Cornwall Living 2016

Island paradise

Discover romantic Scilly, a paradise island escape right here in Cornwall.

Imagine walking hand in hand along a deserted white sand beach, the sun catching the tiny pieces of silver and diamonds the sand leaves shimmering on your toes. As you gaze out across the cobalt blue ocean with pure white clouds dotted against an azure blue sky you could be forgiven for thinking you were in far-off climes. But you’d be wrong. This stunning island paradise lies just 28 miles off the coast of Cornwall. The Isles of Scilly are an uncrowded and uspoilt archipelago with just five main inhabited islands nestled amongst more than hundred rocky islets.

If your dream wedding and honeymoon is one of pure escapism then you can’t get a more magical destination than Scilly for your ceremony or honeymoon, or indeed both! With such short travel times and no need for additional visas or special licences you can share your day to remember in the company of family and friends. Having visited Scilly since a young girl my love affair with the islands started and finished with St Martin’s. For me, this is the most magical of the five. As you approach on the motor launch that brings you across from St Mary’s you are greeted with a breathtaking stretch of sand, with cool, clear water gentle lapping at the edge. This is just one of many stretches of beach on St Martin’s – all have their individual character and each reveals a new gorgeous vista out across the water.

Such is the beauty of the beaches and the fabulousness of the views I could wax lyrical forever, but as every girl knows at some point you have to come back down to earth and consider the practicalities of the wedding ceremony and reception. But dear reader, fear not – the island is home to the luxurious Karma St Martin’s, a holistic hideaway that from a distance looks like a hamlet of traditional stone island cottages. This simple façade belies an interior of contemporary luxury and a stunning venue in which to say ‘I do’.  Karma has four licensed wedding settings to choose from and its gorgeous gardens are the perfect place for photographs with that stunning blue water and white sand as a backdrop.

Your guests will be wowed by gorgeous bedrooms, some decorated with intricate Balinese wallpapers by designer Tina Driscoll (Karma Group’s businesses began in Bali and India and so interiors hark to the orient with a clever mix of pattern and coastal chic). And the honeymoon suite really is something else. Relax in the calming, muted tones of your own large living room that has a vista out across Tean Sound and beyond, before you step out onto the private balcony and take in deep calming breaths of the restorative sea air. There’s nothing like the smell and sound of the ocean to calm those pre-wedding nerves along with a treatment in the hotel spa to nourish and nurture.

Once you’ve said ‘I do’ and gathered for photographs (the hotel can arrange a photographer for you) it’s time to sip champagne and look forward to the wedding breakfast. Any anxiety about speech-making can be put to one side for the moment while you enjoy the hotel’s cuisine to the full. Chefs prepare their dishes from seasonal produce, much of which is locally grown or caught from the very waters that the hotel overlooks. The wine list is carefully chosen and with a Wine Emotion System in place you and your guests can explore the world’s finest vintages one step at a time. I’ll leave you there for a moment…looking out across a room filled with the happy faces of family and dear friends who are sharing in your special day, making memories to last a lifetime.

There are some other practicalities of the day that need attending to. You won’t need a wedding car as they aren’t allowed on the island, a short stroll is all you need take from where you don the dress of your dreams to standing next to your betrothed. If you want to always wear a little piece of Scilly then you could commission local jeweller, Fay Page, to make your wedding bands or perhaps a silver and gold St Martin’s cowrie necklace? Flowers for the day couldn’t be fresher than those from Scilly Flowers from the island’s Churchtown Farm. Scented pinks in summer and scented narcissi in winter will fill the room with a sweet heady scent whatever the season. Scilly Maid Chocolate, tempered and moulded on St Mary’s, will make yummy favours for your guests.

Once the day is done and you awake as Mr and Mrs then it’s time to explore the island, after a hearty breakfast of course! Strolling arm in arm around St Martin’s is a real treat, whichever direction you choose to take – it’s just about big enough to lose yourself for the day but not big enough to get lost. There is plenty to explore over a few days on the island, meandering round the paths and trails, discovering view after view after view. No countryside walk is complete without a pit stop in a proper traditional pub. The Seven Stones Inn, a lovely stone building offers a good pint and quite possibly the best view from a pub garden anywhere in the UK. Of course, after each day exploring, you want nothing more than to retreat to the perfect sanctuary – and a wedding and honeymoon on St Martin’s will allow you to do just that.

 

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