I was never the girl who dreamed of a white wedding. Starting in my teens, I traveled anywhere I could. I made money so I could travel. I made more money so I could travel. I saved money so I could … travel (and eat while traveling).
All of this was going on while my friends, acquaintances and colleagues were getting engaged, getting married, having babies, getting divorced, and getting remarried. Weddings? No problem! I saw them as excuses to travel and see new places.
By the time I turned 30, I’d probably been to 50 weddings all over the world. And every time I attended one, I always had the same thought: “Beautiful. Emotional. I wish them the best. But if it were me, I wouldn’t spend money on this.”
Everyone told me I’d change my mind once I met the right guy. And I did meet the right guy. He loved to travel too. Between us, we’d been to six continents and 50 countries.
After four years together, when he proposed, it shouldn’t have surprised me that immediately after asking, “Will you marry me?” he mentioned, “Oh, and that marriage is happening in four weeks. We’re eloping.” My soulmate!
We got engaged on January 27, 2015 and married on February 21, 2015.
Here’s what they don’t always tell you about eloping: People. Still. Give. You Money. It’s as though they are thanking you, with money, for saving them money, by not having them go to a wedding.
Due to the unexpected generosity of our family and friends, we found ourselves with enough money to either:
1. Have a fun party for 120 people.
2. Save it like two responsible adults.
3. Take a two-week luxurious honeymoon through Greece and Italy.
Which multiple choice answer do you think we chose? Of course, we chose the third option! If, like us, you’re someone who chooses wanderlust over weddings, this one’s for you.
Here’s your sample guide to skipping the wedding — and eating and drinking your way through Greece and Italy instead.
We arrived at the five-star Hotel Grande Bretagne, where a complimentary bottle of Champagne and strawberries awaited us, courtesy of the manager. Why is it as soon as you get to Europe, a simple thing like a strawberry tastes more luscious, juicy and sweet?
Luckily for us, our jet-lagged selves didn’t have to go far for dinner. The Michelin-rated GB Garden Roof Restaurant and Bar is on the roof of the hotel. We enjoyed a magical three-course meal our first evening in Greece, all while overlooking the lit-up Parthenon.
The best part of this gastronomic odyssey was the third-best tiramisu I’ve ever had. It tasted like a sweet, smooth, powdery cloud that, instead of melting in my mouth, expanded, widening its sweet, buttery self to touch every single one of my taste buds. Each bite of Chef Asterios Koustoudis’ melt-in-your-mouth tiramisu was like its own satisfying meal, with a beginning, middle and end. (What are the second and first best tiramisu I’ve ever had, you ask? Keep reading to find out.)
The next morning we shot right back up to the garden restaurant for an incredible Greek breakfast buffet, and a daytime view of the Acropolis.
The cucumbers were bright, light green, juicy and perfectly crisp. The tomatoes were so, so sweet – dessert sweet. And the baked eggs were the perfect texture, not overly cooked and not undercooked, with a winning yolk that was just the right amount of runny. How did they do that? Oddly enough, pinto beans perfectly accompanied this gluttonous buffet plate.
The next morning, we woke up bright and early and headed to the ferry terminal for our Greek island-island hopping journey. We boarded the Blue Star Ferry and got buzzed at 9 a.m. on the deck — the perfect prep for our first stop: the party island of Mykonos.