Many brides dream of far away shores, a sun drenched beach in some exotic location, their wedding vows being pledged in front of a select number of friends and family. And why not?In July 2011 I had my first destination wedding photography job at St julian’s Bay in Malta and have been meaning to write this post for some time, but hadn’t managed to get round to it. I want to share some of the important things brides should consider when planning a wedding abroad, what to look out for, to ensure a less stressful time. We planned to spend a week in Malta as a family and make a holiday of it at the same time as covering the wedding photography for Francesca and Andrew. As the saying goes, “best laid plans..” At the time my eldest son Brandon was in year 10, so we checked with school, got the ok from the head and so booked our flights and hotel accommodation. A month before the date, we were informed he had an exam on the date we were due to fly out, great! We changed our plans and so I went out with our youngest son Saul, with my wife Donna and Brandon following 3 days later. We arrived in Malta and looked forward to a few days scoping out the local areas. Francesca and Andrew were staying in the beautiful Hilton Malta Hotel, Portomaso St Julians and the ceremony was planned to take place there in early afternoon towards the back end of the week. With iPhone in hand, Saul and I went around the beautiful Marina and captured some quick images of locations I thought would make for some great images. There were some shopping trolleys for owners of the yachts moored in the Marina that I thought we could use for some funky shots. I struggled to get an image of “JackAss” out of my head as Fran pushed Andrew down a slope into the bay:-) Weather… Not a clouding the sky. Hottest day of the week, no breeze and 90+ degrees. Hmmm.. This pretty much wiped out in an instant a number of the planned locations during the day. There was no way we were going to get around to the various locations in the mid day heat. With a fairly detailed set of timings for the day, I was set to cover bridal preparations after the morning breakfast, then on to shoot the lads and back again to the girls to cover Fran in her dress. On my arrival to their apartment in the Hilton, there was a frantic bride and stressed bride’s maids. The hair stylist had made a big mess of Fran’s hair. Wanting a full head of BIG curls, the stylist had only gone and used straighteners and straightened Fran’s hair and with the ceremony rapidly approaching the tension was pretty tangible. Some quick thinking and a phone call to the hotel had Fran sat in the chair at Toni & Guy within the Hilton complex. £60+ down, but with a head of curls, we were all back on track! With some of the stress of the morning relieved the girls managed to continue with their preparations unhindered and even managed to have a little celebrations as we went about capturing some of the detail shots. Fran and the girls were getting ready in a magnificent apartment within the Hilton, that the brides maids and their partners had rented for the week, whilst Andrew and Carl, got ready in Fran and Andrew’s room in the hotel. We went to take some images of the lads only to find that there was an issue with the hired suits. The hire company had altered the wrong pair of trousers which meant that Andrew’s had been taken in and were now too tight, whilst Carls needed a belt. Andrew had to partially unpick the stitching in his trousers in order to get them to fit, just the straw the broke the camels back after the issues back in the UK only days earlier. Back to the girls to finish off dress details and capture Fran looking beautiful before making our way over to the ceremony room. The ceremony was being held in a beautiful circular room within the hotel overlooking the marina below and St. Julian’s bay. The civil ceremony was being undertaken by one of the senior registrars in the area who Francesca and Andrew had to go and visit a few days prior. They also had to pay for her travel expenses to and from the hotel, something they were not expecting. The shot of Fran and Lee who was going to be giving her away I thought was a beautiful and emotional moment. Fran lost her father only a year or so prior to the wedding and Lee who had been Fran and Chelsea’s step father for many years did a fantastic job. The nerves had started to take its toll on Andrew as he waited for his bride to arrive. Its a point in the ceremony all grooms wonder whether his bride will show! And its a great power all brides have and should always use it to their benefit:-) Let Them Eat Cake! One of the disadvantages of having a packaged wedding ceremony is that many of the items included are left to others to manage and sort out, the cake being one of them and it was pretty obvious Andrew wasn’t too keen. Not being much of a cake fan, Fran thought Andrew should have some nonetheless. Time to throw the rice and get a drink! Andrew’s eagle eye caught ex Man City goal keeper Carlo Nash walking around the marina and grabbed an opportunity, which Carlo was only too happy to oblige! It was a long, long hot day, 2 beautiful people got married in a lovely location and I’m privileged to have been there for their day. I got the nod at about 9:30pm to dispatch with the camera and to have a beer. It was now time to unwind. As we hadn’t had time to do a pre-wedding shoot with Fran and Andrew, we decided to do a post wedding lifestyle shoot before we jetted back to Manchester. There were some really lovely locations in and around the marina and some older parts of St. Julian’s Bay. You can take a look at some of the post wedding lifestyle images from this shoot here.
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