Coco Ocean’s wedding co-ordinator Mary Dymore-Brown organises her own ceremony in The Gambia, of course there was only one choice for the location of her wedding…
I came to The Gambia to work for the Coconut Residence 12 years ago, where I was initially employed on the front desk interacting with guests and, as time went by, also took over the reservations. I naturally moved to Coco Ocean Resort & Spa when it opened in December 2008 and my role became even more important as repeat guests from the Coconut Residence relied on me to select the right room for their first visit to the new hotel. Over the last 12 years being part of the team has been a wonderful experience and I still maintain as much contact as I can with my repeat guests, keeping an eye on the front desk and of course looking after the reservations.
Over the years I have taken on many additional roles within the hotel, including wedding co-ordinator, arranging weddings from simple services for couples and their immediate family, to large parties of up to 1,200 people. Of course when it came to my own wedding there was no question that it would be held at Coco Ocean Resort & Spa; I knew that the whole team would make a wonderful day for me and even though we wanted a simple wedding for family and friends we still managed to “acquire” 100 guests!
I knew straightaway that I wanted to have the wedding ceremony down at the Beach Club pool with the Atlantic Ocean in front of us. We had a special platform built that fitted over the pool so that all the guests sitting down the sides of the pool could see. We knew that the one problem we would not have to consider was rain on the day! So, following the brief ceremony, our guests mingled in the gardens with cocktails and canapés whilst photographs were taken. We then had a lovely walk along the path, adjacent to the sea, to the Safran restaurant which had been beautifully decorated.
The tables were all white, with ribbons, crystal glasses and fresh white tropical flowers which smelt divine. After a glass of champagne, we had the speeches so that everyone could relax knowing that they were over; of course there were tears, particularly when Alan mentioned that the two most important men in my life were missing for the day – Jim, my father, who died some time ago and Farid Bensouda (the owner of Coco Ocean) who due to unforeseen circumstances was not in the country. Our wonderful wedding cake was then cut and taken away to be divided up for later. The sumptuous buffet had been laid out in the Ocean Bar with a whole variety of very English style dishes including a whole roast lamb and a roast pig on a spit.
Arranging a wedding at Coco Ocean Resort & Spa could not have been easier, I knew for certain that I only had to ask for something and it would be done – we only had one planning meeting and actually saw nothing until the day. It was clearly meant to be, just like making the decision to come and live here!