Sarah and Leigh
10/11/2006 – Island of Alofushi
South Nilandhe Atoll Maldives
How and when did you meet?
6th July 1999 on a school sailing trip across the Channel to France.
How old are you both?
I am 23 and Leigh is 26.
Where, when and how did he (or you!) propose?
Leigh proposed on our 5th year anniversary on a trip to Rome. He got down on one knee in the Coliseum. I had no idea.
Did you have hen and stag celebrations? If so, what did you do?
We had our hen and stag night on the same day. The girls had a pink theme including a pick limo. We went to a jazz club for drinks, dinner and a dance.
How did your groom help with the wedding planning?
Leigh was very helpful. He produced the inserts for the invitations, did the table favours, helped me with the seating plan and the men’s attire. He helped me with all the finalizing and we made most of the decisions together.
Did you use confetti to plan your wedding? If so, how did the website help you?
It gave me many ideas and inspiration including how to produce my wedding invitations, seating plan, etc.
Tell us about your outfit, and where you bought it
My fairytale princess dress was from Pronuptia. It was a white strapless dress with white flower detail on the breast of the bodice complemented by pearls. My dress had many layers and three flowers on the back to add detail and a train to finish.
Did you have bridesmaids? If so, who did you choose and what did they wear?
I had one bridesmaid, Kerry, my best friend from school. She wore a turquoise strapless knee length 2 layer dress to complement the colour of the sea.
Who did your groom choose for his best man and ushers, and what did they wear?
Leigh chose his brother, Paul, to be his best man. Leigh wore a cream linen suit with an open dress collar shirt and the best man wore linen cream trousers and a white casual shirt.
Did you have a civil or religious ceremony?
We had registration then a Maldivian ceremony on the uninhabitied island of Alofushi South Nilandhe Atoll Maldives.
Where did you hold your ceremony?
On the unihabitied island of Alofushi, South Nilandhe Atoll Maldives.
Where did you hold your reception?
After our ceremony, we made our way back to our resort island of Velavaru by speed boat to have a celebratory meal on the beach. This was surrounded by candles that you could see glistening from out at sea. White sand, calm sea and the natural star light of the sky made this a dream setting. Our own personal chefs cooked our food in front of us on the grill including fresh fish that had been caught the previous night by our family. Fresh island flowers decorated the table with our waiters offering refreshing Champagne.
Did you have any special wedding transport?
In order for us to get from our resort island to the uninhabited for our wedding ceremony we had a speed boat transfer. To keep us entertained we had local Maldivian music by local drummers.
How many guests did you invite to your wedding, and did you have a separate evening guest list?
Our family came to the Maldives for our wedding. Seven guests in total. They stayed for one week. We stayed for 10 nights and had 3 nights in Dubai.
Did your reception have a particular theme in terms of colour or style?
When we arrived back after our honeymoon we had a full reception sit down meal with all our family and friends. We used turquoise accessories and tropical flowers to contrast the Maldivian theme of the sea and its surroundings.
How did you incorporate this in to your table settings?
We introduced turquoise pins into the flowers and the colour of the flowers were vibrant to give a tropical theme.
Did you give your guests favours?
In the Maldives everyone had flowers on their place settings. In the UK we had small white twist boxes from Thorntons with gold champagne truffle hearts.
Describe your flowers (bouquets and table decorations). Who was your florist?
Maldives – Our flowers were flown in by sea plane to our island. The flowers were white roses with hot pink flowers dotted throughout the bouquet. My bridesmaid had light pink roses with hot pink flowers dotted throughout the bouquet. Green foliage in both. This made them look rather tropical. Our flowers on the beach were from the local island. Local flowers and green palm leaves scattered the tables.
What did you choose to have on your menu? Did you have an outside caterer or did your venue handle the catering?
Our food for our reception was amazing. The Head Chef met with us to discuss our menu options that we could give our guests. We gave our guests three options for starters, main and desert including a vegetarian option. This menu was produced for us and put on our reception table for when we arrived at our table on the beach. I had the duck to start, chicken and oriental vegetables from the grill, rice, a not too hot chilli sauce followed by a white and dark chocolate torte with orange to garnish.
What did you choose for your wedding cake, and who made it?
In the Maldives we had a white heart cake with a sticky chocolate filling. It had iced white flowers and a bride and groom on top. For our reception in the UK we brought a three tier cake from M&S and added turquoise ribbon and vibrant flowers to keep in with the theme.
Did you have any entertainment during the day or evening?
Our entertainment was traditional Maldivian music and dancing. For our reception back in the UK we had a disco.
Did you have a gift list? If so, who did you have your list with?
We decided not to have a guest list as we were already living together. We asked people for vouchers for Argos and Next.
Where did you spend your first night and honeymoon? Who did you book your honeymoon with?
Our first night of our honeymoon was in our beach front villa with a pool. We booked all our wedding through Tradewinds. The family guests were cheaper to book through Kuoni.
What was your most memorable moment of the day?
Our wedding day was so magical and not like anything else I have ever seen. I will never forget being met by my dad at my room and walking to the beach to meet Leigh. The first time I saw him I got emotional. We then planted a coconut tree to represent our love as it grows. The island of Alofushi was amazing-a dream come true as we had always wanted to get married on a remote island. Palm leaves were placed into the sand to make it look a big heart. Inside this heart the ceremony took place. The little extras that they did were amazing. We went for a sunset walk to reflect on the magical day and now have the photos to look back at the happiest day of our lives.
Did you experience any ‘nightmare’ moments in the run up to your wedding or on the day?
We were supposed to get married on the 9th of November 2006 however the rain never stopped. Thankfully the resort were so dedicated to us and our expectations they managed to change the wedding to the 10th November 2006.
Is there anything you would do differently, or any advice you would give to other brides?
My wedding was a dream come true. I could not have wished for a better setting. The people are so lovely and the food was delicious. I am glad that we did our wedding for us and not what everyone else wanted. Getting married abroad was the best idea we ever had. It was very intimate and personal. There was nothing that they would not do for us and they exceeded our expectations in every way. They fulfilled all my dreams as a bride.