Set to festive Cretan music, the kri-kri goat danced under olive trees while bunnies cuddled with kids, visitors picked fruits and vegetables, and my heart melted. As I watched the video for Agreco Farm, I knew I wanted to get married there.
Located near Rethymnon in the countryside of Crete, Agreco is a gorgeous replica of a 17th Century Greek village. A lovely church, taverna, and a general store are built around a square surrounded by lush trees, herb gardens, and vineyards. The farm showcases organic, environmentally friendly traditional farming methods, including: an olive oil press, a water-powered flour mill, a giant vat for crushing grapes, and a hand-operated winepress.
Agreco’s beautiful terrace overlooking the sea was exactly what I dreamt of when Scott and I decided on a destination wedding. At the farm restaurant, organic herbs and vegetables grown on-site are featured in authentic dishes for a true farm-to-table experience. On top of that, the farm rescues animals. What more could this nature girl have asked for?!
I would never have found this perfect place without my wonderful wedding planner, Annika Schneider, co-owner of Crete-based Moments. Annika organizes weddings on beaches like Elafonisi (one of the best in the world), churches, and Venetian fortresses. When she learned that I was an animal-loving vegetarian, she suggested Agreco. Even better — she told me she was getting married there, too! If your wedding planner suggests a place where she’s tying the knot, you know you’ve got a gem.
From the moment I hired Annika, I knew I was in good hands. She sent me regular emails, detailing the day and providing feedback about the food, music, and flowers. She ensured that the taverna would serve the dishes we wanted. She hired the makeup artist and musicians. Over the course of the months leading up to big day, I made a trusted friend. On Skype calls, we chatted about her nuptials and her adorable baby, and I looked forward to meeting her in person.
On our wedding day, the Greek sun beat down on us as we walked the tree-lined path towards Agreco. Scott and I were immediately separated; I was whisked away to my air-conditioned bridal suite for hair and makeup. Sitting there, on a chair overlooking the hills of a distant land as the makeup artist/hairstylist worked his magic, I felt as if I was in a movie. My dear friend Maria took pictures and got everything I needed (I’m so grateful for your friendship, Maria!). Annika decorated the venue and made sure the Lyra and Laouto musicians were set up. Soon, the music started and I knew I had to walk down the aisle.
Everything after that moment went by too fast. I remember gliding towards Scott and asking him how I looked. “Beautiful,” he replied, as if he’d say anything else. The shining sea, although at a distance, was calming. We took out our blue notebooks and read our vows. Maria’s baby Michael (aka Baby Cheeks), dressed in an outfit identical to the groom, brought us our rings. I remember slipping the wedding band on Scott’s finger, and seeing the wide smile with which I fell in love. Maria read a poem from Khalil Gibran’s The Prophet and her cousin Sofia, a famous Greek poem. The music resumed and we all danced in celebration. It was truly magical.
A rousing champagne toast by Maria’s husband, George, followed the ceremony. We then wandered towards the animals for pictures to meet our extra special guests. We had to pay a visit to Melina, the resident donkey who was shown pressing olives in the video. There she was, trying to eat my bridal bouquet! I let her munch on a few leaves. Agreco Farm is home to bunnies, chickens, goats, sheep, and we were happy to share our special day with them.
Even though the day whizzed by so quickly, the dinner took us a leisurely few hours. We relished the house wine and feasted on Gemista (stuffed veggies with rice and herbs), savory zucchini balls, Moussaka (eggplant and potato slices with tomato herbs) and Boureki (zucchini, potato, and tomato slices with herbs). Dessert consisted of traditional dishes, including Lichnarakia, a handmade Cretan dessert, and Sfakianopita pancakes, both filled with a soft, sweet cheese. Before we knew it, the plates were empty and our bellies full. But the meal wasn’t over until we drank shots of fiery raki, a potion made from twice distilled grapes.
In the end, we got the wedding well beyond my dreams. I am so happy Scott and I began our life together at this enchanting place, in the company of lovely people and adorable animals. One day, I hope to return to Agreco, and spend more than a day to take in the beauty and serenity of it all.