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& Brilliant Honeymoons!

Issue 24

423

REAL WEDDINGS

WEDDINGS

Round the world in 30 days!

Lake Como, Sweden, Malta, The Maldives

New trends for

DESTINATION

❤ FABULOUS venues ❤ SENSATIONAL gowns ❤ CREATIVE decor ❤ MAGICAL honeymoons

• Los Angeles • Tahiti • Bora Bora • New Zealand • Singapore

12 dresses of the

ZODIAC

Plan your wedding

for STAR style

• Barefoot beach blessings • Heavenly honeymoons

The World’s Most

❤ Transport your wedding outfits safely ❤ Tips from Wedding Planners

WOW Stays

Instagram-worthy HONEYMOONS Brilliant Honeymoon SAVINGS!

Unique honeymoon accommodation • Bubble rooms in Mauritius • Wagons in the Wild West • Floating guesthouse in Japan

www.bridesabroad.com

£3.99

Maldives Special!

❤ Worldwide weather guide ❤ Countdown to the big day


Welcome&

CREDITS Published by Brides Abroad Magazine

Publisher Martin Cody-Owen martin@bridesabroad.com

Editor-in-Chief Terri Cody-Owen terri@bridesabroad.tv

Congratulations

CONGRATULATIONS! We have been busy combing the UK National and International wedding shows on your behalf to bring to you the very latest trends in Destination Weddings and honeymoons abroad, so that all you need to do is sit back with your copy of Brides Abroad magazine and be inspired!

Assistant to Publisher Patsy Owen

Brides Abroad can suggest venues and locations you may never even considered to host your big day – including IceHotels in the Arctic Circle (p.54) where you can treat your guests to nature’s incredible light display, the Aurora Borealis; riding a camel through the deserts of Morocco (p.84); or kick off your shoes and wed on a gorgeous white sand beach in The Maldives (p.34).

Fashion Editor

Not sure where’s hot and where’s not on the date of your wedding? We come to the rescue with our World Weather Chart (p.78). And if you are worried about getting your precious wedding outfits or decoration to your destination in one piece, we have done our research and offer the best advice and solutions (p.88). Whatever stage you are at with planning your wedding, we can offer the best tips and advice.

Lisa Burton Emily Williams Holly Catz Lily Hardwick Emily Tebbutt Collette Clare Charlotte Ricard-Quesada

If you want to look like a star on your wedding day, then let the stars help you decide on the perfect gown with our Zodiac guide to wedding dress chic (p.66). We also have a selection of gorgeous dresses with fabulous back detail, so your guests will literally be glad to see the back of you! (p.64). For those of you who live on Social Media, we also reveal stunning destinations and unique accommodation for your honeymoon that will totally wow your Instagram followers (p.92 and p.100). Or if you can’t decide on a destination, take a trip round the world – taking in Los Angeles, French Polynesia, New Zealand and Singapore in just three amazing weeks! (p.104). If you prefer not to fly, then take to the road with a motorhome, caravan or tent and discover some of the most glamorous campsites in Europe for the glamping honeymoon of a lifetime. (p.96)

Lulu Bousfield

Contributors

Photography Dreamstime Cristiano Ostinelli www.ostinellicristiano.com Ishan Ibrahim OCTO PVT Ltd. Mark Cassar Roberta Facchini Emily Williams

Design

Plan your big day meticulously with the help of Brides Abroad – we offer everything from wedding countdown (p.82) and tips from professional planners (p.90) to ideas for great wedding hair (p.74) and even choosing the perfect diamond ring! (p.76).

Chris Peach www.chrispeachdesign.co.uk

If you need further inspiration we are always happy to help. Call us on 01937 so much more, and honeymoon bargains too, visit www.bridesabroad.com

Printer

584892 And for

And don’t forget, our Brilliant Honeymoons are fulfilled by Brilliant Travel, part of the Barhead Travel group. ABTA 13759 so you can book in absolute confidence.

Warners Midlands Plc. www.warners.co.uk

Advertising Sales Brides Abroad 01937 58 48 92 martin@bridesabroad.com

Terri Cody Owen Editor-in-Chief terri@bridesabroad.tv

01937 584892 www.BridesAbroad.com ©Brides Abroad. All material in this publication is strictly copyright and all rights are reserved. Reproduction without permission is prohibited. Every care is taken in compiling the contents but the publisher of Brides Abroad magazine assume no responsibility for any damage, loss or injury arising from participation in any offer, competition or advertisement contained within Brides Abroad magazine.

Sylvia Oakley 0113 284 31 00 Sylvia@bridesabroad.tv Martha Cooke martha@bridesabroad.com

Cover Lucy and Ben Clare’s wedding on Lake Como Photo by Cristiano Ostinelli


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Contents

IN THIS ISSUE REAL WEDDINGS

18

Shining Stars on Lake Como

26

Everlasting love in Malta

36 56

Lucy St Louis, who played Diana Ross in Motown, married West End Musical Director Ben Clare in spectacular showbiz style on the shores of Lake Como A holiday romance stood the test of time and changed the lives of Emily and Tom forever when they said “I do” in magical Malta

Blessing in the Maldives

Brides Abroad’s editor Terri and publisher Martin said: “I do” for the second time at their Maldives wedding blessing at the magnificent OBLU Select resort

The coolest wedding

Holly and Steve met in the Turkish heat. Steve proposed in sizzling Mexico, so when they exchanged wedding vows the couple chose a totally chilled wedding at Sweden’s IceHotel.

WEDDING DESTINATIONS

8 16

Wedding & honeymoon news Romance by Lake Como

24

Magical Malta

34

18 1

285

Issue 23

fabulous

WEDDING

IDEAS for magical weddings

R EAL WEDDING

abroad

❤ Incredible venu es ❤ Gorgeous gown s ❤ Honeymoons in Paradise ❤ Those extra touch es

S

French Polynesia Sail the South Pacifi Pacificc to Bora Bora and

Lake Com Malta, The Alga o, Cyprus, rve, Florida

Los Angeles

Mo’orea!

Plan your wedding

❤ Tips from expert plann ❤ Countdown to the ers ❤ The art of tipping big day ❤ Avoid family feuds

HONEYMOON LIKE A STAR

Month by month guide to

Honeymoon Weather

SUBSCRIBE Discover North

Island NEW ZEALAN D

Get the look! ❤ Beach bride ❤ City Style

www.bridesabroad .com

£3.99

SIX ISSUES HONEYMOON SAVINGS

FOR ONLY £18.00 BA23 Cover.indd

1

Worth £23.94 inc FREE P&P

martin@bridesabroad.tv

6 www.BridesAbroad.com

36

54

There can be few destinations with more wow factor than stunning Lake Como. If you want so much more than simply sun, sea and sand then Malta, with its glorious heritage, offers an incredible choice of wedding venues

Maldives Blessing in the Indian Ocean

Marry on the beach of a gorgeous Maldives island and walk down the aisle to the beat of Bodu Beru drummers as flower girls throw petals

Nice day for a white wedding

Couples are choosing super-chilled wedding ceremonies on mountain peaks and IceHotels in the Arctic Circle with snow as their backdrop

56


70

FASHION & BEAUTY

64

Behind the scenes

66

Zodiac chic

70 71 72

Make sure your guests are glad to see the back of you with fabulous dresses showcasing stunning rear views Let the stars guide you to choose the perfect dress style

Beauty on the Beach

Get the look beach style with shell accessories and aqua hues

Hot in the city

Get the look city style with glamour, sparkle and a touch of sophistication

Get the look ice queen

Look super-chilled and elegant against the frost and snow

73

Going for gold

74

Wedding hair trends

76

Stay on trend with this season’s stunning gold jewellery Stunning new styles hot off the catwalk for this year’s brides

Beginner’s guide to diamonds

Emma Tebbutt, diamond expert reveals her insider tips to the perfect gems

PLANNING

74

84

78

Weather permitting

82

Pop the Question

Don’t let your wedding day be a washout – check our worldwide weather guide for the sunniest beaches, snowiest peaks and perfect temperatures Expert wedding planners answer your most frequently asked questions

84

Queen of the desert Morocco

88

Ensure your dress arrives safely!

90

International Wedding Planner, Charlotte RicardQuesada, shares the secrets of creating a gorgeous themed wedding in Morocco Our guide to transporting your wedding party’s outfits to your destination wedding without any disasters!

Ask the planners!

Lisa Burton of the Bridal Consultant professional wedding planning service shares her wisdom and experience with brides-to-be

HONEYMOONS

34

92

Instagram-worthy honeymoons

96

Glamping Europe

Make social media headlines by choosing one of the world’s most amazing and Instagrammable destinations for your honeymoon Pack your motorhome, caravan or tent and head to Europe’s most glamorous campsites on the road trip of a lifetime

100 Wow stays

Don’t settle for the ordinary, have a unique honeymoon staying in some of the world’s most unusual accommodation, from a wild-west wagon to a bubble room in Mauritius

104 Globe trotting

Your honeymoon is your holiday of a lifetime, so take the opportunity to explore the world. We travel the globe to visit LA, French Polynesia, New Zealand and Singapore – in just three weeks!

114 Sensational St Lucia

Brides Abroad discovers the Caribbean island of St Lucia, known for its iconic twin peaks, walk-in volcano, stunning resorts and beautiful beaches. www.BridesAbroad.com 7


Overwater weddings at Sandals What could be more memorable than saying “I do” in a pretty over water chapel above the shimmering waters of the Caribbean? Sandals, the Luxury Included resort company has announced the opening of two new Over-the Water Serenity Chapels at its Ochi Beach Resort and Sandals Montego Bay, both in Jamaica, expanding the brand’s Over-the-Water Chapel offering to now include four chapels with Sandals South Coast and Sandals Grande St Lucian making up the four. These gorgeous chapels feature stunning 360 degree panoramic water views and a glass floor aisle, so couples can truly walk on water on their special day. The chapels hold 40 guests and can be decorated as requested by bride and groom.

Book it! Sandals Resorts offers couples a Luxury-Included Luxury-Included® holiday experience at its 16 beachfront settings in Jamaica, Antigua, Saint Lucia, The Bahamas, Barbados and Grenada, with many inclusions such as Signature Love Nest Suites®; butlers; Red Lane® Spas; 5-Star Global Gourmet™ dining; Aqua and PADI Dive Centres and Aisle to Isle® dream destination weddings. Call Brilliant Honeymoons on: 01937 58 48 92.

BRIDESABROAD NEWS Be inspired, informed and amazed by the latest news on overseas weddings & honeymoons

Kanye --together forever!

Nature lovers can tie the knot in the heart of the African bush with the new Kanye Wedding Package offered by Thanda Safari, the 5-star private game reserve in South Africa’s Zululand. Thanda Safari offers an exceptional wildlife experience across the South African wilderness, and close-up encounters with magnificent wildlife and 400 different bird species. The Kanye Wedding Package (Kanye means ‘together’ in Zulu) draws cultural inspiration from the Zulus and includes a wedding service and catering for up to 58 guests. Couples are offered a choice of ceremony and reception locations, music, decorations and menus and can say “I do” in the bush under the Marula tree of fertility, or overlooking a watering hole where animals come down to drink, then walk down the aisle to the drums of Zulu Warriors.

Book it! The wedding party can stay at Thanda Tented Camp with its 15 luxury safari tents or at Thanda Safari Lodge which offers 9 suites or at Villa iZula – a 10-guest villa. Kanye Wedding Package costs from £830 for 2-10 guests up to £2,350 for 31-58 guests. For further information email: reservations@thanda.co.za or www. thandasafari.co.za. 8 www.BridesAbroad.com


Honeymoon in a bubble

Want a wow honeymoon staying in the most extraordinary accommodation? Off the Map are now offering a stay in the amazing Bubble Lodge. Nestling in the jungle on the honeymoon island of Mauritius, a stay in your own bubble hotel room in the grounds of the historic Cap Malheureaux tea plantation in Bois-Cheri is a stunning and unforgettable experience. This intimate honeymoon hideaway offers panoramic views from its breathtaking position amidst the natural surrounds of lush jungle. At night, newlyweds can lie back in air-conditioned luxury, and gaze into the starry night sky from their bedroom or lounge area. The eco-friendly ‘dreaming bubbles’ were created by French designer Pierre Stephane Dumas, and are 100 per cent renewable, designed to have no environmental impact. Guests have the opportunity to add a private gourmet dinner and exclusive waiter service, personal stargazing session from an expert astronomer, street food experiences and tours of the plantation and island by helicopter.

Book it!

Off the Map Travel holidays are tailor-made. For example, a 5-night itinerary to Mauritius, on a halfboard basis, including private transfers, B&B at the Bubble Lodge and Hotel Sakoa (on the beach), a Bois Cheri Tea Plantation tour, helicopter trip over the islands and a Mauritius street food tour costs £1,395 per person, excluding flights. www.offthemap.travel/destinations/mauritius/

Honeymoon by snowmobile Not everyone wants to honeymoon on a tropical beach, some prefer adventures in chillier climes. If that’s you, then head to the Arctic for an epic snowmobile adventure through Norway, Finland and Sweden. Arranged by Arctic travel specialists Off the Map Travel, this new experience, beginning in northern Finland and staying one night at the Aurora Wilderness Camp, is available for anyone travelling from January to April. After a full-day of snowmobiling guest will stay the night in a beautifully appointed, heated glamping cabin on skis, which is towed to a remote wilderness location with no light pollution, deep in the Arctic Circle to experience the Northern lights from the comfort of your super-wide bed. It’s the ultimate honeymoon for adventurous couples!

Book it!

A 3-night, 4-day itinerary costs from £1,599 pp based on two adults sharing on a fullboard basis. Includes transfers to and from the Airport in Tromso, two nights full board in a log chalet and one in the Aurora Wilderness Camp. Flights not included. www.offthemap.travel

www.BridesAbroad.com 9


Winning smiles Congratulations to our lucky couple Megan Larkin and fiancé fiancé Alex Bickers who won a luxury honeymoon at the Pineapple Beach Club in Antigua in Brides Abroad’s honeymoon competition. This fabulous prize was drawn from thousands of entries at UK Wedding Event’s wedding show at York Racecourse on Sunday 17th March. The prize includes a 7-night all-inclusive stay at Elite Island Resorts’ Pineapple Beach Club on Antigua’s powder sands. The couple were absolutely delighted, with Megan saying: “I have never won anything before, and I never imagined I would win this wonderful honeymoon. It’s a fantastic surprise!” The competition proved popular with couples attending selected wedding shows in the UK, and Brides Abroad has now announced its new competition to win a honeymoon in the Maldives, in conjunction with UK Wedding Events. It can be entered at select wedding shows and on line at: www.bridesabroad.com

French Polynesia Cruise An increasing number of couples planning honeymoons are putting Bora Bora on their radar as a dream destination with the WOW factor. What they may not realise, is just how stunning the French Polynesian Society Islands close to Bora Bora are too. So why settle for one awesome South Pacifi c island when you can visit at least fifive? ve? If you book a luxury Pacific cruise on M/S Paul Gauguin, you will sail away from the shores of Tahiti to take in the Society Islands of Huahine, Taha’a, Motu Mahana, Bora Bora and Moorea, all with their own individual charm. You can even have a Wedding Blessing during your trip aboard the ship. The truly romantic ceremony is available to both honeymoon couples and those celebrating wedding anniversaries on board.

Book it!

Price £3,418 pp including all meals and drinks onboard plus flflights ights between Los Angeles and Papeete. For reservations call Paul Gauguin Cruises on 020 7399 7691 or visit www.pgcruises.com 10 www.BridesAbroad.com


There is no other place quite like it ...

T R U L Y

U N F O R G E T T A B L E

W E D D I N G

V E N U E S !

The Hotel Ta’ Cenc & Spa is surrounded by tranquility, nature and relaxation. Blending effortlessly into the surroundings on Gozo’s highest point, the 83-roomed, 5-star Hotel Ta’ Cenc offers style, comfort and hospitality. This unique hotel offers two spectacular venues: the rocky beach ‘Kantra Lido’ nestled within idyllic countryside and overlooking the sparkling blue Mediterranean sea or the 17th century Palazzo Palina with its impressive vaulted ceilings and expansive gardens. Sannat, Gozo – Malta

+356 22191000

tacenc.com

events@tacenchotel.com

HotelTaCenc


HensinMarbella For the ultimate Hen Party, head to the trendy Nobu Hotel in Marbella, the place to see and be seen. Your girls can stay together in the newly opened 4-bed Nobu Suite featuring four interconnected junior suites – this deluxe entertaining space offers an expansive living room, dining area and fully fitted kitchen with private bar. It also boasts a jacuzzi overlooking the nightlife of La Plaza. You and your hens will also receive VIP access to Marbella’s chic nightclubs and priority access to Nobu Restaurant and lounge. By day, you can relax by the private Nobu pool or in an exclusive beach area with branded sun loungers and a live DJ from the famous Ibiza hotspot – El Chiringuito. For pre-wedding relaxation, the hotel offers in-suite pamper treatments and access to the Six Senses Spa.

Book it!

Rates start from £2,600 for a Nobu Suite for eight guests on a B&B basis and individual rooms start from £265. Contact Brilliant Honeymoons on: 01937 58 48 92

Magical vows in Vietnam If you are searching for the perfect place to tie the knot with chic style and a flavor of the Far East, then look no further than The Intercontinental Danang Sun Peninsula Resort in Vietnam. The 5-star beach resort and spa is built into the hillside of Monkey Mountain, which overlooks a private bay with spectacular views across the ocean at the heart of Son Tra Peninsula Nature Reserve. The resort now offers a choice of wedding packages to suit your style, which

12 www.BridesAbroad.com

include a choice of colour theme, couples spa massages, private butlers, free flowing sparkling wine and traditional flower baths. From here you can delve into the Vietnamese culture with Heritage Sites, Hoi An Ancient Town and Hue Imperial City nearby.

Book it!

Contact Brilliant Honeymoons on 01937 58 48 92


We’reloving Safe & fizzy

Display your wedding bubbly in a decorative Champagne crate, customised with your names and the date of your wedding. Price £36.99. www.gettingpersonal.co.uk

Sparkle & shine!

Add some extra drama and sparkle on your wedding day with an exquisitely intricate make-up design from Face Lace. We love RaptureRose Silver – designs in sparkly, silver glitter, which compliments all skin tones and can be used on the face or body. Price £19.95. www.face-lace.com

Floral dog collar

Sweetest scent Choose a flattering new perfume for your new life together, with Prive, the latest fragrance by Ormonde Jayne. With over 70 ingredients, Prive opens the senses with unforgettable hints of basmati rice and pink pepper; a heart of gardenia, magnolia and jasmine; and a soul of vanilla, musk and sandalwood. Price £110 for 50ml. Available from Ormonde Jayne’s boutique in The Royal Arcade, London and online. www.ormondejayne.com

Many couples now include their beloved dogs in their wedding celebrations, and this beautiful floral dog collar is perfect for the occasion. It was handmade to order by Jane’s Vintage Flowers with silk flowers and double satin ribbons. Designs can be personalised to your style at affordable prices. Phone Jane Bond: 07480 846200 or email: j.bnd350@googlemail.com for free quotation.

Cone crazy confetti

Natural petal confetti is preferred by churches and venues as it is 100% biodegradable and eco-friendly. Petal cones are now available in a wide choice of colours, styles and petal types from Shropshire Petals. Cones can be personalised with special themes and the couple’s names and wedding date, to make the perfect memento for guests.www.shropshirepetals.com

Favour for loved ones

Macmillan Cancer Support has launched a new range of Wedding Favours that are a great way to thank guests, honour absent friends and raise money for people living with cancer in the UK. From pin badges to place cards, the collection has favours to suit every wedding. All money raised will help Macmillan continue to provide emotional, financial, medical and practical support. shop.macmillan.org.uk/wedding. 14 www.BridesAbroad.com


Romance by

Lake Como Italy’s Lake Como is truly stunning! There can be few places in the world with more wow factor for dream weddings and honeymoons

With its sparkling ink blue waters and beautiful lush mountain backdrop, no wonder Lake Como is Italy’s number one destination for romantic honeymoons and is the perfect place to say “I do”. The lake, and its surrounding towns and villages, offer some of Italy’s most dreamy settings for weddings in magical venues to suit all tastes and styles! Set in Northern Italy’s Lombardy region, within easy reach of Milan and its international airport, Lake Como is Italy’s third largest lake and is shaped like an upside down Y, with three slender branches that meet at the resort town of Bellagio. The city of Como can be found at the bottom of the

16 www.BridesAbroad.com

southwest branch, it lends its name to the lake and is home to Renaissance architecture. Set against the foothills of the Alps, Lake Como is worldrenowned for its wonderful landscapes and pretty lakeside towns and villages that are linked by a regular passenger ferry service as well as a road that winds along the lakeside, offering lovely views. The most popular tourist spots are Bellagio, Menaggio, Tremezzo and Varenna – notorious for their picturesque beauty, and their impressive villas, historical hotels and gorgeous Mediterranean gardens with colourful flowers in abundance.


Glamorous location

The upscale Lake Como area oozes sophistication, elegance and glamour, as it has done through the years gone by – historically aristocrats from noble families of the northern part of Italy spent, and still spend their free time in their own splendid lakeside mansions that grace the shores of the lake. No wonder Hollywood legend George Clooney and his wife Amal have made this area their second home and regularly entertain famous friends at their luxury villa overlooking the lake.

Star quality

Talking of Hollywood, many famous movies have been filmed in and around Lake Como, including Ocean’s Twelve with George Clooney and Brad Pitt, which was shot in Cernobbio and at George Clooney’s own property, Villa Oleandra in Laglio Town. The romantic scene of Anakin Skywalker and Padme’s wedding in Star Wars Episode II was shot at Villa del Balbianello, which was also the movie set for James Bond’s Casino Royale. A number of celebrities have chosen to say; “I do” in this stunning Italian setting, including Chrissie Taigen and John Legend and Emily Blunt and John Krasinski. The area boasts an idyllic climate for most of the year – so weddings and honeymoons can take place between March and November – after which the surrounding mountains hold their own form of magic, when the winter sports season kicks in. The glitzy town of St Moritz is one of the popular ski resorts, which are within easy reach.

Weddings at Lake Como

Over the last few years, Lake Como has rapidly gained popularity as one of the world’s favourite wedding destinations, and with a choice of breathtaking wedding and reception venues, it’s easy to see why. It is also an easy and short trip for wedding parties to reach from all UK airports, so your guests will appreciate its accessibility. Villa del Balbianello, Villa Carlotta and Villa D’Este (chosen by Forbes Traveler as best hotel of the world!) are amongst the most desired venues on and around the Lake. The food and drink offering in the area is also second to none, with many high-end restaurants to choose from around the lake. There are several Michelin-starred restaurants and reputed chefs as Luciano Parolari works

at Villa D’Este and Ettore Bocchia is Villa Serbelloni’s chef in Bellagio.

Wedding planning For the Italian law, all non-resident couples can get married in Italy as long as they follow the correct paperwork procedure. It is a good idea to use the services of a wedding planner who specialises in Lake Como weddings. They can hold your hand every step of the way, from ensuring that all legal paperwork requirements are in place to finding you the perfect venue and excellent suppliers at the best possible prices. Alessandra Fabi is the Italian Lakes Weddings coordinator for Lake Como area. She specialises in weddings which are refined, sophisticated and with a special attention to details (www.italianweddingcompany.com).

Catholic ceremonies

On Lake Como there are three Churches available to host legally-binding Catholic ceremonies for non-resident couples, Two are located in Varenna and include San Giorgio Church in the main square of the lovely village of Varenna and San Martino Church in Perledo, located up on Varenna hills and offering magnificent views across the lake; San Abbondio Church in Tremezzo is situated near the picturesque lakeside town of Tremezzo.

Civil ceremonies

The general rule is that legally binding Civil ceremonies have to be performed inside any of the Town Halls of Lake Como. However there are a few exceptions, which include some absolutely beautiful venues outdoors in villas overlooking the lake or in splendid gardens – Villa Balbianello, Villa Cipressi and Villa Carlotta.

picture-perfect village of Varenna in the pretty gardens, followed by lunch or dinner at the hotel. Gorgeous views, reasonable prices and the opportunity to keep the whole group together staying at the same venue make this a popular and unique choice.

Villa Carlotta

You can marry in this stunning historical Villa and museum located in Tremezzo. Its fabulous gardens and terraces are famous all over the world. The Villa is open to public visitors everyday though a stunning private terrace can be rented for exclusive use by the wedding party. Cocktails can be served, but then the party must move to a different venue for the wedding breakfast.

Symbolic blessings

The easiest choice when marrying at Lake Como is to opt for a Symbolic blessing – you can have your legally binding ceremony in the UK and just repeat the ceremony on Lake Como. This avoids having to worry about international paperwork, and the service can be performed at any private villa or hotel on Lake Como. Couples have the advantage of spending their entire wedding day at the same venue, thus saving the cost of guest transportation from one venue to another.

Reception venues

Lake Como style means you can choose to host your reception at a private villa for an outdoor cocktail, dinner and dancing or a luxury hotel such as the gorgeous Villa D’Este or Villa Serbelloni. Or you could simply choose a pretty lakeside restaurant with beautiful views of the lake. Whatever you choose, your guests will thank you if you keep the wedding and reception venues within easy reach of each other.

Villa del Balbianello

This spectacular, yet intimate, villa is reached by boat and located on Lenno’s promontory. Your ceremony can be performed in its grounds and followed by a delightful reception dinner and party in the gardens, under the Loggia or under the marquee.

Villa Cipressi

Ceremonies can take place in this small 32-room hotel in the www.BridesAbroad.com 17


REAL WEDDINGS

Shining Stars on Lake Como Ben & Lucy's showbiz wedding in Italy 18 www.BridesAbroad.com


Lucy St Louis is used to being in the limelight – after playing the part of Diana Ross in the London West End musical Motown, she knows how it feels to be the star of a world-class show. So when she caught the eye of West End Director and Choreographer, Ben Clare, the sparks began to fly and the couple’s love story began. Five years later, she and Ben were centre stage again, this time in their own grand production, when they married at the fabulous Villa Balbianello on Italy’s Lake Como

Finding ‘the one’ BEN: We met whilst working on the original London Company of South Parks The Book of Mormon. I was taking dance auditions and Lucy was the only person in the room who hadn’t learnt the combination yet. So I singled her out and brought her to the front so she could see properly! There was definitely chemistry there from the very beginning. She remembers my calves – I remember her abs!

The proposal I proposed to Lucy at Pimalai resort in Koh Lanta, Thailand, a breathtaking resort that we booked through Brides Abroad Travel. Before we departed I created an album of our favorite photos capturing the amazing times we had shared together. The final photo was of me at home in our kitchen, on one knee and holding the ring, and written on our ‘chalk wall’ the words: “Will you marry me?” I planned to propose after a romantic dinner on the second day of our holiday. We would come back to our villa, where I would have decorated our four-poster outdoor sunbed with blue lights to recreate our ‘special’ place – beneath the blue and silver illuminated trees on London’s South Bank. I would surprise Lucy with the album, then, before she turned to the final page, flick the blue lights on, play our favorite song ‘You Are The Sunshine Of My Life’ then pop down on one knee. However, on the day we arrived the setting sun was particularly spectacular, then the heavens opened and the tropical rain fell! And www.BridesAbroad.com 19


REAL WEDDINGS I knew I just had to propose there and then! So, after all that preparation, I asked Lucy if she’d mind me proposing again the way I had actually planned, and thankfully she said yes for a second time!

Location, location I had been to a wedding abroad and everyone had the best time. I loved that you can continue your wedding celebrations with your loved ones over several days. We have always loved the vibe, beauty, food, wine and weather of Italy and went on a 10-day trip exploring different wedding options, including Lake Como, Tuscany and the Amalfi coast. Villa Balbianello on Lake Como was only the second venue we saw and we both instantly cried, as it was the most beautiful place on earth!

The planning We did lots of planning and preparations ourselves but we couldn’t have done it without the help of our incredible Wedding Planner Aurora Fallini www.lakecomoweddingsandevents.com. We arranged our own flights and car hire and planned everything to within an inch of its life! We wanted our time in Italy before the wedding to be as fun and stress-free as possible. We even did a pre-wedding trip a month before, to take over decorations and go through exact details with Aurora, so that the day would go perfectly – which it did!

The guests We had 60 guests who joined us on the day and made their own travel and hotel arrangements. We initially invited 70 people but a few had to decline because of work commitments. Most people made a holiday of it. The people who are really important in your lives will do anything to be there on your special day. We hired an amazing farmhouse for the week – Podere Brughee in Tremezzo. It had seven bedrooms and accommodated our immediate family, best man and maids of honor. It was so secluded, and had excellent facilities including an outdoor pool and hot tub. We even hosted a prewedding pizza party, where everyone wore white and a post wedding BBQ for over 50 people at the villa!

20 www.BridesAbroad.com


Getting the look

Groom & bridesmaids

LUCY: I had always dreamed of going to Kleinfelds in New York for my wedding dress, so I set up a vacation to NY to visit friends and go dress shopping. In the meantime, Ben recommended I try on a few dresses in the UK first and, as I love the couture designer Riki Dalal, and I had seen my ‘dream dress’ on line, I made an appointment and went along with my mum and Maid of Honour. All of Riki Dalal’s dresses are stunning and I tried a few on. I saved the one I came for until last and, the moment I put on the dress, I cried and knew it was ‘the one’!

Ben had a tailor-made three-piece suit from Hackett. It was classic dark navy with a high collared white shirt and black loafers. To add the finishing touches he accessorized with a gold tiepin, pocket watch and a fob that was his grandpas, which was a surprise I gave him on the morning of the wedding.

As I was already booked to go to kleinfelds I kept the appointment and went accessory shopping instead. I found the most amazing pair of shoes and to make things even better they were actually in the sale! I also bought a pair of diamond and pearl earrings on the same trip and bought my hairpiece from Liberty in London. I was so lucky to have two of my dearest friends with me to do my hair and make-up and I trust them 100 per cent! Getting ready was so much fun – when I saw myself I was so overwhelmed that I nearly ruined my make up!

Something Old, Something New? My Something Old and Borrowed was my grandma’s diamond pin with her initial on it. I had the florist attach it to my bridal bouquet so she was with me when I walked down the aisle. Something New was my dream dress and I wore a garter, which had a Something Blue ribbon on it.

For the bridesmaids, I knew that I wanted something long, floaty in a blush vintage pink. I chose multi-way dresses from designers Eliza and Ethan. Initially I thought everyone would choose a different way to wear the dress but they all went in unison and looked beautiful.

The details Our ‘theme’ was classy and romantic. I chose peony for my bouquet, as they have always been my absolute favorite flowers. The bridesmaids had a similar style but I added freesias as they have such a beautiful scent. The cake was a three-tier sponge with strawberry and vanilla cream. Pinterest was our best friend and we crafted it to our own tastes and designs. We also bought lots of candle holders over from the UK which saved us lots and sourced some scented Yankee Candles too, so not only did it look stunning the smell was out of this world!

The ceremony It was really important to us that when we said, “I do” it was official so we needed a civil ceremony. Villa

Balbianello has a license to perform civil ceremonies provided it is held under the arches. The view of Lake Como and it’s spectacular surroundings from the alter was breathtaking. With all the officialities, translations and our personal vows, readings and songs the ceremony lasted around 30 minutes. We were married by the Mayor of Tremezzo but it was also required that we hired a translator (otherwise we wouldn’t have a clue what was going on!) My mum gave me away and it was perfect!

The reception We hired the whole of Villa Balbianello and had our welcome drinks in the fountain area – people just could not believe the views, it was like they were on a movie set, which actually it had been as both Star Wars and Casino Royal were filmed there! After the ceremony we had our appertivo in the canforna then we ate in Segre area then had the party of all parties outside as the night set in. We had a traditional four-course Italian menu washed down with bottles and bottles of white Lugana Catulliana Pratello and red Sangiovese Toscana Caparzo. Afterwards we had a dessert buffet and an open bar. Sunlake Catering provided all these services and was exceptional.

First Dance and entertainment A friend of the family was a Frank Sinatra impersonator who happened to be in Italy, so we booked him to join our party. Our First Dance was always going to be You Are The Sunshine Of My Life’ so www.BridesAbroad.com 21


who better to sing it live than old blue eyes himself! He also provided entertainment during the aperitif. Once we finished the First Dance the DJ and musicians kicked in with ‘Ain’t No Mountain High Enough’.

let the wonderment of what had just happened truly sink in. Cristiano Ostinelli has just been awarded World Wedding Photographer of the Year 2018 – so we definitely chose well!

We initially wanted a live band from the UK but the astronomical fees were almost the price of the wedding itself, so we shelved that idea and hired a saxophonist and percussionist through a company called Bluenotte, to compliment the DJ. They were a fraction of the cost and they created the most amazing vibe to our party. After the meal, the dance floor was full for the rest of the night. Nobody sat down! It was the party of a lifetime under the stars!

Magic moments

Photographic memories When we saw Cristiano Ostinelli’s shots we instantly fell in love with his style – his photographs are pure art! He also has a videographer on his team who we booked and, as an extra treat we paid for a drone, which took the most breathtaking aerial footage of Balbianello! Immediately after the wedding service we took a boat trip on Lake Como to take romantic photos of just the two of us, this allowed us special time to be alone together and 22 www.BridesAbroad.com

After a stressful build up to the day we both woke up, looked out of our separate bedroom windows and saw that it was the perfect summer’s day and felt an overwhelming sense of calmness and excitement, knowing that this was going to be the best day of our lives!

Any disasters? We had a few potential disasters – the shop lost Ben’s suit the day before we flew, then we got it back and one arm was longer than the other! Cosmetics spilt on bridesmaids dresses; Mother of the groom’s suitcase got lost and never showed up in Italy; Bridesmaid flying from London getting stuck in Paris – the list goes on! However, the actual day was beyond perfect and absolutely the best day of our lives!

The honeymoon Whilst I got ready for the wedding I stayed at the spectacular Grand Hotel Tremezzo, we also spent our first night as Mr and Mrs Clare there. The next day the entire congregation headed over to our farmhouse for a BBQ and pool party. After that we drove for a few hours to an island off the Tuscan Coast called Elba and stayed at the Hotel Hermitage for four nights. Thank you Brides Abroad for this recommendation, it was idyllic!

On budget? It was a bit over our budget but worth every penny!

Further information WEDDING PLANNER: Aurora Fellini www.lakecomoweddingsandevents.com VENUE: Villa Balbianello (Booked on a Monday for private use) PHOTOGRAPHER: Cristiano Ostinelli www.ostinellicristiano.com


Magical Malta

If you want so much more than simply sun, sea and sand then Malta, with its glorious heritage, offers an incredible choice of wedding venues and an abundance of historical buildings, picturesque piazzas and dramatic landscapes to keep honeymooners enthralled 24 www.BridesAbroad.com


The beautiful islands of Malta and its neighbouring Gozo and Comino, form a tiny archipelago nestling at the heart of the Mediterranean, which have a rich blend of cultures – from Moorish to Italian, and British too – as a consequence of frequent past invasions by those nations who have tried to make Malta their own. With sunshine throughout the year, ease of communication (because everyone speaks English as their second language) and a wealth of historical architecture that will make a glorious backdrop to your photographs, a wedding or honeymoon, or both, in Malta could be the perfect choice. With such a history, Malta offers a wide choice of venues and settings for weddings – from grand palazzo and villas to quiet beaches and gardens.

Top 5 Things To Do 1 2

Historical Malta There is plenty for you and your guests to see and do – film fans can visit the locations where Gladiator and Troy were filmed, foodies will be impressed with local wines and seafood and sun worshippers will love to simply stretch out on a beach with a good book or swim in the inky blue Mediterranean sea. Valletta, the islands’ capital, is a glorious city of golden stone, flanked on either side by magnificent natural harbours. Within this fortress the Renaissance streets unfold in an elegant grid, lined with princely palaces and dominated by the spectacular Co-Cathedral of St John. It is a place to learn about the fascinating history of the island and the Knight of the order of St John, followed by quiet reflection over a coffee or lazy lunches whilst people watching. It’s also a good place to browse the shops and markets – you can find amazing bargains here, such as stylish and fashionable jeans for just £5! Culture vultures will love the Hagar Qim and Mnandra temples, built on the coast of the Mediterranean over a thousand years before Stone Henge. Older family members could be

Stroll through the Silent City Get a taste of traditional Malta in Mdina, situated on a hill at the centre of Malta. Meander through the charming, narrow cobbled streets within the medieval walled city – nicknamed Silent City because no cars are allowed – though wedding cars are one of the exceptions! Explore the underground temple This UNESCO World Heritage site of Hal Saflieni Hypogeum is the only pre-historic underground temple in the world. This historical burial ground is packed with statues, tombs, rock carvings, chambers and passages carved out of the rock. Don’t forget to visit the Oracle Room where a woman’s voice won’t echo, but spookily, a man’s will!

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Party in Paceville Visit Paceville after dark – it’s a must for those looking for nightlife. Whether you’re up for a pint at the pub or a night of letting loose on the dance floor, you will not be disappointed. Paceville, the nightlife district, offers everything from bars to restaurants and nightclubs.

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Discover the Blue Lagoon Take a ferry day trip to the car-free island of Comino, between Malta and Gozo that is virtually uninhabited with just one hotel. Most people come to admire the Blue Lagoon, which is a sheltered inlet of water, popular with sun worshippers and snorkelers.

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Be pampered at the spa Treat yourselves to a sensuous Shirodhara Indian head massage at the famous Kempinski Gozo Ayurvedic Spa. Relax as warm oil is drizzled over your forehead and massaged into your hair – the sensation is sublime! www.kempinski.com

intrigued by the wealth of Second World War history on the island, which was an incredibly important strategic port. Vera Lynn songs are still played at the pretty Upper Barrakka Gardens, looking out across the stunning harbour. Or visit the pretty fishing village of Marsaxlokk, about 35 minutes from Valetta on the south east corner of Malta and see the pretty painted boats bobbing about in the bay. Don’t forget to take your camera!

Gorgeous Gozo Gozo, Malta’s charming sister island, accessed by ferry or seaplane, provides a tranquil haven for a tempo and scene change from Mainland Malta. Gozo is greener, more rural and smaller with fishing and agriculture as its main industries and Baroque churches and old stone farmhouses dotting the countryside. Take the opportunity to explore Gozo’s rugged landscape and spectacular coastline, which boasts some of the Mediterranean’s best dive sites. The island also comes complete with historical sites, forts and amazing panoramas, as well as one of the archipelago’s bestpreserved prehistoric temples, gantija. At the western tip are wild and wave battered cliffs with dramatic rock formations known as Dwejra, some of the island’s natural landmarks can be found there including the stunning Blue Hole – a romantic location for memorable wedding photographs

Best time to visit For mild, warm weather, when the island is lush and green, go from mid-February to midMay. For sunshine, and a more North African desert feel, go mid-May, June, September or October. Avoid July and August, when it’s 40 degrees and humid and can get crowded with families and cruise ships.

Further information www.visitmalta.com www.visitgozo.com

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REAL WEDDINGS

Everlasting love in

Malta

!mily and Tom's enchanting ceremony in Malta 26 www.BridesAbroad.com


Holiday romances often have short lifespans. However, for teenagers Emily Fenn and Tom Bentley from Chertsey, Surrey, that chance meeting on a Spanish holiday was to change their lives forever. Some years later, after Tom proposed in Rome, it seemed only right that the globe-trotting couple should seal their love with an overseas wedding in the Maltese sunshine Finding ‘the one’

The guests

We were young when we met on holiday in Spain, and so I suppose for us it was love at first sight!

We had 152 guests in total. The majority stayed at either the Westin Dragonara with us, or at the hotel opposite – the Golden Tulip. Most of our guests were in the St Julian area, but some were slightly further out in villas - it didn’t really matter, as Malta is so small that no one was too far away! We were overwhelmed by how many people accepted the invitation. We thought travelling abroad would put people off, but we were very happy that we had so many friends and family with us on our special day! My sister and her family came all the way from New Zealand to be there, so that was very special for us!

The proposal Tom proposed on another holiday in Rome, Italy. He took me to a rooftop restaurant overlooking Rome where he proposed very traditionally down on one knee! Even after 14 years together and two children, it was totally unexpected! The most amazing night ever!

Location, location We met abroad, he proposed abroad so thought we would stick to that theme and get married abroad. We also liked the idea of having a holiday with our family and friends before and after the big day! We decided to look online for venues rather than locations, and I fell in love with a stunning venue – Castello Zamitello in Mgarr, so we booked a trip out to visit it. We also had a family holiday a few months before the wedding, so that we could personally try food and meet the planners etc.

The planning We used The Bridal Consultant as our wedding planner and I could not recommend enough! They were there every step of the way and without their support I don’t think we would have been able to do it ourselves! We tried to plan everything before we went, so that we could be as relaxed as possible and enjoy our time with everyone beforehand. I asked for maps of the grounds, so we could decide where we wanted everything on the day. We had spread sheets showing where the guests would be staying, and what coaches they would be on, we tried to plan it to the very last detail to make it as easy as possible.

Getting the look My wedding dress was Sottero and Midgely (www.maggiesottero.com, which I bought from Miss Bush, Ripley. I chose lace as I thought it would suit a destination wedding. My veil was by Couture Club, which I also bought from Miss Bush. Shoes were Jimmy Choo – I chose them as they were named Emily, but they were also really comfortable, and not too high as we had steps to walk down during the ceremony – they were the most expensive shoes I have ever bought, but SO worth it! My earrings were Swarovski, and were a gift from my Maid of Honour. My necklace was also Swarovski – but my Maid of Honour found me an add-on that hung down my back (my dress was low at the back), which looked amazing! I also wore a Pandora bracelet, which was a gift from my husband on the wedding morning. Our wedding planner gave us options for trials with local hair dressers and make-up artists, however we didn’t need them, as one of my bridesmaids is a hairdresser and she did my hair, and one of my wedding guests is a makeup artist and she did my make-up. www.BridesAbroad.com 27


REAL WEDDINGS

Something old, something new? My sister bought me a pin to wear on my garter which had little bits attached to it signifying the Something Old, Something New, Something Borrowed, Something Blue tradition.

Groom and bridesmaids We wanted a specific sage colour for the trousers and found them on ASOS but had to get them tailored to fit, Tom’s shirt was from Charles Tyrwhitt, shoes from River Island, bow tie from Moss Bros and a blazer he had made to order by a local tailor. Bridesmaids’ dresses were from TwoBirds, where we also got the bow ties for the Groomsman so they would match. I had seven bridesmaids who wore four different styles of dresses in the same colour.

The details We didn’t have a theme, but I liked the idea of a natural and rustic look, with lots of white and greenery. For my flowers, I had a large bouquet of white roses, with smaller versions for my bridesmaids. I had a gypsophila crown for my flower girl and gypsophila in buckets along the aisle. For our cake we chose a ‘naked cake’, which was vanilla, with fresh flowers for decoration.

Photographic memories We had an amazing photographer, Mark Cassar, who was really easy to work with on the day and accommodated our every need. We wanted very natural photos and were delighted with the outcome. We also had a videographer who worked well alongside the photographer. I am so glad we had a videographer as it was like reliving our special day when we watched it!

The ceremony The ceremony took place at the gorgeous Castello Zamitello in Mgarr, Malta. My granddad played the bagpipes as I walked down the aisle, and we had a couple of readings: my bridesmaid Jenny read a poem and our son George read a book called ‘I Love You Through and Through’, which was lovely. We said our vows (traditional) and it was perfect! A lady from the Malta registry office married us, we went to see her beforehand to check through paperwork and discuss how we wanted the ceremony to go. She was great! My lovely dad gave me away. I am glad we had a wedding car journey together to take us from the hotel to the venue, as that drive on our own was very special and emotional for us both. 28 www.BridesAbroad.com


Marfa Road, Cirkewwa, MLH 9068, Malta T. (+356) 2152 1166 F. (+356) 2152 1153 E. events@paradise-bay.com

www.paradise-bay.com


REAL WEDDINGS

The reception We had our reception at the same place we got married - Castello Zamitello, which was amazing, as it meant the guests didn’t have to move on anywhere else and everyone was comfortable for the day. We had a BBQ buffet with fresh salad, fish and rice, etc. The food was unreal! And in the evening we had mini hot dogs, burgers and wedding cake! For the table decorations, we had candles on tree barks for the centrepieces and for our favours we had a Maltese version of Limoncello. We had printed menu cards and the guests’ names in wooden letters so that they could take them away as a keepsake.

First Dance We danced to Paloma Faith, ‘Just Be’; this is a song we feel reflects our relationship and has been special to us for some time. We had a string quartet for ceremony and welcome drinks. My granddad played the bagpipes for my entrance and piped us back to the table for dinner as man and wife! We also had a magician for the kids halfway through dinner, and a band Zone5Band playing through dinner and before our DJ and Saxophonist started. The entertainment was amazing – we could not be happier with what we chose! 30 www.BridesAbroad.com

We also had fireworks at the end of our First Dance, which was our best choice of the day!

Magic moments I loved every moment of the day, but the best moments were the fireworks after the First Dance – we had kept this a secret from everyone, and played Klondike ‘Jubel’ throughout the display, it was just so special! The other memory is when Tom and I went to the beach for a photoshoot before dinner – we were driven down in a Rolls Royce convertible and were both so happy on that drive and really appreciated taking that time out by ourselves to reflect on everything that had happened so far!

On budget? Were not sure of our exact cost. Without adding travel and accommodation costs, we spent more than £44,000 – this included an open bar in the evening and our outfits etc. It was over budget, as we hadn’t anticipated having so many guests! But I can honestly say it was worth every single penny! We wish we could do it all over again! A huge thanks to The Bridal Consultant who made our wedding a dream come true!

The honeymoon We stayed in Malta for 10 days with all our friends and family, which was a brilliant experience. Everyone had a lovely time and it was so special to spend time with our family from New Zealand. However, we decided to have a separate honeymoon in Santorini a couple of months after the wedding – it was good to have some romantic time to ourselves to reflect on it all again and reminisce.

Further information WEDDING PLANNER Lisa Burton of The Bridal Consultant Wedding Planner www.thebridalconsultant.co.uk VENUE Castello Zamitello Mgarr, Malta PHOTOGRAPHY Mark Cassar


Relax while we take care of your wedding Discover how our wedding consultants will help you create the celebration of your dreams. Contact Adriana Sammut on +356 9940 2596 | adriana.sammut@corinthia.com

CORINTHIA HOTEL ST GEORGE'S BAY, ST. JULIANS, STJ 3301, MALTA +356 2137 4114 | STGEORGES@CORINTHIA.COM | CORINTHIA.COM/STGEORGES


MALDIVES Blessings in the Indian Ocean Mother Nature has created perfection in this stunning collection of tropical coral islands. No wonder loved-up couples and newlyweds have chosen the Maldives as their number one wedding and honeymoon favourite.

It’s impossible to take a bad photograph in the Maldives, it’s Instagram heaven! Everywhere you look there are endless azure skies, crystal lagoons, swaying palms and white powder beaches. It’s almost too good to be true, but thankfully it isn’t! And there’s a beautiful Maldive resort just waiting to be discovered by couples to suit their individual budget and style! The Maldives is a nation of around 1,190 tiny islands, many still uninhabited, grouped into 26 natural atolls in the Indian Ocean, beginning around 250 miles south west of India and stretching down towards the equator. These islands offer a wide range of hotel 34 www.BridesAbroad.com

resorts, fifirst rst class facilities and picture-perfect scenery. Luxury hotels are built on private islands using natural materials indigenous to the islands and everywhere, the lush vegetation has been carefully preserved, marine life protected and beaches groomed and extended to create what can only be described as paradise. The tropical island resorts are reached by speedboat or via spectacular seaplane journeys, depending on their distance from the capital, Male and its International Airport. From the windows of the seaplane the lush Maldives islands appear as emerald gems in the ocean, surrounded by their turquoise coral reefs.


The hotels offer incredible fresh cuisine, world-class spas and luxury accommodation in beach villas or water villas extending out on stilts over the lagoon. However, if your style is to live like a native, some of the local islands offer unique and rustic accommodation in anything from small hotels and guesthouses to Airbnb. At the luxury resorts, lovers snuggle in rope hammocks under coco palms down on the beach or snorkel together over the coral reefs to view the amazingly colourful marine life. As the sun sets, beaches are transformed into candle-lit restaurants as couples dine beneath the stars.

Wedding ceremonies Although you can’t legally marry in The Maldives, the breathtaking scenery and sheer luxury of the resorts make this a wonderful place for beach blessings and Vow Renewal Ceremonies, which can be arranged through your hotel. These ceremonies can take place in a choice of exotic locations – from unspoiled beaches and sandbanks to catamarans and even during diving excursions on the coral reefs. If you are planning a wedding in The Maldives, simply marry legally at your local registry office before leaving the UK, then, to all intents and purposes, your destination wedding in The Maldives will be your Big Day in paradise.

Legals You won’t need any paperwork or documents, as weddings in the Maldives are currently not legally recognized around the world. And remember to bring your wedding rings as you will exchange these during the ceremony!

Beach Weddings with Bodu Beru drums Couples marrying in the Maldives can expect a gorgeous traditional beach ceremony on powder sands under a decorated arch to the rhythmic sound of traditional Bodu Beru drums. A delightful Maldivian wedding package at OBLU Select at Sangeli resort takes place on the beach where the couple walk hand-in-hand under decorated arches, accompanied by drummers and flower girls throwing red petals over the couple as they walk down the ‘aisle’. As sunset falls, the wedding party enjoys a beach BBQ under an illulminated arch. www.oblu-sangeli.com. Traditional beach ceremonies are also a speciality at Mirihi resort, where the ceremony is rounded off with a sunset cruise as part of the wedding package. www.mirihi.com. If you would love to marry on a sandbank, Baros resort offers dedicated Sandbank Renewal of Vows wedding packages, which takes place on the powder white sands of a deserted sandbank to the sound of lapping waves. www.baros.com

“I do” underwater A wedding beneath the waves has total wow factor, and Banyan Tree offers the ultimate underwater wedding package for diving enthusiasts, which includes an underwater ceremony with a photographer and fish as your witnesses! www.banyantree.com Couples wanting to stay dry can still have an underwater wedding at Conrad Maldives Rangali Island – the Ithaa Undersea Ceremony takes place at the world’s first glass chapel, five-metres under the sea, surrounded by the ocean and marine life which are visible through the glass as the couple exchange vows. www.conradmaldives.com. The underwater restaurant, Minus Six Metres (M6m) at OZEN by Atmosphere was chosen by one guest, Jad from Dubai, as the ultimate place to ‘Pop the Question’ to his girlfriend Rita. Unknown to Rita, Jad enlisted the help of the hotel staff to organise his unique proposal. As the couple dined, Rita was amazed to see a ‘mermaid’ swim up to the window carrying a banner asking “Rita, will you MARRY Me?’ Fortunately, she said a huge “Yes!” www.ozen-maadhoo.com

Top 5 things to do sh, you may even see turtles relaxing on the coral reefs. 1 Go Snorkeling – Discover amazing colourful reef fifish, your Shoes Behind – Embrace barefoot chic and dine without shoes on the pure sand floors floors of the 2 Leave beach restaurants! the Sunsets – The Maldives boasts some of the best sunsets on the planet, so capture the 3 Instagram moment the sun melts into the Indian Ocean on camera then share with the world on social media! a Couples Spa Ritual – As if you are not relaxed enough already, sink deeper into sublime 4 Have pampering with an indulgent spa treatment with your other half! on a Sandbank – Many resorts in the Maldives offer boat excursions to sandbanks, so take a 5 Picnic picnic and be a castaway for the day, alone together on a desert island! www.BridesAbroad.com 35


REAL WEDDINGS

Blessing in the

MALDIVES!

Terri & Martin Renew their Vows at OBLU Select at Sangeli 36 www.BridesAbroad.com


Brides Abroad editor, Terri Cody-Owen and husband and publisher Martin decided to celebrate 10 years of married bliss with a Renewal of Vows ceremony in the Maldives. They wanted a traditional Maldivian Blessing, accompanied by Bodu Beru drummers and flower girls, and where better to host their very special day than the gorgeous OBLU Select at Sangeli resort!

Finding ‘the one’

The proposal

I always said I would never meet my ‘Mr Right’ in a nightclub, and guess what! I did! Tiger Tiger in Leeds to be exact. I was introduced to Martin by a mutual friend when I was on my way to the Ladies loo!

We woke up one icy cold February morning in 2007, and Martin suggested we went for a country walk. The landscape was covered in frost and looked like a winter wonderland - it was very pretty! At the top of a hill I looked round and he was on his knee. I thought he had fallen over, until he said those magic words, “Will you marry me?” It was a huge surprise as we had been together a few years by then and I had given up hope of a proposal! As soon as I said: “Yes!” my mum called me on my mobile, so she got to hear our fab news in real time! Hot off the press!

Was it love at first sight? I distinctly remember thinking: “Now that’s the kind of man I should marry!” Martin says he immediately thought “Hmm! This girl is going to be big trouble!” The next day he texted me as I was driving down to London and said “Turn around beautiful journalist and play with me instead!” The rest, as they say, is history!

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REAL WEDDINGS

Location location We married at Rudding Park country house hotel, in Harrogate ten years ago, and promised ourselves that we would renew our vows on a beautiful tropical beach to celebrate our 10th anniversary. So in August 2018, we chose to return to our favourite place in the world, The Maldives, to have a wedding blessing on the beautiful white sands of a Maldives island.

The planning We chose to have our dream blessing at the gorgeous OBLU Select at Sangeli, a newly opened Maldives island resort, which is absolutely picture-perfect. All the planning was done seamlessly, behind the scenes, by the hotel’s wedding team headed by Carlton and Rose. All we had to do was choose our wedding outfits in the UK, along with wedding rings, book our flights and turn up! So easy compared with the hassle of trying to book a traditional wedding in the UK! We flew to Dubai with Emirates, and then took a connection to Male International Airport in the Maldives. We were then transferred by speedboat to the luxury OBLU resort, arriving around an hour later in paradise! I had packed my wedding dress into my hand luggage, and never let it out of my sight during the flights!

The guests We had nine guests at our wedding blessing, but many of the hotel’s staff also turned out to watch us exchange our vows on the beach, which made it more special. Our guests all stayed in adjacent overseas villas and we all enjoyed a wedding holiday together before and after our wedding blessing. Martin and I stayed in an overwater Honeymoon Villa, which was absolutely breathtaking, with its own plunge pool and sundeck, steps straight into the ocean and incredible views across the lagoon.

Getting the look My wedding dress was from Art Couture at Eternity Bridal (www.eternitybridal. com). My criterion was that it had to be easy to transport on an aircraft, and had to look glamorous, fashionable and chic in a beach environment. The lacy dress not only looked stunning, fitting perfectly into the tropical beach setting, but I could roll it up 38 www.BridesAbroad.com


and carry it in hand luggage for the flight. Amazingly, I simply opened my case at the hotel, shook it out and it was in perfect condition ready for my big day! It was the perfect dress for a destination wedding. Carlton, head of the wedding coordinating team, asked me what kind of flowers and colour theme I would like, then arranged for my wedding bouquet and a headdress made of fresh cream roses to be sent to my room on the morning of the wedding. I had my hair and make-up prepared at the resort’s luxury spa before the ceremony. I didn’t wear any jewellery, but Martin and I were presented with beautiful garlands of fresh frangipani during the service, which accessorised the beach bride and groom look perfectly.

Something old, something new… Something Old was me! Something New – the beautiful wedding gown. Something Blue – the gorgeous colour of the Indian Ocean, and the clear blue sky and Something Borrowed were two beautiful wedding rings with the Maldivian Eye Shell detail – we had forgotten to bring our own rings, but Carlton came to the rescue, and took a trip to the Maldivian capital, Male, to buy us some matching wedding rings for the service. Better still, he gifted them to us after the wedding, so we have these gorgeous reminders of our special day, which we will treasure forever!

Groom & bridesmaids Martin wore a sky blue linen jacket with a pair of crisp white trousers and white linen shirt. I thought he looked gorgeous, especially with the garland around his neck to match mine! Our four beautiful flower girls were hotel staff, who dressed in traditional red Maldivian costumes and carried flower baskets full of red petals to scatter during the ceremony. They looked so beautiful and added to the glory of our full Maldivianstyle wedding blessing.

The ceremony I spent the morning in hair and makeup, administered by a lovely Balinese make-up artist at the resort’s spa, whilst Martin followed tradition and was kept away from me until the ceremony. I then slipped into my wedding dress and left the spa where my carriage awaited, in the shape of a beautifully decorated golf buggy. I was accompanied on my journey down the wooden walkway by the rhythmic beat of the Bodu Beru drummers www.BridesAbroad.com 39


who accompanied us as our wedding procession made its way to the beach. The sound was truly emotional and set the mood perfectly for our tropical wedding. At the edge of the beach Martin was waiting for me. We then walked together hand-in-hand beneath an archway decorated with palms and flowers, along a red-carpet over the sand, followed by the Bodu Beru drummers and flower girls who scattered red petals as we walked along, surrounded by our friends and hotel guests. We came to a halt at the ‘altar’– a heart shape engraved in the sand, where we exchanged our rings and the vows we had written to each other, and received a delightful blessing from the island Chief.

Local customs in the ceremony It is a tradition in the Maldives that after the cake cutting ceremony the bride and groom dance together to the rhythm of the 40 www.BridesAbroad.com

drums. We embraced this tradition very enthusiastically, then many of our guests joined in! It was such fun and we definitely threw some interesting shapes!

The reception I changed into a short white dress and sandals for the evening reception, and then joined our guests under a gazebo on the beach, which had been decorated with fairy lights. A BBQ feast was laid on, with as much bubbly as we could drink. We chatted away under the stars in the balmy Maldivian moonlight to the sound of lapping waves. A wonderful end to an extraordinary day!

Photographic memories The photographer had been organised by the resort and was with us throughout the day – taking photos of the ceremony, then


of just the two of us as we strolled hand in hand along the beach at sunset. The light was perfect and we just love all the photos.

Magic moments My best memory was arriving at the beach and seeing Martin waiting for me looking very handsome, and the beautiful setup ready for our ceremony. I just couldn’t believe how gorgeous it all looked. I loved Martin’s vows too, which I wasn’t expecting. After ten years together, his words were meaningful and really moving, especially when he said that it was ‘fun’ being married to me, that meant a lot!

The honeymoon The day after the ceremony we moved to another island. We were transported on a luxury motor cruiser on a fast and exciting two-hour journey to our second resort,

OBLU Select at Sangeli’s sister hotel OZEN by Atmosphere at Maadhoo. We stayed in a magnificent beachfront villa, with its own pool and garden area, which was situated directly on the white sandy beach overlooking the lagoon. We stayed a couple of days to relax and unwind after the excitement of our wedding day.

On budget? A Renewal of Vows package at OBLU Select by Atmosphere costs £950 and includes: Welcome bottle of Champagne on arrival in villa; Sunset Barefoot Renewal of Vows Ceremony on the beach with traditional decorations and blessings from the Island Chief; A two-tier cake; Local snacks with bubbles to be served for the couple and four other invited couples during the ceremony along with local traditional drums beating; ‘Everlasting Memories’ Certificate with a gift hamper;

Photos of 30-50 images in portable drive; Romantic Candle-light dinner with a bottle of wine; Romantic turn-down service – bed decoration with Flower Petals; In-Villa breakfast the morning after the ceremony; A Couple’s Spa Massage.

Further information WEDDING TEAM AT OBLU SELECT AT SANGELI Carlton and Rose VENUE OBLU Select at Sangeli The Maldives www.oblu-sangeli.com PHOTOGRAPHER Ishan Ibrahim OCTO PVT Ltd.

www.BridesAbroad.com 41


OBLU Select at Sangeli Premium !ll-inclusive honeymoon bliss in the Maldives

Couples seeking sea, sun and fun on a magnificent Maldives island need look no further than the newly opened OBLU Select at Sangeli resort. This stylish, contemporary resort nestles in the northwest tip of Male Atoll in the Indian Ocean, just 50 minutes by speedboat from Male International Airport. Operated by Atmosphere Hotels & Resorts, the resort is a 4-star Deluxe tropical paradise, which really has the wow factor! It is also the only resort in Male Atoll to offer Premium All-inclusive holidays. Your holiday begins once you board the speedboat at Male Airport, and splash through the turquoise waters and endless azure skies towards OBLU Select at Sangeli resort. On arrival at the resort’s wooden landing jetty, the warmest of greetings awaits from enthusiastic hotel staff, giving you the first taste of the high-level service and luxurious surroundings you will enjoy throughout your stay. The resort offers a variety of luxury, contemporary-style accommodation in beach and overwater villas and suites, plus a selection of dining options, two good sized swimming pools, overwater gymnasium, PADI Dive School & Watersports Centre and some of the most exotic dive and snorkeling locations in the Male Atoll. A long wooden walkway leads to an adults-only island, One Banyan, with adults-only swimming pool, two à la carte restaurants, Pool Bar and pampering spa.


!ccommodation

Newlywed couples will be further pampered if they book one of six exclusive Honeymoon Water Suites with Pool, beginning with a direct check in and welcome bottle of champagne, canapés and fruit platter in their villa; free dining throughout their stay in a choice of restaurants, evening turn-down service with romantic petals and two couples massages at Elena Spa. The Honeymoon Water Suites have luxurious interiors with a vast, round bed overlooking the lagoon; a sky light above the bed which opens to reveal the starry night sky; sensual round bath tub in passionate red; a spacious sun-deck with sunbeds and large private pool. The resort also offers beachfront bliss in 39 traditional Maldivian-style Beach Villas and 14 Deluxe Beach Villas with Pool. The stand-alone villas face the lagoon and have direct beach access, large open-air bathrooms and trendy interiors. Families can choose to stay in 7 Beach Family Suites with two bedrooms. Overwater bliss is offered in 45 Water Villas and 26 Water Villas with Pool, all ocean facing and set along a curved wooden walkway over the lagoon.

!ll-inclusive "ining

OBLU Select at Sangeli boasts a unique Premium All-Inclusive Serenity Plan, which offers guests a delicious dining experience in a choice of restaurants, including OBLU’s main restaurant, The Courtyard, for breakfast, lunch and dinner, with a combination of buffet, live cooking stations and themed nights. Snacks and beverages are available between 4-6pm at The Sangs Bar. The Serenity Plan also includes one à la carte Fine Dining experience per guest at speciality restaurants Simply Veg (gourmet vegetarian cuisine) and Just Grill (seafood and meat grills). Unlimited drinks are also free.

!ctivities & !dventure

DJ nights and live music are also included in the Serenity Plan, plus a choice of activities, including a sunset fishing trip and a complimentary excursion. There’s also a fully-equipped gym and array of activities, including non-motorized water sports. OBLU Select is a snorkelers and divers dream with spectacular coral reefs around the resort. The team at the PADI and SSI Certified TGI Dive and Water Sports Centre will show guests the wonders of the Maldives in the inner lagoon and outer reefs. You can also take an exotic island excursion or simply visit a deserted sandbank with a picnic lunch.Children can be entertained throughout the day in the Kids Club.

Spa & !ellness

Situated in a secluded spot on the adults only One Banyan, in calming tropical surroundings, guests will be relaxed and indulged at ELENA Spa at Sangeli with a comprehensive menu of wellness experiences, therapies and massages using a range of natural and organic products. It has six couples treatment rooms, a yoga pavilion and steam room facilities.

!eddings and Vow Renewals

What could possibly be more romantic than saying “I do” on the magnificent white sands of OBLU Select? The resort offers colourful and glorious traditional wedding and Renewal of Vows packages which include: Sunset beach Barefoot Renewal of Vows Ceremony; decorations; Bodu Beru drums; a blessing from the island chief; two-tier cake; Snacks and bubbly for up to four guest couples; photography; candle-lit dinner; turn town service; in villa breakfast; complimentary couples spa massage. Price £950.

Further Information Stay for 7 nights in a Honeymoon Suite with Pool, staying on All-Inclusive Serenity Plan, including return flights with Emirates from London Heathrow and return speedboat transfers, departing between 21st July-30th September (low season). Price: £3,945pp, based on 2 adults sharing. 10-night stay £5,199pp; 14-night stay £6,769pp. www.oblu-sangeli.com *Weddings in the Maldives are currently not legally recognized around the world. Couples wishing to become man and wife will need a civil wedding in the UK first (we recommend your local registry office). No paperwork is needed for Renewal of Vows ceremonies and Blessings.


OZEN ByAtmosphere

AT MAADHOO

Spa-loving newlyweds will find their blissful honeymoon haven in the Maldives at O!!N by "tmosphere

The tranquil island resort of OZEN by Atmosphere at Maadhoo, in South Male Atoll, is a chic retreat, where honeymooners can unwind, relax and enjoy state-of the-art facilities, including a world-class spa, in a beautiful, natural setting whilst indulging in All-Inclusive luxury in the Maldives. OZEN by Atmosphere’s contemporary design enhances its stunning setting amidst lush tropical vegetation, powder white sandy beaches and the turquoise waters of the lagoon. After being met at Male International Airport, you will be transported by luxury speedboat on an exhilarating 45-minute journey across the Indian Ocean to the romantic Maadhoo island, where upon arrival you can begin the ultimate hassle-free beach holiday. Once they explore the island, newlyweds will discover fabulous and unique facilities and many wow-factor experiences – from dining beneath the ocean amongst the fish in M6m, the amazing underwater restaurant, to sublime Ayurvedic treatments in the spa and the thrilling watersport activity of Flyboarding – try it if you dare!

It'S "ll-Inclusive!

The Atmosphere All-inclusive INDULGENCE plan encompasses all elements of a luxury lifestyle holiday with no hidden extra costs! Everything is included in one price, so couples can budget for their honeymoon before they leave home, with no nasty surprises!


Stay in style

Guests can choose from a variety of luxurious villas to suit their style and needs including: 14 beachfront Earth Villas beside the sandy beach and overlooking the lagoon with large outdoor decks, open-air bathroom and their own tropical garden; 17 Earth Villas with Pool with 8m infinity lap pool complete with fibreoptic mood lighting; 10 Earth Family Suites with Pool, with two bedrooms, lounge, pool and outdoor living space. Alternatively if you prefer to stay overwater: 24 Wind Villas and 24 Wind Villas with Pool, plus the OZEN Water Suite, are situated along a walkway and offer romantic havens on stilts over the lagoon. Wind Villas with Pool also feature 8m infinity pool with fibre-optic lighting and sunset views; The Water Suite is located at the tip of the wooden pier and offers 360 degree views, plus pool, three bedrooms, personal gym, maids room and outdoor dining pavilion making it perfect for small wedding parties to stay together. Both Earth and Wind Pool villas offer Direct Check-in, welcome Champagne, canapés and fruit basket in villa; plus two bottles of spirits per stay and two bottles of wine daily. Earth Family Suites and OZEN Water Suite have butler service.

!ining "xperiences

OZEN by Atmosphere offers a fantastic range of international dining in its INDULGENCE Plan, including breakfast, lunch, dinner and theme nights at the main restaurant, The Palms. You can also choose the Dine-Around Fine Dining Experiences at The Traditions – IndoCeylon, serving dishes from India, Sri Lanka and the Maldives and The Traditions – Peking offering Chinese Cuisine. Snacks are served at Joie de VIVRE Poolside Bar & Pizzeria, whilst R.A.W serves lunches and sushi platters at the spa. Beverages are included in the Plan. However, no stay at OZEN is complete without dining below the waves at M6m - Minus Six Meters Underwater Restaurant, where you can watch the reef fish swim by as you eat. The INDULGENCE Plan allows guests one Fine Dining Experience at this unique restaurant per stay.

#ctivities & #dventures

OZEN offers a host of activities as part of the Plan including gym access at the Fitness and Recreation Centre and non-motorised watersports at Atmosphere Aqua Club, PADI Certified & Watersports Base as well as complimentary snorkeling equipment, with unlimited snorkeling around the resort and twicedaily excursions to six incredible snorkeling sites nearby. The Plan also includes one Adventure excursion and one Sunset Fishing trip, and the OZEN Kids Club. Guests can also choose from a selection of spa treatments or go deep sea diving, depending on the total number of nights at the resort. And be sure to try Flyboarding during your stay! It’s your chance to get airbourne over the lagoon!

Spa - "L"N# by #tmosphere OZEN’s Elena by Atmosphere Spa is the perfect place to totally immerse in wellness. It really is a temple of serenity, where guests can be pampered with a wide range of therapies and spa rituals in a breezy, contemporary space. It offers spa treatments from around the world, including Thai Massage and traditional Indian Ayurvedic rituals and crafts the perfect spa experience for guests individual needs. Spa guests can also enjoy a healthy lunch at R.A.W restaurant.

!eddings & Vow Renewals

OZEN by Atmosphere makes a gorgeous setting for weddings and Vow Renewal ceremonies with traditional Maldivian-style wedding packages available that include: Wedding ceremony with blessing; Bodu Beru drummers; wedding cake; snacks and bubbly; photography and candle-lit dinner.

Further Information Stay for 7 nights in a Wind Villa with Pool, including AllInclusive Atmosphere Indulgence Plan, return flights Sri Lankan Airway from LHR and return speedboat transfers, departing between 1 May-20 July (low season). Price: £3,745pp, based on 2 adults sharing. 10-night stay £5,099 pp; 14-night stay £6,715 pp. www.ozen-maadhoo.com

Book It!

Brides Abroad’s Brilliant Honeymoons. Tel: 01937 584892 www.bridesabroad.com *Weddings in the Maldives are currently not legally recognized around the world. Couples wishing to become man and wife will need a civil wedding in the UK first (we recommend your local registry office). No paperwork is needed for Renewal of Vows ceremonies and Blessings.


MIRIHI

- as unique as you!

Mirihi, is a tropical dream island where honeymooners can live like castaways who have been washed onto the shores of paradise - with all the mod cons of course!

Couples seeking a Robinson Crusoe existence in a heavenly retreat, far away from the stresses of modern life, will know they have found the perfect haven when their seaplane descends towards the azure waters of the lagoon surrounding Mirihi, an island where nature blends so seamlessly with barefoot chic. For those looking for rest, relaxation and rejuvenation, there cannot be a more tranquil place in the Maldives to get back to nature, and for those seeking the best diving and snorkelling experiences, Mirihi boasts a spectacular house reef just a few metres into the sea, so the possibilities are endless‌ The best advice for newlyweds arriving on the island is, put your mobile phone away, leave your shoes behind for the duration of your stay and prepare to be seduced by nature!

Mirihi is located in the South Ari Atoll, reached from Male International Airport on a 30-minute picturesque seaplane flight. It is one of the smallest islands in the Maldives – just 350m long and 50m wide, with palm-fringed beaches, powder white sand, and just 37 villas on the island, so you can be assured of personalised attention in abundance.

Stay in style

Over the water or down on the beach? You can decide between 30 picture-perfect Water Villas, built on stilts over the lagoon and six gorgeous Beach Villas dotted around the island. All tastefully designed in rustic island style, with designer furnishings, polished wooden floors, king size or twin beds, sitting area, air conditioning and free WIFI. Water Villas have private sun decks with steps leading directly into the lagoon. Beach Villas have their own patios and sun loungers, with direct access to the beach. A two-bed, two bathroom Overwater Suite is perfect for families and has its own jetty directly over the house reef. The Beach House offers a holiday home for families or small wedding parties, and has two bedrooms and two open-air bathrooms, living room, office space, kitchenette, dining area and private garden.


!ining "xperience

This small, intimate island does not compromise on dining options with a choice of excellent restaurants: Dhonveli, a traditional sand-floored buffet restaurant on the beach offers sumptuous international meals three times a day, with an extensive wine list.; Muraka is set at the end of a wooden pier and is perfect for romantic dinner, starting with a cocktail and dazzling sunset views from the terrace before settling down at one of eight exclusive dinner tables. Serves everything from seafood to Angus steak and fine international wines; Ruhgandu is a small wine lounge showcasing around 300 international wines and champagnes; Anba is the main bar next to the beach where you can relax and enjoy cocktails or light snacks throughout the day and Rum lovers can indulge in the largest collection of Rum in the Indian Ocean.

!iving, snorkelling & watersports The snorkelling and diving experience at Mirihi is second to none. The resort’s Ocean Pro Dive Centre provides facilities and instruction for first-timers through to experienced divers. Regular trips are available for divers and snorkelers to visit a range of over 40 incredible dive sites with a chance of sighting spectacular Whale Sharks. However, you don’t have to be a scuba diver to discover the magic of the deep – the resort has one of the best house reefs in the Maldives, it’s a snorkelers paradise – and the snorkelling adventure awaits at the foot of steps from your villa’s sundeck into the lagoon, where the magnificent reef awaits. Night Snorkelling is also a MUST, allowing you to venture into another world and observe sleeping fish, see different kinds of marine life and discover the vibrancy of the coral’s colours. Complimentary watersports are also available including kayaks, stand-up paddles and windsurfing. You can also go fishing or hire a speedboat or Dhoni for a private boat trip, or join one of the excursions on offer, including: island hopping; a visit to a local cultural island; whale shark safari, dolphins at sunset cruise or a snorkelling safari.

Star gazing

Nothing can be more romantic than a stroll along the beach in the moonlight, mesmerized by the display of a million twinkling stars, away from any light pollution – except perhaps taking that wonderment one step further and gazing at the planets up close through the lens of an ultra high-powered telescope, set up on the beach with an astronomy guide. Watch the moons orbiting Saturn and see the craters on Mars. Awesome!

Spa & !ellness

Get in touch with your spiritual side by starting each morning with a complimentary yoga session in the pavilion, and guided meditation session in the afternoon. For further sublime relaxation head to Duniye Spa, where a team of trained therapists will relax your muscles and relieve your body of stress in one of two luxurious treatment rooms for couples. Face and body treatments are administered using products from luxury spa brands Healing Earth and Comfort Zone.

!edding Blessings & Vow Renewals

Mirihi Island’s Magoomaa Wedding Package offers couples marital bliss, Maldivian style: seal the deal with adorable ‘coconut-rings’, accompanied by traditional bodu beru drummers and take a wooden dhoni boat home as a souvenir of this special day, engraved with the names of you and your beloved. The package includes a photoshoot; flowers; champagne; wedding cake; romantic dinner on the beach; couples’ spa massage; champagne breakfast in villa and a sunset cruise. Price £2,030.

Further information

Book it!

Nightly rates start from £460 per villa, on a B&B basis, based on two people sharing. www.mirihi.com

Brides Abroad’s Brilliant Honeymoons Tel: 01937 584892 www.bridesabroad.com


Advertising Feature

For a magical Maldivian wedding blessing or a blissful honeymoon haven, Reethi Faru is paradise found!

Reethi Faru, a luxury escape, on the secluded, private island of Filaidhoo, is a gorgeous, one of a kind, tropical island. Here the glistening, crystal clear ocean meets endless white coral sand and tropical foliage makes this a truly magical destination – the perfect choice for wedding blessings and honeymoons in the Maldives. Take a scenic seaplane flight from Mali International Airport for a stunning aerial view of the Atolls en-route and you’ll arrive at this luxury resort just 45-minutes later. Alternatively, take a 20-minute domestic flight to Dharavandhoo and a short speedboat journey to give your senses a shot. On arrival, Prepare to fall in love with this breathtaking island paradise, which measures just 600m by 350m and has

guardianship of all that nature has created on a tiny island in Raa Atoll.

Luxury accommodation Unwind in one of the resort’s 150 traditional, luxurious Maldivian villas. You can choose from a number of detached or semidetached options: complete with Jacuzzi; nestled in tropical gardens; beach-side; on stilts over the turquoise water. All villas have wi-fi, satellite TV and all mod cons and have been built with conservation in mind, using eco-friendly and locally sourced materials.

Wining and dining The resort’s six restaurants and six bars offer the most delectable dishes, alongside mouth-watering cocktails, fresh fruit smoothies and exquisite fine wines, to tempt your taste buds in a cosy ambience

or stunning location. There’s something to suit all tastes, from wood-fired pizzas to traditional Maldivian cuisine and fine dining

Underwater magic The vibrant house reef, teeming with marine life, lies just a step off the shore and Reethi Faru’s commitment to minimising the impact on the thriving eco system has led to the development of a series of artificial coral nurseries, alongside numerous conservation initiatives, in order to maintain the natural landscape of this bio luxury resort. To appreciate the mysteries of the Indian Ocean and living reef, the Dive Centre is equipped to show you the most awe inspiring underwater world of submerged islands, underwater walls and sea caves. You can also go dolphin spotting and desert island hopping and enjoy an extensive range of watersports.


Wellness

Wedding packages

Relax in the soothing therapy rooms and massage huts at the Coconut Wellness Spa, and choose from an extensive list of indulgent spa treatments – or maintain/ begin a new fitness regime in the fullyequipped sports complex, with its range of facilities, including an air conditioned gym, two indoor and two outdoor courts for playing badminton, tennis and squash and a dance studio with yoga, pilates and dance classes. You may simply want to take a dip in the 25-meter infinity pool that overlooks the lagoon, or join in the pool activities, which include water polo and aqua aerobics.

For wedding blessings with the ‘wow’ factor, the resort offers a choice of three wedding packages. All packages offer choices of venues including the beach, over-water restaurant and on a secluded sandbank. From romantic welcome amenities, personalized turn-down service and memorable moments including dinners, to spa treatments and wedding photography. With three different packages and an upgrade version of each package, the resort offers a diverse set of options for you to

choose the perfect setting on your special day! Prices from $999 (£783) to $3000 (£2,350), choose to create your fairytale wedding setup at a dream destination with Reethi Faru Resort.

Further Information Call: +960 400 4000 Email: enquiry@reethifaru.com Visit: www.reethifaru.com


Advertising Feature

Royal Island Resort & Spa

Newlyweds will enjoy very authentic Maldivian hospitality in this exotic island paradise, set in a crystal clear lagoon surrounded by a coral garden so perfect for snorkelling and diving Escape to Royal Island Resort & Spa, a tranquil oceanfront oasis at the heart of Baa Atoll, a UNESCO biosphere reserve. where a pristine private beach gives way to the warm waters of the Indian Ocean. Here you can immerse yourself in tropical splendour, enjoy breathtaking views and indulge in 5-star amenities at every turn. Few places in the world offer more romance and magic, beauty and passion. Royal Island is just 118km from Ibrahim Nasir International Airport, approximately 20 minutes by domestic flight from Male. On arrival at the airport you will transfer to a waiting speedboat for the short voyage to the resort.

From the moment you arrive you will be treated like royalty on an island that offers a legacy of hundreds of years of proud history – the grandmother of the great Maldivian hero of all time, Boduthakurufaan, made this island her home and is buried here. The remnant of this rich historical heritage is carefully preserved and today, Royal Island is a vibrant marriage of ancient traditions and modern living. Wake up each morning in your own private bungalow overlooking a pristine stretch of Indian Ocean beach. Enjoy unmatched services and facilities, including the lavish Araamu Spa and an excellent selection of restaurants and bars. Relax and unwind on a sun lounger on the beach or by the pool or enjoy active rest with a vast selection of resort activities. It’s your honeymoon, so you choose!


Beautiful villas

Accommodation on the island is in gorgeous Beach Villas set in lush vegetation overlooking the Indian Ocean. Each luxurious villa is constructed with Merbau wood with its own private verandah and sun beds by the beach. The beautifully appointed, spacious villas feature air conditioning, outdoor showers, satellite/ cable TV and mini bars. Wedding parties and families can book the Presidential Suite with two spacious bedrooms and its own private beach with dining room for eight, decorated lounge, private swimming pool and jacuzzi.

!ining and dining

At Royal Island Resort, whether your tastes run to traditional Maldives dining or international cuisine, the culinary experts at Royal Island Resort & Spa have created menus that are sure to delight. Choose from a variety of dining options to suit your every mood – dine al fresco on a poolside terrace or indoors in the traditional elegance of a distinctly Asian-style restaurant with stunning Indian Ocean views or simply dine on the beach under the starlight. For a casual drink with friends, an aperitif before dinner, or a sociable evening on a moonlit deck, you can choose from the Boli Bar or Fun Pub. In the evenings, a live band, cultural shows and a disco keep guests entertained in the main bar.

Spa Pampering

For sublime honeymoon relaxation, head to the Araamu Spa, a serene sanctuary, which offers a haven of peace and harmony. Treatments include aromatherapy, reflexology, ayurveda, herbal and aromatic baths, body wraps, body scrubs, pedicure, manicure and a wide range of alternative healing.

Sports and activities

Couples will find plenty to keep them fit and occupied during their honeymoon at Royal Island Resort on both land and sea, from working out in the resort’s fully-equipped gym and swimming in the pool to tennis, squash, volleyball and table tennis. Down on the beach watersports are available in abundance – from banana riding, fun tubing, parasailing, wakeboard, kneeboarding and kite surfing to boat hire, sailing, jet ski, windsurfing, dolphin excursions, snorkelling and, of course, diving. The Maldives offers world-class diving and the Dive Oceanus diving centre at Royal Island offers numerous opportunities to explore the depths of the ocean and PADI diving courses from beginners to instructor level. You can also take part in organised excursions, from fishing trips to sunset cocktail trips, island hopping and private picnics on a deserted sandbank.

!eddings & honeymoons

Unforgettable occasions call for incredible settings, which is why the exotic surroundings at Royal Island Resort & Spa are perfect for Maldives weddings. Exchange vows at a ceremony site overlooking a pristine stretch of Indian Ocean beach, pledge your love at sunset or conduct a private ceremony in one of the resort’s intimate rooms with elegance, sophistication, and a dramatic ambiance. A choice of two wedding packages are available on request, Royal Silver Wedding Package (£940) and Royal Wedding Package (£2,068). The resort’s Honeymoon Package includes a complimentary bottle of sparkling wine, a romantic honeymoon dinner on the sunset beach and exotic floral decoration of the bed.

Royal Island Resort & Spa, Horubadhoo, Baa Atoll, Maldives T +960 660 0088 E info@royal-island.com.mv www.royal-island.com


KANDIMA MALDIVES Eco style luxury!

Kandima Maldives is a smart, playful and responsible resort, which offers affordable luxury and a taste of paradise. It's a magnificent venue for those choosing to say, "I do" on its powder white beach

Located on a lush tropical island in the Dhaalu Atoll, Kandima Maldives is a haven where natural beauty meets serious style.

couples of all ages, unlimited activities for everyone and plenty of fun for children.

Just a 30-minute flight from Velana International Airport, followed by a twenty-minute boat ride to its stunningly beautiful shores, the three-kilometre resort offers a romantic escape for

Plush accommodation is in a choice of 266 stylishly designed studios and villas in eight different categories, all of which feature a private overwater terrace or beach and endless tropical views.


Keeping it green

Kandima Maldives is an eco-friendly resort that has embraced the latest state-of-the-art technology to keep the island green and reduce its carbon footprint by decreasing waste, energy consumption and use of paper through smart technology. Upon arrival guests are issued RFID wristbands that allow them freedom to roam the island without a room key or a wallet, they can simply wave their wristband at a reader and order or pay for anything throughout the resort. The Kandima App also allows guests to use their mobile phone to access stay information, including in-room food delivery and housekeeping. In addition, all rooms have technology that senses when a guest enters room or leaves the room, so that the lights and air conditioners will be primed at just the right level of comfort. All hot water and air-conditioning is generated from the heat of the waste generator, all water waste is recycled for toilets and gardening and all food is composted and glass recycled.

!ining and dining

The island boasts ten excellent restaurants and bars including: Smoked grill house – a beachside specialty with open-concept kitchen and home-made giant smoker; Sea Dragon – signature overwater Asian à la carte restaurant; Forbidden Bar – ultra-cool adults-only; Zest and Flavours – two stylish, bright market-style food halls offering all-day dining; Breeze Pool Bar – join the party and enjoy live entertainment; Beach Club – chic bar for watching amazing sunsets; Aroma Café – chill out and relax by the resort’s natural internal lake where resident artist Aima offers painting classes; Azure – a Mediterranean beachside a la carte restaurant; Deli ¬– a casual food boutique for a quick snack or for something to take back to your studio or villa.

Fitness first

Guests can stay fit and active with a range of state-of-the-art facilities including: BURN Fitness Centre with private swimming pool and fitness pavilion offering classes and training programs including Aqua Fun & Fit, Pilates, Kross Fit, TRX Suspension Training, POUND® fit, boxing and both traditional yoga and aerial yoga classes. Kandima also boasts the second-longest swimming pool in the Maldives – Breeze Pool, as well as its stunning long stretch of beach that is perfect for morning runs and sunset strolls. Bicycles are also available to rent.

!ater sports & diving

At the Aquaholics Dive & Watersports Centre, an experienced team will take you scuba diving, Big Game and sunset fishing. You can also jet ski, parasail, windsurf, SUP, surf, glass kayak or cruising around the lagoon on a catamaran. Dhaalu Atoll’s scuba is perfect for beginner divers due to its wider channels and shallower drop-offs. But advanced divers can still explore greater depths and enjoy the thrill of drift diving in stronger currents.

Luxury spa

For total relaxation and pampering esKape Spa offers ten al fresco treatment areas in a natural setting. Relax in the steam room and plunge pool, have a full-body massage whilst listening to the lapping waves, or treat yourself to a manicure or pedicure in the nail bar.

!eddings

Kandima Maldives offers gorgeous settings for destination weddings of all sizes and styles. It has launched its OH-SO-KOOL Couple wedding packages (from £1,145) and Group wedding packages (from £138 per person based on a group of 250). Kandima Maldives can arrange a beautifully designed setting to suit your individual style – on a floating platform; underwater, surrounded by colourful fish; on the pristine beach, tropical sandbank or a deserted island close by. The resort’s exclusive wedding planning service will ensure you have the wedding of your dreams. After the wedding you can opt for the Let’s Go Krazy & Trash That Dress – a fun photo shoot in which you wear your dress for activities such as jumping off a jetty, parasailing, riding a jet ski or simply running along the beach whilst the camera is rolling in order to spice up your wedding photos!

Further information

Kandima Maldives is available from £210 half-board pp based on two adults sharing Tel: +960 676 0077 E: mykindofplace@kandima.com W: Kandima.com Or book through Brilliant Honeymoons on 01937 58 48 92


Nice day for a

WhiteWedding

Are you dreaming of a white wedding? Couples are bucking the trend of marrying in hot locations and heading instead for mountain peaks and even the Arctic Circle, to tie the knot with a backdrop of glistening snow.

!urora Borealis - Iceland

Amaze your guests by treating them to a spectacular light show at your wedding, courtesy of Mother Nature. Iceland is the only destination where the lights, known as Aurora Borealis, can be witnessed throughout the whole country. Iceland is also one of the most popular winter wedding locations, offering spectacular venues – from quaint, traditional Icelandic churches; beneath roaring waterfalls and even in illuminated caves.

Hotel Ranga, Iceland See the Northern Lights from one of the world’s best vantage points at the awardwinning 4-star Hotel Ranga in South Iceland. Hotel Ranga offers luxury, relaxation, gourmet dining and an idyllic riverside setting. The hotel specialises in weddings and honeymoons and offers religious ceremonies in the traditional Icelandic church in Oddi and civil ceremonies in amazing locations, including the nearby Skóarfoss waterfall and a decorated cave. Hotel Ranga is located close to Southern Iceland’s main attractions in the ‘Ring of Fire’ – an exciting area with geothermal and volcanic activities. From the hotel you can explore the area by organized guided tours or by hiring a car – or you can simply snuggle up together in one of the hotel’s outdoor geothermal hot tubs to watch the Northern Lights in all their glory. The hotel also offers stargazing opportunities from its in-house observaroty.

Book it!

Hotel Ranga is a member of Great Hotels of the World Luxury Collection. Superior rooms from £145.00. Contact Brilliant Honeymoons on: 01937 58 48 92 54 www.BridesAbroad.com


Mountain !igh the !lps

If you dream of marrying in a pretty Alpine ski resort, Europe has many sparkling destinations to offer that will appeal to winter sports fans or simply couples looking for a romantic fairytale wedding in the snow with a stunning mountain backdrop.

Chilly Powder, France The picturesque Alpine resort of Morzine, in the heart of the Portes du Soleil ski area, makes the perfect setting for Alpine weddings in both winter and summer, and Chilly Powder, a charming hotel made up of three beautifully appointed chalets, is an idyllic venue for your ceremony. Weddings can take place on the hotel’s outdoor terrace; on the grassy/snow covered lawn (depending on fire, the season) or cosily tucked inside the main hotel around the huge log fi re, in the bar dining room. With a stunning mountain backdrop, flowers, what more could you want for your special day? The hotel’s team will help with all the arrangements, including documents, fl owers, decorations, music, cake, photographer, airport transfers and a choice of menu, from Hog Roasts to hearty 5-course dinners. The town of Morzine is a popular ski resort and the pistes descend straight into the back garden of the Chilly Powder chalets, providing ski-in-skiout access to the mountains.

Book it!

For further information email: info@chillypowder.com. www.chillypowder.com

I"#!OT#LS - !rctic "ircle The Arctic Circle is a great destination for the coolest winter wedding in a whiter than white setting of an ICE HOTEL surrounded by winter wonderland landscapes. Say “I do” in breathtaking chapels constructed totally from ice, and explore the beautiful surrounding snowcovered landscape on reindeer sleighs or dog sledding.

ICEHOTEL, Sweden Marry at Sweden’s incredibly stylish ICEHOTEL in Kiruna, where you can exchange vows in temperatures of -30 degrees C in the magnificent Ice Chapel, then your wedding party can toast you with vodka cocktails in the ICE BAR, served in glasses carved from ice before you both retire to the spectacular Ice Room to spend your wedding night snuggling together on a block of ice covered in reindeer skin. For the less brave, there are several warm room options! The ICEHOTEL is constructed entirely of ice, with a glistening white contemporary interior filled with ice sculptures. Civil ceremonies take place in the hotel, whilst religious weddings take place in the Ice Chapel with its rows of ice pews for guests. The ICEHOTEL is built from scratch each winter – so you know your wedding will be truly unique!

Book it!

To book a wedding or honeymoon at the ICEHOTEL Sweden, contact Brilliant Honeymoons on: 01937 584892

HOTEL DE GLACE, Quebec For the coolest wedding in Canada, the Hotel de Glace in Quebec will give you and your wedding guest the warmest of welcomes. This magnificent structure boasts snow vaults and ice sculptures, providing an atmospheric and unique location for your nuptials. Couples can have an awesome ceremony in the beauty and splendor of the Hotel de Glace Chapel, where you can walk down the aisle on a red carpet and say “I do” at an alter made of ice.

Book it!

To book a wedding or honeymoon at Hotel De Glace, Quebec, contact Brilliant Honeymoons on: 01937 584892

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REAL WEDDINGS

The coolest wedding

!olly and Steve's sparkling nuptials at Sweden's Icehotel 56 www.BridesAbroad.com


They met on a Turkish holiday, and the groom proposed on a romantic trip to Mexico, so it seemed only fitting that when Steve Hilton from Bury St Edmunds finally tied the knot with Holly Middleton from Wales it was on foreign soil – or in this case, on foreign snow and ice at the IceHotel in Sweden’s winter wonderland Finding ‘the one’ We met on holiday in Turkey! I am originally from mid-Wales, and was on a girly holiday and Steve was on a lads trip.

The proposal Steve finally proposed six years later on another holiday, this time in Mexico. He popped the question very nervously on the balcony of our hotel room, and the moment was totally unexpected! I always thought I’d see it coming! I can’t believe that I didn’t!

Location, location As we met whilst abroad and got engaged abroad, we thought it was only right to marry abroad! We looked at the usual beach destinations but fell in love with the unique idea of the IceHotel in Sweden.

The planning We tried to do as much as we could ourselves, as we didn’t want a huge fuss but Louise, the resident wedding planner of the IceHotel, co-ordinated the whole day perfectly. It all worked like clockwork. Louise was on hand from the moment we booked, so we had very little to do when we arrived. She was so friendly and helpful, making the whole IceHotel experience wonderful!

Sculpture: Flower Power by Tjåsa Gusfors, Wilfred Stijger and Edith Van Der Wetering. Photo Asaf Kliger, ICEHOTEL

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REAL WEDDINGS

The guests We took just five guests along to our wedding. We only took immediate family with us, and they stayed in the Kamos (warm rooms) at the IceHotel. All our invited guests couldn’t wait to share the experience with us and other friends and family were jealous (and a little disappointed that we only wanted a small ceremony).

Getting the look I got my dress from a charity shop (my Something Old). It was a strapless lace dress with a huge train, but I had the train removed and the dress altered to make sleeves. I accessorised the dress with a big white fur cape…and white thermals! I also wore a pearl necklace and some pearl earrings that Steve bought me to match. I did my own hair and make-up with the help from my mum and (now) sister-in-law.

Something old, something new? Something Old – dress; New – shoes; Borrowed - my Nan’s pearl necklace; Blue - our lips, as it was so cold!

Groom & bridesmaids

Sculpture: Flower Power by Tjåsa Gusfors, Wilfred Stijger and Edith Van Der Wetering. Photo Asaf Kliger, ICEHOTEL

Steve wore a grey suit and handmade fur waistcoat – with thermals! Our bridesmaids wore ice blue floor length dresses and fur boleros. They didn’t come out to the IceHotel with us but we had a reception party when we returned.

The details The IceHotel was a natural winter wonderland so we themed our UK reception party to a Winter Wonderland too. My flowers at the IceHotel were white Lily of the Valley and white Magnolia along with pearls. We didn’t have a wedding cake. Instead we had a five-course meal from the Ice Menu in the restaurant after the ceremony. Dishes were served on blocks of ice!

58 www.BridesAbroad.com

Sculpture: Flower Power by Tjåsa Gusfors, Wilfred Stijger and Edith Van Der Wetering. Photo Asaf Kliger, ICEHOTEL


The ceremony Our wedding took place in The Ceremony Hall in IceHotel #28. It lasted around 15-minutes and we were married by the Officiant Kerstin Nilsson. My dad gave me away. During the ceremony Kerstin read out a lovely poem about the local area, which was both beautiful and informative.

The UK reception After the delicious five-course meal at the IceHotel, served uniquely on the ice blocks, we chose to hold a second reception back in the UK just two days after we returned. It was held in our local village hall, and was a chance to share our wedding with those who were unable to attend our ceremony at the IceHotel. We wanted to avoid the traditional sit down meal and hassle of a seating plan so chose festival food served by waiters and waitresses. It included mini hot-dogs, mini burgers, mini curries, mini fish and chips, followed by mini puddings. To create the winter wonderland theme back in the UK, we decorated the hall with Christmas trees, reindeer’s, fake snow and icicles. The table decorations were mini Christmas trees and lots of fairy lights.

We decided not to have a First Dance, instead opted for a song to be played at the end of the party. We walked down the isle in Sweden to the acoustic version of Ben Haenow’s ‘Something I need’ so chose the normal version to close the party. However, for the entertainment, my brother plays in an amazing band called the Barebacks who travelled from Wales to play for us at our UK reception and they actually surprised us by organising a First Dance to them performing ‘Perfect’ by Ed Sheeran!

Photographic memories Asaf Kliger is the resident photographer at the IceHotel. His photography skills were second to none and he captured our special day perfectly! A truly wonderful person – we can’t recommend him highly enough! Our silhouette in front of the snowflake is our favourite photograph - we feel it captured the magic of the whole day in that one picture!

Magic moments My most special memory is walking into the IceHotel. After all the planning and dreaming, it was finally happening! Some of the funniest moments were during the photo shoot with Asaf, including walking on

the frozen river and managing to find the deepest snow for some amazing photos.

On budget? The wedding cost under £5,000 - guests paid for themselves. We didn’t really have a budget; we just knew that we wanted an experience of a lifetime - not just a day!

The honeymoon During our stay at the IceHotel we treated ourselves to one night in the cold Art Suite for our ‘honeymoon’ but are returning to visit IceHotel #29 for our 1st Wedding Anniversary. Our guests weren’t brave enough to stay a night in the cold Art-Suite!

Further information WEDDING PLANNER AT THE ICEHOTEL Louise Wallin (We highly recommend Louise!) VENUE Venue: ICEHOTEL. www.icehotel.com PHOTOGRAPHY All photos by Asaf Kliger www.asafkliger.com, ICEHOTEL.

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Advertising Feature

Creta Maris Beach Resort Set in a secluded beach location on the beautiful island of Crete, the Creta Maris Beach Resort, in the popular resort of Hersonissos offers a blend of tradition and luxury

A member of Metaxa Hospitality Group, the Creta Maris Beach Resort is the perfect place to marry or have an idyllic Greek honeymoon by a stunning Blue Flag beach with stunning views of the crystal clear ocean beyond. The luxurious 5-star plus hotel offers a unique combination of Aegean architecture and all-inclusive Cretan hospitality with an excellent range of facilities. Styled like a small Greek village of whitewashed buildings with light blue window frames, the resort has quaint twisting paths, small piazzas and the scents and colours of a wide variety of trees and flowers indigenous to Greece. Luxury accommodation is offered in a choice of 680 rooms and suites with WIFI and an extensive wining and dining option in two main restaurants, four themed restaurants, six bars and a disco. The resort also boasts six outdoor swimming pools, five separate children’s swimming pools and a brand new Waterpark. It also offers a Fitness Centre, tennis courts, mini soccer court, mini golf, 3x3 basketball and beach volley, plus an openair cinema and Asterias Kid’s Club and Teen Club, so it is ideal for both romantic couples and families. Relaxation and pampering are offered in the Hammam Spa or you can simply unwind on sun loungers by the pools, or on the beach.

Wedding packages If planning a wedding by the Cretan sea, the expert wedding planners at Creta Maris Beach Resort will guide you every step of the way, whatever the size of your wedding. The resort offers Cretan Style Wedding Packages for up to 20 guests (price £3,600 euros), which includes upgrade to a Suite for the wedding couple; welcome check-in drinks for the wedding party; reception cocktails after the ceremony; music; meal in restaurant for all guests and spa treatments for the couple. If it’s just the two of you, you can select the Cretan Style Wedding Package for Two (price £1,900 euros). Both packages include decorations; ceremony in the resort’s in-house chapel; flowers; cake; wedding certificate; meal in restaurant and in-room breakfast with sparkling wine the next day.

Further information Hersonissos, 700 14 Crete, Greece

Tel. + 30 28970 27110 E: sales@creatmaris.gr W: www.cretamaris.gr


2 02 0 C RU I SE CO LLEC TI ON STYLE: GA LATEA

LONDON FLAGSHIP STORE 94, NEW BOND STREET CONTACT CENTER 0203 445 5424 WWW.PRONOVIAS.COM


Dress by EddyK.com

Fashion & Beauty

64 Behind the scenes 66 70 71 72 73 74 76

Make sure your guests are glad to see the back of you with fabulous dresses showcasing stunning rear views

Zodiac chic Let the stars guide you to choose the perfect dress style

Beauty on the Beach Get the look beach style with shell accessories and aqua hues

Hot in the city Get the look city style with glamour, sparkle and a touch of sophistication

Get the look ice queen Look super-chilled and elegant against the frost and snow

Going for gold Stay on trend with this season’s stunning gold jewellery

Wedding hair trends Stunning new styles hot off the catwalk for this year’s brides.

Beginner’s guide to diamonds Emma Tebbutt, diamond expert at Ramsdens reveals her insider tips. to the perfect gems

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Behindthe Scenes Make sure that your loved ones are glad to see the back of you when you walk down the aisle, by choosing an iconic wedding dress with a stunning back detail.

Dress by Daa Larna www.daalarna.hu

Dress by Martina Liana www.essensedesigns.com

K y Eddy Dress bddyk.com www.e

Dress by Rime Arodaky www.rime-arodaky.com

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Dress by Stella York www.essensedesigns.com Dress by Pronovias www.pronovias.com


Dress by Donna Salado www.donnasalado.com

Dress by Tarik Ediz www.tarikediz.com

a Dress by Bert m o .c a rt e .b w ww

Dress by Martina Liana www.essensedesigns.com

Dress by Morilee www.morilee.com

Dress by www.eddyEddy K k.com

Dress by Berta www.berta.com www.BridesAbroad.com 65


ZODIACCHIC Your Astrological guide to wedding fashions Let your star sign be the inspiration for choosing a wedding dress that best suits your individual style – from flowing gowns for romantic Pisces to the hottest looks for passionate Scorpio. Find out what the stars have in mind for you! Beautiful wedding dresses come in all shapes and sizes, from glamorous, heavily embellished gowns to short and sassy and floaty chiffons. Do you want to go trendy and high-fashion or give a nod to tradition? With so much choice, where do you begin? Let your birth sign be your guide by matching various character traits associated with each star sign to styles of dresses you should consider.

AQUARIUS Born under the Air sign of Aquarius, these ladies are brilliant, original, fun loving and quirky –, there’s never a dull moment around them. Aquarians are ideas people that dislike anything boring and dull. So they should go for trendy, fashionable designs that are as original and individual as they are. Dress by Rita Vinieris https://ritavinieris.com

PISCES

People born under the Water sign of Pisces have gentle, artistic personalities that reflect the ebb and flow of water. They are sensitive, emotional ‘old souls’ that are often spiritual and intuitive. Pisces brides should choose romantic wedding dresses that are light and float as they move in fabrics and shades that reflect the fluidity of water. Dress by Justin Alexander www.justinalexander.com

ARIES

Warm, passionate, courageous and confident, ladies born under the Fire sign of Aries are friendly, bold, and have a sense of playfulness. They are not shy about being the centre of attention, in fact they love being in the spotlight, and being in control of their image – this should be mirrored in their choice of wedding dress! Dress by Daa Larna https://daalarna.hu

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TAURUS

Romantic Taurus is the zodiac’s Earth Mother. Ladies born under this Earth sign are sensual and love beauty. They are cool, down to earth and reliable. When it comes to clothes, they enjoy the finer things in life and have refined tastes, so for their wedding classy, sophisticated dresses are the perfect choice. Dress by Martina Liana www.essensedesigns.com

GEMINI

People born under the Air sign of Gemini – the sign of twins – have two sides to their character. They are expressive, clever, quick-witted, intellectual and ready to fun but they can also be romantic and sometimes a little shy, which adds to their charm. A blend of classical and contemporary style will compliment their personality perfectly. Dress by Justin Alexander www.justinalexander.com

CANCER

Known for being intuitive, sentimental, sympathetic and creative, ladies born under the Water sign of Cancer are conservative and home loving peoples. They are caring, kind-hearted and nurturing and also have an eye for art. So they should choose romantic, ethereal gowns with hearts or flowers. flowers. Dress by Pure www.romanticaofdevon

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LEO

Ladies born under the Fire sign of Leo radiate a fiery passion for life. They are warm-hearted with an expensive taste and love nothing better than to be the centre of attention – treat them like a Princess and they will love you forever. Choose a glamorous, attention-grabbing dress to make sure they are, if only for a day! Dress by Tarik Ediz www.tarikediz.com

LIBRA

The Air sign of Libra represents the scales of justice – characterized by a balance of nature and a very strong sense of right and wrong. Libran ladies are true romantics – after all, their ruling planet is Venus. They are known to be the beautiful people of the zodiac, social butterflies who love nature, so elegant and fluid dresses will suit them best, perhaps with a hint of floral. Dress by Berta www.berta.com 68 www.BridesAbroad.com

VIRGO

Brides-to-be born under Virgo, an Earth sign, are modest, intelligent, capable, wise and witty –the efficient, down-to-earth perfectionists of the zodiac! No detail, regardless of how small, can escape the watchful eyes of a Virgo, so their dress must be perfect in every way, so a beautiful, simplistic style of dress with clean lines is their perfect choice! Dress by Essence of Australia www.essensedesigns.com


SCORPIO

Scorpio (Water sign) women are strong willed, passionate, brave and sexy with outgoing personalities. They know instinctively how to effortlessly grab the limelight, they are not afraid to take risks to stand out. They want the full fairy tale and won’t settle for less, so their dress should be striking, eye catching perhaps a little daring. Dress by Rime Arodaky www.rime-arodaky.com/en/

SAGITTARIUS

The freedom-loving Fire sign of Sagittarius inspires curious, enthusiastic and extravert characteristics. Sagittarians love to be free spirits and hate to be tied down – and with a love of travel it’s no surprise they may choose to marry abroad. A classical dress is not for them, better bohemian chic or even vintage. Dress by Rita Vinieris https://ritavinieris.com

CAPRICORN

Ladies born under the Earth sign of Capricorn are lovers of tradition, and very down to earth. They are determined, responsible and ambitious, whilst being conservative and practical. Nothing too contemporary for Capricorns – a traditional style wedding dress would suit them best. Dress by Stella York. www.essensedesigns.com

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Beauty on the Beach

Blossom flower crown, £38 www.rocknrose.co.uk

Be a beach babe when exchanging your vows on the sands, with gorgeous seaside accessories and aqua tones to reflect the shimmer of the ocean

Fish earrings, £5,000 www.kahinoorjewellers.com

Silk bouquet, £58.85 www.sarahsflowers.co.uk

Sunglasses, £60 www.follifollie.com

Starfish earrings, £16 www.oliverbonas.com

Gold starfish ring, £16 www.oliverbonas.com Aqua drop earrings, £26 www.oliverbonas.com

Aqua ring, £55 www.oliverbonas.com

Dress, style Giselle by Eddy K www.eddyk.com

Sandals, £99 www.dunelondon.com 70 www.BridesAbroad.com

Conch shell T-light www.in-spaces.com


Hot in the City

Coco Tiara, £95 www.ivoryandcotiaras.com

Shine like a star at your city wedding, with glamorous accessories to ensure you sparkle on your big day!

Cross earrings, £80 www.follifollie.com Little Posy silver bracelet stack, £118 www.anniehaakdesigns.co.uk

Bag, £80 www.dunelondon.com

Butterfly kiss earrings Sarahzhuang.com

Butterfly kiss necklace Sarahzhuang.com

Silk bouquet, £79.99 www.silkblooms.co.uk Butterfly kiss ring Sarahzhuang.com

Shoes, £150 www.dunelondon.com

Dress by Berta www.berta.com www.BridesAbroad.com 71


Get the look

Romanov crown tiara, www.ivoryandcotiaras.co.uk

Ice Queen

Crystal drop earrings, £26 www.oliverbonas.com

Look super-chilled and stylish in sub-zero temperatures at your WOW wedding in the snow and ice, and strike a pose with cool crystals and hot designs!

Drop earrings, £12,100 www.kohinoorjewellers.com

Pink Saphire and Aquamarine pendant, £27,000 www.kohinoorjewellers.com Joan Lee Feather bolero, £75 www.perditasweddingshoes.co.uk

Aquamarine and Tsavorite ring, £20,400 www.kohinoorjewellers.com

Pearl and silver charm bracelet, £90 www.anniehaakdesigns.co.uk

Donaire Crystal posy, £209.99 www.silkblooms.co.uk

Dress by Daa Larna https://daalarna.hu

Shoes, £250 www.dunelondon.com 72 www.BridesAbroad.com

Pink Saphire and Tanzanite bangle, £6,600 www.kohinoorjewellers.com


Bracelet, £60 www.follifollie.com

Ring, £60 www.follifollie.com

Going for Gold

Stay on trend this season with the brightest gold accessories to glisten in the sunshine at your destination wedding – we say the brighter the better!

Butterfly ring, £2,314 Sarahzhuang.com

Butterfly drop earrings, £5,703 Sarahzhuang.com

Drop earrings, £75 www.follifollie.com Little Posy bracelet stack, £138 www.anniehaakdesigns.co.uk

Butterfly stud earrings, £3,429 Sarahzhuang.com

Long Island Gold bracelet, £65 www.ivoryandcotiaras.co.uk

Leaf bangle, £10 www.accessorize.com Gold ‘Maggie’ hair comb, £50 www.ivoryandcotiaras.co.uk

Gold heart bracelet, £450 linksoflondon.com Gold heart ring, £110 linksoflondon.com

Drop earrings, £3,070 www.kohinoorjewellers.com

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Wedding HairTrends

Stunning new styles hot off the catwalk for this year’s brides For brides-to-be, choosing your dream wedding dress is always regarded as the ultimate, agonising choice, but deciding how to wear your hair for your big day definitely comes a close second. The hair and beauty experts at online retailer Hairtrade.com have compiled a list of five five gorgeous hair trends that are expected to be popular amongst brides this year. When you’ve found your dream location, decided upon your menus and picked the all-important wedding dress, the next logical step is to decide upon an accompanying hairstyle that will be flattering and complement the rest of ensemble. A spokesperson for Hairtrade.com commented: “Deciding how to tame your mane on one of the most important days of your life isn’t a decision to be taken lightly, and it can actually be a bit intimidating when you look at all the many, many options available. “To try and make things a bit easier, we’ve done some research and compiled a list of the five top hair trends that should be popular this year – and some of them might be surprising. “Crimps and casual ponytails might not be the obvious choice for brides, but if done right they can make a gorgeous, understated look.”

FLOWER CROWNS

No, this isn’t referring to the cheap and plastic flower crowns adorned by festival-goers across the globe every summer, but in fact an ornate, bespoke flower crown that will likely use real flowers and foliage. This is the perfect option for outdoorsy and bo-ho brides and those who love nature, or if you’re planning on having an outdoor, beach or festival-style wedding.

RIBBONS

Ribbons and bows are one of the biggest trends storming the runways this season. Simply decorate a soft, relaxed hairstyle with a coloured ribbon to either match or contrast your dress and wedding decorations – whatever you prefer.

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BRAIDS

Braids are adaptable, timeless and can look extremely pretty and romantic. Whether it’s a loose, side swept fishtail fishtail braid or a more structured up-do with layered braids and face-framing tendrils, this classic look won’t look amiss at your 2019 wedding.

CRIMPING

Fulfill your ultimate childhood dream by crimping your hair for your big day. Keep it simple with a loose, tousled look or use individual crimped strands of hair to adorn a fancy up-do.

CASUAL PONYTAIL

Forget lavish buns and swanky hairstyles. Instead, why not make 2019 the year brides across the country ditch the complex up-dos and instead opt for a simple and statement ponytail? You could even add some hair extensions for additional length.

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Beginner’s guide to

Diamonds! If you’re planning the perfect proposal, getting the perfect diamond ring can be a daunting experience. Diamond expert Emily Tebbutt, Jewellery Specialist at Ramsdens, offers her insider tips when shopping for a rock. If you want to guarantee she will say a huge “Yes” when you pop the question then get her the ultimate diamond to set her heart a flutter.

TIP Get to know the ‘Four Cs’

1

Clarity

Diamonds are categorised by Colour, Cut, Carat and Clarity, giving transparency over their quality and value. Each ‘C’ grades a different aspect of the diamond, and the higher the grading, the more valuable the diamond is.

GIA’s clarity scale contains eleven grades, running from ‘Flawless’, where a diamond is completely free of inclusions and blemishes, to ‘Included 3’ where the diamond has significant inclusions (inclusions are naturally occurring minerals and small cracks, known as feathers). The grade given relates to how many and in what position a diamond’s inclusions are when the diamond is viewed under 10x magnification. Most inclusions are not eye visible and therefore nothing to worry about but if you are looking for an ‘eye-clean’ diamond then aim for an SI2 or higher grade. Inclusions can be particularly interesting; some diamonds even have ruby or garnet crystals trapped inside them!

Using the four Cs can be a great way to not only find the perfect diamond, but also one that’s within budget. For example, if a large carat weight is most important, then to save a few pennies we would recommend choosing a lower colour grade. If, on the other hand, it’s the sparkle of the diamond that will impress your fiancée most, you can afford to skim a little on carat or colour. Whatever your preference is, understanding the four Cs is the key to success.

Carat Diamonds are weighed in ‘carats’. There are 100 ‘points’ in one carat, just like 100 pennies in a pound. The carat weight of a diamond usually reflects the diameter of a diamond as most diamonds are cut to exacting proportions to best reflect the light – this is particularly true of round shaped diamonds.

Cut The cut grade refers to the geometric proportions of the gem. The cut affects a diamonds potential to reflect light around the stone and back out. A diamond with a ‘good’, ‘very good’ or ‘excellent’ cut grade will display brightness (known as brilliance) and sparkle (known as fire). This C is the one that is usually forgotten or disregarded but it is hugely important if you want your diamond to shine brightly! The most common cut for an engagement ring is a round brilliant-cut. This cut, given a good cut grading, will reflect lots of light and display flashing colours of sparkle (fire). Although, if you are looking for something slightly different yet still on-trend, a cushion-shape diamond could be for you – they’re either square or rectangular in shape and have rounded corners to give a much softer appearance.

TIP The fifth C is often cost!

2 3

Not everyone’s budget can stretch to Lady Gaga’s $400,000 engagement ring. You may hear that one to three months’ salary is the tradition, but spend what you can realistically afford.

TIP The setting

Often the setting is overlooked, but this sets the tone for the ring’s style. If you’re looking for a ring design to match your partner’s personal style, consider the differences between a simple and chic solitaire compared to an opulent cluster setting. A solitaire will always be the safe bet for a traditional engagement ring style but that doesn’t mean you can’t go for something a little more adventurous. Halo style rings are currently very popular, particularly with a cushion-shape diamond. Or, if you are a lover of vintage, a two-stone ring, also known as a toi et moi ring (made famous by Napoleon and Josephine) could be perfect!

Colour

Buy it!

The diamond-grading laboratory at GIA (Gemological Institute of America) grade colour on a scale from D (colourless) to Z (light yellow). Owning a D colour diamond may be something to aspire to because it has the best possible colour, however you can also compromise on grading here to fit your budget. In fact, to an untrained eye there will be no colour noticeable in a diamond until about a J colour (depending on diamond cut). So, choosing from H-J colour gradings will give you a colourless looking diamond without breaking the budget!

Diamond rings at Ramsdens start at £89 and are available on 0 per cent interest free credit. Ramsdens currently has 25 per cent off selected diamonds; you can browse the collection www.ramsdensjewellery.co.uk

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Planning Guide

78 Weather permitting

Don’t let your wedding day be a washout – check our worldwide weather guide for the sunniest beaches, snowiest peaks and perfect temperatures

82 Pop the Question

Expert wedding planners answer your most frequently asked questions

84 Queen of the desert Morocco

International Wedding Planner, Charlotte Ricard-Quesada, shares the secrets of creating a gorgeous themed wedding in Morocco

88 Ensure your dress arrives safely!

Our guide to transporting your wedding party’s outfits to your destination wedding without any disasters!

90 Ask the planners!

Lisa Burton of the Bridal Consultant professional wedding planning service shares her wisdom and experience with brides-to-be

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January

February

Hot spots

Hot spots

Caribbean, Australia, Australia, Dubai, Dubai, Hawaii, Hawaii, Maldives, Maldives, Caribbean, SriMalaysia, Lanka, Malaysia Mexico, Mexico, Thailand,Thailand, Sri Lanka, Canary Islands

Caribbean, Australia, Dubai, Hawaii, Maldives, SriMalaysia, Lanka, Malaysia Mexico, Mexico, Thailand,Thailand, Sri Lanka, Canary Islands

Cool and chilled

Cool and chilled

European Alps, Iceland, Scandinavia, Colorado USA, Canadian Rockies, Quebec

European Alps, Iceland, Scandinavia, Canadian Rockies, Quebec, Colorado USA

Something different

Something different

Argentina, Egypt, Hong Kong, Morocco, New Zealand, Vietnam, Abu Dhabi

Argentina, Egypt, Hong Kong, Morocco, New Zealand, Vietnam

Jungle & Safari

Jungle & Safari

South Africa, Kenya, Tanzania, Costa Rica

South Africa, Kenya, Tanzania, Costa Rica

Avoid

Avoid

Bali and Indonesia, India, French Polynesia, Fiji

Bali and Indonesia, India, Seychelles, Mauritius, French Polynesia, Fiji

March

April

Hot spots

Hot spots

Caribbean, Australia, Dubai, Hawaii, Maldives, Caribbean, Australia, Dubai, Hawaii, Maldives, Mexico, Thailand,Sri SriLanka, Lanka,Malaysia, Malaysia Canary Islands Mexico, Thailand,

Caribbean, Australia, Dubai, Hawaii, Maldives, Mexico, Thailand, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, Bali

Cool and chilled

Cool and chilled

European Alps, Iceland, Scandinavia, Canadian Rockies, Quebec, Colorado USA

European Alps, Iceland, Scandinavia, Canadian Rockies, Quebec, Colorado USA

Something different

Something different

Argentina, Egypt, Hong Kong, Morocco, New Zealand, Vietnam

Argentina, Egypt, Hong Kong, Morocco, New Zealand, Vietnam, Abu Dhabi

Jungle & Safari

Jungle & Safari

Belize, South Africa, Kenya, Tanzania, Costa Rica

Belize, South Africa, Zambia, Botswana, Borneo

Avoid

Avoid

Bali and Indonesia, Seychelles, Mauritius, French Polynesia, Fiji

India, Mauritius, Zanzibar, French Polynesia, Fiji


rg e h t ttin a Weermi p

May

June

Hot spots

Hot spots

Europe, Dubai, USA, Hawaii, Mauritius, Mexico, Seychelles, Bali

Europe, Bali, Mauritius, Seychelles, Zanzibar, French Polynesia, Malaysia, Hawaii, Fiji

Cool and chilled

Cool and chilled

Alaska, Iceland, Chile

Argentina, Chile, New Zealand

Something different

Something different

Egypt, Hong Kong, India, Morocco, Brazil

Scandinavia, Peru, Hong Kong, Scotland, Ireland

Jungle & Safari

Jungle & Safari

Belize, Borneo, Botswana, South Africa, Zambia

Borneo, Botswana, Tanzania, Zambia

Avoid

Avoid

Maldives, Sri Lanka, Zanzibar, Kenya, Vietnam, French Polynesia

Maldives, Thailand, Dubai, Egypt, Vietnam, Sri Lanka, South Africa, Australia

July

August

Hot spots

Hot spots

Europe, USA, Bali, Mauritius, Seychelles, Zanzibar, French Polynesia, Malaysia, Hawaii, Fiji

Europe, USA, Bali, Mauritius, Seychelles, Zanzibar, French Polynesia, Hawaii, Fiji

Cool and chilled

Cool and chilled

Argentina, Chile, New Zealand

Argentina, Chile, New Zealand

Something different

Something different

Peru, Scandinavia, Japan, Ireland, Russia

Peru, Scandinavia, Japan, Ireland, Russia

Jungle & Safari

Jungle & Safari

Borneo, Botswana, Tanzania, Zambia

Borneo, Botswana, Tanzania, Zambia

Avoid

Avoid

Maldives, Thailand, Dubai, Egypt, Vietnam, South Africa, Australia, Sri Lanka, Morocco

Caribbean, Maldives, Thailand, Dubai, Egypt, Morocco, Vietnam, Australia, Sri Lanka, South Africa


September

October

Hot spots

Hot spots

Europe, USA, Bali, Mauritius, Seychelles, Zanzibar, Hawaii, Fiji, French Polynesia

Europe, USA, Bali, Mauritius, Seychelles, Zanzibar, Maldives, Fiji, Dubai

Cool and chilled

Cool and chilled

Argentina, Chile, New Zealand

Canada, Scandinavia

Something different

Something different

Japan, Morocco, Egypt, India

Japan, Egypt, Morocco

Jungle & Safari

Jungle & Safari

Borneo, Botswana, Tanzania, Zambia

Belize, Borneo, Botswana, Kenya, Tanzania, Zambia, South Africa

Avoid Caribbean, Thailand, Sri Lanka, Vietnam

Avoid Caribbean, Thailand, Sri Lanka, Vietnam, French Polynesia

November

December

Hot spots

Hot spots

Caribbean, Australia, Brazil, Hawaii, Maldives, Thailand, Florida USA, Dubai

Caribbean, Australia, Brazil, Hawaii, Maldives, SriFlorida Lanka,USA, Florida USA,Canary Dubai Islands Thailand,Thailand, Sri Lanka, Dubai,

Cool and chilled

Cool and chilled

European Alps, Canadian Rockies, Colorado USA, Scandinavia, Iceland

European Alps, Canadian Rockies, Colorado USA, Scandinavia, Iceland

Something different

Something different

Japan, Egypt, Morocco, Vietnam

Japan, Egypt, Morocco, Vietnam

Jungle & Safari

Jungle & Safari

Belize, Kenya, Tanzania, South Africa, Costa Rica

Belize, Costa Rica, Botswana, Kenya, Tanzania, South Africa

Avoid Seychelles, Mauritius, Zanzibar, Fiji, French Polynesia, Bali, Borneo, India, Sri Lanka

Avoid Seychelles, Mauritius, Zanzibar, Fiji, Bali, Borneo, India, French Polynesia


When will I receive my Marriage Certificate? It will either be handed to you at the resort or sent via registered post to your home address. Don't panic if it takes a while to arrive – this is normal, especially if you marry in Jamaica where it can take up to 12 months! If you get married in certain countries, like Mexico and the Dominican Republic it will need to be translated, which will cause extra delay. For more information visit direct.gov.uk and search under passports.

The ceremony… Can we invite guests to our wedding? Of course! Some hotels even offer reduced rate weddings for more than four guests. Remember to order extras for your guests, such as more wine, a larger wedding cake or extra buttonholes. If the wedding couple is staying at an All Inclusive resort, they will need to buy oneday passes for guests staying at other hotels, and in adults-only resorts you will need to ask special permission for children to attend the wedding on a day pass. All this can be organised at the resort by your wedding planner.

When do I meet the resort's wedding planner? One to three days after your arrival at your resort. Your wedding planner will sort out the fine details of your wedding, from Champagne to the icing on your cake, and check your documentation so that you can relax as the arrangements are done on your behalf. Once the local registrar is happy your paperwork is in order, your wedding planner will give you a date and time for the ceremony and send out invitations to your guests.

Where will our ceremony take place? The hotel wedding planner will show you the locations to choose from – usually in the gardens of your hotel, or in a decorated wedding pavilion. If you are marrying in Europe you may choose to exchange vows in the local church or town hall, or in Las Vegas, a wedding chapel. The hotel wedding co-ordinator will show you the locations to choose from. It's unusual to have a ceremony on the beach, but many couples take beach photographs after the ceremony.

Who will be at the ceremony? Most overseas weddings are civil ceremonies, in the style of registry office services, unless a religious ceremony has

been pre-arranged. The ceremony will be conducted by a Judge, Celebrant, Minister or Registrar. You will need two to four witnesses, who could be anyone from your wedding guests to people you have met on the beach the previous day. Your wedding planner will be there too, to ensure your day goes without a hitch.

The important bits… How should I transport my wedding dress? We recommend wedding outfits should be packed in a hard suitcase or strong box, as they will be placed in the hold of the plane. It might be an idea to contact your airline for more information. Generally, there is no extra baggage allowance for wedding outfits. You can also take out extra insurance to cover the transportation of your dress.

choice of themed weddings, which feature colour-co-ordinated cakes to match the chosen wedding palette.

Who will take care of my hair and makeup? Every bride wants to look her best and fortunately many hotels have hair and beauty services with makeup artists on hand. Even if they don't, your wedding planner can arrange for experts to come to the hotel.

Can I arrange for a good wedding photographer? At your pre-wedding meeting, your wedding planner will show you examples of local photographers work so that you can choose the style that suits you best. Your video can also be arranged when you get to the resort. Photographer and DVD are usually at extra cost; they are rarely included in your wedding package.

Can I choose my flowers? Absolutely! At the resort, your wedding planner will show you photos of bouquets for you to make a selection. Your wedding bouquet and his buttonhole are included in your wedding package, but extra flowers and buttonholes can be ordered for guests and bridesmaids.

What about the music? You can request whatever music you prefer and it will be arranged for you – from a DJ playing your favourite songs to calypso bands. If you prefer you can pack a CD with your chosen musical selection, which can be played at your wedding.

Will I have a cake? A wedding cake is included in wedding packages; this is usually a sponge cake with white icing. You can add your own decorations, and even arrange for an upgraded cake. Sandals Resorts offer a

What about the wedding dinner? If you have a group of guests at your wedding, a gala dinner is usually arranged as part of your wedding package. If it's just the two of you, your wedding planner will arrange a candle-lit dinner for two in a romantic location.

We want friends and family at the ceremony but can we be alone for our honeymoon? Absolutely. Simply ask your guests to stay at a different hotel close by, or transfer to another hotel after the ceremony.

And finally… How can I find out more? Speak to Brides Abroad’s Wedding Planning Team on 0800 211 8255.


Wedding Planner

Queen of the Desert

MOROCCO

Top International Wedding Planner, Charlotte Ricard-Quesada, founder of La FĂŞte, shares her secrets of creating a stunning wedding in the heart of breathtaking Morocco. 84 www.BridesAbroad.com


Charlotte Ricard-Quesada has designed magnificent, themed weddings for brides and grooms in the UK and worldwide, however, Morocco has held a special place in her heart. She has now created a themed wedding in the mystical Moroccan landscape, which she has suitably named ‘Queen of the Desert’ – the way any bride will feel if she chooses to marry in Charlotte’s unique style.

What was the inspiration behind the Queen of the Desert themed wedding in Morocco? This is a very special shoot for me as it took place in Marrakech, Morocco where I have been going on holiday since I was a child. The desert has always been one of my favourite places and there is a natural beauty, mystery and rawness to Morocco that many people find spellbinding, myself included. In this photoshoot I wanted to showcase how you can combine traditional and modern Morocco, using the stunning natural light and beautiful colours and scenery that is so unique to the country. My colour inspiration for the ‘Queen of the Desert’ photoshoot is earth tones, metallics and patterns that are traditional to Morocco.

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Wedding Planner What was the style vision? I wanted to represent the elegance of the desert, playing on the rawness of the scenery and the intricate details of the dresses and décor. I have, in the past, used animals in other shoots, and so I desperately wanted to get some camels involved. And we did! The soft colours, elegant metallic tones and crisp white elements meant that our creation really popped with the earthy tones and textures around us.

How long did it take to plan? I came up with the concept mood board a couple of years ago during one of my trips to Marrakech, where I was meeting local suppliers for future events. As I relaxed and looked at the Atlas Mountains in the distance, I marvelled at the mix of blue sky, white capped mountains and orange desert. Then it came to me: a wedding dress in the desert! And that’s how ‘Queen of the Desert’ came about! I started sourcing the suppliers upon my return to the UK, and created the most amazing team to come out to Morocco for a marathon three days of shooting!

What was the most unique detail? The cake that Elizabeth, from Elizabeth’s Cake Emporium, created for the shoot was a true masterpiece! Not only was it bespoke (transported in her suitcase all the way from London and assembled piece by piece meticulously by her), it also embodied perfectly what the shoot was about and brought a touch of luxury to the shoot.

What was your favourite element of the shoot? Jacob the camel! He was such a star to work with! And he made a perfect photo opportunity to give the Moroccan setting an authentic touch! And of course, the beautiful Galla Lahav dress that emanated the most magical sparkle as the sun was fading. Gorgeous!

What were the key elements of the photoshoot? As a planner and stylist, I come up with the concept, mood and general feel of a shoot, but then I rely on picking the most talented suppliers knowing that their style will enrich the wedding theme and make it even more unique.

Photography and videography With her experience as a destination wedding photographer, her romantic style, amazing use of light and natural talent, Roberta Facchini was an easy choice for the photography. Shooting in the desert and with the camel was the highlight of her trip. We had the most gorgeous, dreamy light, perfect for Roberta’s style of photography.

86 www.BridesAbroad.com


Alessandro Bordoni is an incredibly talented videographer who has been capturing weddings across the world in the most magical way. I approached him, knowing that he would be the best person to portray this unique shoot. Alessandro was a true professional, filming non-stop the various elements and talking with our model ‘bride and groom’, joking with them in order to get that intimacy and feeling in the shoot that he always achieves in his films.

Bridal fashion, hair and make-up We were lucky enough to have two beautiful wedding gowns for this shoot, one from Galla Lahav that was absolutely jaw dropping, especially when our bride was on the camel! It caught the sunlight and shimmered in an unbelievable way. And the other was from Katya Katya where the light, bohemian-style French laced gown embraced the beautiful surroundings in an almost dream like state.

Harriet Wilde supplied us with the most gorgeous and ornate bridal shoes that fit the brief perfectly, and London Victorian Ring generously lent me a stunning sparkler that I guarded with my life whilst we were out there!

For the hair and make-up, Eva Couturier was my first choice. I had been following her work avidly and admiring her ability to deliver both amazing make-up looks and unique up-dos. She didn’t disappoint!

Wedding cake I needed an absolutely unique cake to be created for this shoot. And so my first and only choice was to approach Elizabeth from Elizabeth’s Cake Emporium to create a bespoke design. Taking inspiration from the mood board, Elizabeth created a six-tier pillow cake to mimic the reclining cushions commonly found in the setting of a Bedouin tent. Using traditional Moroccan geometric patterns, each tier featured individually hand-cut motifs made from sugar. Rich old gold and white were the main colours used on the cake and this combination worked perfectly.

Flower displays Yassab Floral Design is one of the amazing florists based in Marrakech, so she had to be the one that would bring this shoot the floral touch! She delivered gorgeous pastel and leafy touches that brought elements of life to the harshness of the desert.

Stationery With her beautiful and bespoke stationery, Sinead, from Papergrace, created a bespoke handmade torn paper with gold leafing set for the photoshoot. Paired with pastel tones and elegant calligraphy it worked so well for the elegant, boho ‘Queen of the Desert’ vibe.

Special moments? After the last photo was taken on the first day, the sun was low and everyone was shattered. We had just survived day one of two intense days of shooting, and were all so happy with what we had achieved. We all rushed to get a group shot with Jacob, our star camel, and it was amazing watching the sun go down behind the dunes as we packed up for the day.

Any advice for brides-to-be? My advice to all brides is to stay true to who you are when planning your wedding day. If you are a bit quirky then let that shine! If you are more conservative then own it! And if you want to marry abroad, everything is achievable, probably more than you think! Allow your inspiration to grow and change in the beginning, give yourself time. And then, six months before your big day, start ordering, reserving and buying all of your décor elements, but remember to think of what each piece will bring, because it is really easy to over-buy!

Further information

Professional Wedding Planner Charlotte Ricard-Quesada www.la-fete.com

www.BridesAbroad.com 87


Ensure your dress arrives safely! Worrying about the transportation of your bridal gown and wedding party’s outfits abroad for your destination wedding? We ask the experts tips on how to ensure their safe arrival. When mother of the groom, Collette Clare, from the Wirral, arrived in Italy for her son’s glamorous wedding, she was devastated to discover that her expensive wedding outfit, which she had so carefully selected prior to the wedding, had not arrived at its destination. With just days to spare, she waited and hoped it would eventually turn up in time for the big day, but eventually had to resign herself to the fact it was never going to show. It was an emotional time, and many tears were shed. “I was absolutely devastated,” said Collette. “It was my worst-case scenario. Fortunately, my best friend, a wedding guest who had not yet left the UK, was able to go into my wardrobe back home, and bring along an alternative outfit for me to wear. Otherwise, I really don’t know what I would’ve done!” Collette had arranged her wedding outfit in her hand luggage to ensure she could keep her eye on it during her journey. Indeed, we advise brides to travel with their wedding dresses in hand luggage for the all-important journey to their destination wedding.

wedding outfits into the cabin, as long as it fits within the cabin bag allowance of 56 x 45 x 25cm (including handles and wheels if its in a cabin bag), so it can be placed in the overhead locker or under the seat in front,” says Katie. “However, due to the popularity of bringing cabin bags on-board, overhead locker space on our aircraft is sometimes limited. Only if we were unable to accommodate all bags on-board would we ask for some passengers to put their bags into the hold at no charge, but we would always try to accommodate a wedding dress or wedding outfit in the cabin where possible. “It is worth noting that passengers who have upfront seats, or get to the gate early have a better chance of boarding first, when there will be the most room for cabin bags. It is also worth mentioning that you should notify the crew that you are carrying a precious wedding outfit as they would, of course, use their discretion if they needed to move bags into the hold, and try and ensure it wasn’t your bag with the wedding outfit but another bag instead that was moved,” she advises.

However, Collette is one of many airline passengers who have recently been asked to put their hand luggage into hold, due to lack of available space in overhead lockers for passengers’ cabin bags.

Unfortunately, not all airlines have the same policy on hand luggage as easyJet, so if you do intend to carry your wedding outfit onboard, it is worth checking with your airline carrier first to ask for their advice.

Special care for wedding wear

Hand luggage moved to hold

With so many airlines now unable to store all passengers’ hand luggage in the plane’s overhead lockers, due to extra demand, we asked Katie Kershaw, a spokesperson for easyJet airlines ( www. easyJet.com), about their policy on bridal parties carrying those allimportant outfits, and also for any tips the airline can offer.

Travel insurance expert, Allianz Global Assistance UK (www.allianz-assistance.co.uk) is urging travellers to know where they stand when it comes to having their aircraft hand luggage put into the hold at the airline carrier’s request. They are reminding wedding parties and honeymooners as well as general passengers, that if their hand luggage is put into the hold and any valuable items are lost, stolen or damaged, they may not be covered under their travel insurance policy.

“easyJet has one of the most generous cabin bag allowances, with no weight limit. It recognises the importance of being able to take 88 www.BridesAbroad.com


“If you are travelling abroad by plane to a destination wedding or honeymoon, it is possible that you may have your hand luggage taken off you, explains Barry Smith, Underwriting Manager for Allianz Global Assistance in the UK. “If this happens to you, you must ensure you remove all valuables, such as jewellery, wallets, keys, laptops and mobile phones, before they take the case away to put in the hold. Typically travel insurance policies will not cover an individual for valuables that unexpectedly go missing from holdstored luggage.

Your legal rights “If hold luggage is lost, delayed or damaged in transit it is the airline that is liable. Therefore, it is important that you inform the airline as soon as possible if there is an issue with your luggage,” says Barry Smith. “Indeed, most airlines have a dedicated baggage desk within the baggage claims area, so be sure to visit that desk before you leave the airport. Staff there will complete a Property Irregularity Report (PIR), which you must keep safe. Also, all claims to the airline must be made in writing, with claims for lost, stolen or damaged items made within seven days, and claims for delayed luggage within 21 days.

Ideal dresses for destinatnion weddings by Berta: www.berta.com

“People automatically assume that their travel insurance policy will provide cover in the event of their luggage being lost, damaged or stolen whilst in the care of an airline, but this is not necessarily the case. To ensure passengers are reimbursed or reunited with their belongings, they need to be aware of the right action to take, and take it as quickly as possible.”

Baggage tips for travellers

1 2 3

Ensure that all luggage is labelled on the inside in case tags are lost, this should include your name and contact number.

4 5 6 7

All claims to the airline must be in writing.

If your luggage is unexpectedly put into the hold, ensure you remove any valuable items beforehand. If your luggage is lost, delayed or damaged, you must report this as soon as possible at the airport. Most airlines have a dedicated baggage desk within the baggage claims area. Staff will complete a Property Irregularity Report, which you must keep safe.

Claims for lost, stolen or damaged items should be made within seven days. Claims for delayed luggage within 21-days. Let your airline know in advance that you intend to carry a wedding dress/outfit. Keep your eye on your luggage at all times. Do not leave bags unattended, especially at baggage reclaim or in taxi queues – someone may have overheard that you are a guest at a wedding and guess that you have valuables in your luggage.

Packing your wedding dress Transporting your wedding dress abroad is much easier than you think, depending on the style of dress you choose! Unless you’ve dreamed all your life of wearing a huge ‘Meringue’ wedding dress, we advise you choose a gown that’s easy to transport and made from a fabric that can simply be ‘rolled up’ and popped into your hand luggage, along with your wedding shoes and jewellery. The current trend for sleek-line dresses in soft, light fabric, are perfect for weddings overseas. When packing, simply leave the dress on its hanger, with a large polythene cover, then roll it up gently and arrange in you your cabin bag. Shoes can be wrapped in tissue and tucked alongside the dress. Jewellery, accessories and wedding undies can then be arranged into the spaces to keep everything in place and from moving around. Once you arrive at your destination, you will be able to take the dress out, give it a gentle shake and it will fall back into shape, without the need to iron or steam. www.BridesAbroad.com 89


Ask the planners! We asked Lisa Burton of The Bridal Consultant wedding planning service to answer your burning questions on planning a wedding abroad.

How do I choose suppliers?

Do I need a wedding planner? Should I visit my venue first?

I’m planning my own destination wedding and I feel overwhelmed by the number of suppliers that are available. I don’t have a wedding planner to be able to provide recommendations, so I am doing all of my own research and trying to find suppliers that are suited to our needs. Do you have any tips on how to choose the right suppliers for my wedding? Kelly, Southampton

I’m looking at getting married in Greece or Cyprus and I’m toying between the idea of booking a wedding planner or booking my venue independently and organising the details myself. What are the advantages and disadvantages of booking a wedding planner? Bernice, Glasgow

Hi Kelly, The first thing I would suggest it to set a budget for each aspect of your day and be realistic with what you want included within this budget. Having this in place from the outset will help determine which suppliers are fitted to this and rule out which suppliers are not. The next thing I would suggest is to do your research! Look at their past work and ensure you are happy with what you see. Online websites, social media pages and forums are all a great place to read past reviews and testimonials. Once you are happy with the research, the next step would be to contact the supplier and ask any questions you have. Make a list of ‘must haves’ and ensure they can cater for these needs. There are also important questions you need to ask, for example, do you need a deposit to book this supplier? Do they have terms and conditions and a contract in place for you to read and sign before you pay deposit? These three steps will lead you to finding the perfect suppliers for your wedding!

Hi Bernice, The main reasons a couple will choose to book a wedding planner is for their experience and knowledge, for peace of mind and to save them time. Not everybody has time to plan a wedding, especially an overseas wedding, so having a wedding planner there to take care of everything is what makes this the best decision for many brides and grooms. There are, however, couples that do have the time to plan their own wedding and see this as a project which they can enjoy. The benefit of doing your own planning is that you are in charge of arranging all the details and can choose and book your venue and suppliers independently and build a direct relationship with them. Another thing to take into consideration is budget and the cost of using a wedding planner. Wedding planners will charge for their services, so you would need to budget for this. However, this can still be more cost effective as, although you are paying for the service of a wedding planner, they will have very good relationships with venues and suppliers and may be able to negotiate the best deals for you.

Contact Lisa:

Do you have any questions for Lisa Burton, The Bridal Consultant? Email your questions to: lisa@thebridalconsultants.com The Bridal Consultant is a full wedding planning service that specialises in exclusive destination weddings in Santorini and Zakynthos (Greece). www.thebridalconsultant.co.uk 90 www.BridesAbroad.com

I’ve just booked my wedding in the South of France for next June and I’m now having second thoughts. It was all a bit last minute, due to work commitments, so we may not have the time to travel to France beforehand to see the venue. I know it is a gorgeous venue and have read many great reviews from previous brides who have married there. We’ve seen so many stunning photos and video footage, but would you recommend having my wedding in a venue I have not seen first? Rosalind, Essex

Hi Rosalind, Rest assured not all brides and grooms will visit their venue before their wedding when marrying abroad. It can also be very costly for flights/travel and accommodation to visit the venue in advance of the wedding, especially if travelling long-haul. It sounds like you have done your research and have booked based on great reviews, so try not to worry. If possible, arrange to visit the venue a couple of days before the wedding when you arrive. This will give you peace of mind before the big day and will allow you to make any last minute arrangements. Until then, I’d suggest you keep reading the reviews and reach out to previous brides and grooms who have married there. If your suppliers have worked there previously ask them for tips on how to make the most of the venue and the day and then relax and enjoy the run up to your wedding!


Honeymoons

92 Instagram-worthy honeymoons

Make social media headlines by choosing one of the world’s most amazing and Instagrammable destinations for your honeymoon

96 Glamping Europe

Pack your motorhome, caravan or tent and head to Europe’s most glamorous campsites on the road trip of a lifetime

100 Wow stays

Don’t settle for the ordinary, have a unique honeymoon staying in some of the world’s most unusual accommodation, from a wild-west wagon to a bubble room in Mauritius

104 Globe trotting

Your honeymoon is your holiday of a lifetime, so take the opportunity to explore the world. We travel the globe to visit LA, French Polynesia, New Zealand and Singapore – in just three weeks!

114 Sensational St Lucia

Brides Abroad discovers the Caribbean island of St Lucia, known for its iconic twin peaks, walk-in volcano, stunning resorts and beautiful beaches.

www.BridesAbroad.com 91


Advertising Feature

INSTAGRAM-WORTHY

HONEYMOONS!

Position your camera and snap away to ensure that your honeymoon makes Social Media headlines with amazing images from some of the world’s most Instagrammable destinations!

1

Float through Halong Bay Vietnam

Made up of nearly 2,000 limestone islands, Halong Bay is an area known for its exceptional scenic beauty and is one of the greatest natural wonders of the world. Famed for its towering limestone and emerald waters, Halong Bay has been forming for over 500 million years. Honeymooners can visit this UNESCO World Heritage-listed site in an exhilarating day excursion, or can embark on a luxury cruise that allows them to meander around the commanding limestone islands that dwarf the boats beneath. Be sure to snap away for the most incredible photographic memories!

Book it!

Hayes & Jarvis is offering an 8-night multi-centre holiday across Vietnam from ÂŁ2,299 pp. The offer includes one night at the 4-star Silk Path Hotel, on a room only basis, one night on board the 4-star Magic Halong Bay Overnight Cruise, on a full-board basis, one night at the 4-star Silk Path Hotel, on a room only basis, and five nights a the 5-star JW Marriott Phu Quoc, on a B&B basis. The offer also includes return international flights from London Heathrow with Vietnam Airlines. Call Brilliant Honeymoons on: 01937 58 48 92 92 www.BridesAbroad.com


2

Gaze at Victoria Falls Zimbabwe/ Zambia

Made up of nearly 2,000 limestone islands, Halong Bay is an area known for its exceptional scenic beauty and is one of the greatest natural wonders of the world. Famed for its towering limestone and emerald waters, Halong Bay has been forming for over 500 million years. Honeymooners can visit this UNESCO World Heritage-listed site in an exhilarating day excursion, or can embark on a luxury cruise that allows them to meander around the commanding limestone islands that dwarf the boats beneath. Be sure to snap away for the most incredible photographic memories!

Book it!

Hayes & Jarvis is offering an 8-night multi-centre holiday across Vietnam from ÂŁ2,299 pp. The offer includes one night at the 4-star Silk Path Hotel, on a room only basis, one night on board the 4-star Magic Halong Bay Overnight Cruise, on a fullboard basis, one night at the 4-star Silk Path Hotel, on a room only basis, and five nights a the 5-star JW Marriott Phu Quoc, on a B&B basis. The offer also includes return international flights from London Heathrow with Vietnam Airlines. Call Brilliant Honeymoons on: 01937 58 48 92

www.BridesAbroad.com 93


3 Spreading across the horizon, the Northern Lights, or the Aurora Borealis, is one of the Earth’s most intriguing and mesmerizing spectacles. The phenomenon occurs when solar particles from the sun collide with gases in the Earth’s atmosphere, creating a spectacular show of other-worldly colour and patterns. While the natural light show takes place year-round, the best time to see the aurora in the northern hemisphere, such as Yukon or Alaska, is from late August to mid-April, when the night skies are at their darkest and solar wind activity is strong. Check your camera settings if you are to snap this natural phenomena in all its glory!

4

Witness the Northern Lights Canada

Book it!

Hayes Jarvis is offering an 8-night holiday to Canada from £1,749 pp. The offer includes three-nights at the 5-star Four Seasons Hotel in Vancouver, on a room only basis, followed by a fournight Northern Lights tour in Yukon, followed by one final night back at the 5-star Four Seasons Hotel Vancouver, on a room only basis. The offer includes internal flights and return international flights from London Heathrow with Air Canada. Call Brilliant Honeymoons on: 01937 58 48 92

Discover the wonders of Machu Picchu Peru

Travel to South America to discover some of the world’s natural wonders. Machu Picchu is one of the most iconic landscapes and archaeological sites and is one of the Seven Wonders of the modern world. Trek along the famous Inca Trail en-route to the UNESCO World Heritage site, or alternatively travel up the mountains in style on-board the luxurious Belmond train. As well as having some of the most remarkable ruins at the Lost City of Machu Picchu and the Sacred Valley around Cuzco, Peru is also home to incredible natural wonders, including the deepest canyon in the world at Colca and the inhabited floating Uros Islands on Lake Titicaca. Honeymooners wishing to see it all can do so on an escorted Land of the Incas tour. There will be so many amazing photographic opportunities you will be spoilt for choice!

Book it!

Hayes & Jarvis is offering an 11-night holiday to Peru from £3,249 pp. The package includes a 12-day Land of the Incas Tour, internal flights and return international flights from London Heathrow with Air France and KLM. Call Brilliant Honeymoons on: 01937 58 48 92 94 www.BridesAbroad.com


PARTY AT SEA Celebrate your special occasion at sea Enjoy a 2-night mini cruise to Amsterdam, with up to 5 hours exploring this wonderful city from just £94pp. It’s a unique party experience for groups of 10+. Includes: • Glass of champagne & personalised cake • Buffet breakfast both mornings • Buffet dinner & ½ bottle of wine on one crossing Find out more at dfds.co.uk/party

NEWCASTLE!AMSTERDAM NDFDS.CO.UK!PARTY Price is subject to availability & based on 4 sharing sea view cabin. Credit card charges apply. T&Cs apply.


Glamping Europe

Nothing beats getting back to nature! So prepare your motorhome or hitch a caravan to your car or even pack a tent and head to the glamorous camping sites of Europe for the GLAMPING honeymoon of a lifetime! 96 www.BridesAbroad.com


Choosing the route for your road trip to the beautiful caravan sites of Europe is half the fun, as you pour over maps together, planning your adventurous honeymoon journey. Should you take a quick hop on the car ferry at Dover then drive down through France from the port of Calais? Or should you choose an alternative route?

Lake Como

Couples living in the north of England should consider following in the footsteps of Brides Abroad’s newly married journalists, Sally and Mark, who recently Glamped around Europe for an adventure honeymoon. They took a DFDS car ferry from Newcastle to Amsterdam for an interesting, alternative route. “It’s a very civilised way to travel, like a mini-cruise with fine dining and a cosy cabin where you can be rocked to sleep by the ocean waves,” said Sally. (www.dfdsseaways.co.uk) After disembarkation in Holland, our newlyweds, with caravan in tow, headed south into Germany en-route to the shores of Lake Como in northern Italy for a five-night stop-over in a luxury lakeside campsite, followed by a seaside stay at Tellaro, near La Spezia, on the Italian Riviera.

La Spezia

For Sally and Mark, the drive was long and monotonous on the German autobahn, which was heavily populated with commercial trucks and punctuated by service stations where they stopped for caffeine fixes of strong European Espresso. Our couple decided to return via France, for a more relaxing drive on roads that are quieter and more civilized, and they recommend this as an alternative to our readers. They had an overnight stay at a campsite in Mulhouse to break up the journey – a beautiful area between Germany and the French border, with Medieval villages and lush vineyards that beg to be explored further (but that would have to wait until another road trip). Our intrepid honeymooners then continued down through Switzerland and finally into Italy and the shores of Lake Como.

Ferry Crossing DFDS is one of northern Europe’s biggest ferry operators and runs eight passenger routes. From the UK you can cross the Channel from Dover to Dunkirk or Dover to Calais, as well as Newhaven to Dieppe route. The Newcastle to Amsterdam route provides an ideal link from the north. DFDS also operate routes between Norway and Denmark, and crossings linking Germany and Sweden with Lithuania and Estonia. DFDS offers excellent on-board service, facilities, and competitive prices. It currently holds the prestigious award of the World’s Leading Ferry Operator. www.dfdsseaways.co.uk

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Lake Como They say it’s better to travel than to arrive, but this definitely wasn’t the case for Sally and Mark! No campsite could be better placed for exploring Lake Como than Camping Magic Lake in Dongo, with its modern facilities and the most enviable location on the lakeside. The newly-built camping-site consists of 50 pitches, a new toilet block and a popular bar, serving light bites. Supermarkets, restaurants and boat rental are all found close to the camping site. Pitches are in peaceful rows leading down to the lakeside, with plenty of space between pitches. A security gate leads to Lake Como, a lakeside picnic area and a two-mile pedestrian and bicycle path that connects the villages of Dongo and Gravedona – it made a lovely setting for strolls along the shores of the lake and cycling expeditions. Fellow campers were an eclectic mix of families; sports enthusiasts equipped with the very latest water sport equipment, including kite-surfboards and retired couples sipping chilled wine whilst enjoying the tranquil lakeside environment. www.magiclake.it

Tellaro, La Spezia From Lake Como, the drive across to La Spezia in the Italian Riviera took our couple past Milan and through lush, undulating Tuscan countryside, rich in vineyards and sunshine. Our couple headed to the pretty, rustic seaside village of Tellaro where they manoevered their van into a pitch on the hillside of Camping Gianna, which enjoys far-reaching Mediterranean views and is a short stroll from Tellaro and the sandy beach close by. Camping Gianna is located 300 meters from the sea in a quiet location among the olive trees. It offers a choice of pitches with shade or with partial shade, set into the hillside with elevated views, and boasts excellent facilities ranging from a large outdoor swimming pool with sun deck, a poolside bar, pizzeria and restaurant plus a shop selling fresh bread in the morning. On balmy evenings, our couple enjoyed strolling into Tellaro for authentic Italian meals in a choice of tavernas, whilst being serenaded by talented street musicians along the way. www.campeggiogianna.com

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Lake Geneva The return route offered Sally and Mark lots of possibilities for a night stop-over to break up the journey. However, they had no hesitation in choosing Lake Geneva in Switzerland – they just regretted not leaving more time to enjoy Camping terrain de TCS Pointe a la Bise, a magnificent campsite on the shores of the lake, as it had plenty to offer for a longer stay. The luxury campsite has pitches right on the lakeside, with stunning views across Lake Geneva to the city and mountains beyond. The crystal waters of the lake are inviting, so they dipped in and had a swim, and watched other campers enjoying water sport activities, including windsurfing. The camp offers 160 pitches for touring units, plus a few static cabins for hire. Tall trees provide some shade, and being away from the main road the site is peaceful and relaxing. The camp has been recently refurbished to a high standard, offering a pool, shop and restaurant which serves excellent food and a takeaway service. www.tcs.ch

Zandvoort Back in Holland, with time to spare before catching the ferry back to Newcastle, our travellers decided to have one last day of adventure – this time in Zandvoort, a Dutch resort beside a vast expanse of beach, framed by the ink-blue North Sea. It’s a great place to ‘people watch’ as holidaymakers take leisurely strolls along the pure white sand, stopping off in the stylish beach cafes for refreshments. There’s plenty to do here. Walking along the beach is a must. Splashing about in the ocean also looks tempting, with plenty of watersports available along the beach, but in reality, it is the North Sea, and it is a little bit nippy! Away from the beach, Zandvoort boasts a Center Parcs, where the water in the indoor pool is a whole lot warmer, with its 60m slide, hot whirlpool and wave pool – especially if you happen to have kids in tow (we are thinking FamilyMoon!) www.centerparcs.co.uk www.BridesAbroad.com 99


WOW STAYS!

Your honeymoon is the most special holiday you will plan, so why settle for average accommodation when you can enjoy a unique stay at one of the world’s more unusual offerings for an amazing honeymoon experience. 100 www.BridesAbroad.com


CALIFORNIA, USA Wagons of theWildWest Nothing takes you back to America’s Wild West, more than an authentic stay in the new Conestoga Wagon, a unique glamping experience in Yosmite National Park and California’s Gold Country. Yosmite Pines in Yosmite Tuolumne County offers a chance to connect with nature and the great outdoors and re-create the ‘Pioneer Spirit’ without sacrificing comfort in one of the air-conditioned and heated wagons. Each wagon sleeps up to six people and is furnished with a king-size bed and twin-size bunk bed and includes all the mod cons of a luxury kitchen, complete with a picnic table and BBQ. If you are thinking of taking your young family on your ‘Family Moon’ then this could be the perfect choice! visittuolumne.com

Book it! Call Brilliant Honeymoons at Brides Abroad on: 01937 58 48 92

Glamping in Sierra Nevada Mountains Stay in custom-made luxury Airstreams in California for a honeymoon in the great outdoors. AutoCamp, one of America’s leading outdoor hospitality companies, has expanded its stylish outdoor offering to the historic town of Mariposa in the Sierra Nevada mountains, offering adventurous holidaymakers the opportunity to go Glamping by the world-renowned Yosmite National Park. Nestling on 35 acres in the Sierra Nevada Mountains, the site features a choice of 890 deluxe Airstream trailers; 15 luxury tents; three cabin suites; Clubhouse with reception, indoor/outdoor lounge areas, outdoor swimming pool and marketplace offering artisan food and beverages. The Clubhouse includes a scenic roof deck, which is perfect for romantic stargazing!

Book it!

Call Brilliant Honeymoons at Brides Abroad on: 01937 58 48 92

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JAPAN

Floating guesthouse

Guntu – The floating Japanese guesthouse is taking bookings now. Guntu is named after a local blue crab and is a floating hotel, which allows guests to explore different islands within the region. The luxurious boat has 19 guest rooms with ocean views and terraces, a lounge, gym and sushi counter serving freshly caught seafood, which is delivered directly by local fishermen. Guests can explore the islands using tenders to and from the luxury vessel, across the calm waters. All cruises start and end at Bella Vista Marina, Onomichi, Hiroshima. www.setouchitrip.com

Book it! Call Brilliant Honeymoons at Brides Abroad on: 01937 58 48 92

TAHITI

Live like a film star Hollywood film star Marlon Brando made the French Polynesian island of Tetiaroa his private sanctuary. Now you can follow in his famous footsteps whilst helping to save the planet at The Brando, a newly opened hotel in Tetiaroa. This eco-friendly luxury resort relies entirely on renewable energy sources including solar power and coconut oil, locally sourced building materials and recycled components, plus a pioneering deep seawater air-conditioning system to keeps the hotel cool. Guests are also provided with bicycles to ride around the island reduce the carbon footprint. tahititourisme.uk/en-gb

Book it! Call Brilliant Honeymoons at Brides Abroad on: 01937 58 48 92

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MAURITIUS Don’t burst the bubble! Stay in the amazing Bubble Lodge in Mauritius, for a unique honeymoon experience. Nestling in the jungles of Mauritius, the bubble hotel room, in the grounds of the historic Cap Malheureaux tea plantation in Bois-Cheri, offers panoramic views from its breathtaking position amidst lush jungle. At night newlyweds can lie back in air-conditioned luxury, and gaze into the starry night sky from their bedroom or lounge. The ecofriendly ‘dreaming bubbles’ were created by French designer Pierre Stephane Dumas, and are 100 per cent renewable, designed to have no environmental impact. Guests can add a private gourmet dinner, exclusive waiter service, personal stargazing session, street food experiences and tours of the plantation and island by helicopter.

Book it!

www.offthemap.travel/destinations/mauritius

COLORADE, USA Stay on a ranch Known for its legendary western hospitality, C Lazy U Ranch is a luxurious dude ranch, which celebrates its 100th anniversary this year. Honeymooners can take in the fresh country air by day with romantic horse rides, mountain hikes and fly fishing. When the sun sets, a delicious gourmet meal is served before guests retire to their cosy log cabins. If you are wondering where to go for a hen party with a difference, the ranch could also be an ideal choice – The ranch hosts special events throughout the year including a special female-only Body, Mind and Equine retreat, where guests will use yoga and yogi practices to improve horsemanship from ground to saddle. www.clazyu. com www.colorado.com

Book it! Call Brilliant Honeymoons at Brides Abroad on: 01937 58 48 92

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GlobeTrotting

Planning your honeymoon is your chance to turn dreams of distant shores and desert islands into reality – so why not take the chance of a lifetime with a trip round the world? It’s easier than you think! Brides Abroad editor Terri Cody-Owen and husband Martin took the plunge last April and went round the world in just 21 days! They cleared their diary, bought round-the-world tickets with Air New Zealand and set off on the ultimate adventure – taking in a few ‘Bucket List’ destinations along the way. It all began with the booking of a luxury cruise aboard M/S Paul Gauguin to sail around French Polynesia in the South Pacific – from

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Tahiti to breathtaking islands, including Bora Bora and Moorea. Their holiday agenda gathered momentum, and soon expanded into a world trip as they worked out their route and options. Los Angeles was the first hub of the journey, followed by a connecting flight to Tahiti, so why return the way they came? An adventure is an adventure, so the globetrotting pair took the opportunity to throw stopovers in New Zealand and Singapore into the equation. Result? A-Trip-Round-The-World! WOW!


Los Angeles With eight hours to kill between arriving at LAX airport in Los Angeles and taking a connecting flight to Tahiti, it was a no-brainer to turn this stop-over in Los Angeles into 5-night holiday – enough time to take in sights and sounds of LA, sightseeing, shopping and getting into the LA groove! If Los Angeles looks familiar, its because you’ve seen it so often in the movies, after all, this Californian city is at the centre of the national film and television industry, and with mild weather, beautiful people, stylish shopping and Hollywood, it’s easy to understand its appeal.

Beach life Beach life is a huge part of the Los Angeles culture thanks to its enormous long stretch of white sand beach that hugs the coastline between Malibu, Santa Monica, Venice Beach, Marina del Ray and the airport beyond. Stroll, jog or better still cycle with the locals along the vast promenade, have a coffee on Santa Monica Pier, watch beach babes sunbathing on the sands or Alpha males honing their bodies at Muscle Beach. Stroll along the boardwalk at Venice Beach – a popular hangout of artists and musicians, where you will discover an eclectic mix of shops and store selling anything from souvenirs to cannabis products!

Film world Catch a glimpse of movie and TV stars at studios including Paramount Pictures, Universal Film Studios and Warner Brothers, which offer behind-the-scene tours. Visit the Walk of Fame on Hollywood Boulevard and touch the pavement stars of famous celebrities who have been honoured through the ages, and be sure to visit the iconic Hollywood sign in the hills overlooking the city.

Shopping What’s your budget? You will find everything from highend designer stores in Rodeo Drive, Beverly Hills where you will definitely need deep pockets, to more realistic high-street prices in West Hollywood (WeHo) at the Grove shopping centre and the original Farmer’s Market in W Third Street – home to artisan grocers, eclectic shops and eateries. You will also find plenty of fashionable boutiques in Santa Monica, between 6th and 17th streets.

Stay in Style! $ - Ramada Plaza by Wyndham, Santa Monica Boulevard, West Hollywood www.ramadaweho.com $$ - Hotel MdR – a Doubletree by Hilton Hotel, Maxella Avenue, Marina del Ray, just 5-mins from Venice Beach. www.doubletree3.hilton.com $$$ - Beverly Wilshire, Rodeo Drove/Wilshire Boulevard, Beverly Hills. www.fourseasons.com

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Advertising Feature

FrenchPolynesia After an eight-hour flight from LA you’ll arrive in Papeete airport on the island of Tahiti in the South Pacific. Our intrepid couple stayed for two nights at Le Meridien Tahiti before boarding the luxury ship M/S Paul Gauguin, for a wonderful seven-day cruise of the stunning Leeward Group of Society Islands, including Bora Bora, Moorea, Huahine and Taha’a. The M/S Paul Gauguin is a small cruise ship with just 332 passengers and 217 crew. It offers something distinctly more personal and intimate than the super-sized ships that have become the cruising norm. An all-inclusive cruise aboard the Paul Gauguin will make honeymooners feel like guests aboard a billionaire’s private yacht, with luxurious facilities including excellent dining in a choice of restaurants, three bars, theatre, casino, fitness centre, spa, marina and pool deck for chilling in the sunshine.

Day 2 – Huahine First stop is the gorgeous island of Huahine, home of Tahitian royalty. It boasts lush tropical jungle and thriving coconut plantations, vanilla orchards and banana groves with sacred temples hidden in dense vegetation.

Day 3 – Tahaa and Motu Mahana Next port of call is Tahaa – an island surrounded by a turquoise lagoon with many islets, including Moto Mahana, owned exclusively by Paul Gauguin Cruises. Passengers are taken by boat to party on this tropical island where a BBQ feast is washed down with as many cocktails as you can drink!

Day 4 & 5 – Bora Bora The ship drops anchor for two days at Bora Bora, allowing passengers plenty of time to explore this honeymoon paradise, island, fringed with white sand and luxury resort hotels on stilts over the lagoon. Mt Otemanu, a 727m dormant volcano is Bora Bora’s distinctive central landmark.

Day 6 & 7 – Moorea The fifinal nal stop-over is Moorea, where the ship moors in the bay for two nights so passengers can discover its natural beauty, including pineapple fields fields and coco palms, just 44km from Tahiti.

Blessings Aboard Honeymooners and anniversary couples are invited to take part in a traditional sunset Wedding Blessing aboard ship, beginning with the reading of a love poem, and ending with the couple being wrapped in a special ‘love blanket’.

Book it! Prices from £3,418 pp including all meals and drinks on-board as well as the flight between Los Angeles and Papeete. For reservations call Paul Gauguin Cruises on 020 7399 7691 or visit www.pgcruises.com 106 www.BridesAbroad.com


New Zealand In less than 6 -hours from Tahiti, (though, if you are trying to keep track of time at this stage, you may want to give up, as you loose a full 24 hours mid-flight when you cross the International Dateline!) our couple landed in Auckland, New Zealand. It’s a long way from British shores, and this trip provides the ideal opportunity to see this amazing country that’s literally at the other side of the world! Surprisingly, just a five-night stopover in NZ allows you enough time to have fun and discover some of the delights that North Island NZ has to offer. Blessed with vast landscapes of grazing land, rolling hills, native forests, beautiful beaches, mud pools, geysers and ancient volcanoes offering many walking and biking trails, you will be in awe of its beauty. Visit vineyards and sample crisp New Zealand wines, quaint country towns and thriving cities, including Auckland and Wellington. Discover the rich history and culture of North Island with its Maori influences and be sure to find time to relax in the warm sunshine!

Auckland The trendy city of Auckland is the largest in New Zealand and has striking modern architecture and a thriving port. The iconic Sky Tower is 380 meters high and offers adrenaline activities, dining and a 360-degree panoramic view across the city and surrounding countryside beyond.

Bay of Islands Hire a car in Auckland and head north to the Bay of Islands, driving a picturesque route along the west coast, through the Forests of Waipoua with their majestic Kauri trees – stop off and gaze at the magnificent Tane Mahuta, the biggest kauri tree in existence. The towns of Paihia and Russell are the main resorts in the Bay of Islands – Russell is a quaint colonial town with historical buildings, whilst Paihia is a bustling port with a thriving jetty from which you can take one of many boat excursions around the islands. Our adventure loving couple stepped aboard The Hole in the Rock Cruise on a power catamaran and set off in search of dolphins, whales and other marine life, which they witnessed in abundance, whilst cruising past unspoilt islands, and holding their breath as the boat passed through the awesome Hole in the Rock. The trip was rounded off with a tasty BBQ lunch at Otehei Bay, a beautiful island paradise. www.exploregroup.co.nz

Stay in style AUCKLAND: Martin and Terri stayed at Grand Mercure Auckland, perfectly located at the heart of the waterfront district overlooking the harbour and surrounding shops and restaurants. www.accorhotels.com BAY OF ISLANDS: The 4-star Scenic Hotel, Paihia is just a short walk from the centre of the village and is a perfect base to explore local shops and restaurants and take boat excursions. www.scenichotelgroup.co.nz For further information: www.austravel.com

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Singapore It’s easy enough to return to the UK from New Zealand via Los Angeles. However, that would’ve been too easy for our intrepid travellers, who were determined to circumnavigate the world. So Martin and Terri flew to Singapore, a ten-hour flight from New Zealand, to experience this iconic city in the Far East. After a 24-hour stopover, they would return home, having flown all the way round the world in just 21 days. Yey! Singapore is a gateway to the world. It’s an island city-state off southern Malaysia, and is a global financial centre with a tropical climate and multicultural population. This thriving city oozes wealth and prosperity, with its state-of-the-art architecture and colonial core that centres on the Padang, a cricket field since the 1830s and now flanked by grand buildings such as City Hall, with its 18 Corinthian columns. In Singapore’s Chinatown stands the Buddha Tooth Relic Temple, said to house one of Buddha’s actual teeth!

Sentosa Island Sentosa is a holiday island resort off Singapore’s southern coast, connected to the city by road, cable car, pedestrian boardwalk and monorail. By Sentosa Station, Tiger Sky Tower has panoramic views that can stretch as far as Indonesia. On the south coast, Palawan Beach is a sandy beach lined with food stalls and bars, with a suspension bridge to a small offshore island. For a more secluded beach, the palm-fringed, crescent-shaped Tanjong Beach is a more tranquil offering.

Stay in Style W Singapore Sentosa Cove is a funky 5-star hotel on Sentosa Island that is totally unique and an oasis of modern luxury. A regular shuttlebus runs directly from the hotel lobby to all the attractions of Singapore, including the financial district. With its signature quirky design, excellent service and facilities reflecting the high quality of W Hotels, it features two excellent restaurants, two bars, a marina, spa, fitness club and one of Singapore’s largest outdoor pools. All 240 rooms have large beds with 350-thread luxury linen and floor to ceiling windows. www.starwoodhotels.com 108 www.BridesAbroad.com


ELITE CARIBBEAN HONEYMOONS

Honeymooners can discover the beauty, charm and flavour of the Caribbean at an all-inclusive Elite Island Resort on a choice of islands that perfectly suits their individual style – or say: “I do” in a romantic beach ceremony beneath the swaying palms.

THE GRENADINES

The 32 islands of Saint Vincent and The Grenadines offer a tropical Caribbean paradise – sun-kissed beaches, turquoise waters and swaying palms. The islands are free of tourist crowds and offer a diversity of lifestyles – from yachts and trendy boutiques to ramshackle rum shops and deserted beaches.

Palm Island Resort & Spa, The Grenadines Palm Island is Elite Island Resort’s own private island resort, and is perfect for Caribbean weddings and honeymoons in a magical setting. With coconut palms, soft white sand beaches and turquoise sea, it’s an idyllic place to relax and unwind. The secluded boutique resort blends in with its natural surroundings with many of its 43 rooms, suites and villas located on the beach. Facilities include swimming pool with waterfall feature, fitness centre, tennis courts, beachfront spa, two bars plus delicious dining in two beachfront restaurants.

ST LUCIA

St Lucia’s coastline is amazing with its secluded coves, unspoiled beaches and two iconic volcanic peaks, known as the Pitons, which are a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Complementing its shores are miles of lush rainforest, sparkling waterfalls and the world’s only ‘drive-through’ volcano.

St James’s Club Morgan Bay, St Lucia Set in a stunning location, just 10 minutes from Rodney Bay Marina, and offering plenty of Caribbean charm, this fun-filled All-inclusive beachfront resort has an abundance of first-class facilities making it perfect for families, couples and weddings. It is a refreshingly casual resort with a wealth of activities, water sports, six delightful dining options, bars, four swimming pools, one with swim-up bar, plus The Hilltop Spa offering luxurious Couples Treatments.

BARBADOS

A favourite haunt of the rich and famous, Barbados’s friendly, laidback atmosphere offers glamour and sophistication. It’s also an idyllic honeymoon destination with beautiful beaches, lush landscapes with rolling hills, bustling towns, blue lagoons and coconut groves.

The Club, Barbados Resort & Spa In a gorgeous setting on the west coast of Barbados, known as the ‘Gold Coast’ The Club, Barbados Resort & Spa is an All-inclusive oceanfront resort that exudes the signature warm hospitality of Barbados. Nestling amid lush tropical gardens, the resort caters for couples and newlyweds, offering comfortable accommodation in a choice of 143 rooms and suites. The Club, Barbados has three swimming pools, tennis courts, watersports, fitness centre, Tranquillity Body & Soul Spa, two delectable restaurants and four cosy bars.

BOOK IT! www.eliteislandresorts.co.uk


ANTIGUA

The largest of the English-speaking Leeward Islands, Antigua is renowned for its 365 white-sand beaches and its rich culture. Explore Nelson’s Dockyard, a UNESCO World Heritage Site with naval buildings that date back to the 18th century and its internal rainforest, which attracts hikers, nature lovers and zip liners.

Galley Bay Resort & Spa, Antigua The authentically Caribbean-style Adults-Only Galley Bay Resort & Spa is set on a long powdery white-sand beach surrounded by lush gardens and a lagoon. This award-winning All-Inclusive boutique resort has a refined, yet unpretentious atmosphere in a romantic setting, which is perfect for honeymoon bliss! The resort features a large swimming pool with waterfall, three restaurants, beach grill, rum shack bar, watersports, walking and cycling trails, tennis court, spa, gym and beach yoga pavilion.

St James Club & Villas, Antigua

Pineapple Beach Club, Antigua

Close to Nelson’s Dockyard, the All-Inclusive St James’s Club & Villas enjoys a prime position on a secluded peninsula between two magnificent white sand beaches. This exclusive hideaway caters for families and honeymooners and also offers dream wedding packages. It has a breezy, club-like ambiance with first class facilities including six swimming pools (two adults only), water sports, five restaurants, six bars, spa, fitness centre, tennis courts, cinema and marina. Luxury accommodation is offered in suites and villas, including Royal Suites overlooking the bay, perfect for honeymooners.

Fronted by a quarter-mile arc of white-sand beach and clear waters, the All-Inclusive Pineapple Beach Club is an adults-only retreat and the perfect getaway for newlywed couples and destination weddings. Kick off your flip-flops and dip your toes in the sand, go exploring or simply savour the beauty and tranquillity of your surroundings. The resort offers three freshwater swimming pools, watersports, including sailing, snorkelling and windsurfing, tennis courts, fitness centre and Tranquillity Body & Soul Spa. Dining is in a choice of five superb restaurants, plus two bars.

The Verandah Resort & Spa, Antigua Set amid turquoise waters and lush green gardens, The Verandah Resort & Spa is an All-Inclusive oasis of relaxation and tranquillity, perfect for families, newlywed couples and destination weddings. It has two white sand beaches, one with the popular Rasta Bar, plus a host of first-class facilities and activities, including a large central swimming pool, adults-only swimming pool and villa pool, watersports, spa, 18hole mini golf course and kids club. Delectable cuisine is served in a choice of five restaurants plus nightly entertainment.

COMMING SOON! Hammock Cove Resort, Antigua Antigua’s newest All-inclusive, adults-only retreat is set to open late summer 2019, in an impressive location, close to Devil’s Bridge National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The resort overlooks the bright, turquoise Caribbean Sea and will offer free-standing private villas with their own infinity edge plunge pools and hanging chair in a haven of elegant seclusion.

BOOK IT! www.eliteislandresorts.co.uk


Sugar Ridge Just a short stroll from the turquoise waters of Jolly Beach and Jolly Harbour Marina, Sugar Ridge is a luxurious, boutique-style hotel set on the verdant hillside overlooking the Caribbean ocean. This honeymoon haven offers the charm of a tropical sugar plantation with spectacular views across the bay

Named after the sugar cane crops with which it shares its border, Sugar Ridge features 60 charming guest suites, built into the hillside, with panoramic views of the coastline from their generous balconies. Sugar Ridge is a haven of relaxation – perfect for couples looking for a chic honeymoon retreat rather than a family beach resort. However, a choice of some of the best beaches in Antigua are within easy walking distance, or via the hotel’s shuttle service, including Jolly Beach, Darkwood Beach, Jackie O’s, Turners Beach, Fryers Beach and the Nest Beach – Sugar Ridge has concessions with several of the beaches for sun-loungers and free dining for all-inclusive guests.

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The resort is designed in tropical Caribbean plantation style with a contemporary twist. It boasts two swimming pools where you can take a dip and enjoy poolside refreshments, including freshly prepared Sushi, afternoon tea and cocktails. The main pool is a split-level work of art, with a wall of water cascading into the lower pool, whilst in a spectacular hilltop location at the highest point of the resort, an infinity pool stretches out from Carmichaels Bar and Restaurant, where you can enjoy an evening dip and a cocktail whilst enjoying the breathtaking views across to Jolly Harbour Marina and the turquoise Caribbean Sea. Fitness and relaxation are top priorities at Sugar Ridge, where the whole ground floor of the main building is taken up by the Aveda Spa,


with a Couples Therapy suite and dedicated Pilates and yoga studio. There’s also a Fitness Centre with a generously proportioned state-of-the-art, air-conditioned gymnasium.

Rooms with a view The hotel’s luxurious guest rooms are located in several low-rise accommodation blocks nestling throughout the natural hillside of Sugar Ridge, providing intimate havens for guests. Rooms are airy, spacious and tastefully furnished in chic colonial style. Their large verandahs have a dining area offering splendid views from their elevated positions. Ground floor rooms also feature private plunge pools.

Wining and dining For a magical dining experience, Carmichaels boasts a wonderful location at the resort’s summit, and blends fine dining with awesome views. Fresh fish is a specialty, however there are many other delicious choices, and service is always charming and attentive. Many guests come up to Carmichaels at dusk to toast the sunset with a glass of chilled bubbly and perhaps to also enjoy a refreshing sunset dip the bar’s infinity pool. Sugar Club is the hotel’s primary restaurant at ground level in the main pavilion, where you can dine indoors or outside on the verandah. The décor has a distinctive ambience of spacious, colonial living, with its dark woods and airy open-plan. Food is served here throughout the day, from breakfast and lunch to formal evening dinner. A comfortable bar area is the perfect place to enjoy the nightly cabaret with a relaxing drink. Guests can choose to stay at the hotel on a B&B, Half-Board or All-Inclusive basis.

Weddings Sugar Ridge is a beautiful place to say: “I do” – and you can choose to have both your ceremony and reception at Carmichaels at the top of the resort for a spectacular setting. Couples can hire the entire restaurant and bar for large wedding parties and dance into the night with their guests. Smaller parties are also catered for or if it’s just the two of you, then bride and groom can enjoy an intimate romantic wedding meal together. However, should you choose to marry further afield, weddings can be arranged at a number of locations, including religious services at the nearby Valley Church, or on one of surrounding sandy beaches. The dedicated wedding advisor at Sugar Ridge can make the arrangements for you and ensure that you have the wedding of your dreams. A range of Wedding Packages are available, which can be customised to meet the couple’s individual requirements.

Further information Sugar Ridge Hotel Jolly Harbour St Marys Antigua Tel: (268) 562 7700 reservations@sugarridgeantigua.com www.sugarridgeantigua.com

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Sensational

St Lucia

Known as the most welcoming !aribbean island of all, "mily !illiams discovers the pictures"ue settings and flamboyant flavours of St Lucia at one of its best-loved bouti"ue hotels, !ap Maison

For most newcomers arriving at this unspoilt isle in the West Indies, their initial surprise is its lusciously green and awe-inspiring scenery. As a first time visitor myself, I quickly fell into a spellbound silence as I peeled down the window to watch the sunlight splinter through a fluorescent tunnel of jungle undergrowth. Jurassic forest ferns, bountiful banana plantations and a jumble of multi-coloured bungalows imbued the landscape with vitality at every turn - little did I know then that this was just a taste of the magic to come.

# Tropical Oasis

In it’s tranquil setting in the North-western tip of the island, arriving at Cap Maison, a bygone sugar plantation, felt like discovering a 5-star secret. With a bubbling glass of champagne in hand, I was welcomed with a friendly tour of the estate, from the ornate courtyard fountain and onto verdant lawns where guests can wander at will. Veronica Shingleton-Smith is the horticultural visionary behind these 3.5-acres of natural beauty; she landscaped the grounds using native plants at varying heights and textures to match the non-cookie cutter feel of the property. Her gardening flair strikes the perfect mix of intimacy and spaciousness, which lends itself to a private houseparty vibe if the venue is exclusively hired for weddings or events. 114 www.BridesAbroad.com


Bouti!ue !hic

Cap Maison has a distinctive Mediterranean appeal; its intricate wrought iron balustrades, rustic terracotta tiles and characterful jalousie shutters add points of interest in every plane of view. The hacienda style saturates the hotel even in its outermost suites, like the White Cedar Ocean View Villa where I stayed. I admired the rich cedar wood furniture contrasting against the colourful cushions in this charming split-level apartment, which also features a wellequipped kitchen dining area, a lavish double vanity bathroom and even a sea-spying Jacuzzi on the upstairs balcony. In the master bedroom, the magnificent four-poster is adorned with luxurious Egyptian cotton sheets and down feather pillows that make falling asleep effortless. Each night I’d drift off reading a thoughtful love poem left by the turn down service, and listening to the lullaby of tumbling ocean waves.

"x!uisite !uisine

For me, Cap Maison’s hallmark is its array of novel culinary experiences, with Michelin trained Craig Jones at its helm. His intuitive pairing of ingredients guarantees both surprise and satisfaction on every plate - it’s no wonder why both restaurants are gaining national acclaim. Next to the picturesque salt-water pool with its elegant recliners and sea coral patio, the West IndiesFrench fusion restaurant, The Cliff at Cap, is a stilted open-air shack overlooking the Caribbean. From here, guests can gaze over to Pigeon Island and the distant outline of Martinique on a clear day. It was here that I first encountered the nutritious soursop, a succulent sweet fruit with potential cancer-fighting properties. In the evenings, I particularly enjoyed the seared scallops and Saturday tapas menu, which offers a delicious variety of bite size tasters accompanied with soulful live music. For a more laid back setting, The Naked Fisherman is Cap Maison’s beachfront bistro. Its raised decking overlooks Smugglers Cove, fringed by forest foliage and dazzling emerald shallows. The al fresco bistro serves superior burgers, as well as fresh local catches stacked with grilled plantains and homemade salsa. These are just two of many hearty plates to swill down with the citrus Naked Fisherman IPA, or a classic Piton beer.

Stroll in The !ellar

Tucked away behind Saman House, (the estate owners’ original residence), Cap Maison’s cool and quiet crypt is open for weekly wine and rum tastings led by the expert sommelier. The private session provides a fascinating interactive insight into the unique production of the hotel’s finest tipples, including a dessert wine from Louis Vuitton’s very own vineyard. From a crisp Sauvignon Blanc to a fruity Pinot Noir, each wine is paired with a palate-tingling of salty cheese, creamy risotto and chocolate truffles to best complement the wine. But once you’ve found your favourite drink, guests can order it by zip line to the property’s secluded ocean outpost, Rock Maison. This astonishing setting has been famed as one of the most unique and romantic spots to wine, dine, propose and wed in the Caribbean.

Premium Pampering

Beyond the honesty shop and bar where guests can select souvenirs or pour a generous nightcap at their own accord, the homely ethos flows into the boutique Spa Maison at the end of the corridor. Here I was welcomed by the attentive masseuses and led into a tranquil room to begin a specialised Swedish massage. Soothed by meditative music and the rhythmic rub of Parisian Sothy’s oils, time slumbered by and I awoke feeling both relaxed and reinvigorated for the day.

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Reach Your Peak

St Lucia is world-renowned for its twin peaks in the former capital of Soufrière. For adventurous duos, a trip to St Lucia would not be complete without hiking Gros Piton, the larger of the two iconic UNESCO World Heritage Site landmarks. At dawn’s first light, I was driven to the south of the island to beat the sun’s intensity on the ascent. My nimble guide adjusted to my pace, and motivated me up the challenging rainforest trail. Soon I was soaring above the zenith of the neighbouring Petit Piton, and reached a pure state of elation at the summit. If a milder climb is more suited to you, I would also suggest visiting Fort Rodney atop the pretty Pigeon Island in Gros Islet. Cap Maison staff packed a picnic of a delightful assortment of crab brioche rolls, fruit platters and an iced bottle of white wine in a romantic woven

basket. Once left to my own devices, I explored the 18tth-century cannons, read about the region’s colonial history and indulged in picnic perfection.

Set Sail

Cap Maison provides a host of non-motorised sports from kayaking and paddle boarding to house reef snorkelling, and the option to horse ride along the rugged coastline is another bucket list activity. But for a spectacular sunset experience on the water, the 46-foot ‘Sea Ray’ yacht’s foredeck offers a floating front row seat. Basking in its barefoot luxury, I’ll never forget witnessing the rare fluorescent green flash as the sun liquefied below the horizon. It was a peaceful moment of reflection and gratitude to complete a sensational stay in St Lucia.

Further information

Book it!

Room rates at Cap Maison start from £370 per room/night for a garden view room including breakfast in low season to £1,600 a night for a 3-bedroom villa in peak season.

Brides Abroad’s Brilliant Honeymoons Tel: 01937 584892 www.bridesabroad.com

Tailored wedding packages start at £900. To book out Cap Maison entirely costs from £16,000 per day. Weddings are hosted every three weeks to ensure maximum exclusivity. www.capmaison.com

116 www.BridesAbroad.com


Advertising Feature

Discovering

Eden

For a simply heavenly honeymoon or destination wedding, the award-winning !den Roc "ap "ana in the #ominican Republic is Paradise found! Eden Roc Cap Cana is one of most luxurious resorts in the Caribbean, nestled in the exclusive community of Cap Cana on the easternmost tip of the Dominican Republic, which is famed for its beachfront beauty. Surrounded by lush greenery, awe-inspiring ocean panoramas, verdant gardens and lagoon-style pools, there is no finer place to say ‘I do’ or honeymoon in the ultimate private paradise as you unwind amid swaying palm trees, sugar white sands and crystal clear water


Beautiful weddings

No day is more special than your wedding, and no destination is better suited to make all your wedding dreams come true than Eden Roc Cap Cana. With expert planners on hand, the stunning resort is an idyllic setting to celebrate love surrounded by family and friends, with the brilliant blue Caribbean as a backdrop on Caletón Beach. Exchange vows under a picturesque pergola perched atop the white sands, with graceful chairs set up for guests, before joining family and friends for a beachside celebration. Couples can also tie the knot in the resort’s beachfront gazebo, perfectly positioned to delight you and your guests with unforgettable sea views.

!ream honeymoons

Having recently partnered with HoneymoonWishes.com to provide the most advanced tool to create bridal registries centred on honeymoon gifts and experiences, Eden Roc Cap Cana has ensured newlyweds can enjoy the most exclusive and memorable stay. For those looking to celebrate their honeymoon at Eden Roc Cap Cana, there is nowhere more romantic to stay than the resort’s new Oceanfront Pool Bungalows. Four exclusive freestanding suites situated right on the ocean come with their own infinity pools overlooking the ripping waves and private butler service. Flanked by rustling coconut fronds and offering complete privacy, each stunning bungalow also feature wrap-around terraces for al-fresco dining and private steps that lead directly to the impossibly blue sea.

Beach "lub

The luxury hotel’s private Beach Club sits directly on its Blue Flag-certified beach, and features a stunning infinity pool overlooking the white sands and ocean. Guests can enjoy bespoke Beach Butler service, which ensures they are waited on hand and foot as they recline by the pool or in exclusive cabanas facing the ocean on the powder-soft beach.

Spa bliss!

If you need a reason to venture out of your private paradise or tear yourself away from the Beach Club, it’s for the ultimate relaxation at the brand-new, world-class Solaya Spa & Wellness centre. The first Natura Bissé branded spa in the world, it offers 30,000 square foot of indulgent space and 12 treatment rooms, which sit alongside the spa’s Swedish sauna, Hammam, rainfall showers and outside Jacuzzi.

!ining and dining

A wedding or honeymoon at Eden Roc Cap Cana is the perfect excuse to indulge, and guests can enjoy incredible meals at any of the three restaurants each with a distinct flair, including a signature fine dining restaurant, Mediterraneo, which blends continental techniques with Caribbean produce for some of the finest food found on the island, which can also be enjoyed in the Garden of Eden, the hotel’s lush natural grotto, or in the cosy wine cellar, La Cava. Ocean-front La Palapa at the Eden Roc Beach Club is the ideal setting to enjoy fresh fish and outstanding 360-degree views, and guests can also experience BLUE Grill & Bar which serves an array of healthy, international dishes, inspired Robatayaki and Nikkei techniques. Guests looking for exceptional drinking holes need look no further; from the cosy wine cellar La Cava to nautical bar Riva and from Blue’s exceptional cocktail list to the Beach Bar, there’ll be plenty to pique your interest.

Book it!

info@edenrocpuntacana.com www.edenroccapcana.com


Brilliant Honeymoons! Enjoy the holiday of a lifetime with the one you love

Your honeymoon is the most important holiday you will ever have, but finding the perfect destination at the right time of year, at the best price can be a daunting prospect. That’s why the Brilliant Honeymoons team is here to help you plan your dream honeymoon! Whether it’s basking on a white sand beach under a palm tree, cruising between tropical islands, an actionpacked safari or an adrenalin-fuelled Alpine adventure, Brides Abroad’s Brilliant Honeymoons team will help you find the perfect honeymoon package. All Brilliant Honeymoons are fulfilled by Brilliant Travel, part of the award winning Barrhead Travel group and therefore fully ABTA and ATOL protected.


from

£2,189pp from

£795pp ST LUCIA, CARIBBEAN

MALDIVES & DUBAI 3 nights in Dubai at the 5* Grosvenor House Hotel, followed by 7 nights on Half Board in a Private Beach Villa at Royal Island Resort, Maldives. Including flights from Manchester and transfers. Various dates available.

7 nights All-Inclusive at the adults-only St James Morgan Bay, St Lucia. Ocean View Room. Excluding flights.Various dates available.

from

£1,395pp DOMINICAN REPUBLIC, CARIBBEAN DESTINATION WEDDINGS Whether it’s just the two of you under a swaying palm, or a Big Fat Greek Wedding with the whole family and all of your friends, Brides Abroad’s Brilliant Honeymoons team can recommend the finest venues in the world to suit your individual style! Most importantly, we will handle all the logistics (so you don’t have too!) including flights, accommodation and transfers for all of your wedding party, all wrapped up in a secure ABTA bonded package.

7 nights, B&B at the exclusive Eden Roc at Punta Cana, Dominica Republic. Luxury Double with private terrace. Excluding flights.

FURTHER INFORMATION Martin@bridesabroad.com T. 01937 584892 M. 07932 055923

www.brillianthoneymoons.co.uk


CapBeach St.Club Georges Resort

For magical beach weddings in the Cyprus sunshine, or for unforgettable honeymoons in a gorgeous Mediterranean setting, the luxurious Cap St. Georges Beach Club Resort is the perfect choice Luxury by the sea, the Cap St Georges Beach Club Resort in Cyprus is where solitude and privacy go hand in hand, where one can silently sit and relish the sheer beauty and tranquility of the location. The words exclusive and luxury immediately come to mind when describing both the setting and atmosphere of the Cap St Georges Beach Club Resort, which nestles into the landscape of Pegeia, Paphos, blending effortlessly into the natural beauty of the stunning location. Cap St Georges offers not only close proximity to the dazzling azure blue Mediterranean Sea, but also various, unique places for you to say ‘I do’,

including The Olive Trees and The Luxury Villa with delightful receptions for up to 100 guests in the Seaview Clubhouse Restaurant. The hotel’s wedding team want your special day to be remembered for all the right reasons and will ensure that, in choosing the Cap St Georges Beach Club Resort for your celebration, you will be able to relax, and thoroughly enjoy the day. They take care of all the details, ensuring you, your family and friends will relish this truly beautiful, intimate atmosphere. Wedding packages include the use of the venue for you and your guests, your own personal wedding co-ordinator, personally created menus for all tastes and an extensive drinks menu, including fine wines and cocktails.

Further information

events@capstgeorges.com or www.capstgeorges.com


Profile for Brides Abroad

Brides Abroad  

The UK's leading magazine devoted to Destination Weddings and Dream Honeymoons. Brides abroad is packed full of ideas, inspiration and unbi...

Brides Abroad  

The UK's leading magazine devoted to Destination Weddings and Dream Honeymoons. Brides abroad is packed full of ideas, inspiration and unbi...

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