I sort of have this crazy obsession with Polly Alexandre and her amazing imagery. An “I want to be the President of her fan club” kind of obsession that only grows stronger with every gorgeous moment she captures. It probably has a little something to do with the fact that she’s pure genius, and her clients? Oh-so-lovely. I’m talking bride and grooms who really know a thing or two about throwing a beautiful wedding… weddings like this stunning Sri Lanka gem, aka, one seriously amazing day chock-full of pretty. See every last moment right here in the full gallery.
From the Bride… We both generally travel quite a lot anyway and we both have family and friends scattered throughout the world (mainly London, Singapore and Sri Lanka) making our choice of destination for our main wedding a real conundrum. Rabin is very close to his mother and having her there was one of the main factors in choosing Sri Lanka (she is wheelchair bound, making travel virtually impossible), as well as pretty much being guaranteed some warm sunshine. Initially we thought we would have a small affair with only the closest of our friends but with relatively cheap flights from Singapore, this quickly snowballed into a full crowd of family and friends wanting an excuse for a short holiday! We settled on The Jetwing Lighthouse, Galle because of the pretty lawn next to the beach where I could try and walk somewhat gracefully down an “aisle” without getting stuck in the sand.
I let my bridesmaids choose their own colour & style of dress from Dessy, the pageboy outfits came from Monsoon and I made the flowergirls some tutus. A beach wedding invariably lends itself to bright colours and I figured that pink, orange and green would be fun together as well as complement the natural colours in the garden but for the dinner we wanted something a bit more classically English so we chose a white theme with some of my favourite blooms – orchids, hydrangeas and lilies. The florist Lucien really worked his magic and has a beautiful artistic flair that completely transformed the dining room.
My engagement ring was designed around a Van Cleef & Arpel design and the stone sourced from Antwerp. My dress was from Jenny Packham, a perfectly lightweight chiffon material and flowing design which, on a practical note, kept my back uncovered which kept me cool on the day! When organising a wedding in a Third World country, you imagine all sorts of mayhem – many things just may not be up to Western standards but many of our suppliers were recommended by family members and on the day we absolutely wouldn’t have been able to pull it off without Janice’s military organisation!
Our ceremony was held on the lawn next to the beach in the middle of the afternoon to allow an extra time frame for the photographs of many relatives! We then went down to the beach for wedding party & portrait photographs, it was fun getting away for a few minutes with our photographer Polly down the deserted stretch of beach. There was a group of local children playing football to add to the amusement! My favourite pictures were me with our elephant and the shot with the long stretch of beach with palm trees framing the background which reflected the feel of our wedding. We also did an after-wedding portrait shoot – those pictures say far more about the destination and are also more relaxed apart from the fact that riding around in full wedding regalia in a tuktuk got us some very funny looks!*
We wanted to make sure our guests were fed and entertained throughout the day with various activities (a far cheaper affair than having the equivalent in London or Singapore). Our guests were greeted with a local King Coconut drink followed after the ceremony by some classical Sri Lankan dancers with cocktails whilst the photographs were shot. We had a surprise local guest which our guests loved, an elephant who walked up from the beach towards the end of the signing ceremony. Our guests also passed the time by participating in some videography entertainment by Billy May of Marryokes.com – they produced our own karaoke wedding video (but also did a very nice short “serious” version)
The end of the daytime activities closed with everyone letting off sky lanterns which looked really pretty at sunset and after dinner we had dancing on the terrace with DJ / band flourished by our little surprise of a Gangnam Style “first dance” routine, which ended with fireworks set off from the rocks below. Since we had the whole hotel, they let us party on the balcony until 6am after which we continued in the bridal suite…..
Sri Lanka has had some rough times in recent years, with the 2004 tsunami and the civil war ending in 2009 but has since been experiencing a boom in economy and tourism. They currently have quite a high rate of inflation/unstable currency which should be taken into account but the long stretches of perfect beaches, warm climate and friendly people made for a perfect day, the last smile came 3 days after the wedding whilst we were in the Fort in Galle having dinner, the locals asked if we were at that “big foreign wedding” at the Lighthouse as they had heard a rumour that the lanterns each had US$10 inside… apparently the local villagers had spent the evening chasing our lanterns in the hope of getting a lucky dollar!