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Bridesmaid abroad

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So, at the age of 37 and unmarried, I found myself committing to be a bridesmaid to my god-daughter. No, my god-daughter was not a child bride, she was 27; she asked me to be her god-mother when she was 17. Ten years on, perhaps I had fallen short of being a dutiful god-mother (what do god-parents do exactly?) and thus was demoted to bridesmaid at her wedding to Mark. I had never been a bridesmaid before – most of my friends are committed to life-long relationships, with kids, but unmarried. I ventured into a girlie world of satin dresses, matching shoes, hen-dos and bouquets.

Francoise is half-French and her wedding was to be in her postcard-pretty hometown near Nice in the south of France. Needless to say, the sky was blue, the sun bright and the temperature high. She gave herself twelve months to organise her big day. And her big dress – there was certainly some considerable diameter to the one she finally decided upon! Included in the running order of the day, which was sectioned into Acts 1-5 (FIVE acts? With no interval?!), Francoise had arranged hair and make-up appointments for us in the morning. It felt good to be pampered…until I looked in the mirror – the blow dried, backcombed, hairsprayed bob was just huge, and the layers of foundation made me look like I was wearing a mask.

It took four of us to get Francoise into her dress and we literally had to stuff it – in all its massive, marital glory – into the fabulous vintage car that drove her to the Mairie (town hall). After the official signing of documents, we walked in a procession down cobbled streets to the beautifully-decorated church for the ceremony, which was followed by aperitifs and canapés as the sun set, followed by dinner. It was a long day – the best man’s speech wasn’t scheduled until 10pm and the dancing didn’t stop until 4:30am! Francoise did a fabulous job of organising pretty much everything herself – from manicure appointments, flowers and the car, to who would walk with whom in the procession to the church, decorations therein, dinner, photographer, DJ, and more. She didn’t organise the weather but, let’s face it, a wedding in the south of France or anywhere in southern Europe is pretty much guaranteed to be blessed with beautiful sunny weather. And the weather certainly made a lovely day even more perfect, and gave good reason for many of the guests to stay on and enjoy a holiday.

So why not get married in sunnier climes, and leave the script-writing and organisation to a wedding co-ordinator? There are many overseas wedding organisers in operation, but only a handful that can be trusted to source the most beautiful and unusual locations and get the all important details spot on.  If you’re looking for unique venues in gorgeous locations around the Greek islands and Cyprus, try Ionian Weddings. A blissful ceremony in a beautifully-decorated venue, plus car/horse and carriage, hair, make-up, photographer, flowers, reception, cake and more can be arranged for around £2,500 – a fraction of the price of a UK wedding.

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