On the 4th September 2022, the classy, rustic love-filled fairytale Wedding of Vanessa & Chris took place at Liopetro. Vanessa Zdesar, 30 & Charilaos (Harris) Panagi, 37, met whilst working at the same restaurant in New York City, USA. And when Vanessa moved away to Los Angeles, Harris soon followed her there, where 3 and half years later their love story brought them to Cyprus for their big day.
Proposing on the anniversary of when their dating began, Harris took Vanessa to a pier in Greenport Long Island, and in the rain got down on one knee and popped the question! “Rain has always signified good luck for me” exclaims Vanessa, and what a perfect moment for it! “It was a surprise; although I was kind of anticipating it and we knew we wanted to get married” and how could she say no when it was the ring of her dreams too – a beautiful solitaire diamond.
Wanting a classic and sexy, glamorous vibe for her dress, Vanessa wore a stunning sleek, classic body-hugging dress with a sexy low back style. Adorning it with statement emerald and gold eatings, gold bracelets and a long veil for the church ceremony for which she soon swapped out for her evening reception with a bold fresh orange calla lily!
To bring her even more good luck, Vanessa made sure to have her good luck charms with her ‘something old’ as a bracelet her mother-in-law had gifted her, her ‘something new’ which was both her shoes and her earrings, her ‘something borrowed’ being a ring from her mum and her ‘something blue’ which was the blue evil eye design on her nails!
Allowing her Bridesmaids and Maid of Honour to pick their own dresses, as long as they were long and in burnt orange colour. Whilst gifting them matching earrings to wear that also matched her own for the big day. Harris also wore a dark blue suit from Hugo Boss and light brown leather slip-on shoes, with his groomsmen also wearing dark blue suits and button down shirts.
“We knew we wanted to get married in Cyprus since most of Harris’ family is there (and it’s a big family!)” After easily deciding to marry on the island of love, Vanessa says “everyone thought I was crazy when I said I envisioned getting married in a place with archeological ruins overlooking the Mediterranean Sea.”
Stumbling upon Liopetro when she was doing some online research, Vanessa recalls reading the first line of our website “With stunning views of the Mediterranean Sea, the venue is surrounded by beautiful gardens and set on archaeological grounds that are infused in history… I immediately started crying and knew this was our place. I manifested the venue of my dreams!”
With almost 300 guests the couple chose a buffet style menu option that offered a little bit of everything, “the food was phenomenal – to this day, our guests are talking about it!” Now that’s what we like to hear!
For their evening entertainment, Harris & Vanessa booked Pure Entertainment as their DJ, “which was perfect because he is Cypriot/Canadian so he was able to accommodate a wide range of music for our guests (we had people from Cyprus, the US, and Croatia, which is where my family is from). We had some Greek music, a bit of Croatian music, and some modern English/American and Latin American music.” Dancing to ‘Lifetime’ by Justin Beiber as their first dance “the song still gets me every time I listen to it. There were tears in the room from guests for sure!”
With burnt orange as the main colour of their wedding, with further pops of colour, Vanessa chose bright bouquets with big statement piece flowers such as tiger lilies, calla lilies, different varieties of protea along with some roses to which Boutique Florale truly brought to life! To complement these in her centerpieces were candles of different sizes and romantic gold candle holders and decor.
Offering homemade orange liqueurs with sweet messages, dried orange pieces which were sliced and sun dried, all DIY’ed from her father-in-law’s orange farm!
“We didn’t want a big cake since the package we got offered so many amazing desserts”, and instead the couple opted for a small single tier wedding cake for the formal cake cutting, with minimal frosting and decorated in the same bright flowers in her bouquet.
What was the best part of the day and why? “[It’s] impossible to choose because the entire
day was magical, but something really special was getting married in that church (Panagia Odigitria opposite Liopetro). The energy of the grounds and of the church was something else”
“I can honestly say everything on the day was perfect. I kept waiting for something to go wrong, but everything was above and beyond what we could imagine. And the team at Liopetro was critical in helping us organize everything and have our dreams come to life. Michalis is AMAZING!!!!! The weeks leading up to the wedding were stressful with last minute errands and details, but otherwise everything was perfect”
When asked what important tip they would offer to future wedding couples, they replied “just ask a lot of questions, do your research, and keep everything organized” along with “also keep in mind Cyprus gets VERY HOT in the summer, so plan accordingly.”
Wedding Rings: Local Jeweller in New York
Wedding Cake: Love Island Cakes, Paphos
Flowers: Boutique Florale, Limassol
Decorations: Boutique Florale, Limassol
Entertainment: PURE Entertainment
Wedding Hair: Hair by Fannie
Wedding Makeup: Makeup by Artemis