A Caribbean rendezvous
With family and friends scattered around the world, international couple Kelly Bagshaw and Markus Soderlund, who are currently living in Finland, had the world to choose from when they decided to marry overseas – but rather than saying “I do” in Finland or the UK they opted to tie the knot on a sunkissed Caribbean beach.
FINDING THE ONE
We met through www.match.com. Was it love at first sight? Well Markus says he thought I was very beautiful on our first date but believes love at first sight doesn’t exist – love is something else that takes more time. We met in April and by June we were inseperable.
Markus proposed to me on a romantic weekend away in Tallinn, Estonia. After a delicious meal we returned to the Swiss Hotel were he proposed, classic style, on one knee. He had been dropping lots of hints, but at the moment he proposed it was totally unexpected!
We thought about a wedding in Helsinki, then in the UK, but we realsied that there would always be some members of our family who were unable to be there. The cost ws also a factor – we wanted to be able to save and pay for our wedding and honeymoon ourselves without getting into debt. We wanted to get married within 12 months of getting engaged, so combining the wedding and honeymoon made it a third of the cost. We wanted a small, boutique, adults only hotel and through searching and reading reveiws on line we chose Rendezvous in St Lucia where we stayed in a pretty beachfront cottage.
We booked our wedding through Tropical Sky, and their Wedding Team organised almost everything. We had a wedding planner at the resort too with whom we were in contact with prior to our arrival. Tropical Sky were amazing. The attention to detail was impressive. They answered all (my numerous!) questions very quickly.
We had an intimate wedding, with just the two of us. No guests.
GETTING THE LOOK
My wedding dress was designed by Anoushka G, bought from a bridal boutique in Leicester. We wanted to feel as comfortable and as cool as possible in the tropical climate. Beauty and elegance were also important! My eight-year-old son gave me a silver heart necklace to wear. I also wore a silver braclet given to me by Markus on our first anniversary. I had planned to wear my hair down but it was too hot. I took a vintage roll set bought from Claire’s Accessories just incase, and it worked! Many people have asked who did my hair and were surprised to find I did it myself. For my flowers I chose white orchids.
Groom & Bridesmaids
Markus wore a white tailor-made shirt and taupe coloued trousers. We didn’t have any bridesmaids.
Our wedding ceremony was held in a beachfront gazebo at the hotel in a picture-perfect setting. It was a civil ceremony that lasted around 30-40 minutes. We were married by marriage officer Michael Gospard, who made it very special with many lovely connections to St Lucia during the ceremony.
On the evening of our wedding we enjoyed a candlelit dinner for two at the al a catre restaurant at theRendezvous resort, the Trysting Place. We saved our main reception for our loved ones back in the UK and Finland. First we had a lunch for our British family and friends at the Grey Lady restaurant, which is opposite Brtadgate Park in Leicestershire – my favourite place since childhood. Then we invited close friends to a sparkling wine and cake celebration on the terrace overlooking the har bour at the Blue Peter restaurant in Helsinki. After that, Markus’s grandparents (who are 90-years-old) asked if they could organise a Karalien-style wedding reception for our Finnish family, where we will dance the same First Dance as they did 66 years ago – Metsakukkia (forest flowers) wedding waltz, which was also danced by Markus’s sister at her wedding.
We chose a small selection of photos taken by Photograpy Train. We particularly like the photo taken just after the ceremony had finished when we looked backwards at the camera – we are both laughing and it looks like such a happy and natural moment.
The whole week was the best week of our lives. One of the funniest moments was when Markus didn’t understand one of the words were were exhanging during our vows and made it up – I got the giggles! The only potential problem was that there was a thunderstorm at excatly 3pm! We had to wait half an hour for it to pass, but it all worked out beutifully in the end.
The trip cost 3,000. Plus the dress and rings and extras. Probably £5,000 in total. We didn’t have to borrow any money, so it was within our budget.
WEDDING PLANNER UK:
Sarah-Jayne Hawkins at Tropical Sky
WEDDING PLANNER AT THE RESORT:
Sandra Baptiste at Rendezvous.
Tell us about your wedding
Did you marry abroad? Whether you said “I do” on a palm fringed sandy beach or in a French Chateau, or even in an Icelandic winter wonderland with the Aurora Borealis dancing in the skies above, we would love to hear from you, and feature your wedding on our website .
“The whole week was the best week of our lives. One of the funniest moments was when Markus didn’t understand one of the words were were exhanging during our vows and made it up – I got the giggles!!”
Need help planning your wedding?
Brides Abroad, in conjunction with Brilliant Honeymoons can help you every step of the way, from finding the venue, arranging the details and helping with the paperwork to organising the flights, accommodation and transfers for you and your wedding party.