As a tradition, Elena and her family would travel to Greece every year – that is, until 2006, when her parents were unable to make it. Instead, they enrolled Elena and her sister at Zionism Village summer camp in Greece (a youth camp that takes Greek American kids from across the U.S. and brings them over). It was at camp that Elena met Tommy and became Facebook friends.
Nine years later, Elena’s cousin Eleni invited her to a pool party, where all her Greek friends would be. “I didn’t want to go, because I never really hung out with Greeks,” Elena recalls, “but she forced me anyways and I ended up seeing Tommy.
"ELENA ENVISIONED AN OVER-THE-TOP CASTLE WEDDING WITH GOLD, RICH TONES, AND A DRAMATIC BAROQUE FEEL."
At first, we were so perplexed to see each other; but one thing led to another and we kept talking the entire time.” As it turned out, Tommy was there with a “summer fling,” but asked Elena for her phone number. Annoyed at him and the situation, Elena declined.
Serendipitously, the two crossed paths within five months when Elena was at an ugly Christmas sweater party fundraiser with her cousin. After some coaxing from Tommy, she finally agreed to a drink and they ended up talking for hours. “The electricity was surreal,” Elena describes. “We couldn’t keep our eyes off each other. From that moment on, it was history.”
The engagement took place in the Hamptons, but not without Tommy playing a trick on his soon-to-be-fiance. When the topic of marriage came up in casual conversation, Tommy said he wasn’t ready to get married, causing Elena to call her cousin in a fit of tears. Of course, Eleni was in on the prank as well. The next day, Tommy took Elena down to the Sag Harbor marina, told her, “I want to give you the world and everything in it,” and dropped to one knee. In total shock, Elena responded with, “You liar, I can’t believe you said all that stuff to me last night!” while hysterically crying with happiness.
During the wedding planning process, Elena envisioned an over-the-top castle wedding with gold, rich tones, and a dramatic baroque feel. “My wedding day was pure excitement and nerves,” she recalls. “Tommy and I decided we wouldn’t even speak or text the day before the wedding. That was the hardest, because he is my best friend and always calms me down. The whole day was a dream – albeit, a superfast dream. We made every minute count. It was a fantastic whirlwind.”
For their honeymoon, the newlyweds began their new life together with a safari, camel rides in the desert, enjoying local cuisines and wines, and taking in romantic sunsets by the beach. “Sharing these experiences together not only as best friends, but as husband and wife, was so special,” Elena says.
Location and Caterer: Oheka Castle, Huntington, NY; Event Design and Planner: Above All Events, West Islip, NY; Wedding Dress: Pnina Tornai; Bridal Salon: Kleinfeld, New York, NY; Groom's Attire: Ralph Lauren Purple Label