Exactly a year ago Hayley and Charlie flew to Poland to have their destination wedding in Gdansk. Not a very obvious destination when it comes to weddings abroad but one that definitely deserves more attention.

At this very moment we’re in a situation where the wedding industry has been brought to a standstill by a mysterious virus. Not to mention traveling outside the UK to tie the knot! We can only dream about days like these. This couple from London threw a very relaxed, intimate wedding full of smiles and happiness. I was their wedding photographer and here is their story:

‘We met when we were 16 at a mutual friend’s birthday party. We met on a bright pink party bus that drove us all around London! After that, we became friends and became a couple a year later. We were together for a year before making the difficult decision to break up as I was going to university in Portsmouth. Luckily, at another mutual friend’s birthday a year later, we saw each other again and decided to give things another go. 7 years later and we are now newlyweds!

It was last year on the day of our 6 year anniversary! Charlie told me to pack an overnight bag as he was taking me away for our anniversary. We arrived at a beautiful hotel in Canary Wharf and on our way to dinner, Charlie took me on a detour through these gorgeous gardens where he spun round and dropped to one knee. It was such an emotional moment for both of us that neither of us remember exactly what we said.  We guess he must have asked me to marry him and I must have said yes!

Destination wedding in Gdansk

We took a bit of a risk by booking the wedding venue in Poland before we had even told our families of our plans to marry abroad! Looking back, it was such a risk and we would have been devastated if our families couldn’t come! Luckily, everything worked out and our families were delighted by our decision! Our reasons for choosing to marry in Gdansk were that Charlie’s family have Polish roots and we thought it would be nice to honour those! Gdansk is also a beautiful city and my parents had loved it when they visited a few years ago so it seemed like the perfect location to us!

We started the planning on our own but quickly realised we needed some help with planning a wedding abroad as we didn’t speak the language and found it difficult to find suppliers! That’s when we found the incredible Anna! She took care of absolutely everything for us and came up with ideas that we had never even considered! She took the pressure off and made the whole planning process really easy and fun… not sure many couples would use those two words to describe wedding planning!

Wedding decor

Decor wise, we went for lots of different shades of pink, white and touches of green foliage. Gold was added in to our table setting and this added a touch of luxury. Anna suggested the idea of having our wedding cake on the beach and we immediately loved the idea- this part ended up being one of our favourite parts of the day!

The morning of our wedding day was overcast and it looked like it might rain but we were both kept busy with prosecco, homemade lemon vodka made by Anna’s dad and plenty of food! i got ready in a beautiful suite with pink furniture and me, my mum (Sandra) and Charlie’s mum (Gloria) got ready in our personalised silk gowns that my friends had kindly bought us.

A hugely memorable moment for me was when my dad first saw me in my dress. He burst into tears. It was very emotional for both of us!

Outdoor wedding ceremony

As soon as it was time to go to the ceremony, the sun came out! It was a lovely moment and made it feel like the sun had come out just for us! The ceremony was perfect- the flower arch was beautiful and the musicians (Duo Amor) were incredible- they played all of our favourite songs like Ed Sheeran- Perfect, Rod Stewart- Have I told you lately and Alicia Keys- If I ain’t got you.

A memorable moment for us was when the Head Registrar handed us a letter written by the Mayor of Gdansk (Aleksandra Dulkiewicz), thanking us for choosing to come to Gdansk to get married and saying how happy she was that an English couple had chosen her city! We felt very honoured to receive this letter and it was a total surprise!

Later on we had our meal and everyone loved their personalised biscuit favours! The food was delicious and we were all really full afterwards!

Wedding cake on the beach

One of our favourite parts of the day was when we went to Jelitkowo beach for cake and prosecco. My mouth dropped open when I saw the beach wedding set-up! I never in a million years thought it would look so beautiful! Anna had kept the details a surprise so we really didn’t expect it!! The beach was beautiful and it was really cool eating our cake and watching people windsurfing in the sea.

Then onto our final surprise back at the hotel.. Anna had arranged a musician (Mikolaj) to play his guitar and sing for us on the terrace. He played a couple of Ed Sheeran songs for us and then Charlie requested Can’t take my eyes off of you by Frankie Valli. Everyone was up dancing and waving sparklers around! It was such a lovely moment that we will remember forever.’

Dwór Oliwski in Gdansk, wedding venue
Destination wedding in Gdansk

Here are a few other humans that helped make this day special:

Wedding planning – The One Weddings & Events

Decor – Studio Dekora

Dress – Dana Bolton

Suit – Marks and Spencer

Hair/Makeup – Aga Nowacka

Videography – Feel 8 Studio

Ceremony music – Duo Amor

Venue: Dwór Oliwski