JUST THE TICKET
Real couples who’ve enjoyed wonderful w-days abroad reveal their top tips for success
Who better to help with your destination celebration than those who have been there and done that? Having jetted off to say “I do”, these couples know exactly what it takes to organise a w-day abroad. Here are some of their top tips for a party to remember. Dom and Phil chose picturesque wine estate Quinta de Sant’ana for their big day in Portugal Don’t forget the dress “Getting my wedding dress to and from Portugal was the hardest part, so we booked our plane tickets based on who had the most generous baggage allowance,” says Dom. “A good friend took my dress back so I didn’t have to take it on honeymoon.” Travel insurance is essential “We actually ended up getting married in the middle of a 10-day airline strike! Everyone eventually made it to Lisbon, but do encourage guests to get travel insurance. Watch out for things like that in the days and weeks before the wedding so you can let guests know if they need to consider changing their plans.” Plan pre-wedding activities “Many of our friends and family arrived in Portugal two or three days before the wedding. We knew most people had never been to Lisbon, so we organised different sightseeing activities and posted the various times we would be at certain bars or restaurants in case people wanted to join us for a drink or dinner at some point. We ended up seeing almost all of our guests in the days before the wedding itself, so we were able to spend a lot more quality time with them. Subsequently, that meant we could relax and enjoy our actual wedding day because there was less pressure to feel like we were rushing about and had to try to get around to see everyone at the reception.” Maria and Mark had a snowy Alpine party in Chamonix, France Take a laidback approach ´,I ZH·UH KRQHVW D ORW RI WKH ÀQHU GHWDLOV DQG ORJLVWLFV IRU RXU ZHGGLQJ ZHUHQ·W ÀQDOLVHG until we arrived in Chamonix three days prior to the ceremony,” recalls Maria. “We were FRQÀGHQW HQRXJK LQ WKH FRPPXQLFDWLRQV back and forth with all our vendors that everything was set, and we would just iron out the last bits and pieces once there.” Alexandra and Alex had a vintage-chic wedding at Château Les Carrasses, LanguedocRoussillon, France You’ll need to transport all your décor “The hardest part of planning for us was RUJDQLVLQJ WKH SURSV DQG ÀQLVKLQJ WRXFKHV μ remembers Alexandra. “Our parents ended up driving from England and brought a lot of things in the car with them, which helped. Try to work with your venue’s style WR LQÁXHQFH \RXU FRORXU SDOHWWH FKRLFHV ² the more you can use what’s already there, the fewer props you’ll need to add.”
Fay and Max feasted with their friends and family at the Princess Hotel, Skiathos, Greece Find out when suppliers will be available ´0RVW *UHHN LVODQGV DUH FORVHG LQ WKH winter [November to March], so there was no progress with our preparations until the beginning of April, as the vendors weren’t even on the island. That was quite stressful and felt lastminute, but thankfully our venue took care of everything in April and May and it all worked out beautifully in the end.” Amanda and Richard enjoyed a sunny celebration at Blue Caves Villas, Zante, Greece Consider the school holidays “There were a number of children due to attend, including Richard’s two daughters,” says Amanda. “As the week of the wedding was the one before the May half-term, it meant getting agreement from their schools. Thankfully, we managed to submit the requests before the [term-time holiday] UXOH FKDQJHV VR ZH DYRLGHG DQ\ ÀQHV μ Take into account how your guests will get there “Make sure that you research the travel arrangements to the location you choose, particularly if you have a large number of guests, like us. For example, there are certain times of the year where you simply can’t get ÁLJKWV IURP WKH 8. WR *UHHN LVODQGV VXFK as Zante. What we also found was a number RI WKH DLUOLQHV Á\LQJ WR RXU GHVWLQDWLRQ ZHUH budget companies that operated package holidays, so non-package seats were limited.” Have a wet weather option
“We had clear skies, bright sunshine and temperatures of around 26°C every day in the week leading up to the wedding,” recalls Richard. “However, on the big day itself, the weather actually started off quite overcast – and as the guests began to sit down for the outdoor ceremony, a few spots of rain were falling. Thankfully, by the time Amanda emerged, the FORXGV KDG ÀQDOO\ SDUWHG and the sun was shining.
Ashlee and Miguel held their reception at Mas del Cigarrer, Catalonia, Spain Flowers may be expensive ´*HWWLQJ RXU ÁRZHUV ZDV WKH KDUGHVW WKLQJ μ explains Ashlee. “We had Amy Bowley of %R %RXWLTXH D ZRQGHUIXO 8. ÁRULVW EXW QHHGHG WR EX\ WKH DFWXDO ÁRZHUV LQ 6SDLQ Amy and I foraged for olive leaves and wild thyme the day before – an experience I won’t forget. We combined these with RWKHU ÁRZHUV WKURXJKRXW WKH GHFRUDWLRQ DQG LQ P\ ÁRZHU FURZQ DQG ERXTXHW μ This was good, as there was literally no ‘bad weather option’ at that stage!” Be prepared to get technical
“I had to put in a lot of preparation to set up a live internet stream prior to the day, as there were lots of people at home who couldn’t make it, but still wanted to see the wedding. This involved taking all the equipment over to Zante and then having WR JHW DQ DGGLWLRQDO ZL À DQWHQQD LQVWDOOHG while we were there to ensure we had a strong enough signal during the ceremony. On the day, all the equipment was set up and ready to go and my ‘cameraman’ had his instructions. Suddenly, 10 minutes before everything was due to start, the laptop we were using to broadcast crashed and wouldn’t boot up. In the end, I realised there was an app that could be downloaded to my phone, which would enable us to stream directly from the wedding using the camera.”