Tags: Norfolk

Fun in the sun

14 Jul 2011

Fun in the sun

Increasingly couples are looking for a more personal setting for their wedding, away from all the stresses of the intricately planned events that have become the fashion. Steve and Laura Maddam’s tell us about their intimate day in Cuba.

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Image gallery

After a romantic proposal on a cliff top in Ibiza, Laura and Steve talked about their idea of the perfect day and it wasn’t the traditional big white wedding but an intimate service in more exotic climes that ticked all the boxes.

“Neither of us is very religious so we didn’t want a church service,” said Laura. “We really just wanted our immediate family – mums, dads, brothers and sisters – to share the day with us.

“We fancied the Caribbean and went through the different options with a travel agent, and Cuba sounded perfect.”

When it comes to the legal requirements of an overseas weddings, Cuba is a fairly straightforward option. The couple had to provide some simple information and bring copies of their birth certificates and passports with them (additional documents are required if you have been divorced, are a widow/er, have changed your name, or are adopted).

Unlike some places where you have to be in the country for seven days before you can get married, you also only have to be in Cuba for three days, making it much easier to make the most of your time away.

Laura and Steve met the wedding planner on their first day in the resort and she took them through all the details. “It was so stress free,” said Laura. “She was so helpful and arranged everything for us.”

The couple decided to get married at 4pm as the men in the party had full morning suits, and at 35C it wouldn’t have been comfortable for them earlier in the day.

There were two options for the location of the ceremony: on the beach or in a thatched summer house overlooking the beach.

“The wedding planner told us to watch other peoples’ weddings to see which we preferred and we decided on the summer house because it was more private.

“It was still right on the beach and we walked down to the sea afterwards for some photographs.”

To make it even more special the couple were each taken to the ceremony in a horse-drawn carriage.

Laura initially wanted a dress that was light because of where they were getting married, but after trying on some destination dresses she said she didn’t feel like a bride and the dresses kept getting bigger and bigger until she found “the one”, which was a strapless gown with a full skirt from Pronuptia.

A top tip here is to let the airline know you are getting married beforehand and they will usually give you extra baggage allowance. Also, inform them what’s in the bag when you check in so they can put a fragile label on it.

Laura and Steve still wanted to celebrate the wedding with their friends and wider family, so on returning to the UK they had a reception-style party at Dunston Hall.

The evening had all the elements of a normal reception: speeches, table decorations, cutting of the cake and first dance.

“I was more nervous about the party than the wedding because I don’t like being the centre of attention,” said Laura. “But it went so quickly. It felt like I’d just finished saying hello to everyone and then I was saying goodbye.”

If you don’t want to get stressed out then Laura’s biggest tip is to do as she did and get married abroad.

“I really would recommend it to anyone,” she said. “The coordinator does everything and makes it so special for you. We were sunbathing in the morning, then at lunchtime Steve said ‘I’ll see you at the alter’ and we both went off to get ready. It really was stress-free.”

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