LocationI’d always dreamed of a rustic wedding in a rundown farmhouse looking over acres of countryside in the South of France. However, our research soon identified that beautiful venues were plentiful but travel logistics were far from ideal. A number of our guests were travelling from overseas and we were conscious they might feel like they had been in transit their entire trip. We wanted a destination offering more than a wedding, one that people could enjoy for the sheer beauty, food, culture and nightlife. Ibiza it was!
VenueYou can’t not fall in love with Can Gall; lush gardens, stunning views, twelve unique en-suite bedrooms and to top it off the owners Santi and Ana go above and beyond to make your stay a delight. It really is a dream venue. Due to the venue’s natural beauty we kept the decoration minimalist. We hung paper lanterns above the seating area and used foliage from the grounds to decorate the arch and make the table place settings. I used one of my dad’s fountain pens and ink pot to write out the guests names on brown luggage tags. I wanted to add as many touches to the day as possible that would remind me of my dad and using his things as part of the preparation really helped me to prepare for his absence. Rather than having a traditional seating plan we printed Polaroid photos of our guests and hung these between two pomegranate trees. We wrote personalised messages on the back of the prints sharing a memory or five...So these doubled up as favours! We kept the theme of polaroid photos going with our Guest book. We left a Polaroid camera, a lot of films and a blank book on a stone table for our guests to get creative with. The result is a beautiful message book with lots of lovely words and happy smiley faces; I will treasure forever.
DressI prefer food shopping to clothes shopping and so I didn’t give much consideration to what I was going to wear on my wedding day. I had the obligatory bridal shop sessions, but the dresses I fell in love with always seemed to be the most expensive and I couldn’t justify spending that sort of money on a dress – catering fine...but not a dress. So...I designed my dress, ordered the material from Croft Mill and had it made by a local tailor. The entire dress including the veil cost less than £200! I loved my dress, it wasn’t perfect (I am no designer) but I felt great in it on the day and that's all that matters to me. I also loved the gold earrings I wore. I found them in an antique jeweller in Norfolk The Gold Shop. I’ve worn them since the wedding and they are a constant reminder of the day. I smile every morning when I see them on my dressing table.
Wedding Party FashionI trawled the internet for what felt like an eternity looking for bridesmaids dresses that would complement my favourite ladies. After some serious Whatsapp chats, I went with my instinct. I wanted my bridesmaids to look elegant and stand out against the lush green settings of Can Gall so I was delighted when I found the Gull Pink slip cami dresses on ASOS. It took the ladies a while to bond with the dress and there were a few crisis moments, but sourcing good underwear was key! Luke and his groom's party spent an afternoon in Topshop with a personal shopper and came out fully suited and booted...after just one afternoon! Unfortunately, one of the suits didn’t make it to Ibiza and is still waiting to be collected from the alternations department...Luckily they are a creative bunch and somehow the boys managed to pull off a quick outfit rejig on the day! My sisters gave Luke my dad’s watch to wear on the day. Luke showed me during the ceremony and I had to hold back my tears; bittersweet. I wore DoSon by Diptique as my wedding scent. I love being reminded of experiences by scents which inspired me to give the bridesmaids a solid pot of DoSon perfume as a small token of my appreciation for all the support they had given me...throughout my entire life!
The Bridesmaids and I had a great afternoon bonding over thistles, brown string and prosecco to make our dried flower bouquets. These were packed and taken to Ibiza with us in our hand luggage. The flowers on the tables were from a local mini-market. It saved us a small fortune buying the bunches (8 euros/bunch) and then arranging them ourselves and was also a lot of fun! I made confetti cones using pages from an old Alice In Wonderland book which were filled with the petals I’d been diligently drying for as long as I can remember.
We wanted to have traditional Spanish cuisine and Chef Ibiza created an incredible spread of Canapés (scallops, chicken skewers, gazpacho, croquettes) and a three course ‘tapas style’ evening meal (octopus, frittata, steak tartar, bruschetta, Iberico pork, sorbet) every mouthful was like a tiny explosion of Spain. The presentation, taste and service was phenomenal at our tasting session and I was blown away when this level was maintained on the wedding day. A massive thank-you to Flavia and her team. My very talented sister, her boyfriend Duncan and a few other sous chefs made the cake in the Kitchen at Can Gall. My mum's carrot cake recipe; one of my favourites, was covered in buttercream and then drizzled with chocolate.
Due to local laws on marriage, we knew we would not be able to get legally married in Spain but it was important that the ceremony in Ibiza felt like the real thing as we wanted our guests to feel part of our marriage. One of my bridesmaids sung an acoustic version of ‘I’ll bring you flowers’. I followed the other 6 Bridesmaids down the aisle to Anna’s beautiful voice. A very close friend of ours led the Ceremony which made it so special and very personal. Ben has a great way of communicating messages about love and God in a way that we can all relate to which made it feel so real. Nearly a year on and people still comment on how refreshing the ceremony was and how unique he made it. We feel honoured to have had him play such a pivotal role at our Wedding and helped set the scenes for our happy ever after! During the ceremony Josh, a very talented musician and a close friend played his version of ‘Stay’ by Rhianna on the saxophone which was one of my favourites moments of the day. Josh played at my dad’s funeral and so it was so incredible he was able to play on our wedding day. He also played some more upbeat tracks ‘Up Town Funk Street’, ‘Happy’ and ‘You’ve got the love’ as we walked back up the aisle as husband and wife. We wrote our own vows which I was a bit nervous about at first, but I’m so glad we did; they were open and honest and reflected who we are as individuals and our partnership which I think our audience were all able to relate to.
I was blown away by the speeches. Every single word beautifully captured the essence of Luke and I and most importantly the love we have for our family and close friends. It was a true celebration with the perfect mixture of emotion. There was laughter, tears, shock...all the emotions you would expect from a cracking set of speeches.
We choose ‘She’s Royal’ by Tarrus Riley to accompany us on our first dance which was relaxed and lots of fun. I love reggae music and fell in love with this song when I saw it played live in Belize. One of Luke’s nicer nicknames for me is his ‘Queen’ so the song was very fitting for us! We were lucky enough to have the Menendez Brothers DJ at our Wedding which was incredible. They are so versatile, great fun, always up for a party and ridiculously good at what they do so the dance floor was bouncing all night. Josh got involved half way through the night and jumped on his saxophone too which was amazing.
We met Amber of Liberty Pearl at our friend's 30th birthday. She was there in the thick of it taking photos yet you could have easily missed her. I love her natural photos and her calm approach. There were no staged awkward photos, she let you get on with it and relax. It really is worth investing in a good photographer. We also had a video made, by Liberty Pearl, which helped to capture the day perfectly using short clips. I wasn’t aware the video was being taken at the time and was a lovely surprise after which created some beautiful natural footage.
The Spanish love their food and so be prepared to eat a lot at the food tasting sessions. Only book one in a day; we made the mistake of having two on the same day and it was painful! There are only so many croquettes you can smuggle away in your handbag. I was adamant we wanted to eat outside and I was so glad we did as the setting was just beautiful. As the sun set over the horizon and the tables were lit by a hazy Spanish sunset it was just magical. The locals may try to discourage you from eating outside as they will be worried about the wine getting warm etc. However, alfresco dining is so unpredictable in the UK if you have the opportunity to at your venue abroad I would highly recommend it as it adds another dimension to the day for you and your guests. We were actually gatecrashed by a swarm of flying ants during the speeches, and even those who got attacked still claimed it was one of the most beautiful Wedding Breakfast settings they had experienced. Luke and I have a very different approach to spending money – I don’t, he does! So there was a lot of compromises needed when budgeting and planning a wedding. The number of conversations we had, ‘Yes I know we can afford it but.’ Followed by ‘Well that’s ridiculous I’m not chartering a Jumbo jet...’; Now that we couldn’t afford. But a compromise was key. Our Venue and Catering were our largest costs. I tried to be as creative as possible with the rest and saved loads of money using dried flower bouquets etc. It was also a big win getting Luke to agree to get the suits from Topshop, but I think he actually really enjoyed the experience. The highlight of the wedding was that we were able to spread the celebrations over a number of days. We hired Elements beach club on the Friday and had a sit down 3-course meal with 100 of our guests. As a compromise to a White Ibizan themed Wedding, the Friday dress code was white which was fabulous. Everyone embraced it just as we knew they would and everyone looked fantastic. It was also a great icebreaker for the wedding on the Saturday. On the Sunday we had the Menendez Brothers return to Can Gall for a Pool Party. Santi and Ana put on a feast of a BBQ and the drinks flowed until dusk. It really was like watching the credits to a film. A perfect ending to our wedding celebrations.