Sri Lankan Sands.
Despite what popular opinion, wedding magazines and marketing would have you believe, not everyone wants to be the centre of attention on their wedding day; apart from anything else, the associated stress has a tendency to overshadow what should be the main focus of the day. The trouble is, with popular opinion being what it is, if you have a wedding that involves dozens of guests then the centre of attention is exactly what you’re going to be.
From: Ipswich, UK
Nearest Airport: Colombo International
This, of course, is where a long-haul destination comes into its own. It would be a fallacy to suggest that all marriages abroad are elopements, but they do remain the ideal solution for those who prefer the romance of a private occasion in a beautiful location.
The Holiday of a Lifetime
“We knew that the money and stress associated with a big, white wedding wasn’t for us”, began Sian, “so we decided to combine our wedding with the holiday of a lifetime. As we’d always been keen to have our honeymoon in the Maldives, we ended up selecting our honeymoon destination first then looking for a wedding location nearby. We sort of stumbled across Sri Lanka, and before we knew it, it was booked.” Keen to avoid as much stress as possible, the couple quickly employed a co-ordinator to deal with all the arrangements. Although slightly apprehensive about relinquishing control, they were nevertheless pleased with their decision: “in hindsight we could probably have organised the wedding ourselves, but we really wanted a no hassle wedding and all we really had to do was turn up on the day”.
The happy couple knew they’d picked the right destination as soon as they arrived, although they’d had no worries on that score. “We already knew from the pictures and reviews on the internet that it was going to be stunning”, explained Sian, “we were just astounded at how stunning it really was. We were both gob-smacked when we arrived in Bentota and saw the hotel and beach – we knew immediately that we had done the right thing; it was more beautiful than we can even begin to describe.”
So Simple and Perfect
In keeping with their stress-free scheme, Sian and Michael eased into their wedding day, indulging in a soothing Indian head massage in the spa of the Taj Exotica before taking some time to relax before the wedding at 3pm. “We had some lunch, then Mike went to meet the Registrar while I got ready and waited for 3 o’clock to arrive. It felt like forever. When the time came, the wedding co-ordinator walked me through the hotel and out onto the quiet beach. Everyone turned to look: it was such a fantastic moment”. The modest ceremony (“more like an informal chat with the Registrar, really”) was conducted in English and lasted just 10 minutes. Although it could have been personalised with music, it was already exactly what the couple wanted. “It was so simple and perfect”, explained Sian.
An Elephant for Two
Having exchanged vows and concluded the ceremony, the newly-weds sat down to sign the registrar. “While we were sitting down, we saw them bring the elephant out and dress him in his attire. We cut the cake, then went for our elephant ride – the pictures have been a real talking point with friends and family!” The perfect end to the perfect day consisted of a romantic walk along the beach, followed by a private, candle-lit lobster dinner on the terrace overlooking the sea.
An Extra Celebration
Like many couples who get married abroad, Sian and Michael held an extra celebration for friends and family when they got home. “It gave me a good chance to wear my dress again of course!” explained Sian, “and they all loved the way we treated the party as an informal wedding reception – we even had three beautiful bridesmaids. On day of the wedding, when I was waiting to go down to the beach, I did feel that I wanted my mum and mother-in-law with me, so at the reception it was nice to give our mums the chance to be Mothers of the Bride & Groom. I think they enjoyed it!”
Sian summarised: “A wedding at home would have been everything we didn’t want, full of stress over insignificant little details. The wedding we had was perfect for us: in an amazing destination, the sun shining, incredibly hot but stress free, chilled out and relaxing – how many people can say that about their wedding day?”
Story: Callie Copeman-Bryant
The Perfect Partners
Tour Operator: Virgin Holidays // Ceremony: Taj Exotica, Bentota // Wedding Photographs: Prince Digital // Bridal Gown: Jewlz // Groom’s Attire: Next // Bridal Accommodation: Taj Exotica, Bentota