Blessed in the Maldives
Finding ‘the one’
Brides Abroad editor, Terri Cody-Owen and husband and publisher Martin decided to celebrate 10 years of married bliss with a Renewal of Vows ceremony in the Maldives. They wanted a traditional Maldivian Blessing, accompanied by Boru Beru drummers and flower girls, and where better to host their very special day than the gorgeous OBLU Select at Sangeli resort!
I always said I would never meet my ‘Mr Right’ in a nightclub, and guess what! I did! Tiger Tiger in Leeds to be exact. I was introduced to Martin by a mutual friend when I was on my way to the Ladies loo!
Love at first sight?
I distinctly remember thinking: “Now that’s the kind of man I should marry!” Martin says he immediately thought “Hmm! This girl is going to be big trouble!” The next day he texted me as I was driving down to London and said “Turn around beautiful journalist and play with me instead!” The rest, as they say, is history!
We woke up one icy cold February morning in 2007, and Martin suggested we went for a country walk. The landscape was covered in frost and looked like a winter wonderland – it looked very pretty! At the top of a hill I looked round and he was on his knee. I thought he had fallen over, until he said those magic words, “Will you marry me?” It was a huge surprise as we had been together a few years by then and I had given up hope of a proposal! As soon as I said: “Yes!” my mum called me on my mobile, so she got to hear our fab news in real time! Hot off the press!
We married at Rudding Park country house hotel, in Harrogate ten years ago, and promised ourselves that we would renew our vows on a beautiful tropical beach to celebrate out 10th anniversary. So in August 2018, we chose to return to our favourite place in the world, The Maldives, to have a wedding blessing on the beautiful white sands of a Maldives island.
We chose to have our dream blessing at the gorgeous OBLU Select at Sangeli resort, a newly opened Maldives island resort, which is absolutely picture-perfect. All the planning was done seamlessly, behind the scenes, by the hotel’s wedding team headed by Carlton and Rose. All we had to do was choose our wedding outfits in the UK, along with wedding rings, book our flights and turn up! So easy compared with the hassle of trying to book a traditional wedding in the UK!
We flew to Dubai with Emirates, and then took a connection to Male International Airport in the Maldives. We were then transferred by speedboat to the luxury OBLU resort, arriving around an hour later in paradise! I had packed my wedding dress into my hand luggage, and never let it out of my sight on the flights!
We had nine guests at our wedding blessing, but many of the hotel’s staff also turned out to watch us exchange our vows on the beach, which made it more special. Our guests all stayed in adjacent overseas villas and we all enjoyed a wedding holiday together before and after our wedding blessing. Martin and I stayed in an overwater Honeymoon Villa, which was absolutely breathtaking, with its own plunge pool and sundeck, steps straight into the ocean and incredible views across the lagoon.
Getting the look
My wedding dress was from Art Couture at Eternity Bridal (www.eternitybridal.com). My criterion was that it had to be easy to transport on an aircraft, and had to look glamorous, fashionable and chic in a beach environment. My lacy dress not only looked stunning, fitting perfectly into the tropical beach setting, but I could roll it up and fit it into hand luggage for the flight. Amazingly, I simply opened my case at the hotel, shook it out and it was in perfect condition ready for my big day! It was the perfect dress for a destination wedding. Carlton, head of the wedding coordinating team asked me what kind of flowers and colour theme I would like, then arranged for my wedding bouquet and a headdress made of fresh cream roses to be sent to my room on the morning of the wedding. I had my hair and make-up prepared at the resort’s luxury spa before the ceremony. I didn’t wear any jewellery, but Martin and I were presented with beautiful garlands of fresh frangipani during the service, which accessorised the beach bride and groom look perfectly.
Something old, something new?
Something Old was me! Something New – the beautiful wedding gown. Something Blue – the gorgeous colour of the Indian Ocean, and the clear blue sky and Something Borrowed were two beautiful wedding rings with the Maldivian Eye Shell detail – we had forgotten to bring our own rings, but Carlton came to the rescue, and took a trip to the Maldivian capital, Male, to buy us some matching wedding rings for the service. Better still, he gifted them to us after the wedding, so we have these gorgeous reminders of our special day, which we will treasure forever!
Groom & Bridesmaids
Martin wore a sky blue linen jacket with a pair of crisp white trousers and white linen shirt. I thought he looked gorgeous, especially with the garland around his neck to match mine!
Our four beautiful flower girls were hotel staff, who dressed in traditional red Maldivian costumes and carried flower baskets full of red petals to scatter during the ceremony. They looked so beautiful and added to the glory of our full Maldivian-style wedding blessing.
I spent the morning in hair and make-up, administered by a lovely Balinese make-up artist at the resort’s spa, whilst Martin followed tradition and was kept away from me until the ceremony. I then slipped into my wedding dress and left the spa where my carriage awaited, in the shape of a beautifully decorated golf buggy. I was accompanied on my journey down the wooden walkway by the rhythmic beat of the Bodu Beru drummers who accompanied us as our little wedding procession made its way to the beach. The sound was truly emotional and set the mood perfectly for our tropical wedding. At the edge of the beach Martin was waiting for me. We then walked together hand-in-hand beneath an archway decorated with palms and flowers, on a red-carpet over the white sand, followed by the Bodu Beru drummers and flower girls who scattered red petals over us as we walked along, surrounded by our friends and hotel guests. We came to a halt at the ‘altar’– a heart shape engraved in the sand, where we exchanged our rings and the vows we had written to each other, and received a delightful blessing from the celebrant.
Local customs & rituals
It is a tradition in the Maldives that after the cake cutting ceremony the bride and groom dance together to the rhythm of the Bodu Beru drums. We embraced this tradition very enthusiastically, then many of our guests joined in! It was such fun and we definitely threw some interesting shapes!
I changed into a short white dress and sandals for the evening reception, and then joined our guests under a gazebo on the beach, which had been decorated with fairy lights. A BBQ feast was laid on, with as much bubbly as we could drink. We chatted away under the stars in the balmy Maldivian moonlight to the sound of lapping waves. A wonderful end to an extraordinary day!
The photographer had been organised by the resort and was with us throughout the day – taking photos of the ceremony, then of just the two of us as we strolled hand in hand along the beach at sunset. The light was perfect and we just love all the photos.
My best memory was arriving at the beach and seeing Martin waiting for me looking very handsome, and the beautiful setup ready for our ceremony. I just couldn’t believe how gorgeous it all looked. I loved Martin’s vows too, which I wasn’t expecting. After ten years together, his words were meaningful and really moving, especially when he said that it was fun being married to me, that meant a lot!
A Renewal of Vows package at OBLU Select by Atmosphere $1,250 (£950) and includes: Welcome bottle of Champagne on arrival in villa; Sunset Barefoot Renewal of Vows Ceremony on the beach with traditional decorations and blessings from the Island Chief; A two-tier cake; Local snacks with bubbles to be served for the couple and four other invited couples during ceremony along with local traditional drums beating; ‘Everlasting Memories’ Certificate with a gift hamper; Photos of 30-50 images in portable drive; Romantic Candle-light dinner with a bottle of wine; Romantic Turn-down service – bed decoration with Flower Petals; In-Villa breakfast the next morning of the ceremony; A Couple’s Spa Massage.
Alter the ceremony we moved to another island. We were transported on a luxury motor cruiser on a fast and exciting two-hour journey to our second resort, OBLU Select at Sangeli’s sister hotel OZEN by Atmosphere at Maadhoo. We stayed in a magnificent beachfront villa, with its own pool and garden area, which was situated directly on the white sandy beach overlooking the lagoon. We stayed a couple of days to relax and unwind after the excitement of our wedding day.
The wedding took place at the stunning
OBLU SELECT SANGELI RESORT in the Maldives
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 Bodu Beru drummers accompanied us as our little wedding procession made its way to the beach. The sound was truly emotional and set the mood perfectly for our tropical wedding’.
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.