Special Section: Society Weddings

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 Nuptials Drew Guests From Across Globe

By Margaux Anbouba

It all started at someone else's wedding. Olivia Jennings' best friend, Heather Linburg, had been trying ceaselessly to set her up with Justin Adendorff without success. But it wasn't until the two Dallas residents attended Heather's wedding in the Grand Caymans that the bride could manipulate the seating chart, forcing the two to meet.

Two and a half years later, during a trip to New Orleans, Justin, a native of South Africa, proposed to Olivia as they laid in a park.

"Afterwards, we got back on a Southwest flight to Dallas," Olivia said. "On the plane, I asked him where he wanted to get married. We had four options: Dallas; Colorado because we love to ski; Greece, because that's where my dad is from; or South Africa. I totally didn't think he would choose Greece, but he did! I was shocked."

So the couple who had met at a destination wedding began planning their own.

"Greece is somewhere special," Justin said. "I knew it would mean a lot to Olivia's dad, and my parents would love it too. Geographically, it's in the middle for both of our families."

The couple set the date for Memorial Day 2013, and began planning a wedding on the Greek island of Santorini — from more than 6,000 miles away — with the help of Stell Chanioti.

"I found the world's most amazing wedding planner, who just happened to speak perfect English and lives on Santorini," Olivia said. "We wanted somebody who would understand a traditional Greek Orthodox wedding, but also an American bride."

Soon after getting engaged, Olivia and her family spent 48 hours on the island, selecting venues, trying cakes, and listening to musicians. After that, it was modern technology such as email and Skype that made planning the Greek wedding of her dreams possible.

"We wanted to show people different parts of Greece, but also build toward the wedding, not have it be overshadowed by anything else," Olivia said. "So we had three big events: the boat ride, the rehearsal dinner, and the wedding."

The couple's international background background created a diverse group of attendees. The bride invited friends from her time at Armstrong Elementary School, the Hockaday School, and Harvard University; the groom brought friends from South Africa, Tulane University, and his global travels.

"We had guests from all over the world; Australia, Germany, South Africa, Pakistan, India, and Nepal," Justin said. "Everybody came a very long way for us. We thought giving them an experience that they will never forget was the best way to make it worth it for them."

Once they arrived on the island, 75 guests were whisked away to cruise the Mediterranean Sea on the chartered boat. This event was extra-special because it took place on the 60th birthday of James Jennings, Olivia's father. They celebrated under the sun with Greek music and dancing, swimming in the hot springs, and drinking plenty of ouzo.

Next came the rehearsal dinner, hosted in the Vedema Hotel's 400-year-old wine cave, known as Visanto.

"It is very different from anything else on the island," Justin said. "It had a very medieval feeling; it was appropriate for the island, but something people typically don't know about."

All the festivities led up to Sunday, when the couple said "I do" in a traditional ceremony at the Greek Orthodox chapen in Fira, Santorini. The view was breathtaking, as was the bride, who wore a one-shouldered Grecian gown designed by Carolina Herrera and a veil embroidered with olive branches. Olivia's bridesmaids were her sisters, Caroline and Alexandra, who were dressed in coral Bella Bridesmaid dresses.

After the ceremony, guests made their way to a reception under the stars. The floral arrangements, which consisted of roses grown on Santorini, perfectly matched the bridesmaid dresses. Guests tore up the dance floor to music by both a DJ and a traditional Greek band. Most importantly, the bride and groom were thrilled to start their new life together surrounded by their friends and family.

"When you're at a wedding, it's the bride and groom building your new family in front of everybody," Olivia said. "Our wedding was everything we ever wanted, and encapsulated all of the joy Justin and I have for life. It was the perfect way to start our life together — it was this defining moment for us as a couple. We are a Greek and South African couple, and we want to live our life together celebrating our family and roots."

Five Gift Ideas For Major Milestones

1st Anniversary: Paper
They say that's all fair in love and war, but what about board games? This diversion from Southern Fried Paper isn't any old game of "Sorry" or "Clue": it's more like a custom version of "Life." Stops could include your first date, when you and your honey went Facebook official, your wedding date, and any other important days in your life together.

5th Anniversary: Wood
Sour suggestion is Sebastiao Salgado's Genesis Volumes I and II from Nest. These stunning tomes are filled with rare snaps that the Brazilian photographer captured from all over the planet. The "wood" aspect of the gift is the packaging. Together, the two volumes weight 130 pounds, and come in their own wooden crate.

15th Anniversary: Crystal
These beautiful Baccarat "Lucky" butterflies come in an assortment of hues sure to please your sweetheart. Include a note about how lucky you are to have been with him or her for 15 years.

25th Anniversary: Silver
After a quarter of a century together, it's time to pop some bubbly. This silver ice bucket from Collectors Covey is perfect for celebrating — chill your favorite celebratory libation and reminisce. Every time you use the ice bucket from here on out, you'll think of 25 years of happy memories.

50th Anniversary: Gold
Jewelry can be an easy go-to when it comes to anniversaries, but the majority of recipients don't mind. For your golden anniversary, go for something classic, such as this Marco Bioego necklace from Bachendorf's. The brushed 18-karat gold infinity loops are symbolic of your never-ending love. 


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