It’s a beautiful day for a Mauritius Wedding…
The big day has finally arrived. It’s a little hard to believe that when the sun sets again, we’ll be husband and wife…
It’s a beautiful day outside, with only a trace of cloud to mar the blue skies. Passing through reception we’re greeted with a flurry of activity as staff enquire as to how we are and whether we’re nervous, before assuring us that it will be a lovely and special day. No doubt they go through this routine almost every morning. After breakfast we sit outside on shaded loungers with a calming sea breeze to soothe away all cares. Room service are giving our room a good going-over again, so there’s a slight delay on getting back to preening and preparing. We sit out at the Kaza bar sipping cocktails and taking some time out to relax. The bartender asks what our plans are for the afternoon. “Well, actually we’re getting married.” “Ah!”, he exclaims delightedly. He then greets us by name. It seems that the wedding party details are spread amongst the hotel staff each day.
I have a busier schedule than my husband-to-be that starts with a visit to the hairdresser. The disadvantage to being a bride is there isn’t much time to chill out with all these preparations. Husband-to-be has the opposing problem of far too much free time to himself. I leave to find my way to my first appointment alone. Once more I have difficulty differentiating between the several buildings that proclaim they are a spa. As I retrace my steps I can see one of a group of staff that are enjoying their break outside detach himself and hurry over to enquire if he can be of assistance. Thus I make it to the correct reception desk on time and then submit myself to an hour of hair pulling. By then end of it I’m suffering some serious claustrophobia. I’ve been sitting in a warm room with hair curtaining my face while small strands of were stretched, pulled and curled into shape. There’s a small army of hair clips assisting an abundance of mousse and hair spray that probably won’t manage to hold the style for very long anyway. A few of the white flowers currently in season finish the look.
Next stop is the makeup artist who is determined to give my eyes a lot of attention. I’m still trying to get used to that when she attacks me with blusher which I’m really not too sure about. Hopefully it will look more normal on camera. She keeps asking if I got sunburnt although I’ve explained a few times that it’s the heat from the curling tongs and will go away soon. Once my makeup is deemed as done I sign the bill and get spat back out of the salon done up to the nines… from the neck up. I attract some strange looks as I clatter along in flipflops, t-shirt and shorts. I make it through reception without drawing too much attention, but meet our bubbly wedding coordinator in a back corridor. She’s on her way to set things up and is looking very excited. I can’t help wondering if this is the first time she’s been let loose to run amok. Still, she’s enthusiastic and brings the good news that we’re getting a complimentary upgrade to a villa overnight. Snazzy. Back at the room there’s just enough time to throw on the wedding dress and pack an overnight bag.
We’ve an hour to shoot with the photographer beforehand and he calls the room to say he’s on site now. We head to the beach amid premature calls of congratulations from people lying out by the pool. The sun is out, the water looks great, and we’re ready to go. Then as soon as the camera is powered up, a cloud obscures the sun. For the rest of the afternoon we’re haunted by this one cloud that chooses to block the light that our photographer is anxiously seeking. Along the beach people gesture at the sky, pointing out where the sun just might peek through again if we’re lucky. We do get the odd shot in before retiring to roam the hotel in search of nooks and crannies where the lighting is deemed just right. Our photographer is figuring out just what kind of amateurs he’s going to have to try and work with as we stand in awkward poses and try to hold smiles for an unrealistic amount of time.
All too soon it’s time to return to the room. The registrar is running late so we opt to all jump into a suitably decorated golf buggy that brings us to our wedding location. The Spiagga restaurant is small and intimate with decking opening out into the shore where the magic Mauritian elves have laid out tables and encircled them with petals. As we pass through the restaurant our wedding tracks start playing. The odd couple lunching there now have some extra entertainment. Especially those close enough to hear our registrar ‘Dave’ as he warms up into his wedding ceremony spiel. It’s an intimate ceremony. ‘Dave’ takes his time describing to all and sundry who we are, what we do, and what being married means. We struggle to keep a straight face at some of the metaphors involving driving things without crashing, but the gist of what he’s saying is sensible enough. We respectively vow with much prompting to do many things for each other – including to ‘cheer you up’. We must look like we have the memories of goldfish, for we must repeat these things one word at a time which makes for an odd rhythm and cadence to the whole thing. “I… Say your name… Do swear… To…” We then have the opportunity to ad lib a few words to each other without the staccato prompting.
Soon enough we’re exchanging rings with significant pauses to repeat more phrases and make sure the photographer gets the money shots. Once Dave is satisfied that the right words have been said regarding the rings he urges us for each ring to now “Push it!”. We comply whilst trying to shake the ‘Salt ‘n’ Peppa’ soundtrack that his words conjure up in our heads. We can then sign the poster-size document that makes it all legal. Our hotel witnesses are next up. Unfortunately they don’t manage to sign all the right places and have to do an encore before it can officially be announced that we are married. Cake and champagne is brought forth while ‘Dave’ beats a hasty retreat. No doubt off to his next assignment. We start the obligatory cake and toast poses which don’t take long as we’ve no intention of eating much of the functionally pretty, but inedible dry cake.
We now have what actually seems like hours, but in reality isn’t more than 70 minutes of a photo shoot. We do the same poses in different locations while our photographer JD searches in vain for that perfect shot that says it all. Long before we’ve finished tramping across golf courses and avoiding waves on the shore, The New Husband is starting to fade and is close to decking JD if he’s told to kiss me again. “Just one more!” JD keeps promising as he endeavours to salvage something from the wreckage of two not terribly photogenic people who are progressively becoming too tired to care anymore. Finally it’s all done and the sun is no more. We get a sneak preview of the days results, warts and all, so we can manage our expectations before we all part ways. It’s time for us to be settled in the luxurious villa that we get to call home for the night.
It’s pitch dark and our wedding organiser is having difficulty operating the lights, but it’s clear that the scale and luxury of the villa is something special. A vast lounge and small kitchen. A massive bedroom and bathroom duplicated exactly upstairs. All looking out over a walled-in veranda with miniature infinity pool and little snug area. Our villa master shows up shortly to offer his services and go in search of our bag which unsurprisingly never made it out of our old room. We have just enough time to respond to messages from family and friends before leaving to return to the restaurant and our wedding dinner.
The chef has created personal menus for us, but the message that I was opting for chicken rather than seafood doesn’t seem to have filtered through. Not to worry, the chef will knock together a ‘chicken surprise’. Happily the food is all beautiful and of a very high standard. We enjoy picking through the various courses as the light fades into darkness, leaving only the glow of candles on each table. After dessert we decide to return back to the villa. It’s been a long day with lots of emotion. But there are still a couple of surprises waiting for us. We think it’s just random coincidence, but as we walked the short distance between restaurant and villa, the sky above us exploded with fireworks. We made our way back to the whines and booms, coloured light soaring overhead and falling to the ground around us. It was pretty spectacular timing.
We got back to find that the magic elves had been busy again in our absence, and had set up the villa with the obligatory romantic lit candles and scattered rose petals across the room. It was yet another nice touch that made the day even more special. I spent a while trying to rinse the hair gel, now the consistency of cement, from my head. All showered and refreshed we ended a wonderful day relaxing in our luxury villa. Not a bad start to our married life together.