Halfway through our meeting with the wedding planner, my fiancé and I stopped and looked at each other. We didn’t care about fancy venues, menu options, and flower arrangements.
What we did care about was travel. In fact, our love of travel had brought us together. That was obvious when it came time to planning our wedding. We wanted our big day to reflect who we really are. That’s when we knew we wanted something different.
Two months later, we were standing on a tiny sandbank in the middle of the Indian Ocean. The clear blue waters of the Maldives lapped along the shoreline as my new husband and I exchanged our vows on the white sand.
The Maldives had long been on our bucket list. Made up of more than 1,190 islands, this tropical nation in the Indian Ocean is known for its clear seas, white sand beaches, and world-class resorts. By eloping to the Maldives, we could have a private wedding ceremony on the beach and an unforgettable honeymoon—all for much less than a traditional wedding.
It turned out to be the perfect choice.
We chose to stay and have the ceremony at the Baros Maldives Resort, which has a reputation as one of the most romantic resorts in the Maldives. Located just 25 minutes by boat from the capital of Male, Baros has a private, intimate feel with 45 beachside villas and 30 over the water.
Our spacious overwater villa had a secluded veranda with an infinity pool and steps that led directly to the sea. From our arrival, the on-call villa host and other staff made us feel like royalty.
Activities and Dining
Baros has two centres devoted to diving and exploring the sea. They provided us with free snorkel gear and we spent our first afternoon snorkeling along the house reef just yards from the shore. The reef is rich with marine life and coral, and the water is warm. Colourful schools of fish darted by as we explored an underwater wreck.
Later, we relaxed with a soothing couples massage at Baros Spa, which features treatments from Asia, and savoured a seaside meal at one of the resort’s three excellent restaurants.
On the second day of our visit we met with Domi, the skilled event planner at Baros. She asked if we had any special wishes and then gave several excellent suggestions. The wedding packages at Baros include the ceremony, cake, flowers, and even a romantic dinner. Twenty minutes later, our wedding was planned. We didn’t have to worry about a thing!
On the morning of our ceremony, Domi helped me get ready. Then a traditional Maldivian Bodu Beru procession led me from our water villa through the island to meet my groom. Two women in traditional sarongs threw pink flowers, while drummers kept beat on Bodu Beru drums.
As we crossed the lagoon bridge I could see fish swirling in the water below. Coconut palms swayed overhead as I continued barefoot along the white sand paths toward the man I would marry. The smile on my face couldn’t have been any wider when Benjamin greeted me at the pier and the procession continued by boat to the sandbank.
The sandbank looked like a scene from a wedding magazine. The islet’s white sand reflected in the aquamarine seas, while a deep blue sky added its own hues. The wedding procession continued from the boat to a white wedding canopy adorned with flowers. The canopy drapes flowed in the breeze.
Dressed in a traditional sarong, the master of ceremonies led us in our vows. Afterwards, we shared a white wedding cake and champagne. Back at Baros, we planted a coconut palm together, symbolizing how our love would grow.
Though it may not be the usual post-wedding activity, we spent the afternoon diving. The dive master led us from the shore to the reef, where we saw hundreds of different coral and fish species. Even harmless black-tip sharks and sea turtles made an appearance.
At sunset, we had a romantic dinner complete with wine pairing at The Lighthouse, an over-water pavilion with a white sail roof. This iconic beacon is visible from miles away and is known as one of the best restaurants in the Maldives.
Happy from our day, we walked back along the lantern-lit boardwalk to our villa. Opening the door, we found pink blossoms in the shape of a heart across our bed. Candles lit the room, and a warm bath had been drawn, topped with bubbles and flowers.
We could only look at each other and smile. Our wedding day couldn’t have been better.
Baros has wedding/vow renewal packages starting at $1,650. Guests must stay at the resort to hold or attend a ceremony. Weddings in the Maldives are ceremonial only. See your local administrator to file legal marriage documents. Website: www.baros.com
Janna Graber has covered travel in more than 40 countries. She is the editor of three travel anthologies, including “A Pink Suitcase: 22 Tales of Women’s Travel,” and is the managing editor of Go World Travel Magazine (www.goworldtravel.com).
from Travel – The Epoch Times http://www.theepochtimes.com/n3/2259218-eloping-to-paradise-bucket-list-wedding-in-the-maldives/