My experience of getting married abroad – the big day

Yesterday I blogged all about the planning. Today I’m going to share our big day!

We’d booked our wedding for 4pm, so we had the whole day to relax before hand. We had breakfast as usual, then chilled out on the beach. We decided to have lunch at about 1pm, and then go and get ready. I’d been extremely relaxed and calm through the whole run up, but by lunchtime I was starting to feel a little weird! Not having doubts or anything like that. I think the enormity of the situation had just hit me.

We were offered separate rooms to get ready, but we decided we’d prefer to be together. We could see the preparations happening from our window; palm fronds being laid down for an aisle, a white covered table at the waters edge with beautiful flowers. We had a couple of drinks, and laughed and smiled a lot and then hubby-to-be disappeared downstairs while I added the finishing touches and put my dress on. My planned hairstyle didn’t work out because of the heat so I had a bit of a panicky wobble, but just improvised and actually it worked out all the better for it – much more laid back.

Then the wedding co-ordinator came to collect me, and brought me my bouquet which I was wowed by (I hadn’t seen it up until that point, apart from in photos). It was a stunning mix of lillies and birds of paradise flowers. It was truly amazing.

Wedding bouquet

Our main wedding flowers were orange and white gerbera daisies with gypsophilia.

Wedding flowers

From there, it all went by in a whirl. We’d agreed that I would walk down the “aisle” and meet husband at the end, but when he saw me he forgot our plans and walked up to meet me! And we kissed and held hands and literally ran down the aisle; the photographer had to tell us to slow down so he could get some shots!

As it was just the two of us the hotel had said they could provide witnesses, but we’d made friends with one of the barmen (Kevin, very Mauritian name, ha!) so we requested him and he was allowed some time off from his bar shift. They stood to the side while the official ran through our vows. The sea was blue and the sand was white and there was a very slight breeze and it was one of the most perfect experiences of my life – in truth made all the better by it being just the two of us. It was so intimate and special, and all about us.

Then we sat, and drank cocktails, and had wedding cake…

Wedding cake

…and literally just mooned at each other (not the bottom flashing type, the in love type) for a while, and then the photographer took us to lots of different places for pretty shots (getting in and out of a hammock was fun – NOT!) and people clapped and smiled and wished us well and it was just AMAZING!

Wedding photo on the beach

And then we went back to our room, as husband and wife, and there was chilled champagne.

Wedding flowers and champagne

And we sat on the balcony and mooned some more (still no bottoms!) and we phoned home to share our joy and I managed to rack up a ¬£200 mobile phone bill (oops, that was nice to get home to) and it was all quite overwhelming and lovely. I have a great picture of the husband looking out over the balcony and it looks like he’s thinking “oh crap, now I can’t escape”, or wondering if he’s strong enough to swim out to sea to get away from me.

In the evening we’d arranged to have dinner on the beach, just the two of us. The table was set with wedding flowers and we were waited on at our table with wine and food.

Wedding meal on the beach

It gets dark at around 7pm in Mauritius so we couldn’t see anything apart from each other, and the sound of the sea lapping at the shore was idyllic.

Ah, writing this has brought back so many fantastic memories! I want to do it all again!

My experience of getting married abroad – the planning

Getting married abroad was something of a no-brainer for us. The husband hates fuss and fanciness. The thought of standing up in front of people – albeit our friends and family – filled him with dread. I could have taken it personally, been stubborn or refused to marry him, but in truth I liked the idea too. For me being married was always about being with him and making our vows together. The big day and the fancy car and meal and stuff wasn’t at the forefront of my mind.

So we I started investigating where to go. It made sense to be somewhere exotic and farflung. It would be our honeymoon destination as well, so it needed the pre requisite good weather, beautiful beaches, palm trees. It needed to be somewhere that offered a wedding package, that we could trust to make our day what we wanted it to be. Also, importantly, it needed to be a country where our marriage would also be recognised as legal in the UK, and where getting the marriage licence wasn’t an unknown quantity and a bit of a faff (as was the case with Thailand).

And so we settled on Mauritius.

Mauritius sunset

I can’t emphasise enough how easy the whole thing was. I found a company online (Paramount Travel) who worked directly with hotels on the island who specialised in weddings. They were so helpful and accommodating; working with me to find the best dates, advising on weather and times to travel, going backwards and forwards when I kept changing my mind and wanting to know more and more little details. We chose our resort and hotel and dates and then they made all the necessary arrangements – flights, accommodation, wedding package booking, legalities. It was that easy!

My Mom made my wedding dress – it was something I’d always wanted as a kid (she’s a good dressmaker, it wasn’t a DIY crappy job!) Because of the heat and being married on the beach I wanted something very loose and flowing with chiffon. I was able to pack it in my case and hide it in the wardrobe, rather than having to get it transported separately, although I did request extra luggage allowance from the airline, which I was entitled to as I was travelling as a bride.

We didn’t need to do anything else until we arrived.

On the advice of the travel agent, due to the micro-climate and best weather for that time of year, we chose a resort in the North of the island – Grand Baie – and a hotel called Le Mauricia¬†which was on it’s own private beach. It was quite a drive from the airport, in the South, and the weather was quite dull and rainy all the way there, then when we arrived at the resort the sun came out and it was glorious! What a sign!

Le Mauricia entrance

Le Mauricia hotel

Le Mauricia pool

On our first day there we met with the wedding co-ordinator who showed us around the hotel and the various spots we could choose to have our ceremony. We’d always said it needed to be on the beach, and there was a lovely palm fringed area that we could actually see from our room where weddings took place. We chose our flowers, and food and wine for after the ceremony and that was that. We had 4 days to relax – the only thing we were told not to do was get sunburnt! 4 lovely relaxing days of eating, drinking cocktails, relaxing in the sun and getting plenty of sleep. Bliss.

View from our balcony Le Mauricia

Le Mauricia private beach

Mauritian sunset

On the day before our wedding ceremony we got picked up early by a pre-arranged taxi and taken to the capital to do all of the legal paperwork at a solicitor’s office. The taxi driver was slightly crazy and the driving was a little manic, which was all good fun! And that was that. Next stop, the big day.

Footprints in the sand