Cosy Church Weddings in St Julian’s
Malta and Gozo are said to nurture 365 churches within their modest shores – a church for every day of the year! With so many to choose from, those seeking a religious wedding are genuinely spoilt for choice. Whatever your tastes; from the elabourately grandiose to the intimately bijou, there is guaranteed to be a church or chapel to meet your requirements. We spoke to the Simpson’s who chose to say ‘I do’ in one of the quaintest, cosiest churches on the island, Lapsi Church in St Julian’s. Their dream was to have an intimate religious ceremony surrounded by their loved ones followed by a large evening reception in the stunning gardens of Villa Arrigo, a short drive away. Here’s what they had to say about their dream day…
Did you have a dream wedding scenario you were looking to create?
Neither of us really did have a dream wedding scenario. We had an idea of what we wanted, but it wasn’t too detailed or specific, so we built it up as we went along. With myself being Maltese and both of us living here, we knew we had lots of really good options to choose from.
What was most important for you in selecting your venue?
Two of the most important things we did know we wanted were a Church wedding and for our guests to have a really good time at the reception. These two things helped make our choice on venue a lot easier as we crossed off many options along the way that didn’t fit in with our wish; because of size, venue restrictions and so on.
Where did you start? How easy was it to find venues/suppliers etc?
Finding a venue wasn’t hard. We were quite particular on the catering, and the fact that the music could keep going on as late as we wanted without disturbing the neighbours. We started off by going to a couple of wedding exhibitions, but in Malta it’s easy – there are a handful of top caterers, and these caterers have their own venues. With regards to the remaining suppliers, we decided to go for the ones we knew were experienced and professional, despite them potentially being more expensive. By doing this we knew we could get peace of mind that everything would go smoothly on the day… and it did!
Did you have a religious ceremony or civil ceremony? Was it easy to arrange your ceremony?
One of the things we were certain we wanted was a Catholic ceremony. When we were house hunting, we had fallen in love with a small Church in St Julian’s, just round the corner from where we eventually settled. We knew from the first time we saw it that it would be the church we’d get married in. When planning our wedding we decided we wanted a small, cosy church that was just big enough to hold our nearest and dearest friends and family members. Luckily, our favourite Lapsi Church fit the bill.
Arranging the ceremony was relatively easy, despite the various trips into Valletta to drop off and collect legal documents. We chose the Gospel readings we felt most connected to, and met our Celebrant Fr Claude a couple of times before the wedding, who helped us make the ceremony as personal as possible.
What reception venues did you consider?
We considered many, but it came down to choosing between two equally beautiful but ultimately different locations. By the sea at the Westin would have guaranteed a beautiful setting , first class food and a professional service. On the other hand, Villa Arrigo offered us first class food, professional service and a beautiful outdoor setting (albeit not near the sea) but with the added advantage of a lovely marquee area that led straight out to the gardens. This provided us more of a guarantee that the late night music wouldn’t disturb any neighbours, as can be the case at the Westin, and furthermore, that there would be no fears of the weather causing any last minute headaches!
Did the venue help arrange catering, decor, flowers and so on?
Villa Arrigo have their own catering company, so they looked after all the food for us. They helped us mould a menu to our (and our guests’) tastes, as well as ensuring the quantities ordered were the right ones. We also got non-alcoholic beverages supplied by the venue, however all other arrangements were looked after by ourselves with the respective suppliers. Villa Arrigo did offer to supply us with alcoholic beverages; however we preferred to go to the importers directly for a more favourable price. This did involve organising the logistics of deliveries and collection of returns. The set-up was also looked after by Villa Arrigo, however we did share in the decisions around where we wanted everything to go; i.e. the bar, the band, the Moroccan themed area, what colour scheme we wanted all soft furnishings to be including tablecloths, drapes etc.
You had a number of guests travelling from the UK – how did you handle this?
The first thing we did was set up a website with all the details of the day itself, as well as info on airlines that fly to Malta, recommendations for different accommodation options, recommended places to eat, taxi and car hire companies etc. That actually looked after most of our guests questions around the trip. We then just let them all know where we were going to be the night before the wedding and the afternoon on the day after. That way, anybody that wanted to join could, however those that wanted to enjoy a holiday and do some sightseeing/sleeping off their hangover, could choose that option freely.
For the wedding day itself, we organised transport to collect our guests from two key locations. Guests made their way to these locations, but had transport organised to take them to the church, reception venue, and back once the wedding was over.
How did the big day go? i.e. did the venue(s) deliver on ambiance, meal, service and so forth?
On the day, everything went to plan. There were a couple of small hitches, but we didn’t let them affect us. Both venues and all suppliers delivered as promised. The ambiance was just what we wanted, with the band delivering exactly what we wanted, when we wanted it. Food, drinks and overall service was also spot on, thanks to the professionalism and experience of the Villa Arrigo team.
Have you any tips related to organising your wedding in Malta/Villa Arrigo to advise people on?
The main tip I would give to anyone getting married in Malta, is to choose professional suppliers with plenty of experience in similar weddings to the one you want. This will ensure that your expectations on service levels, catering and so on are met in order for you to realise your dream on the day.