“I Do” In Dubrovnik
They say that it’s a small world, and Charlotte Bousfield realized that it’s surprisingly true when she met her Mr Right whilst working as a teacher in Dubai. Her fiancé, Andrew Walker, turned out to be an old school friend from her home town in Yorkshire, nearly 5,000 miles away!
Finding ‘the one’
I bumped into Andrew at a beach bar in Dubai and started chatting, as we knew each other already – we went to the same school in Harrogate, Yorkshire and were now both working in Dubai. Andy bought me a drink and the rest is history! I wouldn’t say it was love at first sight, but I knew very soon that we had a connection that I hadn’t felt with anyone before.
Andy and I had gone on holiday to my parent’s beach house in Majorca, and on the last night at the house, he had told me he wanted to go down to the rocks on the seafront with drinks to toast the beautiful sunset. He disappeared into the house and, when he was gone for ages, I wondered what on earth he was doing! When he came back he began saying some lovely words to me, and then got down on one knee! He had told me that he wanted to video the sunset, so he caught the whole thing on the Go Pro camera, which is a lovely thing to have and to watch back. Andy’s proposal was totally unexpected. He had dropped a lot of hints that he was going to do it a couple of months later, as we had a weekend away booked. I’m so glad he decided to do it when he did – it couldn’t have been more perfect.
I had always had in my mind that I would like to get married abroad. I love the sea and the warm weather. I liked the idea of our wedding being small and informal, with a holiday vibe. My parents had fallen in love with Dubrovnik when visiting many years ago, so when we were looking at possible locations, it sounded like the perfect fit. I loved the idea of having a ceremony on a little island and drinks on a boat. I also wanted it to be close to an airport with convenient accommodation for our guests. My mother and I went to visit for a long weekend to see if I liked it. I instantaneously knew it was the place I was going to get married. I took Andy a few weeks later and he also loved everything about it.
We used a fantastic wedding planner called Kike from the company DoYouWed.Me. We met her for a coffee while we were visiting and she instantly made us feel at ease. She offered excellent advice from start to finish and nothing seemed too much hassle. We were blown away by her and her team’s professionalism on the day. Kike was such a fabulous support with the planning, it really felt like there was not much for us to do! We made all the big decisions about locations fairly early on and then a few months before the wedding we decided on menus and decorations etc. Kike met us a few days before the wedding to go over the final details and even travelled to the island with us to go through the order of the day.
There were around 80 guests in total. One of the great things about Dubrovnik is that you have some wonderful hotels near the Old Town, but you also have some excellent self-catered apartments in the centre where everything is within walking distance. I didn’t want to choose a venue where my guests have to travel to get to the locations. We were very surprised that most people accepted the invitation. Everybody seemed really excited to have a weekend away in the sunshine. A lot of people had not been to Croatia and travelled on to make a proper holiday of it.
Getting the look
My dress was from Enzoani. It was not something that I would ever have chosen. However, as soon as I tried it on I knew it was the one! The flowers on the bottom of the dress fitted in perfectly with the garden theme for the ceremony. I also had an evening dress, which was made for me by one of my best friends. I wouldn’t have been comfortable dancing in the big dress. It was very warm under all those layers! My colour theme was pink coral. Our wedding planner also has her own flower shop so she arranged the beautiful bouquets to go with the theme. My talented best friend made me my hair piece. I didn’t want to wear a veil, but wanted something that would stand out and look pretty against my long hair. My sister and friend kindly helped me with my hair and make-up on the day. We did a few trials on the lead up to the wedding.
The jewellery I wore during the day was given to me by Andy – a beautiful pearl and diamond necklace that he had especially made for me to open on the morning of the wedding. I also wore an infinity heart bracelet that he gave me for my birthday a few days before the wedding. When I changed for the evening I put on different jewellery – a matching Swarovski necklace and bracelet that my grandma had bought me.
Something Old, Something New?
My Something Old was my grandma’s handkerchief. I needed that as there were lots of happy tears! Something New was my necklace and dress, Something Borrowed and Blue was my garter that my godmother had kindly lent me.
Groom & bridesmaids
Andy wore a blue linen suit. My father and the best man wore the same suit and the ushers wore waistcoats with the linen trousers. We tried to make it a bit cooler for them! The groomsmen also wore a pink coral tie. The bridesmaid dresses were a beautiful bright pink coral colour from Confetti and Lace in Leeds. The colour looked fabulous in the sunny setting.
We had an ocean theme for the evening reception – we had attached place names to starfish and decorated the tables with shells.
My wedding bouquet consisted of a few peonies, as well as some pink coral roses and lots of greenery. Kike did an amazing job at matching the bouquets to the pictures I had sent her from Pinterest. My mum and sister kindly made the cake. We stuck to the theme of starfish and shells and used crushed biscuits for a sand effect. They actually carried the pre-made fruitcake out in their hand luggage! They then decorated it when we arrived in Croatia.
The ceremony took place on Lokrum Island, which is just ten minutes by boat from Dubrovnik Old Town. We hired an area called Palm Gardens. It was a stunning setting, the guests were facing the sea and had a lovely, scenic walk to and from the garden. The island has lots of tame rabbits and peacocks! The ceremony lasted approximately twenty minutes. Two of my best friends did a poetry reading and one of Andy’s cousins sang a wonderful opera song. My father gave me away. He did very well not to step on my dress as we walked down the aisle. It was very narrow! After the ceremony we had family photos while the guests had drinks. We then went back to the boat for an hour’s boat cruise before heading back to the Old Town for the evening reception.
Our wedding reception was held at a place in the walled Old Town called Sponza Palace, which is just a moments’ walk away from where the guests got off the boat. The Palace is a Gothic-renaissance building from the 16th century with an open roof and balconies. As soon as I saw it I knew that it would be an incredible place for an evening reception. The guests were all blown away by the venue.
The catering and waiting staff were supplied by Restaurant Dubrovnik – for starters we had Dalmatian Ham with Sheep’s Cheese; for the main we had lamb, then for desert we had Chocolate Mousse. The food was delicious and the staff were extremely attentive.
We danced to Dire Straits ‘Walk of Life’. We had practised a cheeky little routine with lifts! We had two members of the phenomenal band ‘The Lightyears’ fly out to perform at the wedding. They played music from dinner onwards and also played the guitar during the ceremony. They had everybody up on the dance floor as soon as they began, nobody wanted them to end!
We had two fantastic photographers, Veronica and Dino. We met up with Veronica a few days before the wedding to discuss the photography that we wanted. The photos were amazing. We had photographs taken in a few different locations on the island and in the Old Town. The ancient walls and castle features make a stunning backdrop for wedding pictures.
Andy’s best man, Nigel did the wedding video for us. He did the most incredible job! We wanted the video to have a relaxed feel to it with background music. He had a couple of Go Pros and a drone that gave us some wonderful shots of the island and the boat. We were over the moon with the video, it captured every special moment and all the crazy dancing later on!
I loved the pictures of Andy and I on the front of the boat. It sums everything up! We look so happy with drinks in hand, on a boat, in the sun, sea in the background, and all the time knowing that our family and best friends were around us.
So many to choose from! It was amazing to see Andy’s reaction when I reached him at the end of the aisle. Andy and I also had a special moment, just the two of us, in Sponza Palace. We went up to the balcony and looked down on everyone. It was a lovely five minutes on our own, looking down and seeing what a fantastic time everyone was having. The funniest memory was seeing how sweaty everyone was! All the guests were dripping as it was the hottest day of the year so far, but nobody cared. They continued to dance the night away regardless! There was just one near disaster – in preparation for my First Dance, I needed to change my dress in an apartment a few doors down from Sponza Palace. We had left the room key behind the reception desk, and when we arrived there, it was shut! We stood there for fifteen minutes ringing and banging on the door. Eventually someone came, I would not have been able to do the fast First Dance in my big dress!
We moved on to a different location the day after the wedding for our honeymoon after having a lovely lunch with family before we went. We had a few days exploring other parts of Croatia and had a second honeymoon in the Seyshelles a month later.
The whole wedding cost around £24,000. Our budget was £20,000. However, we went over due to our choice of evening reception venue at Sponza Palace. We have no regets though, it was absolutely the right decision; a magical location.
Kristina Skvrce (Kike) – DoYouWed.Me
Dubrovnik Old Town
Ceremony- Palm Gardens, Lokrum Island
Reception- Sponza Palace
Veronica Arevalo- Svadbas Photography