Jane Stuart-Palikira, co-founder of Ionian Weddings based in Twickenham, has been awarded two prestigious accolades within two weeks, both of which recognise her talents for commercial impact and innovation in business.
On 4 July, Jane received runner up in the Entrepreneur of the Year category at the South London Business Awards, competing against hundreds of award entrants and 11 other finalists in her category. Just a couple of weeks later on 16 July she was announced winner of the Business Impact Award 2013 at the Association of Women Travel Executives (AWTE) Chair’s Awards and presented with a trophy at the awards ceremony by keynote speaker, Chris Browne, managing director of Thomson Airways. The award recognises an individual who has successfully brought innovation to the travel industry and their business.
Jane and her husband, Andreas, started Ionian Weddings, a company that organises weddings abroad, in 2007 with their first wedding taking place in 2008. Shortly afterward, when the hit film Mamma Mia! was released, Ionian Weddings featured in national press and the phones went mad!
Six years on, Ionian Weddings has a small team, and is the leading UK-based weddings organiser for many of their destinations and venues. In early 2014 they will celebrate their 1000th wedding!
The company has already won several awards and Jane has been a driving force in developing the business, with Ionian Weddings now offering Greece, Cyprus, Italy and Malta. Jane has a sharp eye on the market and comes up with many ideas for innovative, exciting wedding packages, such as their Fifty Shades of Grey-inspired wedding package, the San Francesco Cloisters and villa in Sorrento where Pierce Brosnan’s Love Is All You Need was filmed, a Maltese castle, private islands and beaches, exclusive use villas and much more. The end of June 2013 saw their first wedding take place at an underground lake in Kefalonia, Lake Melissani, with the service conducted by the local mayor.
Jane says: “We have a niche product in a specific region within which we have intimate knowledge of every venue and destination that we offer. We are passionate about finding unusual locations and this, combined with our expertise, Greek and Italian speaking staff and close relationships with our suppliers seem to make for a winning formula. We expect to handle our 1000th wedding around May 2014 and will certainly be having a company celebration.”
To find out more about Ionian Weddings, see www.ionianweddings.co.uk or call 020 8892 7556.
Ionian Weddings recently surveyed 800 past clients as well as those with weddings booked in the next 3 years to discover just what inspires people to celebrate their nuptials abroad. Whilst it’s no surprise that that cost and weather are two key factors that influence one in five UK couples to get married outside the UK, 52% state that having a more intimate wedding with just close families and friends is the driving factor. Here are the full results from our survey:
Why did you choose to get married abroad? *
Because it was much cheaper than marrying in the UK 35.22%
We wanted to keep the wedding party small and not feel obliged to invite relatives we barely see 51.74%
To benefit from much better weather 58.70%
We'd been there on holiday and wanted to get married there 22.61%
*on this question our clients were allowed to choose more than one answer
How much money do you think you have saved by getting married abroad?
More than £15,000 3.04%
£10,000 - £15,000 29.13%
£3,000 - £5,000 39%
£1,000 - £3,000 9.57%
Less than £1,000 0.87%
I didn't save money by getting married abroad 8.70%
Don't know yet 9.57%
Have you had / did you have any bridezilla moments?
Yes I have been a bridezilla from the very beginning 1.74%
Occasionally throughout the process 28.70%
No, I am completely relaxed 53.48%
No, the groom is a bridezilla! 1.74%
It's too early to say 12.17%
Women: if you weren't marrying your partner who would you like to marry?
Harry Styles 0.43%
Prince Harry 6.96%
Robert Pattinson 5.65%
Christian Grey 9.57%
Channing Tatum 16.09%
Daniel Craig 21.30%
Men: if you weren't marrying your partner who would you like to marry?
Jennifer Lawrence 5.22%
Megan Fox 19.13%
Kim Kardashian 3.48%
Mila Kunis 12.17%
Nicole Scherzinger 10.87%
Will you / did you have children at your wedding?
Yes, my own children 35.65%
Yes,guests' children 64.35%
No - adult only! 20.00%
Do you / did you plan to spend time with your guests in the destination before/after the wedding?
Yes, we will arrange / we arranged an activity (dinner party, boat trip, etc) for everyone 49.57%
Yes, but without arranging anything specific 47.39%
No, we want / wanted total privacy 2.17%
Not sure yet 0.87%
Will you / did you honeymoon in your wedding destination?
Yes right after our wedding in the same location 45.22%
Yes after our wedding but on a different island/location within the same country 10.87%
We will have / had a mini honeymoon in our destination and a separate honeymoon elsewhere 17.39%
No, we will go / we went elsewhere for our honeymoon 20.87%
No, we won't be having / didn't have a honeymoon 6.96%
Not sure yet 0.87%
Do you / did you have more guests at your wedding than you expected?
Yes, a lot more 13.04%
Yes, a few more 25.65%
We have about the same number as we had expected 43.04%
No, a few less 10.87%
No, a lot less 3.04%
Too early to say 4.35%
Would you advise family and friends to get married abroad (past clients)
Yes, several of them have now booked a wedding abroad 22%
Yes, some of them have considered it 78%
Last night, Eurozone finance ministers agreed a 10bn-euro bailout deal for Cyprus to prevent its banking system collapsing and keep the country in the Eurozone. Despite general unhappiness at aspects of the deal, the reaction in Cyprus is calm, with no disruption to any day-to-day activities. It’s inevitable that part of the media may paint an over negative or inaccurate picture of the situation and everyday reality is very different.
There is no disruption to any tourist or travel activities; however some outlets (shops, restaurants, petrol stations etc.) may require payment in cash. Note that the current Foreign Office advice is to take enough cash to cover your trip, although the advice has not been updated since news of the bailout https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/cyprus .
We would like to emphasise that it is very much “business as usual”. We do not expect any disruption to any of our weddings. Our key suppliers and partners around the island confirm they are in a position to continue their services and are all operating normally. We are in constant contact with all our suppliers and will update the advice on here should we hear of any changes.
We would also like to remind our customers that our weddings are fully protected under our ABTA scheme meaning that your payments to us are safe and banked in the UK.
Please feel free to call our wedding consultants if you’d like to discuss any of this with them on 020 8892 7556.
E L James’ bestselling Fifty Shades trilogy has captured the imagination of the nation and beyond as young student, Anastasia Steele, steps into the world of highly successful and stunningly handsome billionnaire, Christian Grey! Leading into a great – and very modern - love story the tale ends in classic fairytale style that no doubt thousands of couples dream about – and now they can have a taste of it!
Ionian Weddings, an award-wining weddings abroad company, have developed a bespoke wedding package inspired by Fifty Shades of Grey, complete with red room, catamaran and some seductive optional extras!
Ionian Weddings was founded in 2007 and is no stranger to encapsulating dream weddings depicted by the big screen. One of their first wedding packages in Skiathos was based on the highly successful film, Mamma Mia! With the Fifty Shades of Grey film in the pipeline, founders, Jane and Andreas Palikiras, are hopeful that their new offering will excite and inspire couples to emulate Christian Grey and Anastasia Steele’s lifestyle for their wedding day, and at just over £5000, it won’t cost them a billionaire’s fortune!
Set in Cyprus, highlights of the package include: a romantic candlelit dinner for the bride and groom in the “Red Room”, a couple’s massage, VIP amenities in the bathroom, silver Rolls Royce, wedding ceremony and cruise aboard a luxury catamaran a la Fifty Shades’ “The Grace” and a decadent four-course menu culminating in “Vanilla” panna cotta for twenty people hosted in the “Red Room”. Enticing optional extras include a discount on themed wedding invitations by Ditsy Chic and vouchers for a sensuous boudoir photo shoot by Mighty Aphrodite! At less than a quarter of the price of a UK wedding couples can enjoy a jetset experience for their wedding day in an idyllic location.
Jane Palikira said: “Fifty Shades of Grey has brought about revolutionary freedom for men and women’s bedroom fantasies, whilst retaining old-fashioned respect, love and the magic that every couple values. Our latest wedding package is wonderfully romantic whilst giving that exciting edge that the trilogy stimulated through its hero and heroine. With Valentine’s Day just around the corner we’re looking forward to fulfilling couples’ wedding fantasies in the year ahead!”
To find out more about our latest Fifty Shades of Grey inspired wedding package, see http://www.ionianweddings.co.uk/packages/cyprus-island-wedding-packages/fifty-shades-of-grey-inspired-wedding-package-/
Local weddings abroad travel company, Ionian Weddings, this week announced its support of Small Steps, a south London-based charity that provides support to families of children with additional needs. For every wedding booking made, Ionian Weddings will donate £5 to the charity.
Set up in 2007 by husband and wife team, Jane and Andreas Palikiras, award-winning Ionian Weddings operates in Greece, Cyprus, Malta and Italy, and has embraced community causes from the beginning. The company supports causes in the UK as well as social and conservation projects in their countries of operations, such as the National Marine Park of Zakynthos which protects local turtles and LEPRA, the charity that helps restore health, hope and dignity to people affected by leprosy and other diseases brought on as a result of poverty.
Small Steps is one of two charities that Ionian Weddings regularly sponsors in the UK. Jane and Andreas are huge advocates of helping parents with children who have additional needs to manage the condition and enjoy the development of their children.
Andreas said: “We are privileged to work with some of the most beautiful destinations in the Mediterranean. It’s exciting and inspirational helping clients successfully plan the happiest day of their lives, and our team goes the extra mile to deliver every client’s dream wedding. In addition, we firmly believe that giving something back is an integral part of any business. Supporting the communities we work in forms an important part of our structure and we are delighted to support Small Steps in this way. ”
Anita Coppola MBE, Head of Service at Small Steps said: “Our services are provided free of charge and provide critical support and education to families when they need it most. We are not government-funded and depend entirely on grants, donations and fundraising. We are delighted that Ionian Weddings has chosen to support us and look forward to working with them over the forthcoming year.”
If you would like to learn more about Small Steps or support them either as an individual or organisation, please see www.smallsteppssfp.org.uk.