When it came time for Taki Kastanis and Jackelyn Gauci to plan their wedding, there was only one destination that felt right: Santorini, Greece. “Being Greek, I’m a little biased, but I think the Greek islands are the most beautiful place on Earth,” says Kastanis, founder and owner of Yolk restaurants. Fortunately, his former employee-turned-fiancée Gauci, now an actress and philanthropist, felt the same way: The two hosted a five-day soirée for 50 guests in the gorgeous seaside city of Oia.
Kastanis and Gauci, who got engaged in August 2013, treated their guests to activities like a catamaran cruise on the Mediterranean Sea and a beachside barbecue before exchanging vows in a ceremony that fused his Greek Orthodox background with her Catholic upbringing. “We had Greek musicians escort us through the town on the way to [the church], playing traditional music,” says Gauci. After the ceremony, the new bride and groom headed back to the Mystique Hotel for cocktails, dinner, dancing — and one special surprise: fireworks. “We wanted to do something over-the-top and outrageous,” recalls Kastanis. “We woke the whole city up,” including NBA star Kobe Bryant, who was staying at the same hotel. “He said congratulations and shook my hand,” laughs Kastanis.
The carefree week in paradise was the perfect way for Kastanis and Gauci to start their lives together. Says Kastanis: “The whole experience, the whole trip — every minute was better than the next. Being husband and wife is incredible.”