I wanted my first post to be about something that not only meant a lot to me, but a topic that I get asked so many questions about - our wedding day!
September 15th, 2018 - THE most amazing day of my life. You hear every bride go on (and on) about how incredible your wedding day is, but honestly, nobody can prepare you for how truly magical it actually is. This post is more about ‘the making’ of our day rather than the emotion, I get lots of messages about the venue, flowers, hair and makeup and of course my wedding dress - which I will actually be doing a separate blog about as I feel the whole ‘finding the perfect dress’ deserves it’s own feature. This is all about the details of our day, so if you’re planning to get married abroad or are just simply interested then keep scrolling.
We decided to get married abroad for various reasons, mainly because I for one hate that the weather in the UK is so unpredictable. Alan had actually never considered getting married abroad until I mentioned it - luckily he thought it was a great idea!
I mean, you get a holiday which is a huge advantage, wedding photos never fail to look good in the sunshine and for us, it just seemed more intimate having only our close friends and family as guests. It was the best decision we could have made.
We chose the Olympian Gardens to hold both our ceremony and reception which is based at the Olympic Lagoon hotel, Nissi bay, in Cyprus. We toyed with the idea of jetting off to Barbados, Maldives, or somewhere else luxurious and exotic, but actually it can be very complicated to legally get married. Plus, we wanted our close friends and family to attend so we wanted a destination that had that luxury feel, but also affordable for our guests to be able to join us.
I had noticed a couple of weddings based at the Olympian Gardens on social media, and when my mum showed us ‘her favourite venue’ in the recent wedding brochure she had to hand, it kind of seemed like it was meant to be. Alan and I discussed all options, different destinations, locations and venues and his favourite was the Olympic Lagoon - so we booked! We decided to book the wedding directly through our Wedding Coordinator Charlotte, who is based at the Olympic Lagoon - we didn’t go through a travel agent. We had presumed that it was all gong to be ‘very standard’ but actually there are so many different options and you can personalise your wedding just as much as you can here in the UK.
We booked our wedding shortly after our engagement, we got engaged in June 2017, booked the wedding around August time I think - for the following September. Apart from wedding dress shopping, we really didn't plan or organise much until around 2-3 months before the wedding - but that’s just us! We are VERY last minute with most things, and it always works out (luckily!)
Charlotte our wedding coordinator was amazing, she made the whole process very smooth and was always there if we needed her. We met her for the first time when we arrived in Cyprus, a week before the wedding. We were staying in the Olympic Lagoon hotel so we would pop in every day to add to our never ending list of things we wanted. We couldn’t have wished for a better coordinator.
Venue dressing and decor
We knew we wanted the venue to be personalised to us, and to look as glamorous yet as sophisticated as possible. I came across a company named ‘Paper Flowers’ after Charlotte had recommended them. When I initially contacted them, they were fully booked and I felt gutted to say the least, but not surprised as it was so last minute. I had agreed to do a blog for Berta and Opus Atelier (my dress designer / provider) and the pressure was on to make the venue look as amazing as it could. Paper Flowers then contacted me to say they could squeeze us in - and we were delighted.
They dressed the venue which included our HUGE flower initials, a drape arch for the ceremony, chair covers, aisle decor, table arrangements and more. The transition from daytime to evening worked beautifully and it was truly breathtaking. I will link their company below along with any other details.
We used a company named ‘Richie Roo’ for our very extravagant mirrored seating plan and oh my gosh, it was stunning. We had so many compliments on this and our welcome sign which was also printed on a beautiful personalised mirror.
For our wedding favours, we used a lovely lady named Jane Summers who owns a company called ‘Do me a favour.’ Jane delivered the favours straight to our venue along with some personalised hand fans for our guests. The fans were a very useful element as it was an incredibly hot day, our guests loved them.
We did take our own decorations too, such as table names and accessories. We managed to fill a 20kg suitcase full of ‘wedding related’ bits - so definitely add the extra luggage to your basket when booking your flights!
I’ve had a lot of messages regarding my flowers - as in my bouquet, bridesmaids bouquets and buttonholes. Alan is allergic to real flowers, so that was of course the main reason we had chosen artificial flowers, but we felt that artificial flowers appeared more ‘photogenic’ and of course wouldn't welt in the Cyprus heat. They are also a great keepsake, spray some light water on them every now and then and they keep!
The flowers were a very personal touch to our wedding as my mum actually made them for us. She used to have her own floristry and events business, so we were very lucky. She is so talented and made them to perfection at home, we travelled with them in our suitcases and they kept their shape. Again, I will put her details below for anyone wanting flowers either in the UK or abroad.
Hair and Makeup
This was certainly the one thing I was not looking forward to. In the UK there are so many talented hair stylists and makeup artists however you really don’t have the luxury of too much choice when going abroad.
I decided to do my makeup myself after having some recent ‘refresher’ lessons with the very talented Ema Paulino in the UK. I am already a qualified makeup artist so I was confident in doing my own bridal look, I would have rather messed it up myself than someone else messing it up! Luckily, it went very much to plan and looked nice in our photographs. I knew from my modelling days that makeup has to be applied in a different way when its photographic - it needs to be heavier for the photos to pick up the depth. I was worried that the sun would melt it away, but I only had to touch up a couple of times.
There is a very talented makeup team in the hotel whom did the artistry for our mums, our maid of honour and bridesmaid. They looked absolutely beautiful and their makeup lasted all day.
My hair was a different story - I was so indecisive about wether or not I should have also done this myself but the stress of doing my own makeup was enough so I decided to have my hair styled by a hairdresser based in our hotel. To be honest, she was lovely and listened to exactly what I wanted but looking back, I actually regret not doing this myself. I knew my hair could have looked better so it’s very frustrating when I look back at photos - but there was always going to be one thing that I wasn't going to be happy with (I am SO particular!)
When booking your wedding, your coordinator can recommend different professionals however we wanted to do our own research on photography and videography in Cyprus as there is actually a very pleasant selection. It took lots of research to choose our photographer and we were torn between two. We actually booked and paid a deposit for one, and then decided to change! We are so glad we did. We picked George Castan, an absolute gem and a dream to work with. He is different to a standard photographer in the respect of actually listening to what shots you would like, he is super friendly and very professional. He stayed with us pretty much the whole day. We received our photos around November time, and decided to make a photo album for our family for Christmas which they loved. The final photos were above and beyond any expectations we had.
George has his own business named ‘Castan Photography’ and I will link below. I would truly recommend him for anyone wanting their most precious moments captured.
A number of people we know have said that they have regretted not having their wedding filmed, so we knew this was something we had to do. I can see exactly why they feel that way - the day goes by so quickly and is so overwhelming that you really do feel you want to do it all over again.
Again, we wanted to do our own research to whom would film our day and we decided on Red Lens Films, who were exceptional! Alex from Red Lens Films and his lovely collegue Savvas worked perfectly with George, even though they had never worked together before.
We also opted to add a drone, which filmed from above and caught some amazing moments - including the magical moment Alan surprised me with a firework display (and delayed the nearby airport flights - oops!)
We haven’t actually got our wedding footage back as of yet, we were advised it could take up to 6 months. We are super excited and can’t wait! We have seen some sneak peaks and were blown away so I’ll be sure to upload our wedding video when we receive it.
We added as many extras as we possibly could to personalise our day. We had a Harpist who played during the ceremony which really set the whole ‘fairytale and romance’ scene. We had a Photo Booth for the after party to add some fun to mix. We chose our own music so the DJ could personalise it to our taste. We had stage fountains during our first dance and to top to off, Alan had arranged a surprise firework display for me and our guests! It was one of these overwhelming ‘wow’ moments and he absolutely smashed it!
There is so much more to planning a wedding than we initially thought or expected. I really do hope this has helped those who are getting married abroad or those who are considering it. I know that if I’d have read a blog prior to getting married abroad it would have helped so much! There are 3 lovely couples who have booked their venue at the Olympic Lagoon since seeing my instagram, if I can help with anyone else considering it then please do contact me.
I will write a separate blog about my wedding dress as this first post is quite lengthy. I may also write about outfit details (wedding rings, accessories, bridesmaid and grooms attire) if this is something you would like to read please let me know.
Thank you for reading my first post, I hope you enjoyed it as much I enjoyed writing it.
All my love,
Wedding Coordinator: Charlotte Clancy
Paper Flowers - for venue dressing and decor:
Richie Roo Designs - for venue dressing:
Do Me A Favour - for favours and accessories:
Ema Paulino - makeup trials. UK based Makeup Artist:
Red Lens Films:
Flowers - UK or abroad. Artificial, real and event decor:
Ribbons Florist - Jacqueline Bould