It was a wedding like no other—a sublime spectacle, a fairytale unfolding in real time or, as Humphrey Bogart famously said in The Maltese Falcon, “the stuff that dreams are made of.” Rhonda Wilkins Fischer and Cliff Fischer got married—again—having wed November 25, 2019 in Dallas. They came to the Greek island of Santorini for the long-awaited celebration. And this time, it was pure enchantment.
Photography by Karen Kaper
THE BODICE OF THE WEDDING GOWN WAS DRAPED LIKE A DORIC CHITON ON A GRECIAN STATUE. Bare-backed and hooded from the crown of her head to her waist, the draped shawl was made of hand-embroidered silk crepe and embellished with sparkling crystals set in an art deco pattern. In stark contrast, the Victorian-inspired hoop skirt (made of canning bones wrapped in crystal-embellished white satin) mushroomed from her slender waist, presenting an hourglass effect as the bride’s slender, tanned legs peaked through the open basketweave.
Guests arrived Friday to Santorini, the largest island in the Cyclades archipelago, located 120 miles southeast of the mainland in the Aegean Sea. Shown to their rooms at the Canaves Oia Epitome boutique hotel, refreshed and readied for the evening, they gathered for classic cocktails in the courtyard while a pair of mermaids frolicking in the pool and a squad of synchronized swimmers performed. A roving magician wended his way through the gathering, performing his tricks. Flair bartenders flipped bottles and mixed specialty drinks. Champagne flowed. Dinner was served. There was live music and dancing and singing and laughter and it went on till the wee hours—when all retired and slept the sleep of babes.
The Scene is Set
THE FLOWERS WERE WHITE—white garden roses, white lisianthus, white freesia and peonies; white ranunculus, delphinium, white tulips and nigella sweet pea; white veronica, stephanotis, their delicate perfume scenting the warm, Aegean air. Bowers of flower-dappled greens surrounded a mirrored walkway that led to the steps of an outdoor altar befitting Aphrodite, the Greek Goddess of Love and Beauty. Limestone urns, poised on tall columns, held towering arrangements, and a sweeping garland divided a 100-foot-long banquet table like the white centerline of a highway.
Everyone took their seats. It was time.
Then, as if one voice, the crowd gasped as all eyes turned on the radiant bride as she made a breathtaking solo entrance down the colonnade. The bold, white crinoline gown, made specially, was set off by an unstructured, rhinestone-embellished shawl that crowned her head and gracefully enfolded her bare sun-kissed arms and plunging decolletage. Poised and solemn, she made her way to the mirrored walkway, where she was handed a classic round, hand-tied bouquet and met her groom.
Arm-in-arm they followed a pair of smiling flower girls, each holding an end of a floral swag, Rhonda and Cliff ascended the steps to the outdoor altar.
Once again, they exchanged their vows. Once again, the pledged their love. Once again, they were pronounced husband and wife, witnessed by cherished friends and family—and under the sight of God.
Then there was applause and laughter. Guests, each dressed in the requested white, moved to the courtyard lit with four-thousand candles. A violinist in a gown with a 20-foot-long train, played as guests took their seats on either side of the banquet table, Fortissimo, the world-famous female electric string quartet, played. Then acclaimed tenor Jorge Castro sang. And they feasted till fireworks lit the night sky and the cake was cut. The London Essentials, an international, five-member, acoustic party band, played. Then English 80s and 90s pop, performed by the E-Majore Band, rocked and rolled into the small hours.
Exhausted from the sun, the joy, and the merriment, guests finally retired to their rooms, where little before-bedtime cakes awaited. They awoke Sunday morning to the strains of the Fortissimo violinists and found carts poised outside their rooms with a selection of fresh-squeezed juices and specialty breakfast bites. Later, they would enjoy a luscious luncheon buffet. It was coming on noon when everyone gathered to bid farewell to Rhonda and Cliff. Under a shower of tossed rose petals, they drove off in a 1957 Porsche Speedster 356 convertible, trimmed with a festoon of white flowers, to honeymoon on a private yacht—and continue their happily ever after for the rest of their lives.