David and Kim got married at Heritage Awali during their stay on the Domaine de Bel Ombre in the south of Mauritius.
Our wedding on the brink of paradise
My name is Kim and I recently got married to David, my childhood sweetheart. A few months ago, we took off for a whole week on a paradise island to tie the knot. Here is the account of our wonderful wedding in Mauritius.
Finally in Mauritius!
Here we are. Lights are dimmed, the seatbelt sign is on and the plane begins its descent. What a relief! After nearly 12 hours of confinement, we are both restless and excited. David and I have chosen to fly by night, and right now, through the window, we can catch a glimpse of the famous island we have heard so much about and that we are looking forward to discover.
For many weeks since we have decided to get married in Mauritius, I have spent nights dreaming about this trip. Now I cannot take my eyes off this tiny piece of land in the vast ocean I am contemplatively looking at right now. I gape at this amazing sight. I don’t want to miss out on anything! “Kim, let me have a look”, says David, jostling. I didn’t realise I was obstructing the view. “Here! Look, my love!”, I say to myself, trying my best to sink into my seat and make space for him.
A few more minutes before landing. David takes my hand, both anxiously – for that’s the moment he dreads the most – and with the tenderness that defines him so well. A quick glance at each other and we both close our eyes. We open them after a while, soon after we hear the signal for lighted signs turning off. We have arrived finally! Most of the passengers rush to their hand luggage while a few others, like us, decide to wait until it clears out, and head to the Mauritian tarmac nonchalantly.
Through the window, we can catch a glimpse of the famous island we have heard so much about and that we are looking forward to discover.
Finally! After one long hour at the immigration and baggage claim, we leave Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam International Airport, named after one of the country’s most emblematic figures. I shall confess that David and I had not looked into the history of the country for we were totally beguiled by the pictures of the beautiful beaches and too busy reading the customer reviews of Heritage Awali Golf & Spa Resort.
Finally in Mauritius
Once we get our luggage, we hurry with a large smile on our face to the exit gates – the gates of paradise it seems to me… A lady holding a signboard is waiting for us. She leads us to the shuttle we are obviously sharing with our future neighbours. Flowers around the neck and fresh scented towels – we are now ready for a 45-minute drive to our long awaited retreat.
Not a cloud in the sky. In April the Mauritian weather is sunny and warm, just like our tour-operator told us. The heavy rain and hot wave period is gone, and the temperature is ideal for us people coming from London. The lady who greeted us earlier announces that we are now entering the Domaine de Bel Ombre and that we will soon reach our destination. Some of our fellow passengers, who were snoozing during the trip, are now sitting up straight and gazing avidly at the landscape.
Quite strangely, David and I had pictured the domaine as a fenced field, like a big park with delimited borders. Actually, it is quite hard to tell where the Domaine de Bel Ombre starts and ends. Well, it’s difficult anyway to define the limits of a 2500-hectare estate!
We turn left, the driver waves at the gatekeeper and the massive copper-coloured gates open slowly on the resort. A man welcomes us at the sound of a beating drum – a typical African instrument, I guess, for the hotel décor epitomises Mauritius’ African origins. While David is checking us in, I relish at the sight of the slate pool and the Indian Ocean in the distance. It is 8 in the morning, we have reached our destination safely, a little tired though, but absolutely elated to be able to settle down and forget about our daily concerns for a while. One urgent thing we still have to do is to meet the wedding planner to discuss the details of our big day. But right now, all I can think about is… the beach!
We chose Heritage Awali for a whole bunch of reasons, which I will not list down, but one of the main reasons is the variety of activities it offers on the same site. Not that we were too lazy to explore Mauritius, but we were only staying for a week, including the wedding day, and we did not want to spend much time on the road.
On our second day on this “jewel of the Indian Ocean”, we plan to try one of the top activities on the domaine: quad-biking in Frédérica Nature Reserve! But today, we will spend the whole day at the beach and at the Seven Colours Spa. I have chosen the 75-minute Mauritian massage, and I am loving it!
I relish at the sight of the slate pool and the Indian Ocean in the distance.
Yesterday was quite physical: I did not know that quad biking could be so energy consuming! After a quick lunch at the Infinity Blue beach restaurant, we spent the afternoon at the C Beach Club where we tried some water sports with more or less success.
Heritage Awali offers virtually everything a normal person could dream about, but on our third day and before getting into the wedding preparation frenzy, David and I decided to leave our love nest and explore the treasures of the island. The day before, we were chatting with a friendly family at the table next to us at the Balafon restaurant, and they advised us to go visit Chamarel village and its surroundings. So we will spend most of the day at the Seven Colours Earth and by its waterfall, and visit the Curious Corner where they say we can take a lot of funny pictures. We rent a car for the occasion and as we have never driven on the left side of the road, we have the feeling that we are on a real adventure!
Day 5 in Mauritius – I wake up this morning a little nervous. Only three days left before we go home. Three busy days, but that’s a short time before we go back to reality. I have not had much to do for the preparation of the wedding. All we did is choose the site, the flowers, the music and some decorative elements. I have booked the Seven Colours Spa’s bridal preparation room and David has organised the dinner. Nothing much. Yet I can’t understand why he is being so restless. And why am I not feeling well this morning?
David woke up early again this morning to go play golf at the Heritage Golf Club with a couple we met last night at the Zafarani restaurant. As for me, I will make the most of these precious solitary hours (probably the last ones for the rest of my life…) and pamper myself. A very light agenda between the beach, the pool, the restaurant and the poolside bar.
Stomach going into knots again this morning. I could blame it on the cocktails I gulped down at the poolside bar or on the boozy night we had at the C Beach Club. But I know this is something else, something more personal. This afternoon, David and I will take vows. We had decided to travel miles away from home because we wanted our wedding to be a very special and unique moment and to indulge in the much-deserved vacation we’ve been awaiting for over two years. Yet, we are getting married halfway around the world, far from our family and friends. Even if it was a carefully thought out decision, today – the D-Day – I am a little sad that my loved ones are not there.
Okay, let’s cheer up and be strong. Let’s make this wedding in Mauritius an unforgettable and magical experience! It’s no time to cry: I have a long day ahead. Meeting with the wedding planner at 11 am to check on the last details; bridal preparation at the spa as from 3 pm; and the ultimate rendezvous with David at 5 pm!
It’s already 3 pm. The day has gone by more quickly than I expected and here I am, sitting in the Seven Colours Spa’s lobby, waiting for someone to take me to the bridal preparation room. Quarter past, I start being restless. I am stressed and worried about not being ready on time. “Could you please wait a few minutes, Ma’am? We’re getting the room ready for you”, one of the therapist kindly told me 15 minutes and one second ago.
There she is! I jump from my seat as she asks me to follow her, and there we go. She opens up the door of the private salon with a large smile and invites me to step in with a graceful gesture. At the blink of an eye, the dark room lights up and a joyful cry resounds: “SURPRISE!”. My brother, my mother, my sister, David’s family, our friends and David himself! OMG, he put this up! Shocked, stunned and happy at the same time, I don’t really know how to react and I fatally end up in tears – the tears I’ve been trying hard to hold since this morning.
At the blink of an eye, the dark room lights up and a joyful cry resounds: « SURPRISE ! ».
After a quick toast and a few tears, the men leave us women on our own. Initially, I had planned for two hours of preparation, and now I’ve got only one hour to get ready! I try to think positive and say to myself that with all these helping hands, I shall be able to make it. At 5 pm sharp, my brother knocks at the door to take me to the reception venue. He looks at me, with a smile and twinkles in his eyes. He offers his arm and I take hold of it, while struggling with a flush of strong emotions.
I walk down slowly, but confidently, and enjoy every minute of this walk, until we reach the splendid décor facing the sea. I am now standing next to David under the arch, wonderfully decorated with flowers. He gently lifts my veil and I can feel how much he wants to kiss me right now. We smile and look into each other’s eyes intensely, and then we turn to the master of ceremony.
I am vaguely listening to his speech as my attention travels from the sky to the sea, the guests and the eyes of my husband-to-be. All is beautiful, all is perfect. The afternoon sun softly brushes my skin and my veil moves to the smooth breeze. The man who has the responsibility to make our union official now turns to us. His gentle intrusion takes me out of my reverie.
After addressing David, he turns to me and asks the famous question that every woman dream to hear, as they stand side-to-side and hand-in-hand with the man of their life…
The wedding celebrations were convivial and tastefully orchestrated. We gathered around a table at the C Beach Club and shared a festive meal of Mediterranean delicacies, in a realm of blissful laughter and cradled by the sweet music of the ocean…
Photo credit: Daniel Shearing