Γλυκερια Υδραιου (Glykeria Ydraiou) recently wrote an article for the Volos/Magnesias newspaper Taxydromos (link) concerning a study by the Municipality of Skopelos into who and why non-Skopelitans come to this island to tie the knot.
According to Ασημώ Σταμούλη, the statistician hired by the municipality, most (more than half) of foreigners who plan to marry here do so as a result of the profound impact of the film Mama Mia! (the movie) on the cognizant world. Here is what Ms Stamoulis discovered:
In 2011, there were 21 civil marriages of which 52% were of couples who traveled from abroad.
In 2012, 16 civil marriages took place, of which 56% were foreign match-ups.
In 2013, 23 civil marriages happened on the island, with 19 (83%) couples coming from abroad.
In 2014 a total 40 civil marriages took place half of which were 0f foreigners,
2015 saw 50 marriages with more than half the couples coming from abroad.
2016, a whopping 67 weddings took place on the island, with again over 50% of couples foreigners.
From reading the article one might get the idea that all civil marriages in the last six years in Skopelos were the result of the popularity of the movie, a suggestion which probably isn’t quite true. With the proper paperwork it is possible for even those who cover their ears when they hear “Dancing Queen” for the millionth time to marry on the island. The choice of Agnontas and Limnonari as two of the four most popular ceremony locations doesn’t solve the film’s impact mystery either as neither place was featured in the movie. Naturally Ag. Iannis tou Kastri and Amarantos are the other two spots and their inclusion suggests the movie’s influence. This might have to do with the daunting possibility of holding your wedding banquet at the Kantina at Agios Iannis, however quaint the setting may be.
To further extrapolate the stats …
…That between 2011 and 2016 there were 196 civil marriages in Skopelos among which roughly half (98) were between non-Greeks.
As marriages tend to be between two people then in the past six years there were at least 392 (196 x 2) people who based their civil happy moment on “Kalokeri” island.
Leaving out for a moment the questionability of the suggestion in the article of Mama Mia! (the movie)’s impact on all foreign civil matrimonial decisions from 2011 to 2016 – some people knew of Skopelos long before the movie and were attracted to its physical beauty etc – the movie has definitely raised the perception of the island among diehard ABBA fans and probably among those who are not.
However, Santorini and Mykonos vie for first place in the Greek Island wedding location sweepstakes probably due to both islands being famous as either visually stunning (Santorini) or simply a familiar name (Mykonos) and not a result of their connection with a blockbuster film. Having airports also helps.
Ironically it was a native Skopelitan photographer who influenced the selection of Skopelos as a location by the film producers. He now makes his living as a wedding photographer in Santorini. (!)
By the way, the municipal statistics indicate that most “foreign” marriages in Skopelos were of folks from Hungary, Britain, Czecha, and the Netherlands.