“I don’t think we will ever be in a position to hire a private beach venue with palm trees, a swimming pool, restaurant and bar!”
The couple: Melissa Clare Morris & Ralph Edward Morris
Length of engagement: 18 months | Wedding date: 20th June 2015
Wedding location: Duna Beach, Lagos, Algarve, Portugal
Photographer: Matt + Lena Photography
Wedding planner: Algarve Weddings by Rebecca
We met… through mutual friends at a gig.
Our proposal… was so traditional and romantic. It was at Danesfield House in Buckinghamshire, Ralph booked me in for two hours of pampering in the renowned spa, while he decorated the room with roses. Already on cloud nine from the spa session, I walked into the room and Ralph knelt down on one knee… I said yes.
My hair and make-up… My friend Beckie Welfare is a hair and make-up artist, and she powered through my five bridesmaids, both mums, and my make-up on a very hot summers day. The girls all got blow dries from my mum’s local hairdresser and we kept it very simple with some flowers. I just wanted the girls to look relaxed and bohemian. The wedding morning will always be one of the most special moments of my life – having all the most important women/girls in your life under one roof and everyone being so thrilled about the day to come. The emotions are high and tears are wept, and the support is never stronger.
His suit… was from Ted Baker and was a light greyish greeny blue, the same as his eyes. As I walked into the church, the golden walls literally bounced off his light suit and it looked like he was glowing… a wow moment!
Our ceremony… was in Praia da Luz Church by the sea. It was beautiful having all the peonies arching around the doorway, a guitarist playing music outside in the courtyard as guests arrived, and the blue sea in the background. What an atmosphere. The locals always come out to watch the weddings as it is right in the middle of the beach town. We had a traditional Church of England service with hymns and readings, lots of giggles as I picked hymns nobody had heard of before and they were struggling their way through them.
What our bridal party wore… The boys wore white stone suit trousers with grey plimsolls and white braces over white long sleeved (rolled up) shirts. The girls wore mink copper toned maxi dresses by Oh My Love.
We chose our photographer because… We loved them! Matt + Lena are sensational photographers, and I would recommend them time and time again. The way they capture natural light is breathtaking, and really adds to the memories. They were great fun to have around too.
My favourite part of the wedding day… Waiting outside the church with bridesmaids and dad, watching my niece take the first steps… nervously. I was very nervous too as were all the bridesmaids about doing the walk. But the excitement to see everyone’s faces and the face of my future husband standing down the end of the aisle was a moment I had run over in my head so many times before, and it was more emotional than I had expected.
My dress… took forever to find! 6 months of trying on dresses, I tried on about 50 dresses, and almost gave up! But I kept coming back to this one image by Grace Loves Lace, a bohemian Australian brand. Nothing compared over here. Eventually my amazing maid of honour found a similar one online in the Love Marley collection by Watters… it was called Penelope. I fell in love with the images and as soon as I saw it for real, I knew it was the one. It was soft, floaty, light, girly, sheer tulle and lace with a cappuccino slip and bohemian feel. My mother-in-law reminds me that 50 dresses later, I bought one that was almost identical to the very first one I tried on, yet so much more perfect for my style… (it was also by Watters and cost £1700 more!)
Our honeymoon… Thailand! Two weeks visiting Koh Samui, Koh Phangan, Koh Tao and Khao Lak. It was heaven on earth. We fell in love with Rockys Resort in Koh Samui… what a beautiful place. there were lanterns and flowers everywhere, they take such pride in keeping everything looking fresh and colourful. The food, the rooms, the massages, the cocktails, the smiles… we enjoy remembering it. We also got to do some quad biking, bamboo rafting and elephant bathing with the help of the money we received as gifts. We ended the honeymoon with a Thai water blessing ceremony to bind us spiritually as this is something I felt very passionate about.
We chose our venue because… Even though we viewed it when is was closed for winter and it was run down, it had a quaint charm and it sat on a huge but quiet beach with miles of golden sand in each direction. It was a once in a lifetime event, and I don’t think we will ever be in a position to hire a private beach venue with palm trees, a swimming pool, restaurant and bar. With a clear vision on how to decorate it, Moroccan lanterns, pink salt candles, fairy lights, shisha tent, flowers and pom-poms, it was transformed by Algarve Weddings by Rebecca into our little haven.
We chose our wedding coordinator because… Being out in Portugal we couldn’t have done it without a wedding coordinator. My mum who lives in the Algarve interviewed Rebecca from Algarve Weddings by Rebecca and the rest was history. She knew every venue, every florist, band, caterer, every supplier…. and encouraged me to dream big! We had pretty big ideas for decorating our very spacious and rather run down beach venue but a small budget but with the help of her team, Rebecca really pulled some tricks out of the hat as the whole place looked just incredible from every corner.
My advice to brides… Morning of the wedding: Don’t wish the morning away because you are nervous. Take deep breaths, enjoy listening to the chatter around you. Everything will eventually fall into place, it is too late to be taking control. The more relaxed you are, the happier you will feel and the more your eyes will sparkle. In general: Don’t succumb to pressure or be weighed down because everyone has expectations about how you should be feeling or acting. Just like in daily life, everyone who has more experience than you may think they know better, but following their path leaves no trail of your own. Listen to your gut, and if you can’t hear it, then take some time out for a little bit of space and a pamper.
Wedding location: Duna beach, Lagos, Algarve, Portugal | Photographer: Matt + Lena Photography | Wedding planner: Algarve Weddings by Rebecca | Wedding dress: Penelope by Love Marley by Watters | Band: The Originals | Headpiece: Blair Nadeau Millinery on Etsy | Makeup: Beckie Welfare
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Former editor, current contributor, (she just can't let go!) Karen enjoys writing fashion but is known to dabble in decor from time to time. Her favourite section on the site is the Real Wedding section, followed closely by the Health & Fitness forums.