Debbie & Stuart ♥ | Modern Mummy

Tuesday, 1 October 2013

Debbie & Stuart ♥

Cyprus, 26 May 2006

After my husband to be popped the question and I, of course, said yes, we had discussions about what we both wanted for our wedding.

I have a huge family and the thought of having to invite Aunt Mildred and Uncle Arthur (I’m sure there must be an Aunt Mildred and Uncle Arthur somewhere in my big family) just because I was getting married and they fancied a party, was not what I had in mind for my perfect day. Yet I really didn’t want the fall out that would come if I didn’t invite said Aunt and Uncle because I hadn’t seen them since I was in nappies!

So I quite quickly said to my fiancé that I was keen to get married abroad. An excuse to keep the invite list small and intimate with just close friends and family invited. Thankfully, he was in agreement.

We would have loved to get married in Ibiza or Spain but because we wanted our marriage to be recognised from the ceremony, we didn’t want a blessing then to get married in a registry office in the UK, that ruled that option and many others out. We didn’t want anywhere too far away as friends & family wouldn’t be able to afford to get there so wanted to stay within Europe. One place where you could legally get married, the sun nearly always shined and, at the time of deciding, was still affordable, was Cyprus (unfortunately the prices did rise the year we got married as they were preparing for joining the Euro).

With this in mind we visited the Wedding Exhibition at Earls Court and, just when we had given up hope of finding what we wanted & decided to head home, we turned back for one last look before walking out the door to check we had seen everything and there in front of us was a stall promoting getting married in Cyprus at the Grecian Sands Hotel! It was a sign! We were sold!
We took a reccie holiday over there the year before we planned to get married just to be sure it was right for us. It was. Both the location in Cyprus (on the outskirts of Ayia Napa) and the hotel were lovely.

I’m not one of those girls that, from childhood, dreamt and planned every detail of their wedding day so getting married abroad was ideal for us as there was very little planning until you actually got there. Aside from buying suitable wedding attire for the important people - myself, bridesmaids, Groom, Father of the Bride, Best Man and Page Boys – all  we had to do was turn up at the hotel before our booked date to arrange the final details.

Oh and we had to register with the local municipality & provide an affidavit to say we weren’t already married.

We booked our wedding at the hotel for a Friday, so we arrived on the Sunday before allowing us to do the necessary legal paperwork and arrange the finer details of the actual wedding day. When we arrived we met with the hotel manager and booked our preferred location for our civil ceremony (there was a chapel at the hotel and religious weddings were also held there).  We chose the Seaview Deck, overlooking the sea with clear Perspex protecting us but not interrupting the stunning view. We also booked an inside room (I think it was called Poseidon) for cake cutting & mingling in between the actual wedding and meal and also for the reception after the meal. We went with the hotel’s recommended/resident DJ for the reception and couldn’t have been more pleased with him. He played the perfect balance between modern dance music and older songs that everyone would recognise so playing something for everyone. I’m pretty sure everyone got on the dance floor at some point for a boogie and all commented on how good he was.

Likewise, we went with the hotel’s recommended photographer who was a photographer for Yassou magazine (which is the Cypriot equivalent to Hello magazine) and we paid extra for sunset photos as well as photos of the actual wedding. Included was an album containing 26 of our chosen shots but we also paid for a CD containing all of the photos that he took so we could get our own copies of some of the other 360 photos once we returned home. Over here, the cost of doing that would have been phenomenal but it was so affordable in Cyprus.

When choosing flowers, I was presented with some photos of bouquets but none of them really appealed to me so they asked what my favourite flower was (pink Gerbras) and  said they’d sort out a lovely bouquet for me and also one for each of the bridesmaids incorporating my favourite flower, they’d arrange for some little white roses for my hair and button holes for the important men. We also explained we had budgeted more for the table decorations, which they were suggesting to be silk flowers, so instead they decorated the tables beautifully with arrangements that complimented the wedding bouquets.

There was a hairdresser at the hotel who I was happy to do my hair and the beautician at the sister hotel was going to do my make-up. Included with this was a trial session to agree what I wanted for the day.

On the day while I was having my hair done the hotel staff told me my flowers were ready but when I went to check them I noticed there weren’t any white roses for my hair. The hairdresser was straight on it, making phone calls and then shot off around town while I was having my make-up done, telling me not to worry, she’d get it all sorted. She did, by the time my make-up was finished she walked in with beautiful little white roses with a spray of gypsophila accompanying each one.

For the meal, we booked the BBQ area which was next to the Seaview Deck. I remember telling my Dad when I was a little girl that what I really wanted for my wedding reception when I was older was a BBQ. I’ve grown up on BBQs and so I have many fond memories. OK so maybe I did have a childhood dream about my wedding but it was that simple and that’s exactly what I had –it was an amazing BBQ with a mix of traditional BBQ fare with some delicious Cypriot additions as well as beautiful salads. The staff serving were incredibly efficient and attentive.

In case you haven’t already picked up on it, I can sincerely say that my wedding day was the best day of my life and turned out exactly how I wanted it to.

Someone had given me some wonderful advice to stop every once in a while and just watch, take in all that is going on around you so that you remember the day otherwise it will all pass by in a blur. So I did! Therefore, I remember pretty much every little tiny bit of that day and I loved every minute of it. It was my perfect day spent with 30 of my closest friends and family.

If I can give any advice to getting married abroad, it would be to stay relaxed about your plans without too many expectations. Have an idea what you would like but be prepared to be flexible. Because of this, we were thrilled with everything we got and it probably exceeded our expectations!

Also, don’t go with a UK wedding planner or travel company to arrange your wedding, do it yourself. People were being sent all over town for things like hairdressing, make up & flowers because the companies were getting commission but the services supplied or recommended by the hotel were much better than what the others were getting elsewhere and, because they were already resident at the hotel or very locally, there was no added stress being sent here there and everywhere.

The other advantage to arriving in Cyprus 5 days before the actual wedding day, meant we also had a lovely holiday with our friends and family on the run up to our big day. Including, the hen & stag dos which were held on the Wednesday. Most of our friends and family left the next day and we stayed another couple of weeks moving around Cyprus for our honeymoon.

I’ll leave you with some photos of our amazing day.

Debbie blogs at My Pregnancy-Mummy Diary and you can find her on Twitter here xoxo

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