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My Own ‘Percival’ Royal Wedding…

For most, the 19th May 2018 was a day synonymous with the Royal Wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle. However, I couldn’t have been further away from the ‘real’ Royal Wedding that day, as I was myself Marrying the most amazing person I’ve ever met…

 

I don’t often post about personal stuff really, but then again this is such a big milestone in our lives, it’s one I thought I would make an exception for and share some of the story of how we got from Karting track to ending up getting married on a beach in Portugal, on the day of the Royal Wedding.

The story began over 8 years ago when I met Sammie whilst racing karts during school in a national series called ‘NatSKA’. We raced all over the country in school teams – mine was Tarporley (where I went to school) and Sammie’s was Sandbach (where she went to school). As well as winning the National Championships in 2007 (which I don’t mention often), I became involved in the organisation of NatSKA after my racing days were over. It was actually there where my interest in becoming a Paramedic stemmed from.

During our racing days, I remember getting a Facebook message from Sammie asking me out for a drink – yes, you read right, it was Sammie who asked ME out. What was she thinking? Perhaps it was because I was National Champion (as I say, I don’t mention this much)?

Fast forward an amazing few years, a couple of trips to Universities between us (hundreds of miles apart I might add) and me living with her parents for a year or so before moving to our first place in Chester – by 2016 we had bought a house and we were settling down.

The Proposal…

A lot of people ask me “how I did it” and my simple response… “Luton Airport“…

The reality isn’t far from the truth though, it was genuinely on the tarmac at Luton Airport with an EasyJet flight full of onlookers, a Pilot who was about to miss his runway slot – oh, and Louis from One Direction getting onto the plane next to us!

Each year, my family head to Palma for a long weekend for a little time away to chill out. For the previous couple of years, Sammie had obviously joined us so it felt like a great and unsuspecting time to pop the question. So I did the decent thing and asked her parents before getting everything ready for that day in September 2016.

My plans to propose whilst getting onto our own plane were executed down to the last detail (apart from the fact that I forgot to book a car the other end, so we ended up getting a cab – booked by the confused security guy – from Palma airport)… but even so, she’d already said YES and that’s all that matters at the end of the day.

It’s something you only ever do once in your life, so to make it so special was incredible and something we will never forget – even if I had to do the walk of shame from the EasyJet terminal to pick up the car from the private jet terminal on the way back (well what can I say, once she’s said yes there’s no going back)!

The Big Day…

Firstly – for the record, the choice of date was made long before the Royal Wedding was planned so it was purely a coincidence. By similar coincidence, it is also my auntie and uncles wedding anniversary – but the choice of date was all down to the licencing required for the ceremony on the beach, which you can only get at certain times of year and on certain dates, as well as the availability of the villa.

We often get asked why we chose Portugal (and to be precise, Vilamoura). Very simply, it’s a place we had been to a few times and fell in love with it. Sammie’s dream was always to get married somewhere hot and sandy and mine was not to have to wear a suit. So a beach in Portugal felt like the perfect solution.

A year and a half before the big day, we engaged the incredible team at Algarve Wedding Planners to help us with our day. It’s complicated legally getting married aboard and we just couldn’t have planned it ourselves like we perhaps would have done had it been in the UK. Speaking with hindsight though, I have massive respect for anyone who organises their own wedding day – its a massive, massive job!

The whole thing just felt like a holiday, I don’t think I was stressed at any point whatsoever and the day was an absolute success. Everything from the ceremony on the beach, to the reception at our incredible villa and everything in between, was just amazing.

The Beach…

As Sammie has always wanted to have a wedding on the beach, it seemed like the best excuse I would ever get to wear shorts and flip-flops on my own wedding day – so it was a no-brainer. It went incredibly well but you forget how much of a big deal it is to get nearly 100 guests from their hotels to the beach and then up the narrow road to the villa (where we had our reception).

The first glimpse of how incredible our wedding planners really were was when we arrived to a champagne reception on the beach, with the chairs, isle, pergola and candles which were all set up. Even a microphone and speakers for our singer, James Edgar (the one and only) – I’m still a little confused how they got power to a beach that was a quarter of a mile away from the nearest actual building!

It was an incredible setting though and one I will never forget. After some immense music from James, a reading by my Auntie Laurie and the Portuguese legal formalities (with a bit of standard ‘Chris humour’ in the mix) we said ‘I Do’ and all was done.

The Villa..

Our home for a week or so was this was this frankly ridiculous villa just up the hill from Vilamoura… but it was also what transformed quite incredibly into our reception venue. Home to possibly the best sunset I’ve seen, with its amazing views, 3 swimming pools, 2 hot-tubs and rooftop bathtub, this place was ace!

I promise this isn’t an advert for the wedding planners we used, but once again, they were amazing. After arriving back at the villa from the beach, as ecstatic as you can imagine, the place was transformed into the most amazing reception venue.

The villa is privately owned for rentals but is actually a really popular wedding venue in Portugal, so much so we had the choice of just one week across 3 months when we could have booked it in – bearing in mind we booked it nearly 2 years in advance! But we were not disappointed. Just to give you an idea of how remote this place was, it didn’t even have mains water and it was shipped in with tankers!

(my drone came in useful to get a shot of the place too! you can see here one side of the villa, the other side being where they set up the reception around the main pool)

Every Good Wedding Ends in the Pool…

I wish I could show you more photos of our day, they’re amazing!

Pedro Bento, our photographer (who very kindly travelled from Lisbon to document our day!), is a specialist at documentary style photographer. Our 600+ photos from the day can be viewed in order, and you can re-live the whole thing from the minute Sammie had her first bit of makeup that morning (and me and the lads had our first beer!), right through to how I think every good wedding should end…

…In the pool!

(you’ll no doubt notice that on this particular picture, it’s only guys in the pool. However, I’m pleased to say Sammie’s mum also joined us another drink on!)

…and there it was

The day flashed by, so it’s great to just pen some notes on what was an amazing day.

Being able to look through the hundreds of shots, picture by picture won’t get old.

Massive thanks to everyone who came, and special thanks to:

Algarve Wedding Planners

Pedro Bento Photography

James Edgar

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