12th December 2016
An Intimate Celebration - Marlis & Neil
Marlis and Neil wanted their wedding day to be an occasion where they could celebrate their love and spend time with their closest family members and dearest friends. They tell Marie-Claire Grima all about how they planned their small but stunning wedding in just a few short months.
About eight years ago, a computer shop sales assistant named Marlis Zammit was at a party with some friends, when out of the corner of her eye, she noticed a strangely familiar face. The face, she realised, belonged to Neil Farrugia, who had recently visited the shop where she worked to buy a television. The two started talking and hit it off immediately, and after a year of casual dating, they decided to make it official. Neil popped the question a few years down the line.
The pair were engaged for about three years before they started planning the wedding. They decided to have a small celebration, with only 30 guests, comprised only of their immediate family members and their closest friends. “At every big wedding you go to, you’ll see a handful of people on the dance floor all night with the bride and groom, while everyone else stays on the side lines. We decided that that handful of people would be our entire guest list,” says Neil. “We didn’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings, but we didn’t want to invite a huge crowd of people and end up only spending about 15 seconds with each person either.”
Marlis and Neil got married on 13 June 2016. They exchanged vows at St Matthew Chapel in Qrendi, a chapel they had often strolled by during walks in the countryside, and had long admired. She was driven to the church in her brother’s 60-year-old Peugeot 403 which used to be their grandfather’s, expresses the pure delight she felt on the day; Neil adds that the only nervousness he felt was over whether he would stumble over his vows – “other than that, I was really relaxed!”
Following the ceremony, Marlis, Neil and their guests enjoyed welcome drinks and appetisers, a three-course lunch, followed by an open bar at the Harbour Club in Valletta. Guests were presented with incredibly thoughtful souvenirs – framed photographs showing them in the company of the bride and groom over the years. “It was something we could only get away with because it was such a small, intimate wedding,” says Neil. “It still took an age!”
After the cake was cut, the bar opened and the tables were swept aside. The couple opened up the dance floor by sharing their first waltz to an acapella cover of Creed’s With Arms Wide Open. After the party started winding down, the couple left in their prized Mini Moke; in a strange twist of fate, it was a car that had at different points in its life, belonged to members on either side of the family. The two concluded their first adventure as a married couple with a honeymoon in dreamy Santorini.
“A wedding doesn’t have to be a huge affair to be special and meaningful. I really don’t have anything against people who have big weddings, but it just wasn’t for us in our case. With our wedding, we felt like it was truly our day, because we were able to plan it in just a few short months, and celebrate the way we wanted,” says Neil. Marlis agrees. “After your parents get over the shock that they can’t get all the extended family in, you’ll find that people are really supportive, and enjoy the fact that you were able to spend more quality time with them on such an important and meaningful day.”