Everlasting love in Malta
Holiday romances often have short lifespans. However, for teenagers Emily Fenn and Tom Bentley from Chertsey, Surrey, that chance meeting on a Spanish holiday was to change their lives forever. Some years later, after Tom proposed in Rome, it seemed only right that the globe-trotting couple should seal their love with an overseas wedding in the Maltese sunshine
FINDING THE ONE
We were young when we met on holiday in Spain, and so I suppose for us it was love at first sight!
Tom proposed on another holiday in Rome, Italy. He took me to a rooftop restaurant overlooking Rome where he proposed very traditionally down on one knee! Even after 14 years together and two children, it was totally unexpected! The most amazing night ever!
We met abroad, he proposed abroad so thought we would stick to that theme and get married abroad. We also liked the idea of having a holiday with our family and friends before and after the big day! We decided to look on line for venues rather than locations, and I fell in love with a stunning venue – Castello Zamitello in Mgarr, Malta so we booked a trip out to visit it. We also had a family holiday a few months before the wedding, so that we could personally try food and meet the planners etc.
We used The Bridal Consultant as our wedding planner and I could not recommend enough! They were there every step of the way and without their support I don’t think we would have been able to do it ourselves!
We tried to plan everything before we went, so that we could be as relaxed as possible and enjoy our time with everyone beforehand. I asked for maps of the grounds, so we could decide where we wanted everything on the day, we had spread sheets showing where the guests would be staying, and what coaches they would be on, we tried to plan it to the very last detail to make it as easy as possible.
We had 152 guests in total. The majority stayed at either the Westin Dragonara with us, or at the hotel opposite – the Golden Tulip. Most of our guests were in the St Julian area, but some were slightly further out in Villas – it didn’t really matter, as Malta is so small that no one was too far away! We were overwhelmed by how many people accepted the invitation. We thought travelling abroad would put people off, but we were very happy that we had so many friends and family with us on our special day! My sister and her family came all the way from New Zealand to be there, so that was very special for us!
Getting the look
My wedding dress was Sottero and Midgely (www.maggiesottero.com, which I bought from Miss Bush, Ripley. I chose lace as I thought it would suit a destination wedding. My veil was by Couture Club, which I also bought from Miss Bush. Shoes were Jimmy Choo – I chose them as they were named Emily, but they were also really comfortable, and not too high as we had steps to walk down during the ceremony – they were the most expensive shoes I have ever bought, but SO worth it!
My earrings were Swarovski, and were a gift from my Maid of Honour. My necklace was also Swarovski – but my Maid of Honour found me an add-on that hung down my back (my dress was low at the back), which looked amazing! I also wore a Pandora bracelet, which was a gift from my husband on the wedding morning.
Our wedding planner gave us options for trials with local hair dressers and make-up artists, however we didn’t need them, as one of my bridesmaids is a hairdresser and she did my hair, and one of my wedding guests is a makeup artist and she did my make-up.
Something old, something new?
My sister bought me a pin to wear on my garter which had little bits attached to it signifying the Something Old, Something New, Something Borrowed, Something Blue tradition.
Groom & Bridesmaids
Ben had a tailor made three-piece suit from Hackett. It was classic dark navy with a high collared white shirt and black loafers. To add the finishing touches he accessorized with a gold tiepin, pocket watch and a fob that was his grandpas, which was a surprise I gave him on the morning of the wedding.
For the bridesmaids, I knew that I wanted something long, floaty in a blush vintage pink. I chose multi-way dresses from designers Eliza and Ethan, which look amazing on all body shapes. Initially I thought everyone would choose a different way to wear the dress but they all went in unison and looked beautiful.
We didn’t have a theme, but I liked the idea of a natural and rustic look, with lots of white and greenery. For my flowers, I had a large bouquet of white roses, with smaller versions for my bridesmaids. I had a gypsophila crown for my flower girl and gypsophila in buckets along the aisle. For our cake we chose a ‘naked cake’, which was vanilla, with fresh flowers for decoration.
The ceremony took place at the gorgeous Castello Zamitello in Mgarr, Malta. My granddad played the bagpipes as I walked down the aisle, and we had a couple of readings: my bridesmaid Jenny read a poem and our son George read a book called ‘I Love You Through and Through’, which was lovely. We said our vows (traditional) and it was perfect! A lady from the Malta registry office married us, we went to see her beforehand to check through paperwork and discuss how we wanted the ceremony to go. She was great! My lovely dad gave me away. I am glad we had a wedding car journey together to take us from the hotel to the venue, as that drive on our own was very special and emotional for us both.
We had our reception at the same place we got married – Castello Zamitello, which was amazing, as it meant the guests didn’t have to move on anywhere else and everyone was comfortable for the day. We had a BBQ buffet with fresh salad, fish and rice, etc. The food was unreal! And in the evening we had mini hot dogs, burgers and wedding cake! For the table decorations, we had candles on tree barks for the centrepieces and for our favours we had a Maltese version of Limoncello. We had printed menu cards and the guests’ names in wooden letters so that they could take them away as a keepsake.
FIRST DANCE & ENTERTAINMENT
We danced to Paloma Faith, ‘Just Be’; this is a song we feel reflects our relationship and has been special to us for some time. We had a string quartet for ceremony and welcome drinks. My granddad played the bagpipes for my entrance and piped us back to the table for dinner as man and wife! We also had a magician for the kids halfway through dinner, and a band Zone5Band playing through dinner and before our DJ and Saxophonist started. The entertainment was amazing – we could not be happier with what we chose! We also had fireworks at the end of our First Dance, which was our best choice of the day!
We had an amazing photographer, Mark Cassar, who was really easy to work with on the day and accommodated our every need. We wanted very natural photos and were delighted with the outcome. We also had a videographer who worked well alongside the photographer. I am so glad we had a videographer as it was like re-living our special day when we watched it!
I loved every moment of the day, but the best moments were the fireworks after the first dance – we had kept this a secret from everyone, and played Klondike ‘Jubel’ throughout the display, it was just so special! The other memory is when Tom and I went to the beach for a photoshoot before dinner – we were driven down in a Rolls Royce convertible and were both so happy on that drive and really appreciated taking that time out by ourselves to reflect on everything that had happened so far!
Were not sure of our exact cost. Without adding travel and accommodation costs, we spent more than 50,000 Euros – this included an open bar in the evening and our outfits etc. It was over budget, as we hadn’t anticipated having so many guests! But I can honestly say it was worth every single penny! We wish we could do it all over again! A huge thanks to The Bridal Consultant who made our wedding a dream come true!
We stayed in Malta for 10 days with all our friends and family, which was a brilliant experience. Everyone had a lovely time and it was so special to spend time with our family from New Zealand. However, we decided to have a separate honeymoon in Santorini by ourselves a couple of months after the wedding – it was good to have some romantic time to ourselves to reflect on it all again and reminisce.
Castello Zamitello, Mgarr, Malta
Lisa Burton of The Bridal Consultant Wedding Planner
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 .
“I loved every moment of the day, but the best moments were the fireworks after the first dance – we had kept this a secret from everyone, and played Klondike ‘Jubel’ throughout the display, it was just so special!”
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.