In 2016 both John and I turned 50. A significant milestone worth celebrating so we thought where better to have that special celebration than the country that holds a piece of our hearts, and John’s motherland, beautiful Greece.
We had scoped potential locations on previous visits and decided on the village of Naoussa on the island of Paros.
The reasons we chose Paros can be found here:Why Paros is the best Greek Island for a special celebration
An email a year earlier to family and friends resulted in some swift and serious interest so I knew we could count on a large, yet still undetermined, number of people to attend. Lets face it, an event like this could give a lot of people a great excuse for a European holiday and many had been waiting to visit Greece with their Greek speaking friend for a long time!
In order to organise the event I went about setting up 6 things.
- A group email distribution list for all interested parties. This was summarily culled and modified as people dropped in our out.
- A group Facebook page – Big Fat Greek 50ths. This was especially important once we had all left Australia and could share stories and photos of our various adventures.
- An excel spreadsheet tracking who planned to be where and when. This was a great tool for many people who chose to catch up with others in other locations. A number of new friendships were born!
- I shared our itinerary via Tripit, one of my favourite travel tools. I also had access on Tripit of some of the other traveler’s itineraries.
- Activities. Apart from the party I decided to set up two other activities for the group ;
- a Welcome dinner at Sigi Ithios- a good opporunity for everyone to meet and greet and have a good dose of First Night Frenzy and;
- a day sailing around the Small Cyclades islands – a magical day exploring the incredible coves and beaches of nearby Donoussa, Koufonissia and Schinoussa with Captain Yiannis
- Accommodation ; Whilst we had looked at a number of hotels in Paros the previous year we had not spent much time in Naoussa. So many hours were spent trawling the internet and looking at reviews, prices, location and facilities. In the end I booked Paliomylos Hotel, owned by Greek Australians. I booked direct with Chrys and shared her details with everyone else. Almost everyone decided to stay with us at Paliomylos and we all absolutely loved it. The service was faultless and I think they particularly understood the Australian love of celebrations and how to make sure everyone was happy. They even decorated our room and went over and above by driving people to our party in their own car!
Book your stay at Paliomylos Hotel by CLICKING HERE
The final thing I had to pre organise was the party itself and I had to take a big leap of faith and do it all from Australia. Again reviews and referrals were critical and after contacting a number of restaurants I liked the sound and the tone of the correspondence I had with Paris from Siparos restaurant. ‘She’ seemed very excited to be helping to organise the event and quoted a reasonable price per head. ‘She’ also offered to organise a band to play and assured me we could have an area to dance. Siparos is a little out-of-town in a fairly isolated spot but I liked the idea of not annoying all the people in the taverna’s around us in town ( and vice-versa).
When the big day arrived John and I popped down to meet with Paris , who turned out to be a handsome and very professional Greek MAN – and look at the restaurant for the first time and only 4 hours in advance. We were delighted. A beautiful setting with a fine dining menu and atmosphere and it faces west for an incredible sunset. We had to quickly mobilize everyone, including the photographer, in order to take full advantage ! ( a friend had volunteered to organise a group present and that ended up being a professional photographer which we really appreciated)
It was the most perfect night and I would not change a single thing. The food was wonderful, the setting was stunning and we danced until 5 in the morning. Paris and his team run a beautiful restaurant with incredible service and attention to detail. The night will be remembered by everyone for a very long time.