Almonds in Barbados
Joanne and Simon’s family beach celebrations
After travelling internationally in her job as an air hostess for Virgin Atlantic, Joanne Hurst from Bristol knew that there are many stunning locations for destination weddings around the world. However, Joanne’s heart was set on beautiful Barbados as the idyllic place to say “I do’ to partner Simon Noble – on a palmed fringed beach with sand between her toes and her four children in tow!
Finding ‘the one’
We met at the “ministry of sound nightclub” in London. I was living in London and meeting a coach of friends from Bristol – he was on that coach with some other friends! I would say it was ‘drunk’ at first sight rather than ‘love’ at first sight! Say no more!
Simon proposed to me at Glastonbury festival in 2009. We go every year. He made us walk to the top point where all the flags fly, where we had a view over the whole festival!
The main reason we chose a destination wedding abroad was so that our four children, aged one, four, five and eight could enjoy a holiday as well as our special day. We wanted to marry in Barbados because it is somewhere special to us and we have been many times both on our own before having the children and with our family too – so it seemed the perfect place to have our wedding. We love the people and the island is so beautiful. We wanted a resort that catered for young adults, older couples and families, so the Almond Beach Village resort was perfect.
Almond Resorts offers a free wedding package, which includes the services of a wedding planner. The package included a Wedding Coordinator, flowers for bride and groom, wedding cake, decorated wedding location, champagne, clergy/magistrate, government fees, ceremony charges and taxes. All we had to do to get all of this was pay for a deluxe room for a fortnight, which covered the wedding and the honeymoon – so it worked out as great value for money. We chose to pay for additions to the wedding package to make it extra special. The resort was very helpful in making sure everything we wanted was arranged for us. Ann the wedding co-ordinator was fantastic in true Bajan style, she was very chilled out but sorted everything to perfection. We flew out with Virgin Holidays. Almond Resorts were particularly helpful with arranging the accommodation for all my guests and making sure everyone was looked after well
We always knew we would have a reasonably large wedding party but in the end it was even larger than we originally planned as almost all of the guests we invited could make it. There were 41 adults of all different ages and 25 children from two weeks-old to nine years-old. Both our parents and siblings were able to attend, although my Dad had always said he wouldn’t go long haul again and didn’t fancy Barbados. I was worried about his reaction when I told him where we were getting married, but as soon as he got there he absolutely loved it. I must admit, until everyone started paying the balance, I was still unsure if everyone would make it. In the end, only one couple dropped out as they had a baby whilst we were away. We even had friends from Australia come!
Getting the look
I chose to wear a Jenny Packham dress, which was perfect for a beach wedding as it was floaty and delicate.I wore some gorgeous Benjamin Adams shoes but had bare feet for the ceremony, and ended up in Havaianas at the party. For jewellery I wore a Jenny Packham cuff and crystal drop earrings.I had a hairdresser on the resort do my hair for me and wore my hair down with the sides twisted back in a ‘boho’ style. My cousin helped me with my make-up and I went for a natural look.
Groom & bridesmaids
Simon wore a Vivienne Westwood shirt and had tailored trousers made. I had seven adult bridesmaids and five flower girls. The older girls wore Coast dresses and silver flip flops. The younger flower girls wore dresses from Monsoon. I wanted the flower girls to look like fairies! My mum made their pretty head dresses as I couldn’t find anything I wanted in the shops. Mum also dressed rag dolls in the same outfit as the girls, which looked so cute. They carried silver buckets tied with ribbons and had a pink wooden spade to use in case they got bored during the ceremony. My mum was amazing, not only did she make my bridesmaid accessories, she made drawstring bags from Cath Kidston material with goodies in to keep all the children occupied.
I chose to keep to the bouquet which was included in the wedding package, howeer, my flowers were gorgeous. My seven bridesmaids had a one-stem flower ,which was Ann’s idea – they looked perfect.
The ceremony took place in a gorgeous location under the wedding gazebo in the grounds of the Almond Resort, with the sea in the background. My dad gave away.
We hired the reef restaurant for the wedding breakfast, which was my personal favourite at the resort. It is situated on the beach and was decorated with fire lanterns,
The guests dined on the gala celebration menu and they all thoroughly enjoyed the food. The children had a separate table and my mum made bunting to decorate it.
We had aperitifs and canapés served to our guests following the ceremony which was accompanied by a steel band. We also hired a magician and babysitters to help out with the children during the speeches and meal, giving the adults time to relax that bit more. After the dinner there was music and a DJ for all to party the night away. Our First Dance was to Florence and the machine’s ‘You Got The Love’.
Photos were taken as the sun was setting to capture the most romantic light for the wedding photos. Colorbox, a professional photographic studio based in the resort, took the photos with a wedding DVD. My favourite photos are the natural ones at the ceremony with the children dotted around!
My wedding highlight was everyone being together after the ceremony with a glass of champers or a rum punch with the sun setting on the beach. The kids were paddling and running around – perfect and better than I imagined it to be! I would definitely recommend a wedding abroad to anyone and I am so pleased I chose to have mine at Almond Resorts. It would have suited a couple without children as well as those like us with a family in tow. I think some of our friends who had lots of children and another with a newborn couldn’t believe they could still have a relaxing holiday!
We stayed at the resort for our honeymoon. I organised a catamaran trip for all the guests a few days before the wedding. It was a great way for everyone to get to know each other and then we went surfing for a day, which the kids loved! It was so special to spend two weeks with all my favourite people. We have two weeks of wedding memories, not just a day. Absolutely perfect!
Almond Beach Village resort, Almond Resorts, Barbados
Fergus Ford, Colorbox Studio, Colorbox www.colorbox.co.uk