An 'I do' villa in Formentera

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A surprise proposal last September from the love of my life was swiftly followed by an unsurprising insistence that any wedding had to be strictly “no fuss”. In fact, could we just get married that afternoon and tell everyone later.

I wanted just a little bit of fuss, or at least the opportunity to sober up from the celebratory bottles of Champagne and cava we had consumed that morning, and so began six months of searching for a villa that could play host to the lucky 13 – including bride and groom – chosen (allowed!) to attend.

That we would marry in Formentera was never in question: our favourite place in the world, and probably the only place my future husband could lose his head long enough to propose in the first place. We know every hotel, every apartment and every beach-side shack on the island, having stayed in more than our fair share of them, but villas had never been on the hit-list – this was, after all, a destination we’d chosen to keep to ourselves (well, us and the people on Instagram I regularly spam with photos from the island).

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Hours and days were lost to Google searches and travel magazine buying. There was even a third trip to Formentera in 2018 billed as a villa recce – really as much an excuse to squeeze one more visit in before it shut up shop for winter. 

In the end it came down to a nervous email booking, villa unseen, days before Christmas when panic set in and other villas we’d spotted started showing little red blocks next to our preferred July dates on the many search engines I had permanently open.

And then the real nerves set-in. Just how photoshopped were those images online? Other brides, I imagine, obsess about their dress, the ring, the cake. I obsessed about whether the thousands and thousands we’d handed over in deposit were going to provide the perfect backdrop for, yes, the ‘I dos’, but more importantly a pool large enough to jump into once we’d got the formalities out of the way, plus what was to all intents and purposes now my masterplan to create the perfect family holiday.

It was.

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Set just outside the tiny village of La Mola at the far end of Formentera, reached via a single dusty track framed by the aniseed plants which scent the island’s famous Hierbas Ibicencas liqueur, Somnis Formentera undersells itself as a villa. It’s really a tiny boutique hotel; you just happen to play receptionist, concierge and chef as well as guest.

With six bedrooms, five en-suite, as well as terraces a plenty, all shaded with billowing linen and bougainvillea, there was ample space to laze, read, and now and again escape my nieces and step-sons - newly minted ‘cousins’ – who spent the entire week perfecting their jumps, dives and belly-flops in the huge swimming pool. Or for the three-year-old, one hour swimming round and round in circles when she could only find one of her arm-bands.

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If you’re a Formentera regular, this part of the island is deemed off the beaten track, thanks to a tortuous (eye roll!) ten-minute scoot down to a beach, but what it lacks in beachfront location it more than makes up for in space and solitude – a huge advantage when you want to dance under the full moon on your wedding night to Jay Z’s 99 Problems at full volume (the six-year-old’s choice for the first dance).

But the very best bit? Two beautiful, carved and whittled wooden trees to frame the pool’s water fountain, which turned out to be the very best place to dry 13 sets of bikinis and swim shorts at the end of each glorious day.

My fuss-allergic new husband is talking about making it an annual event.