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A Floral-Filled Destination Wedding in Paros, Greece, Partly Inspired by Dior’s Resort Collection

By Cathleen Freedman | Photography by 

Sotiris Tsakanikas

|Planning by 

Only for You Events

Rio Shepherd and David Shamula first met on a mutual friend’s boat in Miami. It was a pivotal encounter, and they decided to date long-distance with Dave in Deal, New Jersey, and Rio in Los Angeles, California. Each would visit the other coast for a few weeks at a time and vice versa. By the seventh month, Dave promised Rio he would move to Los Angeles after she returned from her latest East Coast trip.

What Rio didn’t know, though, is that Dave had another promise he wanted to make. He planned a weekend getaway to Manhattan, and when they returned, Rio discovered the house had been decorated with flowers and desserts. When she entered the bar area, she was in awe—candles, Champagne, and flowers galore. The first words out of her mouth were, “Is this all for me?” In a bout of nerves, Dave asked her to marry him without the ring in hand. (He left it on the table.) Nevertheless, Rio said yes without even seeing the diamond. By the time they popped the bubbly, Rio’s parents from San Diego arrived to celebrate the newly engaged couple.

From the start of planning, Rio knew she wouldn’t have a “traditional” wedding. Instead, she hoped for a bright, happy affair. She initially thought about a destination elopement with just her and Dave’s families present. But the further she got in the planning process, her vision of the nuptials evolved. She realized she wanted her close family and friends there, too. Her guests would come from all around the world—Australia, Israel, and South Africa. Dave’s family, based predominantly on the East Coast, was flexible and ready to travel. After researching, Rio and Dave selected Greece.

The Shamula-Shepherd wedding was the first ever hosted at the Cove Paros, planned by Anjie Georgakopoulou of Only for You Events. Easy, floral-laden, and beachy were key adjectives of the event. Rio even drew inspiration from Dior’s resort line. 

Rio had a tangible idea of what her bridal looks would be: stylish, modern, comfortable, and timeless. Her gown was by Alex Perry, a favorite Australian designer of hers. She also cherishes Australia, as it’s where she grew up visiting her grandparents, cousins, and many friends. With the wedding dress secured, she decided to continue honoring Australian fashion. “That’s when I turned to Zimmermann,” she notes and chose a long Zimmermann skirt for the welcome dinner and a runway dress for the after-party. Her wedding dress was the sole all-white moment of the wedding, allowing her to show off her personal love for color for the rest of the weekend.

Katerina Theocharis applied Rio’s makeup and cinched her hair in a low bun—“I didn’t want to worry about it flying away or having to fix it during the ceremony,” she wisely says. Rio accessorized with a pearl headband, which her best friend unintentionally chose for her. While trying on wedding gowns, Rio’s friend brought levity to the day and gave the bride-to-be whatever accessories she could find. The headband ended up being perfect!

Rio kept her jewels simple, so as not to compete with her hairpiece. Her parents-in-law generously gifted her a watch and tennis bracelet before the wedding, and she styled them for the welcome dinner and ceremony. Rio’s makeup was natural, complementing her everyday beauty look.

The men’s dress code specified “no ties,” so obviously the groom was without one to achieve that laidback beach look. Dave kept his outfit neutral and sophisticated with beige linen and Gucci loafers. Rio confides, “He was so easy-going and happy with whatever I styled him in.” 

Nearly 80 guests congregated together on June 21, 2022. But, of course, it wasn’t necessarily smooth sailing. Dave’s parents’ flight was canceled. When they finally touched down in Greece, they discovered their luggage was missing—including all of the blue attire they packed to coordinate with the family’s walk down the aisle. But it ultimately all worked out. Even with the snafus, Rio admits she wouldn’t change a thing about her wedding.

The head rabbi of Greece married Dave and Rio underneath a Studio7 floral chuppah on the beach. There was no rehearsal ceremony before, which the couple dually appreciates. “It was so special and natural—just whatever happened, happened,” Rio remembers. One of her best friends is a singer and serenaded the crowd during the processional. 

After the tender I dos, guests shuttled on buses to the Siparos, the best restaurant in Paros. Guests ate light bites like salted doughnuts with spicy cheese mousse and pepper chutney while sipping signature cocktails. An unbelievable dinner of tuna tagliata, risotto, and salmon followed. The couple opted for an opulent traditional dessert bar of saragli, baklava, kataifi, tarts, pie, profiteroles, and fresh fruits by Maria’s Cakes and Cookies.

Dave and Rio’s reception entrance was welcomed with cheers, and they even did a little impromptu dance ahead of their scheduled first dance to “You Are the Reason” by Calum Scott and Leona Lewis. The evening proved to feature much more dancing with Music Essentials deejaying. One of their favorite moments was after their outfit change when they got up and the tables and jived. The celebration went on until 3:00 a.m and only ended because the police came to shut it down.

Everyone loaded back onto the buses and returned to the hotel. Dave and Rio, however, snuck off with some cousins to the beach and “took in everything” after hosting such an incredible wedding weekend, photographed by Sotiris Tsakanikas.

They spent one more day in Mykonos, celebrating one last hurrah with friends, before embarking on a honeymoon to Italy and South Africa. 

Rio & David Wedding Highlights.mp4 from Iraklis Rigas