Stacey & Marcus are from Aberdare but decided on a destination wedding at the Blau Varadero Hotel in Cuba on the 12th of July 2013. They took along their best friend and photographer Lauren Owens (also from Aberdare) and she captured the wedding beautifully. Stacey kindly answered these questions about their magical day.
What was your budget? With flights to Varadero Airport, Cuba, for us 2 and his 3 children, all of which are adult prices, 2week accommodation in the 4+ star Blau Varadero resort with 24hour all inclusive stay, the wedding package, and the reception on return we probably spent roughly 10-12,000 and it was worth every penny!! You will never have roses as big as I had in my bouquet for as little as I paid, for my bouquet of 12 large (the biggest I have ever seen, and amazing!!) and two smaller ones for my bridesmaids, a button hole for my husband and father, plus a rose for each of the bridesmaids hair, I paid roughly £23.00 in English pounds, I was speechless!!
How would you describe your wedding theme? Laid back, completely relaxed atmosphere that everyone could enjoy equally, an amazing day, every whim catered for by the wedding coordinator on your behalf so totally stress free. On your arrival you meet to discuss everything you want with the coordinator, colour scheme, set up, flowers, cake and wedding setting, whether it be on the beach, in the hotel, gardens etc.
Cuban people are the friendliest I have encountered and honestly do their utmost to make your stay perfect, however they are very laid back and do not rush things, so you have to put your faith in them that things will get done, they went perfectly for my day, even though I was a little worried as I am a planner of every little detail so did panic what my location would look like, but it was amazing, and there really was nothing to worry about!
What was your favourite part of your wedding? My favourite part was just after the wedding, we had the entire main hall of the hotel to ourselves and our guests, with finger food and endless champagne! Waitress service is for as long as you require it and we took the bottom half of our cake to the evening reception with us, its more of a light mousse than heavy cake mix and is delicious!!
Why did you choose your venue? We had always wanted to visit Cuba, but with 3 children it would be an expensive holiday to take! So we decided to go there, do the trips we wanted, visit the places we had always thought of, and get married all in 2 weeks, giving ourselves two years to save, and we truly had an amazing time and are looking to visiting again in the future, maybe for an anniversary.
How did the proposal happen? My proposal was on my birthday august 2011, I was in bed asleep and my now husband came home from a night shift with roses, chocolates and a card. When I opened my card it said ‘Happy Birthday to my Fiancé’ and inside he had written ‘I love you, Wana Marry me?’ He even thinks he’s funny during the proposal!! Luckily for him I said yes and we went for a meal with my parents to celebrate, and almost two years later we married.
What was your first dance & why? Our first dance was to the song ‘You’re Beautiful’ by James Blunt as when we first met while working in his family run pub, he used to play it on repeat on the juke box, hoping it would persuade me to go out on a date with him, and it worked-I got so fed up of hearing the bloody song I agreed!! Lol!
In hindsight, was there anything you would have done differently? Nothing, everything was as we wanted, I wouldn’t even change the weather, it rained on our wedding day, which is thought of as a lucky sign in Cuba, and because of the rain in the afternoon we had the most beautiful sunset photographs I’ve ever seen, so it was definitely meant to be!! Every other day there were clear blue skies, so clear evening skies too, the only night we had the amazing sunset was the wedding night, so I’m even glad of the rain, as my photos are stunning!!
Do you have any advice for future couples? Go abroad, you will have an amazing stress free time to just enjoy it while someone else arranges everything, plus and amazing holiday too, you will get so much more for your money.
20 family and friends came out with us, all except grandparents, my husbands grandparents were too ill to fly at the time, and mine cant fly for that long, it was a 10 hour flight, but both urged us to do whatever made us happy as its our special day. Although they are not in my wedding album I look at it and think what an amazing time we had with their blessing, and on our return at the reception they were all there to help us celebrate anyway, so we don’t regret our choice.
What’s the best piece of marriage advice you received? Marriage is the hardest job you will ever do! It takes hard work, lots of patience and you will want to run away on times!! But marriage is not meant to be easy, nothing worth doing ever is, and to make it work you have to work at it, everyone will have ups and downs, its getting through them together that counts the most.
What was your favourite thing about planning a wedding? Knowing that when the plane took off and we arrived, all the planning I had done up to that point was taken off my hands and I could just enjoy my holiday with my family and enjoy a stress free wedding day, as it was all arranged for me in the way I had asked. I took little favours for guests and table decorations with me in my case, but my tables were decorated beautifully with their own confetti and flowers as well as what I had given to them, and all looked so lovely together.
Photographer: Lauren Owens Photography
Wedding Planner: Hanni at Blau Varadero
Ceremony Venue: Blau Varadero
Reception Venue: Blau Varadero
Bride’s Dress: Alfred Sung
Bride’s Shoes: Next
Groom’s Outfit: Shirt Hugo Boss, Trousers and Tie M&S
Bridesmaid’s Dresses: Cardiff Bridal
Cake: provided by hotel
Flowers: provided by hotel
Other: I did my own hair and make up for the day as I wanted to look myself in my photos, not like a doll with too much make up on!! My sister and mother did use the hotel hairdresser though and their hair was perfect!! The men wore short sleeved white shits and grey trousers form Marks and Spencer that were cool to wear on the day and light to pack, with a lemon yellow tie.
The Wedding Gallery
The images in this post were submitted to us by Lauren Owens Photography, thank you Lauren for sharing your best friend’s wedding with us!
Are any of our readers planning a destination wedding? We would love to hear from you if you are!