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Issue 18

Maldives Blessings

6 Magical ways to say “I do”

❤ Underwater chapel ❤ Over-water villa ❤ Scuba diving ❤ Deserted sandbank ❤ Maldivian drums ❤ Sailing Dhoni

20-page

126 Fabulous WEDDING IDEAS

❤ Beautiful gowns ❤ Gorgeous accessories ❤ Spectacular venues ❤ Perfect receptions

Caribbean Special!

❤ Malta ❤ Marbella ❤ Santorini ❤ St Lucia ❤ Mauritius ❤ New York

West End’s ‘Motown’ Star

‘Diana Ross’

Engaged in

Thailand Honeymoon Savings www.BridesAbroad.tv

WEATHER PLAN!

when and where to go for perfect honeymoon weather

Discover Sri Lanka

with Jetwing tours

Sensational gowns with

Gorgeous backs £3.99

REAL WEDDINGS

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Welcome

Credits Published by Joint Venture Media Ltd Tel: 01937 58 48 92

Publisher Martin Cody-Owen martin@bridesabroad.tv

AND CONGRATULATIONS!

It's summer in the UK and the wedding season is in full swing. But take a look outside. What's the weather doing today? Would you be happy if it was your wedding day? This begs the question: just how sure can a bride be that the English weather will hold up for her dream wedding? Chances are, the British summer could be one long wash out! So be inspired by our Real Weddings and read just how easy, and money-saving it is to fly off to sun-drenched destinations around the world to say "I do" with sand between your toes under a cloudless sky. For the wow-factor, head to Santorini for spectacular views and breathtaking sunsets as a backdrop to your wedding reception – and it's just a short flight away in the Greek Islands, making it easy for friends and family to join you on your special day (P.36.) Another favourite short-haul destination for weddings is the glitzy Spanish resort of Marbella, better known as 'Marbs' to the TOWIE cast and a celebrity favourite. You can practically guarantee year-round warm sunshine. Again, it's an easy hop to assure a maximum guest turnout. (P.30) Further afield, the Caribbean beckons, with its glorious white sand beaches, swaying palms and luxury all-inclusive resorts offering a stunning choice of venues (P.44). If beach weddings appeal, the Indian Ocean offers perfect powder beaches and turquoise waters in Mauritius (P.64) and the Maldives (P.80) – we have some amazing ideas for saying 'I do" underwater, on a sandbank, aboard a traditional sailing dhoni or to the sound of Boru Beru drums. Of course, weddings begin with a proposal, and a "Yes!" from the bride-to-be. So we were excited to learn of the engagement of Lucy St Louis, the star who plays Diana Ross in West End's Motown the Musical after her choreographer fiancé, Ben, popped the question in Thailand (P.102) However, don't book your wedding or honeymoon without reading our world weather report to ensure that the weather is permitting, whatever time of year you travel (P.90). We also have tips and legal advice from wedding planners, stunning gowns and beauty and diet tips from the experts to ensure that everything runs perfectly on your big day in paradise.

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

Assistant to Publisher Patsy Owen

Contributors Lisa Burton Holly Catz Lily Hardwick Ben Clare

Photography Dreamstime Bernard Pretorius Talia at Thoroughlygorgeous.com Nathan Wyatt Photography Ajay and Julie Michael at Aperture Photo Studio Lina Lang Fotosearch

Design Anil Verma Chris Peach

Printer Warners Midlands Plc www.warners.co.uk

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0800 211 8255 www.BridesAbroad.tv ©Joint Venture Media Ltd. All material in this publication is strictly copyright and all rights are reserved. Reproduction without permission is prohibited. The views expressed in Brides Abroad magazine do not necessarily represent the views of Joint Venture Media. 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.

Cover Image courtesy of Conrad Maldives Conradhotels3.hilton.com


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Contents IN THIS ISSUE 36

10 26 42 71 86

Wedding and honeymoon news

Get the look – Religious weddings! Get the look – Country Weddings! Get the look – Beach Weddings! Back & white wedding gowns

REAL WEDDINGS

66 08 www.BridesAbroad.tv

20

Marriage vows in Malta

30

Married in Marbella

36

Glamour on a Greek Island

46

Renewal of vows in St Lucia

66

Magical marriage in Mauritius

74

Hitched in Central Park

Carrie and Josh’s picture-perfect wedding on Malta’s golden sands Emma and Alan say: “I do” in a traditional Catholic wedding in the celebrities favourite resort Catherine and Liam enjoy a glitzy celebration with sensational views of the Santorini sunset When Robert whisked his partner Wendy to St Lucia, little did she know that he’d organised a beautiful beach blessing Daniel and Samantha met on their commute to work, now they've travelled further afield to tie-the-knot in Mauritius Two became one when accountants Nicola and Craig exchanged vows in the Big Apple

80


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WEDDING DESTINATIONS 18 28 34 44 64 72

86 102

80

Malta – a cultural paradise

From grand-style weddings in historic palaces to intimate weddings on the beach, Malta offers it all

Sunshine weddings in the Costa del Sol

Spain's sunshine coastline offers exciting locations for glamorous weddings – from Marbella to the millionaire's playground of Puerto Banus

Marry in Santorini

Impress your wedding guests with stunning views and sensational sunsets

Beach brides in St Lucia

The most popular wedding island in the Caribbean, St Lucia offers stunning scenery and plenty of romance

Mauritius weddings – bliss in the Indian Ocean Mauritius has more than its fair share of glorious beaches and beautiful wedding venues

A marriage made in Manhattan

Live the dream and marry in New York City – amid the familiar sights you’ve seen in the movies

6 Unique Maldives blessings

Exchange your vows with ceremonies underwater, on a deserted sandbank, aboard a sailing dhoni or to the sound of Boru Beru drums

PLANNING 90 94

Weather permitting

96

Ask the planner

97

Looks that last

98

The no-fad bridal diet

Your worldwide weather guide

Pop the question

Your questions answered by expert wedding planners Tips and advise from wedding planner Lisa Burton of the Bridal Consultant 15 beauty tips from the experts to ensure you look gorgeous from dawn to dusk Avoid yo-yo dieting and quick fix diets with our guide to healthy eating

HONEYMOONS

110

102

Ben and Lucy – engaged in Thailand

110

Take two

It’s been an amazing year for Lucy St Louis – from playing Diana Ross in Motown the musical, to saying yes to fiancé Ben’s marriage proposal in Thailand Rachel and Sirak's twin-centre honeymoon of a lifetime in Sri Lanka and the Maldives

www.BridesAbroad.tv 09


“I do” love chocolate!

If you are a chocaholic, the Chocolate Wedding Package at Boucan Hotel & Restaurant would be your dream wedding. Hotel Chocolat, a luxury British cocoa grower and chocolatier, is offering couples a delicious chocolate-inspired nuptial package at their Boucan Hotel, set against a backdrop of tropical cocoa groves on the Rabot Estate cocoa plantation in St Luica, As well as enjoying spectacular close-up views of St Lucia’s famous Pitons, couples can graft their own cocoa seedling together as part of their wedding ceremony to grow their own chocolate tree. They can then celebrate their union with a cocoa-inspired reception menu at the hotel’s elegant eatery. No doubt about it,

the majestic Pitons make the most iconic views for wedding ceremonies. After the ceremony the newlyweds can enjoy a romantic sunset cruise on the hotel’s fast launch. Indulgent couples pampering at the Cocoa Juvenate Spa, using chocolate-based products is also included in the hotel’s wedding packages.

Book it!

For further details: hotelchocolat.com/boucan

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

Keep tradition alive

Cutting the cake and throwing your bouquet could soon be a thing of the past, as couples turn their back on traditional wedding customs, according to a recent survey by Chestertons, the London property and letting agent. The survey reveals that wedding traditions have been dying out since their peak in the 1960s, and now just 37 per cent of couples adhere to them. Of those who have married since 2010, just 36 per cent of grooms proposed on one knee and 36 per cent of couples cut the cake together, 30 per cent of brides wear a white dress and only 15 per cent of grooms carry their bride over the threshold. In comparison, back in the 1960s, 70 per cent of couples cut the cake. Unsurprisingly, the tradition of the bride’s parents paying for the entire wedding has died out for all but 6 per cent of couples! The trend of overseas ceremonies is growing rapidly – so if you too are getting hitched abroad, its worth remembering you can still enjoy all those wonderful wedding traditions by wearing white, cutting the cake, throwing the bouquet and being carried over the threshold by your groom. Keep tradition alive and ensure that all those special traditions are included on your special day. www.chestertons.com

10 www.BridesAbroad.tv


DallasvowsonSouthforkRanch

Legendary Southfork Ranch, made famous by the Ewing Family in the television series Dallas, is now a wow venue for themed weddings for fans of the hit TV series. Dallas enjoyed a cult following worldwide between 1978-1991 with its legendary characters including JR, Miss Ellie and Sue-Ellen. Now you can be the star of the show if you marry at this iconic venue, which can accommodate between 10 to 2,000 guests. Southfork ranch is set in 340 acres and truly personifies the grand style of Texas, USA - from the elegantly appointed and instantly recognised Ewing Mansion to the beautifully manicured lawns. With two full-time event professionals dedicated to coordinating and planning all aspects of your wedding, including food, beverage, flowers, cakes, transport, entertainment and decoration – you’ll be able to rest comfortably, knowing that your big day will be perfect, effortless, and memorable.

Book it!

www.southfork.com

Hangover Wedding Chapel

Daring couples looking for a raucous way to say “I do” can have a fun, themed wedding at Madame Tussauds, one of the most famous attractions on the Las Vegas Strip. You can marry at the world’s first wedding chapel inspired by the blockbuster movie, The Hangover. Think Jägermeister shots; Elvis as the minister and “Phil” and “Alan” as witnesses at your wedding! The wedding chapel is centerpiece of the attraction’s newest themed room, The Hangover Experience, based on the Warner Bros movie, and can accommodate weddings for up to 30 people. Before guests enter the chapel, they can meander in the reconstructed, notorious ‘hotel room’ that includes a roaring tiger in the bathroom (surprise!) and ‘Phil’ (played by Bradley Cooper in the film). Outside the chapel doors you’ll find ‘Alan’ carrying his famous satchel and there’s an actual Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department vehicle too. The white décor of the chapel can be lit to transform into any color of the couple’s choosing.

Book it!

The Ultimate Hangover Experience package costs from £3,900. To book a wedding contact michael.tapia@madametussaudslv.com. www.madametussauds.com.

www.BridesAbroad.tv 11


Free stay in Abu Dhabi

Honeymooners can combine the tranquility of the Maldives with a free stay in vibrant Abu Dhabi for a romantic trip of a lifetime that offers the best of both worlds. Guest booking a 5-night stay at Park Hyatt Maldives Hadahaa will receive a 20 per cent discount as well as an incredible 2-night stay for free at Park Hyatt Abu Dhabi – it’s a perfect opportunity for couples wanting a twin-centre honeymoon package. Park Hyatt Maldives Hadahaa is an idyllic luxury resort situated on a private island, it’s perfect for snorkeling and diving as it features the Maldives’ healthiest coral reef. With just 50 villas, on land and over water, honeymooners can enjoy romantic seclusion either in villas nestled within the island’s tropical foliage just steps from the ocean, or elevated above the water. Local and international cuisine is served in two restaurants while romantic moments can be enjoyed in a variety of private dining experiences. For wellness and couples pampering, the Vidhun Spa offers sublime treatments for indulgent relaxation.

Book it!

Standard nightly rates at Park Hyatt Maldives start at £432 B&B per villa per night. Offer is available valid until 21st December 2016. www.maldives.hadahaa.park.hyatt.com

Dolphins witness in the Bahamas There are many reasons for wedding couples to choose the beautiful Bahamas to host their marriage ceremony – thousands of coral pink, gold and white sand beaches sprinkled throughout the islands provide brides and grooms with an awesome choice of venues for toes-in-the-sand beach weddings. However, for the extra wow-factor, you can choose to have dolphins as your ring-bearers at Blue Lagoon, just off Nassau/ Paradise Island, or a ceremony on the ocean floor in crystal clear waters while dolphins glide around you. For further information contact www.bahamas.com

12 www.BridesAbroad.tv


Exclusive weddings in Nevis If you want to say: “I do” or have a dream honeymoon in one of the Caribbean’s most exclusive venues, then Paradise Beach in Nevis ticks all the boxes. The luxury beachfront all-villa resort has just seven thatched villas with three and four bedrooms, making it ideal for wedding parties. Couples can choose from a selection of all-inclusive deluxe bridal packages for the ultimate beach wedding, including a three-night ‘Paradise Beach Blessing’ (for up to six guests) for £4,200 per couple, a seven-night ‘Perfect Paradise’ (for up to eight guests) from £17,500 or the wedding party can have exclusive use of Paradise Beach for up to 52 guests for £43,000 – including a pre-wedding visit and first anniversary return trip for the bridal couple. Nevis boasts pristine beaches, stunning coastline and the verdant mountain – Nevis Peak. The island is a popular hideaway for celebrities, including Sarah Jessica Parker and Britney Spears.

Book it!

Wedding packages all include return transfers from St Kitts to Nevis, taxes and gratuities. Return flights with British Airways to St Kitts start from £556 pp. www.paradisebeachnevis.com

Adventure-moon in Thailand Kick married life off to an exciting start at Thailand’s multi-award winning resort, The Sarojin. The luxurious 5-star resort is set on an idyllic 11km stretch of white sandy beach in Khao Lak, and has just introduced a new, adrenaline-fuelled, adventure-moon package that will delight thrill-seeking newlyweds. The package offers three activity days filled with exciting pursuits including: Jungle Mountain Biking through the dense jungles of Khao Sok National Park; Elephants and ‘Little Amazon’ Boating – an elephant safari plus a personal bathing session with the elephants then a ride through the mangroves in a traditional pleat boat; Rock Climbing under expert guidance; White Water Rafting & ATV Racing – including an off-road adventure in an ATV. At the end of each action-packed day you will return to the luxurious The Sarojin to unwind in its Spa and enjoy gourmet dining at its best.

Book it!

Prices for the Sarojin’s adventure-moon start from £1,479 pp including 6-nights accommodation and all 3-day adventuremoon activities.www.sarojin.com.Safari running 4-11 September 2016 costs £2,690 pp. Private safaris run in August and September, prices from £2,730 pp for a group of four. www.aqua-firma.co.uk www.BridesAbroad.tv 13


Idyllic Anguillahoneymoons It is hard to fault any of Anguilla’s 33 pristine, picture-perfect beaches. However Shoal Bay, ranked one of the top beaches in the world, is quite outstanding. It has two miles of pink-hued white sand and intense turquoise waters, and now also boasts a new boutique hotel, Zemi Beach House, which was opened in February by New York’s Goldstein family to provide couples with a honeymoon haven. Anguilla is one of the Caribbean’s best-kept secrets and is the perfect location for the luxurious new beachfront hotel, which takes its name from the threepoint stone Zemi, worshipped by Anguilla’s ancient Taino Indians who believe it to be the dwelling place of the spirit.

Weddings at Oil Nut Bay Say “I do” Robinson Crusoe-style at the beautiful, secluded island resort of Oil Nut Bay, a gorgeous retreat that is only accessible by boat or helicopter. Oil Nut Bay is on the east end of Virgin Gorda in the British Virgin Islands, where it boasts white sand beaches and spectacular sea views. The resort offers a number of wedding packages, whether you want an intimate affair for two or a 150-guest extravaganza. Exchange your vows overlooking the sea on the arrival dock or go for a classic beach wedding before celebrating at one of Oil Nut Bay’s multiple reception options. From flowers to photography, the team at Oil Nut Bay will organise a wedding unique to each couple. Blissful Caribbean honeymoons are catered for too – stay in the stunning Cliff Penthouse Suite, furnished by FENDI Casa and complete with floor-to-ceiling floor-to-ceiling windows and infinity infinity pool overlooking the Caribbean, indulge in spa treatments and enjoy the range of activities on offer, from water sports to hiking. Honeymoon packages include Champagne on arrival, a romantic beach dinner and a Couples’ Massage.

Book it!

www.oilnutbay.com

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Zemi Beach House comprises 54 ocean-view rooms and 50 luxury residences designed to blend clean modern lines with classic Caribbean. The resort boasts five dining experiences and an abundance of leisure facilities including a luxurious spa, fitness centre and tennis courts.

Book it!

Rooms start at £460 per night. www.zemibeach.com. For further information on Anguilla visit http://ivisitanguilla.com/.


Celebrate love in Greece

If you are looking to marry closer to home, Greece’s iconic hotel, Domes of Elounda, Autograph Collection, has created an extraordinary setting in which couples can celebrate the beginning of a new life together. From a rose strewn private chapel with spectacular sea views to incredible villas surrounded by lush, exotic gardens, whichever kind of wedding you choose, civil, religious or symbolic, it will be coloured by everlasting memories. Set on the gorgeous island of Crete, overlooking the Bay of Elounda, Domes of Elounda offers fine cuisine, an excellent spa and romantic rooms and suites with private Jacuzzis and pools. The hotel’s sea front restaurant can be offered exclusively for wedding receptions of more than 80 guests and includes fine dining menus. Themed wedding packages are available, and your assigned wedding consultant is on hand to take care of all the details. The hotel also offers a Deluxe Honeymoon Package.

Book it!

Rooms start from £120 (plus tax) per night on a B&B basis for sea view suite. Wedding and honeymoon package prices on request. www.domesofelounda.com

Sandals in Chelsea

Nothing beats the personal touch when it comes to booking your wedding abroad or honeymoon. So, for face-to-face advice, information and inspiration, head to Sandals’ new interactive high street store in London’s Chelsea. The opening of Sandals first ever, dedicated high street store will immerse visitors into the world of Sandals Luxury Included® and Beaches resort offerings. The shop will provide potential customers with a range of inspirational, sensory experiences –

16 www.BridesAbroad.tv

from stunning over-water architecture to the scents, sounds and tastes of the Sandals and Beaches Caribbean resorts. Booking representatives will be on hand to offer a personal, stress-free service while you enjoy refreshments amidst the store’s lavish surroundings. Couples planning their wedding can receive a one-on-one consultation with a member of the Sandals Wedding Team in a Dedicated Wedding Lounge. www.sandals.co.uk


LET US COME HOME TO SAY “I DO”. TO PLANT LOVE WHERE FLOWERS BLOOM, AND WHERE TREES NEVER WITHER.

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MALTA A CULTURAL PARADISE

Whether you want a fabulous historic Plazzo, a reception by the sea, or an eco vineyard for your wedding in the sun, Malta can offer it all

18 www.BridesAbroad.tv


The island of Malta, and its smaller sister island, Gozo, are a magical mix of cultures, from Moorish to Italian, and British too. With sunshine nearly all year round, the ease of communication because everyone speaks English as their second language, and a wealth of stunning historical buildings that make great backdrops for your pictures, Malta could be the perfect place for your wedding abroad or honeymoon. Malta is a celebration of sea and sun, tucked away in the eastern Mediterranean. However, beautiful though the island is, to miss out on its incredible historic heritage is missing the point of what makes this island so special. The island has been a kaleidoscope of different civilizations, and has preserved all the traces of its extraordinary past – from the earliest Stone Age inhabitants to its lively present day occupants who welcome visitors with their traditional Maltese hospitality. Indeed the Queen and Prince Philip spent idyllic days living in Malta during the early part of their marriage. Its dazzling coastline, rocky creeks, small coves of golden sand, underwater caves and natural harbours keep tourists blissfully contented, but culture vultures visiting Malta will be in awe of its plentiful historical architecture that surpasses anything else in the Mediterranean.

Pick the perfect time

For mild, warm weather when the island is green, go from mid Feb to mid May. For sunshine, and a more North African desert feel to the countryside, go mid May, June, September or October. July and August, when it’s 40 degrees and humid, get very crowded with families, students and cruise ships.

TOP 5 THINGS TO DO

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Historical Malta

Malta owes much of its cultural influence to the Knights of the Order of St John, a religious and military order, which settled in 1530, bringing Christianity to the island and taking Malta through a new golden age during the 17th and 18th centuries. The Knights of the Order of St John were responsible for Malta’s honeycoloured stone towns, with magnificent cathedrals and Baroque architecture for which the island is renowned. The bustling city of Valetta was founded by the Order after the Turks of the Ottoman Empire invaded the island in the 1565 Siege of Malta. For more than 200 years, as their influence in Europe grew, they endowed their island with monuments, towns, fortresses, churches and palaces. Strolling through Valetta on its rocky promontory overlooking Grand Harbour, is like stepping back in time. A visit to the magnificent St John’s Co-Cathedral is an absolute essential with its spectacular interior revealing a profusion of colours, gold and elaborate design which adorn its eight chapels. Further inland, Mdina, the island’s ancient capital, is considered to be one of the most beautiful examples of an inhabited Medieval citadel in Europe, with narrow winding streets studded with churches and palaces.

3 4 5

Hire a guide

Delight your guests by hiring a personal guide for them the day before or after the wedding, so they can see the islands and learn about their fascinating historty – ask for recommendations from www.visitmalta.com.

Sample the fresh produce

Tie the knot in Malta

Film fans will love the glamour factor of getting hitched on the island where Gladiator and Troy were filmed; foodies will love the local wines and seafood; and beach goddesses will delight in the inky blue seas. “Malta offers some stunning churches and chapels and there are stunning palatial hotels and beachfront resorts that play host to gorgeous ceremonies. There are also villas with pretty gardens for a less formal wedding,” says leading Malta wedding planner, Sarah Young, who organises many weddings for couples travelling from the UK to Malta. Sarah says: “A good wedding for around 40 guests will have a starting price of about £3,700 – but obviously the more extras you include the higher the price goes”. www.weddingplannermalta.com

All types of ceremonies

Whatever your religion, you can have a traditional wedding in Malta to suit your beliefs and religious orientation. Or you can simply opt for a civil ceremony or blessing at a breathtaking location on the island. For Roman catholic wedding contact The Curia on +356 2124 5350; Anglican Marriages – contact: Anglican@onvol.net or www.anglicanmalta.org; Jewish weddings at the synagogue on Enrico Mazzi Street, call +356 2123 7309 and for religious blessings ask your wedding planner or chosen wedding venue for details.

Visit the open-air farmer’s market in Ta Qali to shop for delicious local produce directly from local farmers, including Maltese honey, ġbejniet (goat’s cheese) and Bigilla (paste made out of beans). Tuesdays 4pm7pm and Saturdays 9am-5pm.

Soak in the culture in Valletta

Few towns are so steeped in spectacular history as Valletta. Culture vultures will love the richly decorated St John’s Co-Cathedral followed by a stroll through pretty streets, stopping for a coffee and local nougat in one of the sunny squares.

Gaze through the Azure Window

Take a trip to Gozo by plane or boat and visit The Azure Window – a 50metre high rock arch in the Dwejra Point cliffs. The sea has worn a hole through the narrow headland forming a window, which is even more spectacular to view during rough seas.

Stroll around Marsaxlokk

This pretty-as-a-picture fishing village is famous for all the colourful fishing boats (luzzus) bobbing up and down on the waves. Have lunch in one of the local restaurants then stroll through the famous fish market on a Sunday morning and the general markets every day of the week, selling local crafts and souvenirs.

The legal essentials

There is no residency requirement. Request for the publication of banns (form RZ1) must be received in Malta between six weeks and three months before the wedding date – you’re advised to inform the registry of your intended day of marriage although no application can be submitted before the three-month period. A non-refundable marriage registry fee is currently between £59 and £78.50. Birth Certificates plus the declaration on oath (form RZ2) for each party, signed in the presence of a Maltese Commissioner of Oaths or, alternatively in the presence of a local Commissioner of Oaths (e.g. a solicitor, a justice of the peace, a Notary etc). If you’ve never been married you must produce a free status certificate from your local registrar. If you have previously been married you need to provide Decree Absolute or Death Certificate of former spouse. For a civil marriage, you need at least two witnesses aged over 18-years-old. www.BridesAbroad.tv 19


REAL WEDDINGS

MALTA MARRIAGE VOWS IN

Carrie and Josh say: "I do" on a golden sandy beach 20 www.BridesAbroad.tv


Love was in the air in a Glasgow office when accountants Carrie Smith and Joshua Nowak met at work. However it took a while before their friendship turned to romance – and Joshua finally popped the question on a windswept Scottish beach. The couple, who now live in London, tied the knot on another sandy beach – this time on the historical island of Malta.

Finding ‘the one’

We first met at work in Glasgow in 2009. It wasn’t quite ‘love at first sight’ and we were friends for a couple of years before falling in love (over the spread sheets!)

The proposal

Joshua proposed on St. Cyrus beach, Scotland. It’s not quite Malta’s Golden Bay, but it’s a lovely Scottish beach. Our first date was a walk along the same beach on New Year’s Eve back in 2011. We went back the following year on the same date and so it became a given that we should go back a third time – in December 2013. Unfortunately the weather was terrible and I wasn’t sure it was such a good idea, but Josh persuaded me to go. He had borrowed his Dad’s big winter jacket in which he was able to hide two Champagne flutes and a small bottle of bubbly without me noticing. He proposed at the top of one of the sand dunes by getting down on one knee. Josh had already picked a beautiful ring and it fitted perfectly! It was totally unexpected! We hadn’t been a couple for particularly long and had recently moved from Scotland to London where we were finding it tough to adjust to the big city life. We hadn’t discussed anything like marriage, so I was very shocked when it happened. I think it showed, as I was jumping up and down screaming: “What are you doing?” I think I almost forgot to answer! The surprise element did make it extra special for me and of course I said: “Yes”.

Location, location

We had been to a lot of weddings over the last couple of years and wanted to do something a bit different. We also thought that going abroad would help cut down on numbers, and therefore costs, as weddings in the UK are very expensive. In planning our marriage we found that you definitely get better value for money by taking the celebrations abroad. We also decided we would go travelling after our wedding and thought it would be a great way to start the trip of a lifetime. Our first holiday abroad together was to Malta. My Uncle Dave is a Travel Counsellor and helped us choose Malta as he thought Malta’s rich history would appeal to Josh and its great seafood and sunshine would be perfect for me. Malta was our number one choice as we both love the island and it was special to us. We went over for a weekend to visit possible venues and chose the Radisson Blu at Golden Bay because of its great location and beautiful beach.

The planning

We didn’t hire a wedding planner, but the hotel wedding co-ordinator, Sarah, was very helpful and answered all our questions. Sarah and her team organised practically everything. My Uncle Dave helped our guests www.BridesAbroad.tv 21


REAL WEDDINGS and us with travel arrangements and accommodation in Malta as well as with the planning and booking of our roundthe-world trip. The guests were all very pleased with the service as Dave can book and advise on everything including hotels, flights, transfers and even excursions. We had pretty much everything planned before we went: we managed to organise everything by email with the hotel, registrar, bus hire and hairdressers. The only thing we left to the last minute was the flowers and, as a result, we had homemade sunflower bouquets, which on hindsight wasn’t the best idea.

The guests

We were once told that only one third of guests usually accept an invitation to a destination wedding; however, almost all of those invited came to Malta! We ended up with 120 guests at our wedding. The majority stayed in The Seabank Hotel & Resort in Mellieha – an all-inclusive hotel about fifteen minutes away from the wedding venue. I think the reason so many guests were able to come was that it was planned for July so many took the opportunity to make the trip their summer holiday. We were delighted. It was a very unexpected and overwhelming response.

Getting the look

I wanted something simple and light. I am not a ‘princess’ type of girl, so a big dress and tiara were never going to be my thing. It was very difficult to find a white dress perfect for a beach. In the end I had my dress made in Scotland by Lesley, a friend

of the family. I emailed Lesley images of the kind of dress I wanted and she advised on what would and wouldn’t work and what materials would fit best. I bought the fabric in London. It was very nerve–wracking having the dress made and not knowing how it would turn out, but it all worked out perfectly in the end. I accessorised with pearl jewellery and some handmade sunflower pins for my

hair. I also made sunflower hair crowns for the bridesmaids to keep the theme going. The hotel’s hairdresser did my hair and one of my bridesmaids, Mhairi, was in charge of make-up for myself and the other bridesmaids.

Something old, something new?

Something Old: my Granny’s pearl earrings; Something New: my dress; Something Borrowed: a pearl bracelet from Mhairi; Something Blue: Lesley sewed two small blue hearts to the inside my dress. The earrings from my Gran were very special as sadly she couldn’t make it to the wedding but she did see the whole ceremony via Face Time, which was really nice. The necklace had been passed down from my Great Granny so that made it extra special.

Groom & bridesmaids

In Scotland it is traditional to wear a Kilt at a wedding but given the climate in Malta, and the complexities of getting Kilts for the groom and groomsmen to Malta, Josh opted for a smart pair of teal-green shorts and a short-sleeved white shirt instead. The bridesmaids wore strapless; Grecian-style maxi dresses in burned orange colour with a gold feather belt. The bridesmaids picked the dresses and gold shoes themselves.

The details

The closest I got to a theme was sunflowers and postcards. Sunflowers are my favourite flower and they were used in the bouquets, the hair accessories and the Mother of the Groom made sunflower 22 www.BridesAbroad.tv


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 themed centrepieces. The wedding invitations were made using Maltese postcards, as was the guestbook. The ‘Thank You’ cards were also postcards from different places around the world. However, we decided not to have a cake. I don’t think this was a popular decision but we reasoned that, since the wedding was later in the evening and there was a dessert with the meal, the cake would be wasted. It may also not have survived in the heat.

The ceremony

The ceremony was held on the private beach at the Radisson Blu Hotel. It was all set up with a wooden aisle and chairs for all guests as well as a gazebo at the top for the registrar. It was a short and sweet 20-minute ceremony. My dad gave me away, then we had two readings and the Maltese Marriage Registry carried out the legal part.

The reception

The meal was served on the terrace overlooking the Mediterranean, followed by a party back down on the beach where the hotel team had set up a dance area, sofas, beds, tables, a bonfire and the bar. The three course wedding meal included: Starter – a salad duo: caprese salad and a goat’s cheese and aubergine parcel; Main – a barbecue buffet of salmon, mahi-mahi, steak, salad, pasta and potatoes; Dessert – a chocolate trio of deserts. Sally, the Mother of the Groom, had made the table centrepieces, which were material boxes, decorated with a sunflower pattern. Inside the boxes we put photos and a set of postcards that were to be used as the guest book. There were also some toys and colouring books for the children. Sally also made some lovely bunting that hung above the top table.

The music of love…

Our First Dance was to a song from one of our favourite films, Juno. It is called Anyone Else But You by Moldy Peaches. Not many guests seemed to know it but it was special to us as we often used to sing and dance to it together around the kitchen. We created our own playlist and plugged into the hotel’s sound system. It was a great saving on the budget and, to be honest, we weren’t hugely keen on the Maltese wedding bands we had heard just different tastes I think! 24 www.BridesAbroad.tv

Photographic memories

Our very good friends, Bernard and Nick from Bernard Pretorius Photography, came from Paros in Greece to do our photos. They specialise in destination weddings and were just fantastic! They worked hard and captured many great moments. They also suggested something called a ‘First Look’ – this is where the bride and groom have their pictures taken before the wedding starts. We would highly recommend this, as it was a special and intimate moment away from the madness of the day. We had the photos taken next to one of the Maltese stone towers that are dotted around the island. The setting was fantastic on a cliff edge overlooking the Mediterranean. I think our favourite pictures are taken there.

Magic moments

The First Dance was very magical, and the hotel put on a fireworks display, after which everyone was dancing on the beach. We did have a near disaster though as I was ill with a throat infection for the few days leading up to the wedding and ended up being prescribed antibiotics by the doctor. I was still feeling ill on the day but I don’t know whether that was nerves or the infection. I think adrenaline got me through, and it was all forgotten about as soon as I saw Josh!

The honeymoon

We got married on the Saturday and said goodbye to our friends and family on the

Tuesday. We are currently on a sevenmonth honeymoon around the world, arranged by Uncle Dave. We are living our dream by travelling through Europe, South America, New Zealand, Australia and South East Asia.

On budget?

The wedding cost around about £13,000 – slightly over budget because we had a lot more guests than we anticipated, but we were delighted that so many people could make it and, for us, it was the friends and family that made the day so special. You can’t put a price on that!

Further Information VENUE Radisson Blu Resort & Spa, Malta Golden Sands Golden Bay, L/o Mellieha MLH 5510, Malta TEL: +356 2356 1000 info.goldensands@radissonblu.com https://www.radissonblu.com/en/golden sandsresort-malta

TRAVEL PLANNER dave.pryde@travelcounsellors.com www.travelcounsellors.co.uk/dave.pryde

PHOTOGRAPHY www.bernardpretorius.com bernard@bernardpretorius.com


SOMETHING BLU W I T H 3 0 0 D AY S O F S U N S H I N E A N D T H E S H I M M E R I N G M E D I T E R R A N E A N S E A A S A B A C K D R O P, M A LTA O F F E R S J U S T T H E R I G H T A M O U N T O F M A G I C O N Y O U R S P E C I A L D AY. B O O K W I T H U S A N D TA K E A D V A N TA G E O F T H I S O F F E R E X C L U S I V E T O B R I D E S A B R O A D M A G A Z I N E : E N J O Y A C O M P L I M E N TA R Y N I G H T AT T H E R E S O R T A N D A C O M P L I M E N T A RY B OT T L E O F S PA R K L I N G W I N E O N YO U R W E D D I N G N I G H T A S W E L L A S A F R E E RO O M UPGRADE WHEN GETTING MARRIED WITH US!

W H E N S AY I N G I D O

HOTELS DESIGNED TO SAY YES! Radisson Blu Resort & Spa, Malta Golden Sands radissonblu.com/goldensandsresort-malta T: +356 2356 0000 E: weddings.gs@islandhotels.com T&Cs: free upgrade is subject to availability. Other terms and conditions may apply.


Diamante Tiara, £10 www.riverisland.com

Get the look

Religious Weddings Elegance and sophistication are essential ingredients for looking chic at your church wedding in a traditional gown with classical accessories – we’ve chosen heart designs to set his pulse racing.

Heart earrings, £69 www.tresorparis.co.uk

Heart pendant, £47 www.tresorparis.co.uk

Heart bracelet, £80 www.follifollie.co.uk

Debbie Carlisle Waterfall posy, £295 www.dcbouquets.co.uk

Cathedral veil, £89 www.monsoon.co.uk

Silver candlesticks, £15 www.houseoffraser.co.uk

Dress style Varnava www.pronovias.com Shoes style Lady, £325 www.freyarose.com 26 www.BridesAbroad.tv

Heart T-light holder, £6.95 www.dotcomgiftshop.com


Sunshine Weddings in

Costa del Sol Spain’s glamorous Costa del Sol including Marbella, the celebrities favourite, and the iconic millionaire’s playground of Puerto Banus, is the perfect place for your glitzy wedding in the Mediterranean sunshine – and it’s just a short flight away!

28 www.BridesAbroad.tv


Spain’s Costa del Sol is not just famous for its trendy resorts and excellent year-round climate, but also its long stretch of coastline with sunny beaches and the stunning Sierra Bermeja Mountains as a backdrop, its beautiful landscapes, delicious food, charming whitewashed villages and its many customs and traditions. Explore further afield and the marvelous secrets of the Costa del Sol will be unveiled, making your stay unforgettably romantic.

Marbella

Affectionately referred to as ‘Marbs” by the cast of Reality TV’s TOWIE, Marbella manages to combine its cosmopolitan attitude with Andalucian traditions and hospitality, no wonder it’s widely regarded as the Costa del Sol’s jewel in the crown! Marbella’s climate is legendary – boasting an average of 320 sunny days a year as well as some of the best beaches on the coastline. Sun worshippers can simply rent a sunbed and soak up the sun. However, our advice is to also take a leisurely stroll along Marbella’s amazing promenade, where peoplewatching is a MUST! And be sure to discover the pretty narrow streets, historic buildings, shops and galleries of Marbella old town and the famous Plaza de Los Naranjos (Orange Tree Square). At night, Marbella comes alive with its range of restaurants, bars and nightclubs.

Puerto Banus

Stroll along the quayside and admire luxury yachts belonging to the world’s elite, browse designer boutiques and dine al fresco in an endless choice of international restaurants and bars as you watch the rich and privileged rub shoulders with holidaymakers. Puerto Banus is the place to see and be seen. The iconic marina is located 6 km away from downtown Marbella and boasts 915 docking posts for yachts and Gin Palaces, a beach on either side of the marina, and a number of luxury hotels. However it is the designer boutiques and lively nightlife that really draw the crowds.

Mijas

Historic Mijas is a town of two halves. It is partly a charming traditional whitewashed mountain village set amidst evergreen pine trees with narrow winding streets that beg to be explored on foot or by donkey. Parts of the old walls are still standing, and offer great panoramic views of the Costa del Sol. Whilst on the coast, the new-build tourist resort of Mijas offers a wide range of leisure facilities, including a racecourse, a water park and golf courses.

Benahavis

The picturesque mountain village of Benahavis is in a privileged position, 7km from the coast, and surrounded by mountains between Marbella, the Sierra Blanca and the Ronda mountain range. Renowned for its restaurants – they call it the dining room of the Costa del Sol – it is where one can find incredible mountain as well as sea-views. It is also a hot spot for golf lovers, boasting 12 of the Costa del Sol’s 70 golf courses.

Malaga

Malaga, Pablo Picasso’s birthplace, is a thriving city which is gateway to the Costa del Sol. Culture vultures will discover that it is well worth a visit with its impressive number of museums and monuments.

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Chill at the beach club

Join the party set and spend the day at Nikki Beach in Marbella eating delicious Sushi and sipping Champagne whilst listening to cool music.

Shop for bargains at the market

Meander around the stalls at Puerto Banus’s famous market, which takes place every Sunday morning in the streets above the port.

Discover Picasso’s masterpieces

Take a day trip to Malaga and visit the Museu Picasso Malaga, where you will be amazed by the collection of Picasso’s stunning art.

Drive through the mountains Hire a car and wind through the awesome mountain range that acts as a backdrop to the coastline, and discover stunning traditional mountain villages including historical Rhonda.

See the Rock of Gibraltar

Take a bus or drive down the coast to Gibraltar to discover the iconic Rock, featuring its famous monkeys. Or simply spot the Rock of Gibraltar from the beaches of the Costa del Sol.

Marry in the Costa del Sol

If you want a stylish wedding venue in a beautiful sunny location that is just a short, low-cost flight from the UK then the Costa del Sol ticks all the boxes, it’s gorgeous all-year-round climate makes it ideal for outdoor wedding celebrations. You can have everything from a delightful blessing at your hotel, villa, on the golf course or in a restaurant to a full Catholic Church wedding. Choose your style to suit your individuality – there are many choices for your perfect wedding. Take the stress out of planning your wedding by hiring the skilled services of a professional wedding planner.

The Legals

If you wish to get married in Spain you’ll need the following documentation: An original birth certificate Certificate of Residence Passport Certificate of no impediment to Marriage If applicable an original Divorce Certificate If applicable an original Marriage Certificate If applicable an original Death Certificate Baptismal Certificate (Catholic) First Communion/Confirmation Certificate (Catholic) Freedom to marry Certificate (Catholic) Marriage Course Certificate (Catholic) All documents that are in English have to have the Hague Apostille Stamp on them All documents must then be translated into Spanish and presented at the relevant town hall at least 3 months before your wedding.

Catholic ceremonies

A full Roman Catholic ceremony is the only type of religious ceremony that can be carried out in Spain. It is legally binding, however, a Catholic wedding requires a lot of work to be done beforehand with your local Priest. If only one of the party is Catholic a marriage is still possible. Neither party can be divorced.

The Civil ceremony

A civil ceremony in Spain is legally recognised, even though all documents will be in Spanish. It can take place at a designated venue but must, by law, be registered in the civil registry at the local town hall or Justice of the Peace – so the ceremony must also include a 5-minute appointment at the local civil registry. There are lots of different rules regarding civil weddings in Spain that vary from region to region, so check well in advance. A professional wedding planner will hold your hand through the legal process. www.BridesAbroad.tv 29


REAL WEDDINGS

Emma and Alan's Catholic wedding in the Spanish sunshine 30 www.BridesAbroad.tv


Married in

MARBELLA Emma Theresa Finch from Birmingham loves to travel, but she didn't have to search the world to find her Mr Right. It turned out she had known him for years – he was Alan Geraint Evans, the brother of her best friend! Once the couple fell in love, travel became an important part of their lives, so it's hardly surprising that they chose an overseas wedding in Spain's glamorous Costa del Sol, with friends and family to help them celebrate their big day.

Finding ‘the one’

Alan is my best friend Helen’s brother and I have known him for years. However, when Helen’s mum was 60 she booked a big family cruise. Unfortunately one of her brothers could not go, so I was invited instead – but had to share a room with Alan. Basically we got on really well and had 10 days to get to know each other. One night, after we had a few drinks, we did kiss and the rest is history! It wasn’t quite love at first sight, as we had known each other for a while, but I was definitely attracted to him!

The proposal

It was amazing. We went to Vegas and he proposed to me on our balcony overlooking the Bellagio fountains. We had been to a pool party during the day so it was a big surprise!

Location location

We have both travelled lots and love the world, so it just seemed natural to get married abroad. We agreed that Spain was the place! It has everything – weather, mini break for our guests and we knew it would prolong the wedding. We love having fun, going out and lovely locations, so Marbella was perfect for us. Also, Alan was researching venues and found Villa el Cid online. We paid the deposit before we had seen it!!

The planning

We used the services of a wedding planner. We were recommended Silvia from Marbella Parties and she was amazing. We did all our travel arrangements, but Silvia helped with transport whilst in Spain. We had done lots of planning and had conversations with Silvia, weekly.

The guests

We had 112 wedding guests. Close family and friends stayed at the villa, but other guests stayed at local hotels and private villas. I think everyone was keen to accept their invitation as it was a mini-break for them and they loved it.

Getting the look

I wanted my wedding dress to be plain, but effective. So after several bridal shows when I hadn’t seen anything I liked I eventually found my dress at The Dressing Rooms in Halesowen. It was a simple, fishtail-style dress. I’m not vain, but for the first time ever, at the grand age of 33, I felt amazing! My little sister and head bridesmaid brought me a Pandora necklace and I had a long veil. Helen, my best mate and now sister-in-law, is a beautician so she did my make-up and I brought my hairdresser over from Birmingham.

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REAL WEDDINGS

Something old, something new?

My sister Leah did a ‘special box’, which contained lots of lovely things. My mom had something borrowed but their house got broken into and it was stolen. My other bridesmaid, Charlotte, brought me some blue gel stones saying, “I do” which I put on my shoes.

Groom & bridesmaids

The groom and groomsmen wore smart Ted Baker suits from Moss Bros. Finding the bridesmaids’ dresses was tough. I wanted a stone colour. We looked everywhere and finally found them in House of Fraser by a designer called Eliza J.

The details

We wanted our wedding to be very modern and cosmopolitan. For the flowers I chose to go very minimal and classy. We had a big cake but, unfortunately, it got wet in the rain, so we could not eat it.

The ceremony

Our wedding ceremony took place at the best Catholic Church ever built – Santa Maria De Los Remedios in Estepona. We were married by the local Catholic priest in a ceremony that lasted around 30 minutes. My wonderful father, Mike Fitch, gave me away. We arrived at the ceremony in a car with the top down and all the locals were waving and shouting nice things. It was very special!

32 www.BridesAbroad.tv


Magic moments

It rained slightly at our reception, but that didn’t spoil the day. I have lovely memories of us all dancing in the warm rain with the DJ and saxophonist playing – everyone was loving life! My funniest memory is of my friend’s husband wearing my mate’s denim hot pants around the reception.

The honeymoon

For our honeymoon we went to Bali, the Gili islands off Bali, Singapore, a cruise around South East Asia then back to Singapore. It was wonderful.

The reception

We held our reception at Villa el Cid – a BBQ dinner with steak, salmon, chicken with Mediterranean salads. Each table was named after places we have been together, and each guest had a Polaroid photo of themselves (personal touch) instead of nametags. They also had a casino chip as a magnet with our picture on as we love Vegas. We had a quiz whilst our guests were eating and played a few games along the way too to make it fun.

The music of love…

Our First Dance was to Sway by Bic Runga – that’s what Alan was playing

when he proposed to me. The entertainment was important to us. We had a live band called Legal Aliens, who were brilliant, then a DJ with a saxophonist! It was like a festival!!

Photographic memories

Talia from throughlygeorgeous.com took our photographs. She was great. My cousin did some video filming for us too. My favourite photo is of me laughing with my bridesmaids laughing and one with Alan and I kissing by the church.

On budget?

It all cost around £22k, which was just slightly over our original budget.

Further information WEDDING PLANNER: Marbella Parties.com

VENUE:

Villa el Cid

PHOTOGRAPHY:

Talia at thoroughlygorgeous.com

www.BridesAbroad.tv 33


MARRY IN

SANTORINI

Couples wanting to impress their wedding guests with astounding views of the Mediterranean will discover that Santorini’s offering is iconic – and this magnificent location is just a short flight away in the Greek Islands 34 www.BridesAbroad.tv


The island of Santorini offers wild, unparalleled beauty, breathtaking views and a sunny climate with golden sunsets making it perfect for weddings that you will remember for the rest of your life. Santorini stands majestically, rising proudly from the Agean Sea and inspiring the words of great poets as it guards the secrets of Atlantis. No wonder couples from around the world travel to this iconic Greek Island to say: “I do”. The island of Santorini owes its distinctive crescent shape to the fact that it is the remains of an enormous volcanic explosion dated back 3,600 years. This created the current geological caldera; a giant, rectangular central lagoon surrounded by steep cliffs on three sides with two small volcanic islands within the caldera Palea and Nea Kameni, which are impressive tourist attractions.

Sun-drenched beaches

Santorini’s beaches can be found mainly along the eastern and southeastern side of the island. Each beach has its own characteristics – the black pebbles, the unique land formations and the black, white and red sand. Most beaches are well organized and offer sun loungers and umbrellas and a range of water sports.

Glorious weather

If you are planning to marry in Santorini in the summer, then glorious warm sunshine is almost guaranteed, with clear skies, bright sunshine and generally no rainfall. Santorini enjoys a typical Mediterranean climate with long periods of warm sunshine throughout the summer, lasting from April until October and mild, rainy winters from November until the end of March. Even during winter the sky does not remain cloudy for more than a few days in a row. Evenings can be cooler in April and October so take a sweater or jacket if you are visiting at that time of year.

Romantic weddings

Whether you are planning a grand affair or a romantic wedding with just the two of you, Santorini is a world-class location. Perhaps you are already married and thinking of renewing your vows? You can re-live your special day and renew your love vows in Santorini – it can be a very romantic way to strengthen your love and devotion for one another. Whatever style of wedding ceremony you prefer Santorini can offer you a variety of choices to suit all tastes. And for those extra special touches, details and choices of wedding venues you can enlist the help and advise of wedding planners who specialize in weddings on the island.

Wedding ceremonies

For civil weddings, you can have your ceremony at almost any location of your choice, in restaurants, tavernas, wineries, museums, on boats or down on the beach. Religious wedding ceremonies in Santorini can be held at the Orthodox Metropolitan Cathedral, located in the centre of Fira, the island’s capital, and overlooking the volcano and the sea, or one of the other pretty churches dotted around the island in traditional picturesque villages. Catholic wedding ceremonies are held at the Catholic Cathedral, a baroque church with an elegant bell tower in the Catholic Quarter in the centre of Fira.

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Watch the Santorini sunset The most famous vantage point to gaze in awe at the magnificent setting sun is from Oia Castle. Or view the sunset from Profitis Ilias (Pyrgos), one of the highest spots of the island.

Stroll around Akrotiri A trip to the pre-historic city of Akrotiri is like travelling back in time – walk around the streets and squares of the city which boasted 30,000 inhabitants in 17th century BC.

Go scuba diving Discover the unique experience of Santorini’s underwater world as you see the distinctiveness of the bottom of this sea: the volcanic stones and the bottomless depth of the caldera.

Take a Wine Tour Wine production in Santorini dates back to Roman times. Visitors can sample plenty of dry whites, roses and reds at the island’s best wineries, including Sigalas and Gaia Wineries which offer an excellent selection.

Take a donkey ride Donkeys are an integral part of the local tourism scene, providing much-appreciated rides up and down the 588 steps leading down to the old harbor of Fira. There are hundreds of donkeys and mules lined up along the way. The cost is 5 Euros per person one-way.

Legals

For religious weddings you need to prepare the paperwork with your church. Here is the list of requirements for Civil weddings: Birth Certificates required for both parties; Change of Name or Adoption papers, if applicable; Divorce Decree or Death Certificate of spouse if previously married; Certificates of no impediment issued by your local register office. This is only valid for three months from the issue date in Santorini. The documents need to be stamped with an Apostille stamp which you apply for with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (www.fco.gov.uk ). The documents then need translating into Greek and to be presented to the town hall in Santorini no later than four weeks before the wedding.

Wedding planners

If you are planning the wedding of your dreams in Santorini, and want it to reflect your unique character and style, then it is a good idea to use the services and expertise of a wedding planner. For a UK based wedding planner, Lisa Burton of The Bridal Consultant specialises in exclusive destination weddings in the Greek Islands, including Santorini and Zakynthos as well as in Italy and Cyprus. Lisa writes a regular column for Brides Abroad magazine. For further details email Lisa on lisa@thebridalconsultants.com. www.thebridalconsultants.com www.BridesAbroad.tv 35


REAL WEDDINGS

Glamour on a

When beauty therapist Catherine Scott set eyes on Liam Norval, the Marketing and Promotions Director of Café de Paris, on a night out with friends, she immediately knew she had met someone very special. She wasn’t wrong! Romance quickly turned to love and, during a holiday in Spain, Liam popped the question. The couple, from Sidcup in Kent, declared their love as they tied the knot in grand style in one of Santorini’s most gorgeous settings. 36 www.BridesAbroad.tv


Cat and Liam's vows w ith views in Santorini

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REAL WEDDINGS

The proposal

We met in a nightclub, and I felt butterflies as soon as I saw him – so I guess it was ‘love at first sight’. He proposed to me in our hotel in Barcelona during a city break to Spain. We had finished dinner and afterwards, in our room, he went down on one knee if front of the beautiful windows. It was totally unexpected!

Location location

We wanted to marry abroad because we love that holiday feeling of excitement, beautiful weather and delicious food that you can get abroad. We knew that the guests we really wanted at the wedding would make that extra special effort to be there, which was really important for us. We chose to marry on the Greek Island of Santorini. We went there beforehand to do some research and fell in love as soon as we got there – the views are spectacular and it is like a small slice of heaven. The food, the people and the weather are all perfect. Santorini is so different to any place we have been to before. We chose Rocabella Hotel for the wedding as we fell in love with the vibe and views of the sea and sunset. We had a taster dinner and a few different wines and knew it would be ideal for our guests.

The planning

We booked our wedding over a year and half in advance to ensure we got the date we wanted. We used the wedding planning services of The Bridal Consultant, as they knew exactly how important it was to find the right people to make our wedding perfect. They were amazing. Before the wedding we had a pre-wedding ‘white party’ with dinner for everyone and a day boat trip. We really enjoyed the whole planning experience. It was relaxed and stress-free due to all the help from our fantastic professional wedding planners. We couldn’t of done it without them.

The guests

We had 70 guests at the wedding – most people we invited accepted, apart from those who didn’t want to leave their children at home, as we chose not to have children on our big day. Many stayed with us at the Adromedas Villas or within walking distance. We think that a wedding abroad stands our from a UK wedding as you can get all your loved ones together and have an amazing holiday together, and Santorini is a stunning place to get married. Everyone had the best time!

38 www.BridesAbroad.tv


Getting the look

My wedding dress was a bespoke gown and veil. I bought the dress from a bridal boutique in Essex called Polka Bridal, where Teresa Gardner made it for me after we discussed and designed it together. It took a year to finalise and get all the fittings done. I accessorised it with a cathedral lace veil and some beautiful earrings that my husband bought me. My shoes were from Karen Millen. I had my hair done on the day by Bella Hair (http://bellasantorini.com) and I did my own makeup using Armani products – I do bridal make-up as part of my job, so knew what would work well for me.

Something old, something new?

My mum made my garter as my Something Blue and Borrowed. My earrings were New and my Something Old was a cross, which I kept in my purse all day.

Groom & bridesmaids

My groom and his groomsmen were all in Reiss from head to toe. My bridesmaids wore long gold dresses with sequins from Coast. I saw the dresses and knew they would look stunning in them.

The details

Our wedding theme was romantic, elegant, beautiful and luxury. I love flowers and chose Wedding Wish as our florist as Lisa Burton from The Bridal Consultant said they were amazing. I had a mix of peonies, light pink and cream roses and white hydrangeas as they are my favourite flowers and smell lovely. We also wanted flowers on the chairs, tables and bar to reflect beauty and elegance. We decorated with lanterns around the venue to give a romantic ambience to the day. Our cake was a white sponge cake decorated with fresh flowers. For the favours we gave each girl a handmade corsage and every male guest had a buttonhole hand-made by me. We also placed white, heart shaped paper fans on each chair to help keep guests cool. www.BridesAbroad.tv 39


REAL WEDDINGS

The ceremony

Our wedding ceremony took place on the terrace at the Rocabella Hotel by the pool with spectacular views of the Mediterranean. We were married by the registrar of Santorini under a floral gazebo in a ceremony that lasted for around 20 minutes. My dad gave me away.

The reception

Our reception was also held at the Rocabella Hotel. After a tasting session, we had chosen from the à la carte menu, which we tailored to make our own menu. We didn’t go with the set menu in the wedding package, as it didn’t feel special enough. We also had a midnight buffet to keep the guests partying! We had an open bar from when guests arrived to when they left so they didn’t need to spend a penny and felt it was a treat for them.

The music of love

We had our First Dance to Blowers Daughter by Damien Rice. We also had a pianist for the ceremony and a DJ for the evening’s entertainment.

Photographic memories

Nathan Wyatt took our photographs and we had Wed Films for our wedding video. It turned out to be an amazing combination as they know each other and worked brilliantly together. There were so many lovely photographs that it’s hard to say which ones are our favourite – we love them all!

Magic moments

Our First Dance was amazing! It felt like it was just us in the room. It was such a special moment for both of us. However, there was one near disaster when, just before the ceremony, one of our guests fell over in her very high heels and broke both her arms! She came back for the speeches casts and all!

The honeymoon

Our guests all left after the wedding and we had a few days on our own in

40 www.BridesAbroad.tv

Santorini, which was like a little honeymoon. However we are hoping to go to the Maldives later this year for our main honeymoon.

On budget?

We still aren’t sure how much the wedding cost – I think it was between £25,000£30,000 we didn’t have a set budget. We incorporated all the things we wanted in order to make our day really special, and it was worth every penny!

Further information WEDDING PLANNER Lisa Burton at The Bridal Consultant www.thebridalconsultants.com WEDDING VENUE Rocabella Hotel www.rocabella-hotel-santorini.com PHOTOGRAPHY Nathan Wyatt www.nathanwyattphotography.com VIDEO Wed Films www.wedfilmstudio.gr WEDDING FLOWERS & DECORATION Wedding Wish


Get the look

Country

Hair clip, £20 www.phase-eight.com

Weddings

Hair comb, £15 www.phase-eight.com

Fresh and natural with colourful floral accessories is the name of the game when styling your wedding in the European countryside, set against a backdrop of summer flowers and the blue hues of cloudless skies.

Silver earrings by Alexis Dove, £65 www.alexisdove.com

Floral necklace www.accessorize.com

Diamond flower pendant, £560 www.77diamonds.com

Silk rose bouquet, £76.25 www.sarahsflowers.co.uk

Diamond flower bracelet, £456 www.77diamonds.com

Floral clutch, £29.50 www.marksandspencer.com

Diamond flower ring, £330 www.77diamonds.com

Shoes, style Annette www.freyarose.com

42 www.BridesAbroad.tv

Dress by Alexia Bridal www.alexiadesigns.com


Beach brides in

St Lucia

Say "I do" in St Lucia, the Caribbean's most popular wedding island, with the famous Pitons as an iconic backdrop on your special day 44 www.BridesAbroad.tv


island’s hotels and resorts. including free night’s accommodation, free meals, free upgrades and even free wedding ceremonies.

St Lucia is one of the world’s favourite wedding and honeymoon destinations, which is no surprise – this exotic Caribbean island has got it all! St Lucia simply epitomizes the concept of a tropical paradise for your wedding celebrations. The verdant island, with its lush mountains, rainforests, rich vegetation and banana plantations, is a photographer’s dream, especially the landmark Pitons that dominate the shores of St Lucia – these twin mountain peaks soar 2,000 ft above the island’s south west coast giving St Lucia it’s unique identity. It even boasts the world’s only walk-in volcano, which last erupted more than 200 years ago. If you dream of a beach wedding, St Lucia is a dream come true. It boasts long stretches of unspoiled, palm fringed sandy beaches and secluded coves. Most resorts in St Lucia nestle along the beaches on the southwest (Caribbean) side of the island and many offer wedding pavilions overlooking the sparkling ocean in their manicured tropical gardens. The less populated Atlantic east coast is dotted with nature reserves. Pigeon Island, which is connected to the mainland by a causeway at Rodney Bay, is a 40-acre natural park with the remains of an 18th century British fort. Another favourite location is the picturesque marina at Marigot Bay, famed as the film location for Dr Doolittle in the 1960s, and now better known for its array of sailing yachts and luxurious Gin Palaces moored here for the night.

Marry in St Lucia

Most hotels in St Lucia offer wedding packages aimed at making your special day a hassle free, romantic moment to cherish. What’s more, there are plenty of deals on offer for wedding couples at the

TOP 5 THINGS TO DO

1 2 3 4 5

Visit the heart of the volcano: It is in the crater of the Soufriere volcano, with hot rocks, steam and boiling pools of murky water. Every full moon, the pools turn into geysers – apparently something to do with the tides. Explore the rainforests: There are plenty of hiking trails through St Lucia's green and mountainous interior, so hire a guide and explore! For the ultimate adrenaline buzz you can wiz above the rainforest on Zip Line Wires at the Treetop Adventure Park in Dennery. Climb the Pitons: The Gros Piton is the easier of the two famous Pitons to climb. The hike up the Piton with a guide takes an average of two hours to the summit, and is strenuous but not too difficult, and worth it for the spectacular views of St Lucia! Take a Kayaking tour: Guided kayaking tours embrace St Lucia's beautiful natural coastline and crystal clear waters. You will be offered expert instruction. Tours from the luxury retreat Anse Chastanet can include a picnic lunch and a swim off a deserted beach. Have a spa treatment: The luxury resorts in St Lucia boast stunning spas, including The Body Holiday, a beautiful resort devoted to health and wellbeing, which offers both western and Ayurvedic treatments.

Weddings at St Lucia’s luxury resorts are offered in a variety of exotic locations, such as garden gazebos, huts overlooking the surf or romantic beach spots. Religious wedding ceremonies can be arranged in a church by the hotels wedding planners. You can even tie the knot at some of the island’s most amazing locations – in the midst of the rainforest, a quaint island church or even a wedding involving an adventure activity such as scuba or horseback riding. Some of the more unusual ways to plunge into matrimony are at the top of an expertonly mountain trail, along a summit ridge of Gros Piton, diving among the colourful fish on the coral reef or sailing into the sunset. They are all possibilities…

Legals

You need to be over 18-years old and must be in St Lucia for three full business days prior to the wedding day for the license application process to be completed. You will also need the following documentation: Passport and/or Birth Certificate; an original or certified copy of a Divorce Decree; in the case of a widow/widower, a certified Death Certificate.

Honeymoon heaven

For couples that don't want to spend the entire honeymoon lounging on the beach, there are plenty of activities available on the island – jungle biking; rainforest hikes and sky rides; sailing; diving; snorkelling and other watersports; whale watching; coastal kayaking; golf and horse-riding. www.BridesAbroad.tv 45


REAL WEDDINGS

Renewal of vows in

Wendy and Robert Miles from Sandhurst celebrated their 25th Wedding Anniversary with a trip to the Caribbean Island of St Lucia. They stayed at East Winds Inn, one of the island's most beautiful boutique hotels. Robert had booked the holiday as a surprise for his wife, but unbeknown to Wendy, Robert had also organised a Renewal of Vows ceremony to celebrate their anniversary in the most romantic way possible.

The proposal

We have been married for 25 years. We first met in a café in Blandford, Dorset. However, Robert’s proposal wasn’t the most romantic as he asked me to marry him over the telephone! He was in Germany and I was in London. It was, however, completely unexpected!

Location location

We wanted to go somewhere special for our 25th Wedding Anniversary and Robert totally surprised me and arranged it all in secret. He organised a Renewal of Vows ceremony at the beautiful East Winds Inn in St Lucia. The hotel definitely ticked all our boxes and it certainly is a jewel in the Caribbean. Robert discovered the hotel on the internet and had been impressed by the Trip Advisor reviews.

46 www.BridesAbroad.tv


Wendy and Robert's surprise Caribbean blessing www.BridesAbroad.tv 47


REAL WEDDINGS

The planning

Robert arranged everything with East Winds Inn – they were extremely helpful and did a superb job. It seemed that nothing was too much trouble. Before we went over to St Lucia the hotel’s wedding team said they would take care of everything and they certainly did. They took the hassle out of all the arrangements. We booked our travel independently.

The details

Because Robert took care of all the arrangements I didn’t choose any wedding flowers, but was presented with the most beautiful bouquet of exotic coloured orchids. We also had a carrot cake, which was perfect as I have a dairy intolerance.

The ceremony

Our gorgeous Renewal of Vows ceremony took place on the beah at East Winds Inn. It lasted for 20 minutes. We had four guests and a local celebrant priest to marry us. Our blessing ceremony took place under the most beautiful Love Arch made from palm leaves, which had bougainvillea petals weaved through it – a total work of art. I had watched the gardeners built it all morning whilst I was on the beach, but didn’t have a clue that it was for me! There was also a heart carved out of the sand that had petals in it where we stood to renew our vows – it was just SO special!

48 www.BridesAbroad.tv


The reception

After the ceremony we had Champagne and wedding cake with our four guests on the Cabana on the beach at the hotel. Then in the evening we had a romantic dinner for two in another cabana close to the beach – the table was decorated beautifully with confetti, fresh flowers and the gardener had pinned ‘25’ and ‘Renewal of Vows Miles’ on the inside of the cabana – it was so special.

Photographic memories

Our photographs were taken by our four guests – they also took a video of the ceremony. Our favourite photograph is the one of the two of us under the Love Arch on the beach – it was so beautiful and special and just such an amazing surprise which will stay with me forever.

Magic moments

The best memory was when Robert turned round and said: “The bouquet is for you, all this is for you, we are going to renew our wedding vows on the beach.” It was the first time I knew that he had booked a Renewal of Vows ceremony and I cried! But happy tears! The funniest memory was sitting in the cabana after the ceremony discussing the day and how everyone knew what was going on apart from me!

Further information WEDDING PLANNER Glenda Mathurin, Wedding Coordinator and Reservations at East Winds Inn Tel: +1 758-452-8212 info@eastwinds.com

VENUE East Winds Inn, St Lucia www.eastwinds.com

www.BridesAbroad.tv 49


Advertising Feature


Advertising Feature

JOIN THE ELITE For the most romantic and stylish Caribbean weddings and dream honeymoons choose an Elite Island resort, where utter bliss is all-inclusive

ANTIGUA

St James’s Club & Villas

Just a 10-minute drive from Nelson’s Dockyard, St James’s Club & Villas enjoys a prime position on a picturesque 100-acre peninsula. The all-inclusive resort exudes a casual, club-like ambience and offers luxurious facilities, plenty of activities and a choice of wedding packages and venues for dream weddings – including decorated gazebos overlooking the Caribbean and a wedding arch on the beach. Luxury accommodation is in guestrooms, suites and villas, including the Royal Suites – perfect for honeymoon couples, and private villas overlooking the bay. Delicious cuisine is served in a choice of four restaurants and the resort has two beautiful sandy beaches, the calm Mamora Bay and the exciting surf of Coco Beach, plus six swimming pools, tennis courts and a fitness centre. Non-motorised water sports are complementary, and the Tranquility Body & Soul Spa offers total pampering and couples rituals.

Galley Bay Resort & Spa

Few resorts in the West Indies enjoy such an idyllic beachside setting as Galley Bay Resort & Spa. Just 10 minutes away from the vibrant port of St John’s, it is a peaceful, romantic hideaway in 40-acres of tropical gardens with a lagoon and bird sanctuary. The resort has charming rustic architecture with just 98 rooms and suites in a choice of four categories, including beachfront rooms and suites overlooking golden sands and azure waters and Gauguin Cottages with thatched roof and private splash pool. Honeymooners can relax and enjoy a landscaped swimming pool with waterfall, luxurious spa, fitness centre, tennis and complementary non-motorised water sports. A superb variety of restaurants offer beachfront à la carte dining to suit all moods – from casual to special occasion. Galley Bay has a choice of beautiful settings for wedding ceremonies, including beach gazebos and a path leading to a gazebo located in the lush gardens.


Advertising Feature

The Verandah Resort & Spa

Nestling on the lush agricultural northeast coast of Antigua, The Verandah Resort & Spa offers wedding and honeymoon packages in a spacious oasis of luxury and tranquillity, just a 5-minute drive from the spectacular Devil’s Bridge National Park. Set in 30 beautiful beachfront acres, it boasts pretty white sandy coves with calm turquoise waters and luxurious accommodation in suites and villas within manicured gardens – each boasting its own signature ‘verandah’ to enjoy the tropical and sea views. The resort has gorgeous settings for weddings with 5 wedding gazebo options including a wedding gazebo overlooking the bay. An expansive swimming pool is the resort’s centrepiece, there’s also an adult-only pool for quiet relaxation. With three restaurants and four bars, guests have a choice of dining options followed by live evening entertainment. The Tranquility Body & Soul Spa is an elegant hideaway for pampering and relaxation.

THE GRENADINES Palm Island Resort

For perfect Caribbean weddings and honeymoons, the Palm Island Resort in the Grenadines is a magical escape. Completely secluded on its own 135-acre private island fringed with coconut palms, soft white sand and turquoise sea, it is an idyllic place to relax and unwind. The resort has been built to blend in with its natural surroundings, with many of its rooms, suites and villas located on the beach. Here honeymooners can hike, swim, enjoy non-motorised water sports and explore the island at their leisure. Palm Island offers relaxation with five white sand beaches, a swimming pool with waterfall, fitness centre and Spa Treatment Room. The beachfront restaurants take advantage of locally grown vegetables and fresh seafood, and romance seekers can enjoy private beach dining at the romantic heart-shaped tree (additional charge).

ST LUCIA

St James’s Club Morgan Bay

BARBADOS

The Club Barbados Resort & Spa

Set in a beautiful location, just a 10 minute drive from Rodney Bay Marina, and offering plenty of Caribbean charm, this fun-filled beachfront resort has an abundance of first-class facilities to keep honeymooners relaxed and entertained in the St Lucia sunshine. The all-inclusive resort is the perfect place to say: “I do” with a choice of inclusive wedding and honeymoon packages. Rooms are set in pink blocks around the resort with garden, pool or ocean views. There are six delightful dining options and four swimming pools, including a large main pool area with swim-up bar and separate kids and adultonly options. The Hilltop Spa offers luxurious couples treatments whilst active rest is offered with a range of activities including water sports, tennis courts, fully-equipped gym, pilates and spin classes and fantastic live evening entertainment.

In a gorgeous setting on the west coast of Barbados, known as the ‘Gold Coast’, The Club Barbados Resort & Spa nestles amid lush tropical gardens and is a haven of blissful relaxation. The adults-only, all-inclusive resort is a 30 minute drive away from Bridgetown with its vibrant nightlife. The hotel has a small beach with its own extensive list of water sports, including water-skiing. A short stroll in the warm sunshine takes you to one of the beautiful beaches on either side of the resort, or relax on a lounger by the hotel’s split-level pool, or in the spa where you can be indulged with luxurious treatments including couples massage and aromatherapy. The hotel offers mouth-watering cuisine in a choice of two restaurants and the Rum Shop Bar is a true Bajan rum shop and a great place to round off another day in paradise.

Book it!

www.eliteislandresorts.co.uk or though your local travel agent


ANTIGUA – a Caribbean gem

Known as the ‘Romance Capital of the Caribbean’, Antigua and Barbuda are a match made in heaven for honeymooners, and couples wanting to marry in paradise 54 www.BridesAbroad.tv


There can be few places in the world as colourful and vibrant as Antigua – no wonder it’s the favourite Caribbean island for dream weddings and honeymoons. Perhaps the most outstanding feature about Antigua is its incredible world-class, picture-perfect beaches – long stretches of powder white sand, framed by coco palms and lapped by the turquoise Caribbean Sea. Antigua boasts a choice of 365 sandy beaches, so you can relax on a different beach every day of the year, should you wish to!

of English Harbour and toast the sunset at the Lookout Bar and Restaurant. The best time to visit is on Sundays when crowds gather for a BBQ, drinks and plenty of fun and merriment (www.shirleyheightslookout.com). Take a boat trip to the stunningly beautiful nearby islands, including Great Bird Island, Guoiana Island, Green Island and Prickley Pear Island, and, of course, a visit to Barbuda is a must! This natural island is blessed with miles of deserted pink sand beaches and the famous Codrington Lagoon National Park.

HONEYMOON HEAVEN!

Antigua and Barbuda is a twin-island nation. It was named the Caribbean’s Leading Honeymoon Destination by the World Travel Awards in 2013, and it’s easy to see why – it’s a beautiful island which boasts a rich heritage, plenty of culture and is renowned for its warm hospitality. There’s an abundance of activities available to keep honeymooners entertained including water sports, such as sailing, snorkeling and kayaking. Alternatively you can go zip-lining through the rainforests or rent a car for a day – it’s the best way to see the sights of Antigua at your own pace. For shopping, a trip to Heritage Quay at the port of St John’s is essential, with its duty-free shops, bars and restaurants. And be sure to visit the world-famous Nelson’s Dockyard with its museums, shops and restaurants, housed in historical old buildings, then climb or drive up to Shirley Heights, once a military look-out point, to enjoy breathtaking views

MARRY IN ANTIGUA

All the ingredients for romance can be found in Antigua and Barbuda, and getting married here is a breeze. With no residency requirements, you can be exchanging your vows on a beautiful palm-fringed beach within a day. You will have no difficulty in finding your perfect wedding venue – from sun-kissed beaches to lush tropical gardens. However, if you prefer traditional nuptials with a Caribbean twist, Antigua can cater for religious ceremonies too, offering a choice of gorgeous Anglican churches in picture-perfect settings.

Getting there The Brides Abroad team flew to Antigua from Manchester direct with Thomas Cook Airlines. Book: www.thomascookairlines.com

www.BridesAbroad.tv 55


The eco-friendly Galley Bay Resort & Spa is a gorgeous Caribbean hideaway surrounded by nature at its best – it’s a haven of rustic luxury for honeymooners and destination weddings in its magnificent beachside setting Galley Bay is magical. Tucked away on Antigua’s west coast, the idyllic retreat is perfect for dream honeymoons. On arrival at the resort’s check-in desk, you leave the hustle and bustle of the world behind as your golf buggy whisks you down the long gravel pathway across a peaceful lagoon, which is a wildlife bird sanctuary, before arriving at the heart of the hotel overlooking the ocean. Although it is just 10 minutes from the bustling port of St John’s, Galley Bay is a tranquil resort in a prime position, nestling in 40-acres of tropical gardens set between 56 www.BridesAbroad.tv

the natural lagoon and a long stretch of white sandy beach, shaded by coco palms. This refined, yet unpretentious resort exudes a romantic West Indian charm. The most telling sign of a truly delightful hotel is its return rate of previous guests, and Galley Bay is quite unique in welcoming many guests back year after year – some more than 20 times! The boutique-style resort offers luxury accommodation in just 98 rooms, suites and cottages, spread out beneath the shade of the palm trees and overlooking either the azure waters of the Caribbean

Sea or the lagoon. It also offers a wide and varied range of facilities. Take advantage of the complementary, non-motorized water sports, including catamaran sailing, snorkeling and kayaking; shape up and tone in the state-of-the-art gym; play tennis; take a morning run on the jogging track around the lagoon, or simply relax by the landscaped swimming pool to the sound of the cascading waterfall. Be sure to hire a car or a bicycle and explore the local countryside, or take a trip into nearby St John’s for a spot of duty-free


shopping and sightseeing, or an excursion to Nelson’s Dockyard and Shirley Heights. Whatever you do, be sure to take time out to be pampered in the new Indulge Spa with its vast menu of treatments and couples rituals. Luxurious treatments take place in rustic thatched pavilions to the soothing sounds of nature all around.

Luxury living

Accommodation is available in a choice of four categories: the thatched roofed Gauguin Cottages with private plunge

pools, situated close to the beach on the edge of the bird sanctuary lagoon; Superior Beachfront which are single level rooms located directly on the beach; Deluxe Beachfront, which are slightly larger and Premium Beachfront – contemporary split level suites with sunken living rooms.

Dining experiences

A range of superb restaurants ensure that guests enjoy an excellent choice of dining to suit their mood – the Sea Grape Restaurant, an elegant beachfront restaurant serves a la carte breakfast,

lunch and dinner; Gauguin Restaurant, is the ultimate romantic dining experience, serving grilled dishes beneath individual thatched huts; Ismay’s Restaurant is the ‘special occasion’ fine dining choice, which is perfect for honeymoon dining and wedding receptions; Barefoot Grill offers beachside snacks and lunch in a very casual atmosphere with sand between your toes. Honeymooners are also invited to have a private candlelit dinner on the beach beneath the stars.

Weddings

Galley Bay is the ideal beach setting for the wedding of your dreams, with a choice of venues including a picturesque gazebo in a secluded location overlooking the ocean and a wedding pavilion that can be set up on the beach. The resort offers wedding packages and a wedding planning team to take care of all the arrangements and ensure your wedding is absolutely perfect.

Further information

Galley Bay Resort & Spa St John’s Antigua www.galleybayresort.com www.eliteislandresorts.com

www.BridesAbroad.tv 57


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.

58 www.BridesAbroad.tv

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 www.BridesAbroad.tv 59


YOUR WEDDING,

YOUR STYLE! Sandals offers couples beautiful beachfront weddings in the Caribbean, themed to reflect their individuality

60 www.BridesAbroad.tv


The modern bride is intent on bringing to life the most creative ideas she can find for her wedding day, and sees customisation as a need rather than a luxury. In order to help these millennial brides to plan a custom destination wedding experience that’s distinctly, uniquely theirs, Sandals Resorts has created Your Wedding. Your Style – a destination wedding concept that allows couples to personally style and execute their dream wedding at any one of Sandals’ 15 luxurious Caribbean resorts. With an expanded colour palette, wedding accessories and bespoke experiences, couples can select every aspect of their special day to create their perfect ceremony and reception. The programme eliminates the ‘cookie-cutter’ wedding package – couples get the customisation options they crave, resulting in a truly personalised Caribbean wedding experience. To help reach brides where they live today – online – Sandals Resorts also created an exclusive Online Destination Wedding Designer, where couples can view their location, colour palates, décor, weddings cakes and more to design their own personal dream wedding.

Colour, colour, and more colour!

Colour is one of the most important elements of designing a dream wedding, and Sandals Resorts gives brides and grooms, more choices than ever before with 14 distinct colour palettes, translated through linen, ribbons, flowers, cakes, décor, cupcakes, and accessory options. Couples can choose their colour palette from an array of distinct shades, including corals, pinks, blues and greens.

Wedding options

Traditional or tropical? Modern or romantic? Every design style has been included, so couples are sure to find what they’re looking for down to the last detail. Curated galleries within the Sandals Destination Wedding Designer cover every facet of the wedding: bouquets and boutonnieres, ceremony details, receptions, cakes, specialty dinners and bars, photography and videography packages plus bridal salon appointments for pre-wedding beauty treatments. Brides and grooms can enhance their guests’ experience with creative décor and entertainment options, including fire dancers, Tiki torches, candy buffets and steel drum bands.

www.BridesAbroad.tv 61


Free Beautiful Beginnings Wedding Package

Brides and grooms who book three nights or longer in any room category will receive a free Beautiful Beginnings Wedding*. The Beautiful Beginnings theme includes a personal pre-travel wedding planner; personal resort wedding planner and dedicated resort wedding team; preparation of marriage documents; musical accompaniment; witnesses upon request; a 35-minute massage for the groom and a manicure for the bride at the exclusive Red Lane® Spa; reception with sparkling wine and cold hors d’oeuvres for the bride, groom and up to six guests; wedding gift; free wedding website and gift registry; decorated honeymoon room; mimosa breakfast-in-bed to kick of their honeymoon; honeymoon dinner at a resort specialty restaurant with white-glove service and a complimentary bottle of sparkling wine; complimentary 5”x7” honeymoon photo and more. Those who choose a custom wedding or an upgraded pre-designed wedding theme are also not overlooked, as those staying six nights or longer receive a $500 (£350) WeddingMoons® gift towards the components of their wedding**.

Personalised honeymoons

In addition to offering options to customise their wedding ceremony and reception, Sandals Resorts also offers brides and grooms a multitude of choices to personalise their honeymoon celebration.

®

“At Sandals Resorts, a WeddingMoon is the ultimate celebration of a couple’s romance,” says Marsha-Ann Brown, Director of Romance, Sandals Resorts. “Everything during their stay should reflect their taste and style as a couple, from the Love Nest Luxury Suites that were designed especially to offer newlyweds the seclusion they desire, to their own personal butler, who will cater to their every need, be it an indulgent couples spa treatment or a private waterfront candlelit dinner.” *A Beautiful Beginnings wedding is free with stays of three paid nights or more in all room categories. All weddings are subject to mandatory marriage officiant and government documentation fees, which are approx. £67 in Jamaica £285 in Antigua, £192 in St Lucia, £128 in Grenada, £230 in Barbados, and £145 in the Bahamas, and must observe the respective island’s residency period . **The $500 (£350) Wedding Credit is applicable for weddings of six-paid nights or longer. Eligible bookings may elect to take either ® i) a $500 (£350) WeddingMoons Gift that can be applied to design a customized destination wedding or ii) a pre-designed theme. The ® WeddingMoons Gift does not include flowers or entertainment. The WeddingMoons® Gift cannot be applied towards accommodation, mandatory marriage officiant and government documentation fees, day passes and other non-Wedding related items. The WeddingMoons® Gift must be applied pre-travel and prior to final payment. All fees are subject to change at any time. Offer may be changed or withdrawn at any time.

62 www.BridesAbroad.tv


Powder-soft beaches as white as your gown.

Turquoise waters that sparkle like your ring. And countless locations waiting to host your ceremony,

each as unique as your love.

#BahamasWeddings

Follow us on: bahamas.co.uk/wedding-honeymoonpackages | 0207 3550800

Š2016 The Islands Of The Bahamas


Mauritius Weddings Bliss in the Indian Ocean

Mauritius is an idyllic tropical island where couples can dip their toes gently into married life on the shores of the sparkling Indian Ocean 64 www.BridesAbroad.tv


Couples seeking a picturesque palm-fringed setting for their barefoot beach wedding or romantic honeymoon paradise will fall head over heals in love with Mauritius, a stunning island in the southern Indian Ocean with lush tropical vegetation and long stretches of fine white sandy beach. Mauritius is situated in the southern hemisphere, near the Tropic of Capricorn and has a central plateau fringed by striking jagged mountains – the remnants of extinct volcanic craters. The island is natural, spectacular and above all, relaxing, with unlimited year-round sunshine – hot but not too hot, with a refreshing ocean breeze to cool and refresh.

Natural wonders

Nature lovers will adore Mauritius. It boasts a long coastline almost entirely surrounded by a coral reef, which has created a turquoise lagoon around the island, making it ideal for swimming, snorkelling and water sports. The reef is teeming with marine life and is a scuba divers dream, while on land there is an abundance of unusual and endemic species of animals, birds and plants. The Mauritian authorities are determined to keep their island unspoilt, so you won’t find high-rise hotels and apartment blocks here – just luxurious destination resorts, designed to blend into the unspoilt landscape and its towns and villages which are home to the friendly native Mauritians. For honeymooners, Mauritius is the perfect place to relax and soothe the soul, or if you are looking for adventure and activities, there’s plenty to keep you occupied – from golf and excursions to the capital to all kinds of water sport. The beach is there, in stunning abundance – so use it! Sailing, windsurfing, scuba diving, water skiing, swimming with dolphins and, of course, saying “I do” or having a blessing below the shady palms with a truly romantic beach ceremony! Sunsets in Mauritius are sensational, and as it dips below the Indian Ocean you can enjoy pre-dinner cocktails and romantic dining at its

TOP 5 THINGS TO DO

1 2 3 4 5

Go to the races

Rub shoulders with the socialites of Mauritius at the Champ de Mars racecourse in Port Louis – it’s the oldest racecourse in the southern hemisphere, so go and sip Champagne in the sunshine as you have a flutter on the horses.

Marvel at the waterfall

Climb the stairs to the viewing platform at the top of Chamarel, the highest waterfall in Mauritius at 100 metres. It’s well worth the effort to reach this natural beauty spot, which offers an awesome sight and is the perfect photo opportunity.

Browse the shops in Grand Baie

The cosmopolitan resort of Grand Baie is known for its great nightlife, shopping and restaurants. When you’ve finished shopping for souvenirs, head to the gorgeous beach for an afternoon of watersports.

Eat crocodile curry

We’re not kidding! The star of the show at La Vanille Crocodile Park is obviously the crocodile, and they actually serve crocodile curry in the restaurant! However, you can also see giant bats, giant turtles, monkeys and a huge insect collection and learn about the endangered species endemic to Mauritius.

Visit a botanical garden

See bats hanging from the branches of Fruit Bat Trees at Pamplemousses Botanical Garden – also known as Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolan Botanic Garden. It covers 60 acres of land and also features giant lily ponds with tadpoles and frogs plus trees planted by Nelson Mandela and Indira Ghandi.

best with local and international cuisine including Creole, Indian, European and fresh seafood harvested from the sea earlier in the day. Then dance the night away to music from local bands – the sexy local dance is called Sega. Join in if you dare!

Getting married in Mauritius

Mauritius offers spectacular weddings and renewal of vows ceremonies in gorgeous settings – from gazebo’s on the beach to prettily decorated wedding pavilions overlooking the sea, you can even get hitched aboard a catamaran! A number of Mauritian resorts and tour operators offer all-inclusive wedding and honeymoon packages to suit all budgets. Weddings usually take place in the late afternoon as it is the cooler time of day and the light is better for photographs – and you can take advantage of those spectacular sunsets!

The legals

The day before your wedding in Mauritius the wedding team will arrange for you to be taken by car, with the originals of all required documentation, to the island’s capital, Port Louis, where you need to visit four different offices: Civil Status Main Office; Attorney at Law; Supreme High Court of Mauritius and Civil Status Sub Office – your taxi driver will take you to a sub office in the district closest to your hotel for the publication of the wedding and for the time of your wedding to be confirmed.

Documentation

You will need the following documents: Copies of passports; Copies of Birth Certificates; Decree Absolute (if divorced); Deed Poll (if name has changed); Copies of former Marriage Certificate if widowed and copies of former spouse’s Death Certificate; Copies of adoption papers if applicable; Non-English documentation must be translated into English and duly stamped. A little Mauritian red tape also states that if the bride-to-be has been divorced in the last 10 months, she will need a Mauritian Doctor’s Certificate of non-pregnancy. There is a small charge for this certificate. www.BridesAbroad.tv 65


REAL WEDDINGS

Magical marriage in

Mauritius Love blossomed for lovebirds Daniel Tong and Samantha Glenndenning after meeting on their regular commute to work in Dorset, and after travelling even further to Marmaris for a romantic holiday, Daniel took Samantha by surprise with a marriage proposal – then the couple took another journey, this time to Mauritius, where they sealed their love in an intimate ceremony overlooking the Indian Ocean.

Finding ‘the one’

Location location

We met through a mutual friend and we got to know each other over a few months on the commute into work. I fancied Dan – but he was into 6ft hot blondes, so being the complete opposite, I always thought I wasn't his type. Then our friend invited us out for his birthday and to my surprise Dan kissed me behind a large vodka menu!

We chose an overseas wedding for three reasons – the weather, the scenery and the price! We wanted somewhere exotic – an island with blue waters, flowers and a beach, that was also easy for UK Citizens to legally marry, so Mauritius fitted perfectly.

The proposal

We booked our wedding through Tropical Sky Weddings who were very helpful and also assisted with the arrangements and booking. We also had a wedding planner called Veronique at the Veranda Paul et Virginee Hotel in Mauritius, who helped with all the details at the resort.

He proposed to me at the Harmony Bar in Marmaris - a small, quiet, candle-lit beach bar at the Imperial Marmaris Hotel. He had planned to propose on our four-year anniversary date, 22nd May, however, a couple of nights prior, he felt we were having such a lovely evening that he wanted to propose then. So he told me he was popping to the gents, but actually ran back to our hotel room and got the ring. We were talking about life in general when he asked me if I would ever marry him, and got down on one knee. I was so shocked, my only response was: "Oh my god!" And "What?!" I always thought I'd 'know' when he was about to do it. I eventually said: “Yes”, obviously! I had suspected he would propose soon as he kept talking about his dream wedding, but the actual moment was totally unexpected! 66 www.BridesAbroad.tv

The planning

Getting the look

My wedding dress was the Princess Dress by Papa Michel Hamar, with a sweetheart neckline and a beautiful vintage diamante belt. I wanted a classic look. I had a pearl and diamante veil, with a vintage slide, diamante necklace, bracelet and earrings set and vintage diamante sandals. A fabulous lady called Anneway, and her lovely assistant Rowenda at Seven Colours Spa did my hair and make-up. It looked absolutely fantastic – no trials needed, we just went for it and it was beautiful!


Samantha and Daniel tie the knot under a floral gazebo

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REAL WEDDINGS Something old, Something new?

I didn't have Something Old or Borrowed. However, I did have my toe-nails shellaced in sparkly blue as my Something Blue, and wore a sixpence hidden in my dress.

Groomed to perfection

Daniel chose his own dark blue suit from Debenhams, with a pale blue shirt, a colourful tropical tie and wore dark blue and brown leather shoes by Base.

The details

We didn’t have a wedding ‘theme’, we just went very classic, and chose what we liked! I had pink and white roses with small white lilies and gypsophila. The hotel provided us with a small, white-iced, heart-shaped sponge with roses and a bride and groom topper. It was delicious!

The ceremony

The wedding took place on the gazebo overlooking the bay, which had been dressed with white drapes and garden flowers. The ceremony lasted abourt 20 minutes and we were married by the local registrar, Davina.

The reception

We had our own private dinner in the restaurant on the jetty, St German. The hotel closed it just for us! We ate a delicious, typically Mauritian meal, then went to the bar for drinks with people we had met.

Photographic memories

Ajay and Julie/Michael from Aperture Photo Studio took our photos and created our wedding video. We wanted the photos to be fun and they certainly were. I even went into the sea with my dress! Julie went out of her way to capture some photos, there were moments when we were concerned she was going to fall in the sea! The video is just magical.

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REAL WEDDINGS Aperture Photo Studio did an incredible job! Our favourite is the one where we are jumping in the air on the beach – it's an unusual picture, with a great background. It took a few times to shoot it and we laughed a lot! Dan loved the camera and got quite into the posing! When I got into the water wearing my wedding dress all the ladies gasped: "Not the dress!", but it was fine. During one photo, Dan jokingly said: “Help me!” To which one chap shouted: "It's too late now!"

Magic moments

Our best memory was finding our witnesses, Ruth and Mark. They were on honeymoon and we met them on a coconut workshop – we hit it off immediately. They were great fun and funnily enough from Weston-super-Mare in the UK. I'm a huge Cider fan and it transpired Mark worked for Thatchers – my favourite Cider maker, and Ruth had just been married so she was great at taking charge at key moments! We were lucky to have met them, they made our weddingmoon even more memorable. One of the funniest moments was when I got confused at the beginning of the ceremony when the registrar asked if we had anything we'd like to say, I thought she was asking if we had our own vows, so I responded: “No”. However, Dan completely undertsood what she asked and gave a very sweet speech about how he loved me and couldn't wait to spend the rest of his life with me, to which I responded “Thanks, me too”.

On budget?

Our whole weddingmoon cost around £4,000, including our outfits and accessories, which was on budget!

Further information WEDDING PLANNER UK

Tropical Sky Weddings Jordan Forbes and Karen Andrews www.tropicalsky.co.uk

WEDDING PLANNER MAURITIUS Veronique Laurent

VENUE

Veranda Paul et Virginee Grande Gaube, Mauritius www.veranda-resorts.com

PHOTOGRAPHY

Ajay & Julie/ Michael Aperture Photo Studio

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Get the look

Pearl haircomb, £15 www.phase-eight.com

Beach

Weddings Create a sensational seaside style with a breezy mix of shells, freshwater pearls, tropical flowers and sandals

Pearl necklace, £75 www.lustrousjewellery.com

Pearl bracelet, £75 www.lustrousjewellery.com

Flower pendant, £99 www.tresorparis.co.uk

Flower earrings, £99 www.tresorparis.co.uk

Flower ring, £99 www.tresorparis.co.uk

Silk bouquet, £74.99 www.silkblooms.co.uk

Silver lobster dish, £29.60 www.in-spaces.com

Sandals, £69 www.stevemadden.com Dress by Ladybird. www.ladybird.nl www.BridesAbroad.tv 71


A marriage

Made in Manhattan

You’ve seen it in the movies, now you too can live the dream with a New York wedding fit for a star! 72 www.BridesAbroad.tv


Do you fancy a film star send off into married life like Carrie Bradshaw with a Sex and the City style glitzy ceremony? Or a lakeside ceremony in Central Park, in the romantic Ladies Pavilion you have seen so often in the movies, followed by a reception in one of New York’s exclusive skyscraper restaurants with panoramic city views? Perhaps you’d prefer a floating ceremony aboard the World Yacht as it sails around Manhattan taking in the city’s iconic landmarks – the possibilities for New York City weddings are endless! No wonder it is one of the most popular destinations in the world to say “I do!” Typical New York couples are sassy and sophisticated, fun-loving and, more importantly, they know what they want out of life. They love the hustle and bustle of the city, it’s atmosphere and, of course, it’s glamour. It’s the excitement that has drawn them there. So, if you are a New Yorker at heart, then ‘the city that never sleeps’ is the perfect place for your destination wedding – and the amazing NYC skyline promises to make an awe-inspiring backdrop to your wedding photographs.

Film city

Walk through the city streets that have been the backdrop to many blockbuster films and popular TV series including Sex and the City, Friends, When Harry Met Sally, The Wolf of Wall Street, Ted 2 and Maid in Manhattan – bump into a celebrity or two,

5 fab venues

1 2 3

Central Park

The most popular destination is Central Park, which captures the essence of New York, with a backdrop of the Manhattan skyline surrounded by acres of trees, intertwining walkways and lakes. Ladies Pavilion is the most popular location. www.tropicalsky.co.uk

The View

The View is New York’s only revolving rooftop restaurant and lounge, and makes a stunning wedding venue with an incredible vista. The revolving floor makes a 360° turn every hour, ensuring an ever-changing view of the New York skyline. www.theviewnyc.com

World Yacht at Pier 81

You can cruise along the Hudson River, taking in Manhattan’s iconic skyline and famous landmarks while you say ‘I do’ when you charter one of World Yachts luxury cruises for an unforgettable wedding ceremony and exquisite reception on the water. www.worldyacht.com

4

City Hall

5

Hard Rock, Times Square

Keep it simple and tie the knot with a no-frills wedding service at The Manhattan Marriage Bureau in City Hall at the heart of Manhattan. You can obtain your marriage license quickly at self-serve computer kiosks and get married for just $25. www.cityclerk.nyc.gov

Have a dream wedding fit for rock ‘n’ roll royalty, surrounded by aweinspiring rock memorabilia, at the Hard Rock Café marquee overlooking Times Square, followed by Champagne, chocolate covered strawberries and a light snack. www.hardrock.com/cafes/new-york

shop in designer stores and the famous Bloomingdales department store or simply enjoy a cupcake from Magnolia bakery and soak up the atmosphere. And when planning your New York City wedding, remember that anything goes here, with brides choosing everything from cheeky shorty dresses and 50’s style vintage gowns to a tradition princess style dress and grooms opting for evening dress suit rather than the traditional wedding attire. The wedding becomes a celebration of the surroundings – it’s the most exciting city in the world and there’s always an element of sparkle – be it a luxury limousine, a New York Cab, a romantic dinner cruise on the Hudson – the choice is endless. And the best bit is that a wedding in New York doesn’t have to cost the earth! Wedding packages with leading UK tour operators start from as little as £2,000.

Legal requirements

If you want to marry in New York you must obtain a marriage license. The bridal couple must apply for their license by appearing together in person with valid identification, and complete their application at the Office of the City Clerk. It will be prepared while you wait, and you will take it with you when you leave. The application consists of an affidavit, listing personal details including the couple’s name, address, birthplace, date of birth, social security number (where applicable) and marital history and the couple need to make a sworn statement that there is no legal impediments to the marriage. Those who have been married before must list their prior marriages and supply their previous spouse’s full name, date the divorce was granted, place the divorce was filed and take along the final divorce decree. Widows and widowers must also provide the deceased spouse’s death certificate. www.BridesAbroad.tv 73


REAL WEDDINGS

Hitched in

CENTRAL PARK

Nicola Skellum and Craig Nash from Sutton Coldfield met through their jobs as accountants, however they soon discovered there was more to their relationship than admiring each other’s figures from afar, and exchanged numbers. Their romantic encounters added up to eternal love when they said: “I do” in New York’s Central Park, and two became one.

Finding ‘the one’

We met at a work breakfast seminar run by a law firm. My colleague was dating Craig’s boss and introduced me to Craig. After that we kept running into each other at work functions (we were effectively competitors at the time) but got together at a friend’s birthday party following a corporate race track day that we both attended. Was it love at first sight? Honestly no, but then we also didn’t have long to speak to each other when we first met – and being work competitors didn’t help. Instead we got to know each other first.

The proposal We were out for the evening, which began at the pub where we had been on our first date; we were then going on to a restaurant for dinner. He stopped me as we were walking by a row of trees, lit by fairy lights, and said there was something 74 www.BridesAbroad.tv

he wanted to do before we went into the restaurant. He took a ring box out of his jacket pocket and went down on one knee! We had talked about getting engaged and discussed rings (I had even, not being a subtle person, given Craig pictures of styles that I liked) but I didn’t know when he would propose. He had always said he would never propose in public – so he managed to surprise me!

Location location

We decided that we wanted a small and intimate wedding – something different! We had looked at quirky venues around the UK but hadn’t found anything we liked, plus marrying abroad meant we would get a holiday, especially as we weren’t going on honeymoon until winter. New York is Craig’s favourite place and, also, we had been there for a long weekend to celebrate our one-year dating anniversary.


Nicola and Craig tie the knot in New York City

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REAL WEDDINGS The planning

We used the tour operator, Tropical Sky, to help us. Jade, from Tropical Sky, arranged the flowers, minister, photographer, permit for the venue, limo etc., and helped us with our many queries throughout. We had contacts in the UK and then a wedding coordinator in America who we met a couple of days before the wedding to run through the details. She was also there on the wedding day to help to ensure that it all went to plan. I love planning, organisation and administration, so I probably bombarded Jade and everyone at Tropical Sky with queries before they had time to provide me with information! However, my questions were answered quickly and in a friendly manner. There were certain things we couldn’t do until we got to New York, such as obtaining the wedding license, although we started the process by applying online before we went.

The guests

We had eight guests, so there were 10 of us in total, which included both sets of parents - otherwise we would have been in trouble! Everyone picked their own hotel – after all it was their holiday as well and all had different budgets. We were all close enough to meet up throughout the week – but everyone also had plenty of time to do their own thing. We stayed at the Jumeriah Essex House, it was amazing and the staff were fantastic to us. We got an upgrade to a fabulous suite and they gave us a bottle of Champagne and chocolate covered strawberries to help celebrate. We didn’t ask many people and discussed it with them before we booked it. We had more people offer to come, as they wanted to help us celebrate, which was lovely, but we actually turned people down, as we wanted to keep it small and intimate and be fair to those who couldn’t make it.

Getting the look

My mum pointed out the dress. It was from Monsoon and was perfect for packing to take to America. It had a vintage feel to it – fairly simple style, but with silver beading to provide some detail. I had a jeweled hair band, earrings and a bracelet. I saw a pair of earrings that I loved but that weren’t cheap, Craig saw how much I loved them so he bought them for me as a wedding present – a perfect keepsake! I did my own make-up

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but the hotel booked an appointment for me and the two mums, to get our hair done, as I was worried about getting my very thick hair straight due to the different electrical voltages.

Something old, something new?

Something Old: Me! Something New: my dress, my hair band, my shoes, my earrings. Something Borrowed: My mum’s (clean) handkerchief – and my underwear! Ok not too old but it wasn’t new either! Something Blue: Craig coincidentally bought me a blue bracelet for Christmas which perfectly and instantly became my something blue.

Groomed to perfection

Craig hired his suit from Moss Bros in Birmingham. He wore tails, as he wanted something more special than just feeling like he was wearing a suit to work as he does every day.

The details

We just wanted to keep our wedding simple, however the red cravat matched the red rose buttonhole that matched my bouquet but that was the extent of our ‘theme’. My bouquet was a mix of red and white roses, to add colour but to not be too strong. Flowers and blossom trees surrounded the wedding venue, Ladies Pavilion in Central Park, so other than the bouquet and buttonhole we didn’t need any more of our own. In New York there was no cake. We did, however, have a party when we got back to the UK to celebrate our wedding with friends and family and we had a cake at this party – it was three tiers with white chocolate icing – it was from Marks & Spencer and was a bargain!

The ceremony Our intimate wedding ceremony took place at Ladies Pavilion in Central Park, it

is an old bus shelter – not that you would know as its very ornate. It is on the edge of the lake so it has beautiful views. We wanted an outdoor wedding but the pavilion also provided us with a roof in case it rained, which luckily it didn’t. It lasted approximately 15 minutes, we didn’t have any readings but the minister who married us, who had been arranged by our wedding coordinator, read a poem that he had selected for us. My dad gave me away, which made my day as he isn’t in the best of health and frequently has to rely on a wheelchair to get round – but he was determined to summon the strength to walk me to the Pavilion.

The reception

After the ceremony Craig and I went around New York in a limo having photos taken at different landmarks, then met our guests at the Rose Club in the Plaza Hotel for drinks and speeches before we went to an Italian restaurant, Basso 56, for dinner. www.BridesAbroad.tv 77


REAL WEDDINGS We had searched on Trip Advisor for restaurant recommendations and had to balance the different tastes of our guests. The staff at Basso 56 were amazing and even gave us a free bottle of Prosecco to celebrate. We had a mix of Italian food – I had lobster crepes for my main. My father is a vegetarian, my husband a fussy eater and the best man eats a gluten free diet, all of which were catered for. I took my bouquet along to put on the table. We didn’t have any entertainment laid on, or do a First Dance; it was just a relaxed evening of food, drinking and good company. We had a romantic meal for two the following day at Keen’s Steakhouse, where we had eaten last time we were in New York, and I practiced my new signature for the first time.

Magic moments

Photographic memories

The wedding coordinator arranged our photographer in New York. After the ceremony we went to the Flatiron Building, Times Square and the Rockefeller Centre with the photographer to have photos out and about in New York – we had a limo to take us around and they also gave us a bottle of Champagne to sip as we were travelling around.

Favourite wedding photo

So many to choose from, we have some great informal pictures of us dancing around whilst crossing the road, relaxing in the back of the limo and one where a stranger let me borrow his husky for a photo. I love huskies and squealed with delight when I saw it in the street – a good omen for our marriage.

78 www.BridesAbroad.tv

Wonderful memories were holding hands with Craig as we got married; relaxing in the back of the limo as we drove around to the sights for photos as it meant we had time to ourselves to talk; being lent the husky for our photos; the look on Craig’s face as he did his speech and my dad summoning the strength to walk me up to the Pavilion. There were a few funny moments too, including the fact I didn’t know whether to say: “I do” or “I will”, so I said: “Yes, yes, yes, I do, I will…” Strangers in New York congratulating us, including a young lad shaking Craig’s hand; competing with a couple for photos on a zebra crossing – however they were posing as fallen angels (they are in one of our photos)! It was cold, very cold. But the forecast had been for rain and luckily it held off, however, in some of the photos you can see my goose bumps!

On budget?

Let’s just say we managed to have a week in New York, including booking a hotel suite (and that was before the upgrade), the wedding and a party back home for cheaper than if we had the wedding back home. On the whole we were pretty much on budget, we went over on a few items but these were important things such as the rings, but then we came in under budget elsewhere.

The honeymoon

Everyone was good about giving us time to ourselves the day after the wedding in New York; it was a good mix of family time and time for ourselves throughout the week. On the wedding day we both had breakfast separately with our own parents to keep an element of tradition. We are planning to take our ‘honeymoon’ later and to go to Tromso, Norway. It means we still have that to look forward to and makes our wedding last longer.

Further information WEDDING PLANNER UK Jade at Tropical Sky 01342 886571 www.tropicalsky.co.uk

WEDDING PLANNER USA Tropical Sky provided a wedding coordinator in NYC Orysia Germak, Tourism Marketing Inc.

WEDDING VENUE

Ladies Pavilion, Central Park

ACCOMMODATION Jumeirah Essex House www.jumeirah.com

PHOTOGRAPHER Lina Lang


Your Wedding in the

French Alps Take your vows amidst breathtaking scenery in summer or winter! Invite your friends and family to stay for any number of nights in relaxing and homely surroundings. Turn a special day into a special few days, so you can spend some quality time with the people that matter to you most.

Delicious world cuisine Friendly and professional staff Organized activities and excursions Hotel Au Coin du Feu Morzine, France www.chillypowder.com 0207 289 6958


6 UNIQUE

MALDIVES BLESSINGS

While it’s not possible to officially marry in the Maldives, couples flock to these magical islands for wedding blessings and renewal of vows ceremonies in a most stunning choice of styles – from “I do’s” on deserted sandbanks to incredible underwater weddings – the possibilities are endless 80 www.BridesAbroad.tv


1 Overwater ceremony Four Seasons Maldives at Landaa Giraavaru Set on a picture-perfect island in the Maldives, the Four Seasons at Landaa Giraavaru has unveiled its new 'floating' overwater pavilion that allows the bridal couple and up to 24 guests to exchange their vows above the endless beauty of a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve ocean. Accessible only by boat, the overwater Wedding Pavilion is light and airy with lofty vaulted ceilings and a glass bottomed aisle above a turtle enclosure. The floor-to-ceiling glass doors to three sides offer stunning views across the lagoon. The couple can personalize the wedding pavilion with their own choice of flowers and candles – the resort's wedding coordinator will help them to plan every bespoke detail of their day.

Book it!

Caribtours offers a 7-night half-board package from £6,158 per couple. Prices include flights, seaplane transfers and 7-nights B&B accommodation in a Beach Bungalow with pool. www.caribtours.co.uk

2 Sandbank wedding Royal Island Resort & Spa Exchange vows like a castaway on your very own sandbank, surrounded by sparkling ocean, accompanied by the natural sounds of the lapping waves and the beat of the Boru Beru drummers welcoming you to married life in traditional Maldivian style. At Royal Island resort, couples have a choice of wedding venues, from a luxurious wedding site overlooking the resort’s pristine white beach, or in one of the resort’s intimate rooms to the spectacular setting on a dramatic sandbank where the resort’s wedding coordinator can set up a decorated wedding gazebo and make all the arrangements for your traditional sandbank ceremony. Wedding packages include: wedding make-up, a traditional ceremony with local drums and dancers, cake and refreshments, private BBQ on your doorstep, flowers, a special turndown in your room, bottle of Champagne, private picnic on the island of Gemendhoo and photography, including a wedding album and CD.

Book it!

7-nights B&B from £1,011 per couple, not including flights. www.bookings.com www.BridesAbroad.tv 81


3 Underwater chapel Conrad Maldives Getting married on a pristine beach in the Maldives will always be special, but couples looking to go the extra mile can wed beneath the waves at Conrad Maldives Rangali Island resort for the ultimate wow-factor wedding. The resort is offering the Itheaa Underwater Ceremony for couples to say "I do" at the world's first and only glass chapel 5m under the sea. The chapel is encircled by the colourful coral reef and bride and groom are surrounded by marine life visible through the glass as they exchange their vows. The resort's wedding planners will be on hand to assist couples with every aspect of their wedding. The luxurious adults-only Rangali Island boasts 50 romantic water villas, three restaurants and an over-water spa. If you prefer to wed above the water, you can choose a barefoot ceremony on the sugar white sandy beach or an intimate gathering in Rangali Island's charming thatched Chapel of Love.

Book it!

Stay 7-nights B&B from £1,989 pp including flights. Wedding blessings start from £2,610. www.tropicalsky.co.uk

4 March to Boru Beru drums

Angsana Velavaru

Located on a nature-filled island, Angsana Velavaru offers couples an authentic Maldivian wedding, starting with the planting of a coconut tree – a national symbol of the Maldives embodying the idea of stability. The wedding couple is escorted to the Angsana Stone, where the groom carries the bride three times around the threshold, it is believed in local folklore that evil spirits hide under the threshold and it is the responsibility of the groom to carry his bride to safety to happiness. The final part of the ceremony takes place at the resort’s chapel, over the water, culminating with Boru Beru drummers welcoming the bridal couple into marital bliss, setting the beat for the ceremony. The reception continues with a beach BBQ dinner as the sun sets, an ideal time for the couple to scribe wedding wishes into a coconut husk, which is thrown into the ocean for perfect unity.

Book it!

7-night stay B&B from £1,367 per couple. Price for a wedding ceremony starts from approx. £408. Flights not included. www.bookings.com 82 www.BridesAbroad.tv


5 Vows aboard a traditional Dhoni Baros Imagine saying “I do” as you sail into the sunset on the crystal waters of the Indian Ocean aboard a traditional wooden sailing dhoni. It’s the ultimate romantic wedding experience and is one of the wedding blessings available at Baros Maldives Resort, which also include ceremonies at The Lighthouse, on the beach or even on a sandbank. The romantic ambience of Baros makes it the ideal resort for both weddings and honeymoons, with its natural beauty and elegant accommodation inspiring intimate moments. You can choose from two categories of wedding packages at the resort, Classic and Premier. The packages include a traditional sarong for the bride; wedding cake; wedding certificate; memorial palm tree planting; traditional Boru Beru drummers procession; a bottle of Champagne and wedding flowers.

Book it!

7-nights B&B from £1,595 per couple, including flights. Blessing ceremonies from £1,380 for Classic wedding packages and £2,120 for Premier packages. www.tropicalsky.co.uk

6 Scuba diver’s wedding Banyan Tree Vabbinfaru The romantic Banyan Tree Vabbinfaru is wedding and honeymoon heaven with its private pool villas, powder white sand beach, crystal clear waters and award-winning spa. For a wedding with a twist, the island retreat of Banyan Tree Vabbinfaru is a unique venue to tie the knot underwater. It is the first resort in the Maldives to offer this underworld experience where adventure-loving couples can enjoy a wedding surrounded by colourful coral, with tropical fish as their witnesses. The resort’s Underwater Wedding Package includes a wedding coordinator, certificate and plenty of vibrant photographs to remember the special occasion. For couples seeking a more traditional experience, the Banyan Tree also offers sandbank ceremonies, surrounded by the turquoise waters of the Indian Ocean.

Book it!

Prices for an underwater wedding package start at approx. £1,258. www.banyantree.com www.BridesAbroad.tv 83


Romance ON A SANDBANK

If you are looking for a spectacular setting to say “I do”, look no further than Kuramathi in the Maldives, where a sandbank blessing ceremony offers the ultimate Big Day wow-factor You cannot ask for a more magical destination for blessings, renewal of vows and honeymoons than the Kuramathi Island Resort, in the Maldivian archipelago of Rasdhoo Atoll. The secluded ‘Robinson Crusoe’ island is reached in just 20 minutes by seaplane from Male international airport, or by a speedboat ride that takes approximately 90 minutes. Kuramathi is a private luxury paradise with lush tropical vegetation and secluded beaches lapped by the warm, crystal-clear Indian 84 www.BridesAbroad.tv

Ocean. The island leads into a spectacular sandbank trailing 1.8km at the end of the island, which means that Kuramathi can offer an extra choice of venues for blessings and renewal of vows packages – from a classic simple service on the resort’s white sandy beach to an elegant celebration on the dazzling and unique sandbank. Luxury accommodation is in guest villas – either on the beach amidst verdant gardens or water villas over the turquoise lagoon. Four poster beds, open-air bathrooms, rainfall showers or


Jacuzzis, large outdoor decks with inviting daybeds or sun loungers, are just some of the creature-comforts enjoyed by guests. Deluxe Water Villas and Water Villas with Pools have steps leading down to the lagoon. Meanwhile Sunset Pool Villas and Sunset Water Villas with Pool are located on the sunset side of the island, with views of the beautiful long stretch of Kuramathi sandbank.

Exceptional dining experiences

Kuramathi’s array of dining options will suit all palates at Malaafaiy, Haruge and Farivalhu restaurants, whilst specialist restaurants at the resort offer Indian, Thai, Mediterranean, BBQ and Seafood menus. The Reef overwater restaurant specialises in fresh seafood and prime cuts, while gastronomic dining is on offer at Duniye. The Laguna Bar boasts views of tropical sunsets, which can be enjoyed from an infinity pool and above Laguna, the Champagne Loft serves perfectly-chilled Champagne, fine wines and cocktails. Mouthwatering Teppanyaki and Japanese cuisine is created live on open grills at Kobe, whilst modern Asian Fusion cuisine is served at the intimate and romantic Inguru – with only 6 tables it’s perfect for honeymooners. Kuramathi Island Resort offers Basic and Select AllInclusive packages to help tailor the options to suit each budget.

Active honeymoons

Active rest is provided with a range of activities including a sports centre with gymnasium, three swimming pools and a floodlit tennis court. A range of watersports is also available – including everything from windsurfing, parasailing, catamaran sailing and canoeing to water skiing and wakeboarding. Kuramathi is also famous for its incredible coral reefs, which inspire endless opportunities for underwater adventures. The resort has a fully equipped dive school offering PADI and SSI courses and dive sites where you can freely mingle with grey reef sharks, turtles, manta-rays, eagle rays and a myriad of colourful marine life. Kuramathi’s Aqua Sports and Fun Centre can arrange a variety of excursions including island-hopping, guided snorkelling safari, sunset cruises and big game fishing. Of course, you can while the time away relaxing on the beach or by the pool, and couples looking for deeper relaxation can head to the luxury spa for top-to-toe pampering and spa rituals. Couples can also book pre-wedding spa treatment sessions, including a four-hour Bridal Care package ($300) and two-hour Groom Care ($220).

Renewal of vows packages

Kuramathi’s professional wedding coordinators will organise all the details for your wedding day, whilst all you have to do is to choose your ideal wedding package. Sandbank Vows (Price $3000): This unique wedding ceremony is set on the stunning Kuramathi Sandbank, with panoramic views of the Indian Ocean and its breathtaking sunsets. Island Vow (Price $1600): A simple, yet elegant service on the beach, under swaying palms with the aquamarine lagoon as your backdrop. Both packages include the services of a wedding coordinator; chocolates & sparkling wines in your villa; wedding arch with floral decoration; Renewal of Vow party including Master of Ceremony, Bridesmaid and local Boru Beru drummers; cake & sparkling wine; Finger food and house wine; bouquet & buttonhole; photo album; framed photo and gift; Candlelit dinner on the beach; Local sarong and T-shirt; In-villa breakfast in bed with sparkling wine the next morning. You can also upgrade your wedding package with a selection of add-ons at extra cost.

Finishing touches

The spa offers wedding couples a 3-Day Celebration care program ($885). Day Before: 4-hour spa treatments for you both, including body scrub, wrap and massage, spa manicure/pedicure. Wedding Day: 2-hour preparations for your day include bridal hair and make-up and grooming. Day After: a couples’ full-body massage and bath & bubbles experience served with sparkling wine and fruit.

Further information www.kuramathi.com

www.BridesAbroad.tv 85


Back& White Your guests will be glad to see the back of you in one of the hottest gowns of the season, featuring gorgeous back details that are bang on trend.

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86 www.BridesAbroad.tv

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11. www.madison-james.com

9. www.alexiadesigns.co.uk

10. www.galialahav.co.uk

12.

v.co.uk a h la a li a g . w ww

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16. www.julievino.com www.BridesAbroad.tv 87


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Planning Guide

90 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

94 Pop the question

Expert wedding planners answer your most frequently asked questions

96 Ask the planners

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

97 Looks that last

Ensure that your looks last throughout your wedding day with 15 top tips from the experts

98 The no-fad bridal diet

Don’t just drop a dress size for your wedding, stay trim and gorgeous throughout your married life with our healthy eating plan

www.BridesAbroad.tv 89


Weather permitting

Do you want to sizzle at the hottest wedding of the year or are you a cool bride looking for a seriously chilled location?

Check out our weather guide to help you choose the perfect destination throughout the year

At a glance Best for May-October European beach destinations North America Canada Mauritius and Seychelles Kenya, Tanzania and Zanzibar Hawaii Fiji, Tahiti and other Pacific Islands Bali and Indonesia

Best for November-April Caribbean South Africa Mexico Thailand Australia and New Zealand Maldives Dubai and Middle East European ski destinations 90 www.BridesAbroad.tv


January

February

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

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

Hot spots

Cool and chilled

Hot spots

Cool and chilled

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

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

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

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

South Africa, Kenya, Tanzania, Costa Rica

South Africa, Kenya, Tanzania, Costa Rica

Something different Jungle & Safari Avoid

Something different Jungle & Safari Avoid

Bali and Indonesia, India, French Polynesia, Fiji

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

March

April

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

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

Hot spots

Cool and chilled

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

Something different

Hot spots

Cool and chilled

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

Something different

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

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

Belize, South Africa, Kenya, Tanzania, Costa Rica

Belize, South Africa, Zambia, Botswana, Borneo

Jungle & Safari Avoid

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

Jungle & Safari Avoid

India, Mauritius, Zanzibar, French Polynesia, Fiji

www.BridesAbroad.tv 91


rg e h t ttin a Weermi p

May

Hot spots

June

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

Something different

Egypt, Hong Kong, India, Morocco, Brazil

Jungle & Safari

Belize, Borneo, Botswana, South Africa, Zambia

Avoid

Argentina, Chile, New Zealand

Something different

Scandinavia, Peru, Hong Kong, Scotland, Ireland

Jungle & Safari

Borneo, Botswana, Tanzania, Zambia

Avoid

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

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

July

August

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

Hot spots

Argentina, Chile, New Zealand

Something different

Hot spots

Argentina, Chile, New Zealand

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

92 www.BridesAbroad.tv

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


September

October

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

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

Argentina, Chile, New Zealand

Canada, Scandinavia

Hot spots

Hot spots

Cool and chilled

Cool and chilled

Something different

Something different

Jungle & Safari

Jungle & Safari

Japan, Morocco, Egypt, India

Borneo, Botswana, Tanzania, Zambia

Avoid

Caribbean, Thailand, Sri Lanka, Vietnam

Japan, Egypt, Morocco

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

Avoid

Caribbean, Thailand, Sri Lanka, Vietnam, French Polynesia

November

December

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

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

Hot spots

Cool and chilled

Hot spots

Cool and chilled

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

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

Japan, Egypt, Morocco, Vietnam

Japan, Egypt, Morocco, Vietnam

Something different Jungle & Safari

Belize, Kenya, Tanzania, South Africa, Costa Rica

Avoid

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

Something different Jungle & Safari

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

Avoid

Seychelles, Mauritius, Zanzibar, Fiji, Bali, Borneo, India, French Polynesia www.BridesAbroad.tv 93


POP the Question

The facts… Where can I get married abroad?

Where do you fancy? You name it, and you can probably get married there. Weddings can be arranged in more than 30 countries around the world, and in many different settings.

How much will it cost?

Tour operators Kuoni are destination wedding specialists. They say the average price of their destination weddings, including honeymoon, is less than £3,000 – a small cost compared to the average UK wedding! Prices vary considerably for a wedding or vow renewal package; this is paid as a supplement to your holiday package price. Some resorts offer free wedding packages, so bargain hunters should check their options with tour operators.

The legals… Will our marriage be legally recognised in the UK?

Yes. Your wedding will be registered in the country it takes place in and is completely legal under British law, so you don't need to register your marriage again when you get home.

What are the legal requirements?

They vary from country to country, but in general you must be over 20 years of age and need your British passports, original copies of your Birth Certificates and documentation regarding any previous marriages or if you are widowed or divorced. Some countries have additional costs for legalisation and translation of documents. If you book through a tour operator, such as Kuoni, Thomas Cook, Turquoise and Sandals, your dedicated wedding team will give you full details at the time of your booking.

Are there residency restrictions in some countries?

Yes, so you need to check residency restrictions with your tour operator or wedding planner. The most difficult countries are Spain (40 days residency), France (40 days) and Australia (one month and one day); however, there are no restrictions in Antigua, Jamaica or Las Vegas.

What name should I travel under?

We asked dedicated wedding planners to give us a selection of their most frequently asked questions… 94 www.BridesAbroad.tv

If you are getting hitched abroad you can't change the name on your passport until you return home. You must travel in your maiden name and your return airline tickets need to be in the same name as your passport or they will not be valid. Of course you can change your passport to your married name once you are back home in the UK and are in possession of your Marriage Certificate.


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.

Can I choose my flowers?

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.

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 wedding dinner?

What about the music?

We want friends and family at the ceremony but can we be alone for our honeymoon?

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

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.

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.

www.BridesAbroad.tv 95


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

Should I marry abroad?

Budget problems

Adults-only wedding

My partner and I have just got engaged but are yet to choose our perfect wedding venue and destination. I am all for a wedding abroad but my fiancé can’t see it working due to important family members not being able to make it. I know that, if it wasn’t for this reason, we would be having a destination wedding. What can I do? Tracey, Scunthorpe

We have decided on an ‘adults only’ wedding. This isn’t because we don’t want kids at our wedding, it’s just that money is a bit of an issue right now and the kids seem to be bumping up our guests’ numbers quite a lot! I know some of my friends/family members won’t be too happy about this. How do we tell them? Lucie, Worthing

I’ve just put a deposit down on our wedding venue and now I’m struggling to set out a budget for the rest of the important stuff. Do you have any tips on how I can budget for my wedding? I want the planning to be as stress-free as possible and I think having a set budget will really help! Mia, Middlesbrough

Hi Tracey

Hi Lucie

The first thing you need to do is be

Don’t worry; having an adults only

afford, will anybody be contributing to

pros, close family members not being

wedding is something that many

your wedding? Have this conversation

able to make it is always a downside.

couples do to keep the cost down, so

early on in the planning stages so you

You need to both sit down and talk

you shouldn’t feel bad about this.

know to add these funds into your

about what is most important to you. If

Explain the reasoning behind your

budget. The next thing to think about is

there are certain family members that

decision to your guests and they

what is most important to you. If

you just can’t be without on your

should understand. Remember, you

photography is a big part of your day

special day, then you may want to

can’t please everyone! It’s also

then set aside a good sum of your

reconsider your plans. However, if this

important that you tell them well in

budget for a great photographer and

is something that you can come to

advance so they can arrange a

spend less on things that are less

terms with, then why not throw a party

babysitter. A positive to this is that

important to you, such as flowers.

when you’re back home so that those

parents will be able to let their hair

Spending too much can add stress to

family members who couldn’t make it

down a little bit more if they are

what is supposed to be the happiest day

to the day itself can celebrate with

having a kids-free night – they may

of your life. Setting a realistic budget and

you? This also means you get to wear

thank you for this later!

keeping track of your spends will keep

Although a wedding abroad has many

your wedding dress one last time!

Contact Lisa:

Do you have any questions for Lisa Burton, The Bridal Consultant? Email your questions to: lisa@thebridalconsultants.com

96 www.BridesAbroad.tv

Hi Mia

realistic about what you can and cannot

stress levels to a minimal!

The Bridal Consultant is a full wedding planning service that specialises in exclusive destination weddings in Santorini and Zakynthos (Greece), Italy, Croatia and Ibiza. www.thebridalconsultants.com


15 tips for

LOOKS

THAT LAST

Stay stunning from the service to reception with our top tips for bridal beauty Your wedding day is one of the most important days of your life, and its also the day when you will be the most photographed, so, of course, you want to ensure that your bridal look lasts from dawn to dusk. Online hair and beauty retailer, Hairtrade.com have come up with 15 tips to make sure that your wedding day look, including your hair and make-up, stands the test of time and stays put all day.

1

Get a make-up class

If you are doing your own make-up, or your bridesmaids, make sure you know what you are doing! Taking a class is a great way to ensure your makeup will look and feel professional without the added cost of hiring a make-up artist. It can make a great hen do activity too.

2

Think about your moisturiser

If your normal daily moisturiser is quite heavy, change it as it will encourage your make-up to slide off. Opt for a light, oil-free moisturiser – but test it out a few days before, in case you have any reactions to it.

3

Don’t wash your hair

When you wash your hair on the day it’s much too soft to hold any style, sleep with dry shampoo in it the night before to keep it clean and volumised.

4

Prep with a primer

Primers aren’t just puff products, they are the real deal. Not only do they act as a magnet to make-up but they can also smooth over fine lines and imperfections, it’s like Photoshop in a bottle. Apply after moisturising but before foundation.

5

Apply your foundation correctly

Once you’ve found a foundation that suits your skin type, learn how to apply it properly. To ensure your base is still covered by the evening, apply in thin layers using a foundation brush, starting from the middle of the face outwards.

6

Avoid sparkly products

Products with glitter in are not suitable for wedding make-up as, not only will they create a glare in wedding photos, but will collect in unattractive clumps. If you’re after a little sparkle, try products that have a slight shimmer and blend well.

7

Try a cream blusher

Powder blushers can fall a little flat on skin once it’s been on for a few hours. Cream blushers or cheek stains give a flattering flush, perfect for any blushing bride.

8

Curl your eyelashes

Wedding day make-up needs to withstand tears as well as time. Wear waterproof mascara and curl your eyelashes to try and prevent panda eyes.

9

Make your up-do last

If you’re sporting a fiddly hair updo on your big day, try applying mousse after your blow dry, then drying your hair again. Tease at the roots before sweeping your hair up. The texture and tack of the mousse will help it maintain its shape throughout the day.

10 Curl the old-fashioned way

If you are going for a curly style, make sure to use leave-in rollers as opposed to tongs. The curls will set better and last for longer than heated styles. If you have shorter hair, pin curls work just as well.

11 Make your perfume last

Spritz eau de parfum as opposed to eau de toilette as it is more concentrated and stronger. Apply to parts of your skin that aren’t exposed to air, like the nape of your neck and décolletage.

use too much 12 Don’t hairspray It can be tempting to douse your do in hairspray but this can actually make hair heavy, causing styles to fall out quicker.

13 Use an eye shadow primer

Your eyelids can get oily just like your skin, and without primer, the product will slip off and settle into eyelids creases. If you don’t have an eye shadow primer, a light concealer will do the trick.

14 Use translucent powder

Your wedding day is going to be a long day, so once you’ve finished your make up, use a translucent powder on your T-zone to avoid a shiny forehead. Stash it with one of your bridesmaids so you can touch up your face if you start to get sweaty throughout the day.

fresh flowers 15 Choose carefully If you are adorning your do with fresh flowers, try to stick to dryer varieties like baby’s breath, heather or lavender. These are more resistant to wilting and will still keep fresh at the reception. Better still, use silk flowers, which definitely won’t wilt in the heat! www.BridesAbroad.tv 97


The No-FAD BRIDAL DIET If you want to loose a few excess pounds before your wedding day, it’s tempting to turn to the latest FAD diets to shed weight. However, many ‘quick-fix’ diet plans are not as miraculous as they seem for brides wanting to lose weight safely, healthily and permanently – in fact they seldom keep the weight off long-term. Dr Sally Norton of www.vavistalife.com offers the scientific low-down of the most popular diet plans.

The Mediterranean diet

What’s the deal? The Mediterranean diet has been scientifically proven to be one of the best ways of eating healthily. The principles include eating lots of fruits, vegetables, cutting out processed foods and salt and limiting red meat intake. In essence, eating REAL food in sensible portions. Pros: Contains a good balance of carbs, whilst being low in processed foods and high in healthy fats like olive oil, nuts and fish. Cons: The only minor downside to the Mediterranean Diet is that it generally means you need to cook meals yourself – eating out, or buying ready meals can be trickier as they usually include high salt, fats and processed food.

The low-fat diet

What’s the deal? Most of us will have tried a low fat diet at some point – removing most or all fats from your diet. The rest of your diet tends to remain the same, with fats replaced with more carbs and sugar. Pros: The mass of food choices available in most supermarkets makes it an easy option. Cons: It is actually based on flawed science as fat is essential for healthy brain and body development. In fact, it may have done us more harm than good as we may eat more carbs and sugar to replace the fats. The lowfat food choices available tend to be highly processed, and are often high in sugar and additives.

The Low Carb diet

What’s the deal? Low carb diets include the Atkins, Dukan and Banting diets. These diets have become very popular in recent years. Whilst this diet is OK in principle, as cutting out certain carbs can mean cutting out the sugars and processed grains that many 98 www.BridesAbroad.tv

Great cookbooks For healthy eating The recently launched ‘We Love’ cookbooks highlight healthy food trends, including Kale and Quinoa, the latest superfoods for healthy eating.

We Love Kale (Apple Press, £14.99)

Low in calorie, yet high in fibre. This zero fat ‘queen of greens’ is packed with nutrition. It’s high in iron, vitamin K, and powerful antioxidants to keep you healthy whilst tasting delicious. It contains over 50 recipes ranging from smoothies to enchiladas and brownies to ice cream. The recipes are perfect for brides wanting to boost their diet with the powerful goodness of kale.

We Love Quinoa (Apple Press, £14.99)

With twice the protein content of rice or barley, quinoa is also a source of calcium, magnesium, manganese and several B vitamins, vitamin E and dietary fibre. It contains all the essential amino acids, making it a complete protein source, so its perfect for vegetarians. Quinoa is a slowly digested carbohydrate, so it’s a good low-GI option. The cookbook contains over 100 delicious recipes – from pancakes to salads, pizzas, muffins and even chocolate brownies.

carb-rich foods are comprised of, carbs are also the source of 50 per cent of our energy. The problem is that most people just think of white bread, pasta, biscuits and cakes instead of good carbs such as vegetables and whole-grains. Pros: Cutting out carbs can be good for weight loss because it means cutting out the high-sugar, high-fat processed products that contain certain carbs – creamy sauces with pasta and the sugar and fat in cakes. Cons: Difficult to maintain as many of the foods we eat contain carbs. Good carbs are fine and help keep you full, and add fibre, which is essential to help keep us healthy.

The Low GI diet

What’s the deal? Low GI diets aim to encourage low glycemic index foods that break down more slowly in the body, which means we don’t get the peaks in blood sugar that lead to high levels of insulin, and a rapid drop in blood sugar – which leads us to reaching for more sugar as a result. Pros: Low GI foods often have better health benefits and help you metabolise fat more efficiently. Cons: May cause you to make unhealthy food choices as, e.g., fat lowers the GI of food, so crisps have lower GI than normal potatoes. You are far better just sticking to an eating plan that reduces processed food as much as possible – which generally leaves you with mainly low GI foods anyway.

So what’s the perfect diet?

Scientific studies show that no specific diet works any better than another in the longterm. No diet works if we struggle to make it fit in with our every day life. No diet will work if it means denying ourselves food that we love – because when our willpower fails, as it inevitably will, we will just give up the diet! However, all diets have some element of sense – you just have to find it. So, throw out the ‘fat-free’ diet food and eat healthy fats in moderation, lower your intake of carbs and ensure you eat the wholegrain, non-processed variety, and try to eat fresh food like they do in the Mediterranean. But do allow yourself a few treats every now and then! Think of it as a healthy eating plan for life rather than a Quick Fix diet just for your wedding and maybe you will keep it up long-term!


Honeymoons

102 Ben & Lucy engaged in Thailand Lucy St Louis, who plays Diana Ross in the hit West End musical, Motown, reveals how her partner Ben whisked her off to Thailand to pop the question at the luxurious Pimalai resort

110

Take Two

Rachel and Sirak's twin-destination honeymoon in exotic Sri Lanka and the magical Maldives will inspire couples to follow in their footsteps

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Romantic

For a wedding venue with the wow-factor, it’s hard to beat Villa Italia in its stunning setting overlooking Port d’Andratx

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W

ith enchanting views of yachts moored in the bay and the swanky marina beyond, the delightful 5-star hotel Villa Italia is one of the most romantic hotels on the Majorcan coast to exchange your wedding vows or have a dream honeymoon – or both!

This rustic boutique hotel and restaurant is set in a 1950s villa perched on the hillside of Port d'Andratx, and has been lovingly restored to offer luxury, privacy and state-of-the-art facilities, coupled with top-quality service and attention to detail. The hotel is an idyllic haven of seclusion, whilst being just a 5-minute stroll from the centre of this picturesque fishing port and the hub of activity, with harbour-side designer shops, cafes and the marina. From here you can hire day boats to explore the beautiful coastline and neighbouring bays. Hotel Villa Italia is also just 25-minutes from Palma and is perfectly positioned for golf breaks, cycling, water sports and hiking in the Sierra de Tramuntana Mountains. The pool area offers a tranquil place to soak up the sun and a charming spa to indulge in sublime treatments or simply soak in the bubbles of the indoor hydrotherapy pool and admire the magnificent views. The 21 elegant rooms and suites are sumptuously furnished with cool, contemporary lines with a classical twist. All enjoy wonderful, sunny views of the bay and the mountains and have all the mod cons you could possibly need, including WIFI.

Wining and dining

There can be few restaurants in such intimate, romantic settings as Villa Italia – during the day you can enjoy the fantastic vistas and at night the flickering candlelight creates a magical atmosphere. The superb restaurant serves Mediterranean and international haute cuisine with creativity and passion with chef Christian Catrina at the helm, washed down with the finest local and international wines. The elevated terrace setting offers both outdoor dining and year-round indoor dining inside an air-conditioned glass terrace. The terrace Cocktail Lounge offers the opportunity to finish the day with a sunset toast accompanied by relaxing live music.

Weddings

For a truly magical wedding venue, Villa Italia is the perfect choice. Exchange your vows and enjoy a delicious reception in the glass restaurant and terraces of the hotel with a highly-personalised service ensured and those breath-taking views to wow your guests. The terraces have a capacity for up to 100 people and the restaurant offers menus tailored to meet the needs of each couple. Wedding couples and their guests who stay in the hotel will receive a 7.5% discount on hotel rates.

FURTHER INFORMATION Hotel Villa Italia Port d’Andratx Tel: +34 971 67 40 11 info@villaitalia.com www.hotelvillaitalia.com

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Ben & Lucy–

Engaged in Thailand

Lucy say’s “yes” with stars in her eyes! 102 www.BridesAbroad.tv


It’s been a good year so far for Lucy St Louis. First she landed the starring role to play Diana Ross in the West End’s latest and most celebrated hit musical ‘Motown’. Then, if that wasn’t enough, her partner, Ben Clare whisked her off on a dream-trip to Thailand where he popped the question in one of the most magical settings on the planet. Ben and Lucy met whilst working together in the West End musical ‘Book of Mormon’, Ben is an acclaimed choreographer who has worked on almost all the West End’s biggest hit shows as well as choreographing the Olympic Games opening extravaganza, whilst Lucy is a dancer and singer whose talents have recently won her one of the most coveted roles in theatreland. The couple, who now live together in London, reveal how Ben proposed on the romantic holiday that he had booked as a surprise.

Ben, did you know you were going to propose to Lucy during your holiday in Thailand?

I always knew I was going to propose, It was just a question of when, where and how! We went 'window shopping' on Lucy's Birthday to get an idea of what kind of ring she might like 'should' I propose in the future. Of course we found the perfect ring that day and, after a stiff whisky, I went back the next day and bought it! There were a few special places that I thought of, but once I had planned this holiday of a lifetime I thought a proposal would be the ultimate end to a dream trip.

Why did you choose Thailand for your romantic getaway?

Thailand has always been way up there on our bucket lists. It has everything we could wish for – culture and history mixed with fun and craziness, wildlife, spectacular scenery, delicious culinary delights, breathtaking beaches and gorgeous sunshine. What more could you ask for? We had both always dreamed of going but, being self-employed, we never had the luxury of time on our hands, till now!

What was your first impression of Thailand?

Busy! How can there be so many cars on the road? It took well over two hours to get from the airport to the hotel! Once we arrived we literally dropped our bags and went straight to the rooftop infinity pool to have a dip and enjoy a few cocktails! You've got to get your priorities right!

Bangkok and Chang Mai How did you spend your time in Bangkok and Chang Mai?

We wanted to experience as much culture, life and history as possible before we headed south to chill on the islands. I did weeks of research into the best Thailand has to offer and had pretty much planned everything before hand. Some of he highlights of Bangkok included discovering the wonders of the Golden Palace and Wat Pho, the thrill of a traditional Thai boxing bout, daily hour-long Thai massages to ease way what little stress we had, partying hard on the Koh San Road and recovering with even more massages! Watching the locals betting on the outcome of the Thai boxing matches was as entertaining as the fight itself!

Chiang Mai was much more rural and quiet. From trekking through the mountains, returning back to base via zip line and several thrilling free falls to becoming culinary experts after a cooking course with the locals, we experienced all it had to offer. The highlight of the whole trip was experiencing life as an Elephant trainer at Patara Elephant Rescue Center. www.BridesAbroad.tv 103


Rocky’s Resort We then moved on to Rocky’s Resort in Koh Samui, which offers Thai infusion with a romantic, warm and sensual Eastern décor – and the service was friendly with a smile. The pool area was designed to represent tropical rainforest, and there was a small but very private beach area. Wining and dining at the hotel was a delicious and delectable experience. We preferred the traditional Thai restaurant as the food was exquisite and ate breakfast outside on the rocks – the view over the beach and sea was also breathtaking.

How much time did you spend relaxing?

Every last minute! We would wake up as the sun rose then grab the sun loungers, ensuring they were perfectly

positioned for the morning sun. We'd basque in the heat for an hour or so before going to breakfast. Then we'd be straight back to the sunshine to soak up as many rays as possible till it was time for happy hour and the sunset! Watching the sunset during happy hour from the waters edge was particularly spectacular! We also had the most incredible hour-long couples massage. It was on a fourposter Thai style bed overlooking the beach and sea. Ultimate luxury and pure relaxation! The hotel kindly helped us arrange a snorkeling trip around the island of Koh Tao and other hidden beauty spots. It was great value, so well organized and the diving was extraordinary.

Book it! Telephone: +66 (0) 77 233 020 Website: www.rockyresort.com

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jjjj

Start the beginning of your new life

on

Koh Samui, Thailand

Starting a new life together as a married couple is a magical time in life, and it’s important to find a magical place to celebrate that new begining, Rocky’s Boutique Resort, is the leading resort for weddings on Koh Samui, and the perfect venue to spend your first day as husband and wife. Imagine your wedding with your feet in the sand, the sound of the waves in the background, the sea sparkling and beautiful tropical flowers all around you. Rocky’s can make your dream wedding come true, a tropical beachfront wedding on a beautiful tropical island Rocky’s is located in a secluded, private cove only minutes to the town of Lamai Beach, offering the perfect balance of being private, and yet still close to shopping and entertainment.

Rocky ’s voted in the top 5 best wedding destinations in the world -

5% Discount! with this advertisement Quote Code : BA3.16 438/1 Moo 1, T. Maret, Koh Samui, Suratthani, 84310, Thailand, Tel. +66 77 233 020 Fax. +66 77 418 366, email: info@rockyresort.com, www.rockyresort.com


Pimalai We then flew direct from Koh Samui to Krabi, where upon landing we were warmly greeted at the airport by Pimalai staff who transported us via mini bus to the local harbour. We then boarded our own private speedboat and took a picturesque hour- long boat ride to Pimalai’s private jetty.

What were your first impressions?

When we arrived at the resort we thought: “Wow, this is the best place on Earth!” Our room was Hollywood glamour meets Thai excellence, and the service was top-class – so personal and friendly and no request was too big or small. Our private infinity pool overlooked the mountains, beach, sea and sunsets! The beaches were clean, expansive and offered gorgeous sea and mountain views. As for the dining experience – the hotel offered top-class dining with superb, friendly and attentive service. We always chose

to eat at the beach restaurant. The setting was stunning and the fresh seafood second to none. We saw a traditional Sala dinner set upon the beach. It look truly special – so next time!

Was there plenty of time to relax?

We spent every spare second besides our private villa pool. We had sun from 8am till the sun disappeared behind the mountains. The sunsets were breathtaking. We took part in one of the free yoga classes – the teacher was superb and the class was perfect for beginners through to more advanced yogis! The hotel helped arrange a day trip to Koh Phi Phi and hidden coves. We arrived on Maya Bay early in the morning before the hoards arrived and got some gorgeous shots! So we practically had this paradise island to ourselves for a while.The best thing about our stay at Pimalai was the feeling of absolute privacy in the most incredible suite with spectacular views.

Book it! Pimalai is a member of Small Luxury Hotels of the World

Tel: +66 (0) 75 607 999 Email: reservations@pimalai.com Website: www.pimalai.com

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The Proposal Ben how did you propose to Lucy?

There are so many ways of popping the big question however it had to be personal and special to us. Before we departed I created a photo book full of our favorite photographs capturing the incredible, fun, crazy, amazing times we had shared over our three years together. The final pic was of me holding the engagement ring, on one knee in our kitchen at home and written on our 'chalk wall' the words: "Will you marry me?" Our special place at home is amongst the blue and silver illuminated trees on London’s south bank. I couldn't transport the south bank to the Far East so I managed to find some solar powered led lights and aimed to be inventive. The plan was to go for a beautiful beachside dinner then come back to our villa, I would decorate our four-poster outdoor bed with the lights, surprise Lucy with the memory book 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. This was all set for our second day – however, on arrival we literally had the best day ever and, as the sun was setting, it was spectacular, like nothing I had ever seen before! Then the heavens opened! I just knew it had to be that moment! Sometimes you just have to go with a gut feeling! After all the preparation, I ask Lucy whether she'd mind me proposing again the way I had actually planned, thankfully she said: “yes” so I proposed a second time!

Was Lucy suitably surprised?

I'm pretty sure she hoped it would happen, however she had no idea at all! She literally jumped all over the place – I even had to check whether she had said: “Yes” as she was screaming so much!

Did the staff at the hotel lay on any special engagement treats?

We're pretty private people so didn't make a huge fuss, however the staff bought Lucy some beautiful fresh flowers for her hair,

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created special cocktails for us to celebrate and presented us with some lovely gifts. Thank you Pimalai!

What was the best thing about your holiday? Leaving London with a girlfriend returning home with a fiancé!

Any tips to offer couples planning a trip to Thailand?

For that extra special extravagance book a room with a private pool, there is nothing quite like it!


Take Two Choose a magical dual-destination honeymoon in the Indian Ocean for the best of both worlds

Rachel and Sirak Soloman combined an exciting visit to Sri Lanka, to explore the wildlife and tropical tea plantations, with a romantic stay in the Maldives to snorkel on its coral reefs and relax on its pristine beaches When close friends of Rachel and Sirak Soloman returned from their dream honeymoon in the Indian Ocean, the couple couldn’t help but be inspired by their friends’ wonderful anecdotes and photographs of their trip, which combined a stay in Sri Lanka to explore its jungle, culture, sights and wildlife with a divine beach holiday on a Robinson-Crusoe style island in the Maldives. So when it came to choosing their own honeymoon 110 www.BridesAbroad.tv

destination, Rachel and Sirak decided to follow in their friends’ footsteps. “Our friends’ honeymoon looked so incredible that we both thought: ‘We want to do that too!’ We love adventure but also adore just relaxing in each other’s company, so a two-centre holiday combining adventure in Sri Lanka with sun worshipping on a tropical beach in the Maldives seemed perfect for us.”

The couple booked their trip through Brides Abroad (call: 01937 58 48 92), which would see them spending their first week exploring Sri Lanka with a guided tour organised by Jetwing Travels (www.jetwingtravels.com) followed by a second week of blissful relaxation in the Maldives, where they could enjoy the incredible views of the turquoise Indian Ocean.


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SRI LANKA

Sitting just above the equator, Sri Lanka offers an exotic culture – English is widely spoken there, food is wonderful and the compact size of the island means you can fit plenty of sightseeing into just a short time, especially with the help of a good tour guide, such as Jetwing Travels. The main tourist attractions are along the southwest coast of the island, from Negombo to Galle, with its huge expanse of sandy beaches, lapped by the Indian Ocean, providing plenty of scope for watersports. Elsewhere, more than 2,000 years of history have left their mark and plenty of sightseeing hotspots – you can visit tea plantations, wander around an ancient city or temple, spend an afternoon bathing baby elephants at an elephant sanctuary or even go white water rafting. 112 www.BridesAbroad.tv

At the airport Rachel and Sirak were met by a representative of Jetwing, who looked after them for the duration of their stay in Sri Lanka. "Our personal tour guide from Jetwing was fantastic and showed us places we would never have found on our own. My husband's highlight was the Elephant Orphanage and riding on (and being soaked by) an elephant." However, Rachel's personal favourite excursion was a trip to World's End, a sheer cliff in Horton Plains National Park. "Walking through exotic plantations in such a beautiful country was just incredible. And the views when you got to the highest peak were simply stunning!" During their visit to Sri Lanka the couple stayed at Jetwing Beach, a gorgeous resort hotel located on the golden sands

of Negombo, which effortlessly combines beauty and luxury and is a wonderful example of Sri Lankan design amidst a tropical paradise. The hotel offers a magnificent pool, a spa and wellness centre and elegant rooms to escape at the end of a busy day exploring the island. With five dining options to choose from, all serving delicious cuisine, Rachel and Sirak were spoilt for choice! “After our sightseeing trips we spent a couple of hours relaxing by the pool and on the beach. It was very chilled. We loved it.”

Further Information Jetwing Travels Tel: +94-11-234 5700 www.jetwingtravels.com


Find Your Space

www.jetwing.com | Tel: +94 112345700

Experience the joy of Sri Lanka, whose welcome is as warm as its ocean, whose smile is as bright as the tropical sun. It’s a simple pleasure straight from the heart and we’ll give you the space to enjoy it all. J E T W I N G , T H E H O M E O F S R I L A N K A N H O S P I T A L I T Y.


“Our first impression of the Maldives was ‘wow’!” admitted Rachel and Sirak. Following their week in Sri Lanka, Brides Abroad had organised their stay at the Royal Island Resort and Spa, an exotic island paradise, set in a crystal clear lagoon, surrounded by a coral garden at the heart of Ba Atoll, a UNESCO biosphere reserve.

written across our bed in flowers. We were also offered a complementary meal at the à la carte restaurant,” says Rachel. Royal Island Resort and Spa offers a vast array of delicious cuisine in a choice of restaurants, and couples can even dine on the shore beneath a starlit sky.

After a 30-minute transfer from Mali airport, they landed on a tropical haven of blissful beaches and azure waters. Locally known as Horubadhoo, the Royal Island Resort and Spa is the ultimate escape to sheer seclusion.

The resort is also offers a wide range of watersports including snorkeling around the island where the coral reef is truly spectacular. “We went snorkelling with turtles, which was amazing. They were so majestic, and the water is so clear, and looking over the drop off into the ocean depths was incredible,” she says.

“As soon as we arrived we were delighted to discover Champagne waiting for us in our room, and ‘Happy Honeymoon’

‘We didn’t even have to try and relax. Sitting on the beach on a paradise island does it for you! A cocktail in your hand

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helped too!” enthuses Rachel. Honeymoon couples can further relax in the onsite spa, where they can choose an indulgent treatment, then lie back and let friendly staff pamper them from top to toe. “Watching the sunset was magnificent – and to share that experience with the person you love the most in the world is magical. However, the most special part of the Maldives for both of us was snorkelling hand in hand around the island – it was something I know we will both never forget.”

Further Information Royal Island Resort & Spa Tel: +960 660-0088 www.royal-island.com


T

ransform the wedding of your dreams into reality that’s what “we do”.

When it comes to saying “I do”, couples can’t find a more romantic destination than The Racha on Racha Yai – one of the Andaman Sea’s most beautiful island resorts. Whether it’s a simple barefoot beachfront ceremony for two or a grand affair, the resort’s enthusiastic and dedicated wedding consultants plan every event to its last detail – from luxurious award-winning* accommodations to the intricate touches on a wedding cake. It’s no wonder that so many honeymoon and wedding couples choose to celebrate at The Racha. accessible only by sea, the racha is located twelve nautical miles from phuket.

Let The Racha realize your dreams. Contact the resort’s wedding professionals today at sales@theracha.com

X O

P R I VAT E

Enjoy your 4th night free with every 3 paid nights (Pool Villa Free Nights) for any pool villa*. For stays 1st November 2015 – 30th April 2016 at www.theracha.com

A menber of Small Luxury Hotels of the World

85 luxurious vill a s • 3 ozonated pools (e xcluding private ones) • 3 signature dining establishments & bar

world-accl aimed anumba spa • club del m ar for chilling • personalized sea and l and e xperiences • to-die-for-vie ws complimentary tel: 66 76 355 455 fa x: 66 76 355 637 em ail: reservation@theracha.com

In accordance with Thai law, all beaches in Thailand are open to the public.

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* 2014 World Luxury Hotel Awards - Continent Winner: Luxury Private Pool Villa ** terms & conditions apply


Tailor made honeymoons, weddings and private retreats, with nothing but the best in service and romantic ambiences. ATOL protected

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Brides Abroad - Issue 18  

Inspiring Weddings & Honeymoons

Brides Abroad - Issue 18  

Inspiring Weddings & Honeymoons

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