MY DESTINATION WEDDING IN THE MALDIVES
Imagine an ocean the colour of Paraiba Tourmaline, surrounded by pearlescent sand sparkling in the sun like a beautiful necklace. This is the Maldives and nothing is more relaxing than this sweet, natural place. Time stands still in the Maldives and alarm clocks don’t exist. It is the perfect antidote to the crazy, noisy life of the city, with its traffic and crowded places. Without a shred of doubt, I can say it is the ultimate destination if you want to unwind and forget about the real world for a few days. The people here and the staff at the resort give off a calm vibe that is instantly contagious. Even the sky on cloudy, rainy days will charm and captivate you. You always wish one more day in paradise.
Getting married in the Maldives has been a dream of mine since I was a kid. It fulfills all I ever wanted for a wedding: simple, elegant and special. Those are the words that inspired my beautiful wedding.
It might surprise you to learn that we organised our wedding ceremony in less than a month, so here is the full story of how it happened and why.
Like every bride on her wedding day, I woke up full of butterflies. It wouldn’t be a wedding without the bride freaking out a little! To calm ourselves down before the ceremony, my husband and I booked a 90-minute massage. It was just the thing we needed to get into the spirit of the Maldives.
Of course, you all want to know about my wedding dress(es). That’s right, I had three looks. For my wedding ceremony I wore a beautiful 30s style gown called Liliah from the Ruth Milliam collection. Adorned with feathery lace flowers and a low back, it has a champagne tulle skirt and a long flowing train. To pick up on the floral motif, I chose a fresh flower hairband for my hair. You can see the full bridal look here.
The first thing I did when I arrived in the Maldives was to hang my dress to air out and let any wrinkles fall out. My matching veil was given a good steam and I couldn’t resist giving it a whirl in front of the mirror.
My bridal jewellery was safely tucked away in the safe. If you want a close-up of my bridal jewellery and my styling tips, click here.
I’m so glad I had my husband’s sister helping me get ready. She made the best bridesmaid and was super dedicated to making everything perfect for me. So much so, the poor girl burned her feet running barefoot along a very long bridge under the burning sun. She was there for me every step of the way and I can’t thank her enough for that.
Last minute, I decided to pick up an Intimissimi bridal silk robe in London. It was perfect for getting ready and getting my makeup and hair done. I’ll tell you a secret, I had no makeup trial before the wedding, so this was going to be interesting. Plus my fiancé begged me to have my hair done, so I gave in. When you get married in a remote location like Maldives, there’s no room for control freaks and bridezillas!
Curating my bridal jewellery selection was a delight, and of course I spent a great deal of time searching for the perfect look. I even wrote some style rules for accessorizing your wedding! How could I resist flowers and butterflies, so complimentary with my dress with its deep plunging neckline, and so true to me. I chose a delicate chain of hand-painted butterflies in 18ct gold by Annoushka for my decolletagé. Hand set with brilliant cut brown diamonds, the butterflies seem caught in mid-flight, captivated by the occasion.
I can’t describe how happy I was to find this Liliah 30s style gown. Wearing Ruth Milliam made me feel so special. The beautiful feathery lace flowers cascading down the bodice of the dress creates such a beautiful line, I felt like a flower in bloom with my long flowing train. I tried on several Ruth Milliam wedding dresses that you can see here, but the Liliah dress was the only one for me. I managed to find this perfect dress in one week!
I had to have fresh flowers for my hair to match my earrings and dress. It was such a perfect look and I was over the moon how beautifully it all came together. These gorgeous Van Cleef & Arpels Rose de Noël earrings are from an iconic collection since 1970s. It is a promise of happiness and a sparkling symbol of beauty and romance.
Now I start to feel like a real bride. My hair is done, my makeup is finished, everything is set. Even the sky has cleared up, which was a huge relief since there was an 80% chance of rain. It feels like the time is right and I get goosebumps just thinking about it! My dream is about to come true.
The surprise wedding bouquet was waiting for me in my magical beach villa when I returned from my morning massage. Beautiful white roses flown specially from Male’ by sea plane.
So, what do you think? Am I ready to get married? It’s been a wonderful morning and while I was getting ready, I even stopped worrying for a minute…until now. What about the cake? Is the groom ready? Is he freaking out thinking about escaping on a boat with the locals? Is the setup up done like I wanted it? Will the playlist we created together work? But it’s time to forget about all that. I did all I could do. I feel gorgeous and as prepared as I could possibly be. It’s time to get married.
Just take a look at this scenery. Sublime. No better word for it. It was the best place on the island because of how much room we had. Usually the sand area is really short in the Maldives, but in this location particularly, they were long enough to accommodate all of us. And also for me to enjoy a long walk to the altar. After all, I only plan on doing this once. Did I mention the view?
This minimalistic setup worked perfectly for the occasion, and added a touch of elegance in a seamless manner. The flowers complement the moment and were specially designed for our ceremony. I spent weeks discussing and creating a vision board to get the right look of this simple beach look. We even had Tiffany chairs flown in from Male’ to add elegance to our beach ceremony.
To complement my dress, the groom chose an off-white tuxedo and shortened pants by Neil Barrett with Eton shirt that we found last minute in Harrods. He looked so dashing, my heart stopped.
As her last job as my bridesmaid, my new sister adjusted my veil. I was free to walk as a bride, and leave as a wife, finally.
My unbelievably cute twin siblings were there to open the ceremony. Drawing smiles and spreading flower petals as they walked towards the altar.
My brother is holding a sign that says, “MARRIAGE: it’s all about finding that Special Person to annoy for a lifetime.”
As usual, the bride was late! But only by 20 minutes on this occasion, so I am counting that as a win. My dear father walked me to the altar with a surprisingly positive attitude, given he was giving away his little girl!
Clair de Lune by Debussy played in the background. It’s a gorgeous classical piano piece that both my husband and I adore.
My dress length was made to lightly touch the sand, so it seemed like I was floating down the aisle to meet my beautiful groom. Our guests wore white to symbolise New Year’s celebration in Brazil.
The groom had been at the beach now for quite a while, making sure the setup was okay and the music would work properly. I can only imagine how anxious he must have been during those moments. He handled everything so well, and as always, I felt super proud of him.
From the moment I saw him, I wanted to burst into tears. But I couldn’t let that happen as it would make everybody else start crying, and I didn’t want my wedding to be a cry-fest. But also (and maybe even more importantly), it was way too early to ruin my makeup.
My walk down the aisle had an emblematic or even poetic feel to it. It represents a path to a new life, where new opportunities lie, and responsibilities and desires wait. I had to slow my pace to take it all in and calm myself down. But even with all that pressure, I couldn’t have been happier. Being there with my dad and my family, and looking at the groom against the backdrop of the Maldives, the little girl inside me felt so fulfilled and happy.
The longest walk of my life, and a walk I will never forget. I was so proud to have my father by my side. I love him to bits and will be forever grateful to him.
We were sent vows in advance and we both loved them so much, we did not change a word. I am happy to share them with you:
We are gathered here today, to witness the coming together of two people, Liza & Gustavo, whose hearts and spirits are entwined as one. They now desire to profess, before the entire world, their intention henceforth to walk the road of life together. To these two people, this marriage signifies the birth of a new spirit, a spirit which is a part of each of us, yet not of any one of us alone. This “birth of spirit” reminds us of places where life looms and springs. It is appropriate, therefore, that this wedding of Liza & Gustavo be under the open sky, where we are close to the earth and to the unity of life, the totality of living things of which we are part.
You were born to be together, and together you shall be forevermore.
You shall be together when the wings of death scatter your days. You shall be together even in your silent memory…
But let there be spaces in your togetherness, and let the winds of the heaven dance between you.
Love one another, but make not bondage of love.
Let it rather be a moving sea between the shores of your souls.
Fill each other’s cup, but drink not from one cup.
Give one another of your bread, but eat not of the same loaf.
Sing and dance together and be joyous, but let each of you be alone, even as the strings of a lute are alone, though they quiver with the same music.
Give your hearts, but not into each other’s keeping, for only the hand of life can contain your hearts.
I stood there anxiously waiting for the part where we would say, “I do,” smiling and laughing trying to cover up the nerves.
The magic of the place was a dream come true.
Finally, I am a wife now. No longer a fiancé, no longer a bride, a proper bride! Now I can refer to the love of my life as my husband and feel like we are a family. As proof of our love and bond, I will always wear my wedding ring with pride.
“Do you Gustavo, knowing this woman’s love for you and returning it, realizing her strengths and learning from them, recognizing her weaknesses and helping her to overcome them, take Liza to be your wife?”
My hands may have been a bit shaky, and so were his. That was expected. It’s a huge moment for both of us, but we got through it together.
“Do you Liza, knowing this man’s love for you and returning it, realizing his strengths and learning from them, recognizing his weaknesses and helping him to overcome them, take Gustavo to be your husband?”
“Let these rings serve as locks – not binding you together – but as keys, unlocking the secrets of your hearts for each other to know, and thus bringing you closer together forever.”
The first kiss lasted a bit longer than usual for a wedding!
My little six-year-old sister was a witness to my wedding. Isn’t that just the cutest thing ever? I mean, look at this little angel.
We had our first toast together as a family, considerably bigger now, and my husband prepared a speech for the occasion. He talked about each and everyone of us present at the ceremony, and drove everybody to tears. That made me remember once more why I chose to marry him. It was a very emotional moment.
No shoes allowed for this beach wedding. Easier to run away with my husband without shoes!
My lovely bridesmaid caught my bouquet. I love this tradition. Usually it’s me who catches the bouquet.
This is a Maldivian garland to celebrate our union before cutting the cake.
I had to leave the art direction to our wedding photographer, but not before walking him through my mood board and expectations.
Read my tips on capturing the best wedding photos as a blogger.
We shared a piece of cake to symbolize our union and promise to forever provide for each other, before sharing it with our guests.
Even though we chose a destination wedding, I wanted to personalise the occasion and make it uniquely ours. The cake was simply elegant and the wooden stand fit perfectly with the Maldivian surroundings. Topped with a wooden inscription of our names from notonthehighstreet.com for a personal touch.
So many toasts to make and so much champagne to drink! We wanted everyone to feel special so we made sure we translated everyone’s toasts into the three languages – English, Portuguese, and Russian – of our guests, so the whole family could understand and enjoy the occasion.
Family surprised and spoiled my fiancé and I with a wonderful wedding gift – beautiful Cartier watches that we will cherish forever. How absolutely marvellous!
It even comes with its own jewellery box packaging. How ingenious!
The celebrations continued all afternoon long, and we had to head indoors for dinner as the skies threatened rain. But not a single drop fell that evening and the clear Maldivian waters shimmered turquoise all through the night. We were even lucky enough to spot 3-metre-long mantas, a symbol of our ability to navigate the emotional highs and lows of marriage without stressing out too much in our future life together.
Another gorgeous day in the Maldives and this Russian-Brazilian wedding continued the next day – as is the tradition. It was a perfectly beautiful day and we continued the celebrations from dawn to dusk!
For our bridal breakfast, I wore a dress from Maria Lucia Hohan, part of a stunning bridal collection. You can see the details of the wedding dress and bridal jewellery in GEMOLOGUE look.
We had a lunch booked in a unique underwater experience known in the Maldives. It’s an incredible place to dine, 5 metres below sea level and the aquatic life you see swimming all around you as you enjoy European cuisine and family was surreal. Celebrating and feasting in this beautiful remote island with my wonderful husband and loving family was such a special treat. You can find the details here.
It was a comfortable, bridal look that made the experience all the more exciting and special. We booked the whole Undersea Restaurant so the family could feel comfortable. It made for a more intimate setting and the five-course meal was out of this world! It is memory that will live on in our minds forever.
Here’s a rare photo of my laid-back husband, who ordinarily would never agree to pose in such a shot, but a wife can be very persuasive!
How did I ever talk them into this shot! My favourite photo above all! – being held by my husband his brother and father! Feeling so happy, words cannot describe.
There’s really only one way to enjoy the Maldivian turquoise waters and that’s on a yacht. So on our last night in the Maldives, we ventured out under the stars to explore these unbelievable islands. Before long, a school of friendly dolphins swam along beside our yacht, delighting the children with their playful exhibitions. Amusing creatures, jumping and twisting in the air. My husband and I moved up to the bow of the yacht and watched them intently, charmed by their antics, the starry night and our love for each other.
Later we joined the others on deck and enjoyed some finger food, while the most beautiful sunset we had seen all week played out before us. The clouds merged with the red and yellow tones of the setting sun to create an impeccable work of art. It was the perfect end to the perfect wedding.
I will look back on my wedding in the Maldives as the best days of my life. The most beautiful time and if I could, I would relive it again and again.
I could not have wished for a more magical wedding.
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GEMOLOGUE by Liza Urla features exquisite global discoveries, trendy urban street style, exclusive interviews and rare jewellery reviews – a celebration of fine jewellery, fashion jewellery and vintage jewellery.
*Photographed by Ahmed Amir. Styling and Art Direction by Liza Urla. All photos belong to GEM Kreatives for GEMOLOGUE.
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