“As soon as we saw Villa Bologna we looked at each other and just knew this was it.”
The couple: Zi and Ike
Length of engagement: 10 months | Wedding date: 11 October 2016
Wedding venue: Villa Bologna Malta
Photographer: Aleksey Leonov | Wedding planner: Wed Our Way (formerly I Do Weddings Malta)
We met… Ike and I met at a friend’s BBQ in London many years ago. We went on a single date which was such a disaster we agreed to only be friends. We remained friends for seven years. Ike relocated to Dubai for work and I realised how much I missed him being around. A relationship soon started.
My hair and makeup… My makeup was done by Yeye Paris who travelled from London. The hair was by Zoe in Malta. She did a wonderful job. In fact it didn’t move for three days after the wedding!
Our proposal… Ike planned a massive surprise proposal in Malta, where Zi was travelling with friends for a short break. He arranged for a photographer to document the whole thing. “Zi flew to Malta from the UK on the Saturday morning with her friends for a long weekend break and unbeknown to her Ike took an eight hour long flight from Dubai to Malta on Friday to make the final arrangements for her surprise. Ike arranged for a taxi driver to pick Zi and her friends up from the airport and drive them straight to the Upper Barrakka Gardens under the pretense of a quick tour of Valletta. The amount of tourists and passers-by who stopped and waited for Zi to arrive (even though her flight was delayed) was impressive and a testament that everyone loves a good love story! As soon as Zi arrived she walked to the edge to have a look at the view as many tourists do every day at the Upper Barrakka Gardens only to find “Marry Me Zi?” in rose petals. Cue shock, clapping and cheering from the onlookers and Zi running excitedly towards Ike.”
His suit… Ike had his suit custom made in Abu Dhabi. He wanted to stand out from the groomsmen. I was surprised by how particular he was over the cut and fit!
My dress… I actually had three different dresses including an evening dress and a Nigerian traditional outfit. I tried on over 100 wedding dresses before I finally settled on one. It was a sweetheart neckline with a long bodice with a soft A-line silhouette.
Our wedding theme/colours… We didn’t have a specific theme but words that stayed in our minds were “elegant, romantic, timeless and secret garden.” The wedding colours were ivory, gold and blush.
Our ceremony… We had a civil ceremony immediately followed by a Church service. Zi’s family Reverend, Graham Roberts from St. Andrews in Bournemouth kindly agreed to come to Malta and conduct the service for us. We also wrote our own vows which was special for us.
We chose our wedding coordinator because… We heard good things about Martina from Wed Our Way. We set up an initial Skype session which was meant to last 20 minutes but we talked for 1.5 hours. From the very beginning she was on board with the vision, logistics and requirements. It was like talking to an old friend. We flew out in February for a meeting and venue visits, her team were organised, thorough and amazingly friendly. It was hands down the best decision we made in planning the wedding.
We chose our venue because… We looked at about seven venues in Malta; as soon as we saw Villa Bologna we looked at each other and just knew this was it. The way in which the gardens were divided was perfect. It was large, spacious, beautiful and private all at the same time.
My favourite part of the wedding day… So many special touches, the bride and groom’s families danced into the venue followed by the wedding party. The bride and bridesmaids did a special choreographed dance for the groom. Ike took off the garter by doing a series of push-ups until he ended up under the dress much to the delight and shock of our guests. We played games and all were welcome to come and catch the bouquet.
Our honeymoon…Ike also planned the entire honeymoon, in fact I didn’t even know where we were going. The destinations included Geneva, the Maldives, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Singapore and Dubai.
My piece of advice for other brides… No one will notice if things go wrong. As I was about to start the walk down the aisle, I was getting annoyed that the wrong song was being played… my father looked at me and said, this is your wedding, everyone is here for you. Do you really care what they are playing? After that I just relaxed and tried to enjoy every moment. It goes so fast.
Wedding planner: Wed Our Way | Bride’s shoes: Christian Louboutin | Hair: Hair by Zoe | Makeup: Yeye Paris Makeup (London based) | Music – Cordia String Quartet | DJs: Mr Marquis and DJ SoIncredible (London based) | Flowers: Alistair Floral Design | Candybar: Candylicious | Bar: Mr Cocktail | Cars: Meli Cars & Supreme Coaches | Professional lighting: Nexos Lighting | Photographer: Alexey Leonov – One Special Day | Videographer: Bryan Azzopardi | Photobooth: Photo Booth Malta
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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.