Graphic Design; Lighting & Sound: Multimedia Events; Candles: Idea Candles; Wedding Dress: Maria Konidi; Second Dress: Christina Varotsos; Shoes: Alevi Milano; Hair & Makeup: George Marascas; DJ: George Varveris; Music band: Fortissimo & Swinging Cats; Tents: Tentstyle; Favors: Yria Ceramics; Videographer: Kapetanakis team; Photographer: Anna Roussos & Thanos Asfis