For newlyweds Elaine and Chris Ellul Desira, their love story begins at the office, when both worked at the same engineering company. “I noticed her, but she didn’t notice me,” smiles Chris.
Unable to pluck up the courage to speak to her at first, Chris recalls, “a couple of months later, I hadn’t officially spoken to her yet, so I decided to use a bar of Toblerone I had brought for the office after a trip abroad to break the ice. As I introduced myself, the first thing she told me was ‘about time!’” he laughs.
As Valentine’s Day rolled around, Chris decided to ask Elaine out. “On 13th February, I bought a bottle of wine and prepared a treasure hunt around her office desk. I left a series of notes as clues to find the wine, which I put in her drawer. Next to the wine, I placed a note, asking her if she would go out with me,” he explains. “And it worked!” they smile.
Three years later, the pair bought an old townhouse together, which they set upon renovating, while Chris planned his proposal – though it wasn’t quite as romantic as when he first asked Elaine out.
“I had already had the ring for about two or three months and had been receiving hints from her family for ages. So, after a stroll in Valletta, we went for a meal in Wied iz-Zurrieq. On our way back, I asked her to open the car, and when she turned back, she found me on my knees,” he recounts.
Elaine said yes, and it was time for the planning to begin. The pair set a date for nine months later, on 28th September 2019: “it wasn’t a long time, but Elaine did 95 per cent of the work – she’s a great planner,” says Chris.
They chose the Santwarju Madonna Tal-Hlas chapel in Qormi for the ceremony. Apart from the intimate interior they were after, its location proved symbolic. “I’m from Naxxar and Elaine is from Zejtun, and Qormi is somewhere in the middle,” Chris explains.
Meanwhile, the pair decided on Villa Katarina in Zurrieq for their reception. After ‘discovering’ it at the wedding fair, the couple felt that it provided a unique option for their big day. “The turf and green area caught our attention right away, as it’s not very common in Malta. It was a relatively new venue too, so we thought it would be interesting and different for our guests.”
Green was also the main theme of the day, and the couple emphasised their wish for an eco-friendly affair with their suppliers. “We made it a point with our caterers, Elia, to have alternatives to plastic containers,” they say, and “we gave a donation to Tree4U to have trees planted in the Zejtun public garden. We also gave our guests a packet of sunflower seeds to take home with them as souvenirs.”
The theme was also reflected in their décor, which the bride played a big part in putting together. “I wanted to be as involved as possible. When it came to the décor, I worked on a lot of it myself, and Chris often warned me not to take too much on! But I loved it, and would do it all over again,” she says.
On the morning of their wedding, Chris woke up feeling calm, with excitement setting in later on. He had butterflies as he waited for Elaine to arrive at the church. “Once I saw her, everything else dimmed, and I was calm again. I felt complete.”
For Elaine, the night before the wedding was a late one, as she set about preparing the last of the decorations with her bridal party. “I was still giving Chris instructions for how to set things up at the venue the following morning,” she laughs.
En route to the chapel, Elaine was calm, and the feeling persisted right up until she had to read the vows. “The priest was showing me where I had to read, and I was somehow forgetting the lines. The words were dancing on the page,” she recalls, blushing, as Chris interjects playfully, “she basically vowed to love herself!”
From then on, things ran smoothly, right through to the fun-filled reception. Then it was time for what they agree was the “most awkward” part of the wedding: the first dance. “We’re not really dancers,” laughs Elaine. The pair chose Your Song by Elton John for the first dance, which they admit was lovely, despite the awkwardness.
Ultimately, they agree that they wouldn’t change a thing. “The day exceeded our expectations. The décor was fantastic, the band was superb, as was the quartet at the mass.” And the best part, believe it or not, was actually the dancing. “When everyone started dancing, after the first dance,” they clarify, laughing.
Sharing their advice with other couples planning their big day, the pair’s main message is to keep it real, and remember what the day is all about. “Overspending and overdoing it may detract from the essence of the wedding. Have fun and enjoy it, but know your roots, know what you’re here to be doing on that day,” says Chris. “You should also figure out what your priorities are and plan your budget accordingly. But ultimately, while you’re planning, keep the reason you’re doing it at the core of it all,” smiles Elaine.
Focus By Mr V