Oh everything about this wedding is just so gorgeous!! We do love a travel theme, especially when combined with pastel blooms and the most heavenly of settings – Cortijo Pedro Jimenez with it’s pool, coastal views and private grounds really is the ultimate place for a destination wedding.
Gemma The Bride: I was staying with my parents in Thame for the weekend when mum said “We should go to that lovely boutique Anna McDonald Bridal down the road to try on some dresses?” They had an appointment so Mum and I got my Aunty Jan and went to give it a go. As I work in fashion I felt like the stakes were high! I definitely didn’t think I was going to wear a traditional wedding dress…so imagine my surprise when I put on the full-on princess Justin Alexander strapless gown and knew it was the ‘one’! As I was trying the dresses on Mum and Jan were joking about how on “Don’t Tell The Bride” they always cried when the bride came out in her dress – “how ridiculous” we all thought. Needless to say they were both in tears when I came out in my dress – what a moment! I would like to say a special thank you to Marie who made my dress fit like a glove. It was SO important!!
Being a bit of a Sex and the City fan I did think I would go for Jimmy Choo’s…but they didn’t look right. I had already bought 4 pairs of shoes to try with my dress when I fell in love with the Michael Kors Silver Sandals in Selfridges. I loved the more vintage look, and it work with my style and our theme as well.
I was shopping in London with my mum when I found the hairband. We were looking for her Mother of the Bride outfit when we saw this amazing Halo & Co hairband twinkling at me through the window of Bridal Rogue Gallery. It was more than I wanted to spend but I LOVED it and after a little battle with myself I went back a few weeks later and got it – SO pleased I did!
I love BIG earrings but with the BIG dress and BIG hairband I knew I needed to tone it down with the jewellery. I decide just to wear large pearl studs that my godmother gave me. The pearls have a magical story behind them – my godmother was given them by an Indian prince who dived for them; they were in love but couldn’t marry! She had the pearls made into earrings for me just before she passed away. Very special. Very perfect.
James’ outfit was a little more last minute than mine. He was all about a tailored suit from Savile Row…so off we went to London. We had a great day out and although he tried on loads of suits we settled on the very first suit he tried! It was from Richard James and looked amazing! I found a beautiful Liberty print that we sent to the lovely people at Mrs Bow Tie to make bow ties and pocket squares for James and his Groomsmen. We also had scrabble cuff links made with all the boys’ initials.
I had seven amazing bridesmaids (gulp), including my sister who was pregnant, and my best friend from school and James’ sister – both of whom live in Australia! It was the biggest challenge! I loved the Dessy Wrap dress as the girls could look individual but perfectly matching. Plus it was maternity friendly. They all looked stunning. The bouquets were simple – a single large peony with a simple ribbon – and it worked well with the simple elegance of their dress.
I walked down the aisle to three of our best friends singing Roy Orbison’s Pretty Woman! It was totally off the wall and exactly what we wanted. When I was waiting to walk down the aisle the music started and I thought…‘oh no, they decided not to sing and have gone for the back up iPod option’. That’s how good they were – I thought it was the actual recording! The only thing that beat it was the look on James’ face when he first saw me.
The ceremony was easily the most amazing part of the day, and probably one of the best moments of our lives. It was also one of the most emotional moments of our lives. Luckily James had given me a hanky embellished by his Grandmother – a beautiful gesture that came in very handy! We went for a humanist blessing and Natasha, who conducted the ceremony was a triumph. She made it so personal and special. I remember looking up at one point and thinking, why is everyone else crying? The boys told me afterwards…hay fever 😉
James and I wrote our own vows and my very talented sister wrote and read us a poem. My brother in law also did a wonderful reading that he selected for us. It could not have been better! My wedding ring was my Gran’s wedding ring. This was so special as the saddest thing for me was that she wasn’t alive to see us get married; she was the most wonderful person and she loved James so much. Having her wedding ring made it feel like she was with us.
James and I both love traveling and Spain was somewhere that we discovered we loved together. We got engaged in Seville, so for us getting married in Andalucia seemed to make sense. I knew that getting married abroad, we would need help. So I went to the web to find someone with a unique sense of style and creativity to make our dream wedding come true. When I found Rachel of Rachel Rose Weddings I just knew it would be extraordinary. Rachel was very chilled and easy to work with. She did everything in a professional way but with a personal and caring feel. Cortijo Pedro Jimenez was the ultimate venue for us – its traditional Spanish look and feel was exactly what we wanted, and with vistas of the mountains and the Mediterranean in the distance, it was a glorious setting.
We never left the Cortijo but the varied layout – with outdoor gardens and views, a traditional Spanish courtyard, and then the luxurious pool area – felt like we were in a handful of different venues. The way we moved from one to another was a slow reveal for our guests, making each stage another little surprise. It started with welcome drinks at the traditional main entrance, then the ceremony was on the lawn behind the Cortijo with an amazing view down the hill and out over the sea. Next was Canapés and Cocktails in the central courtyard before heading to the pool lawn for dinner, speeches and hours of dancing!!
We decided to go for a travel theme it seemed obvious as James is Australian, I’m English, we both love travel, we have both lived abroad (James still does ☺) and we were getting married in Spain! We had guests come from all over the world – 11 countries in total including Australia, USA, Canada, Dubai, Japan, France, Germany, Austria, Netherlands, the UK and Ireland.
I have always collected post cards from our travels and from exhibitions so I made up packs of post cards with Par Avion ribbon and miniature plane charms from Wedding In A Teacup. Each table had a selection for people to write messages for us on…basically our guest book is a collection of post cards from places that mean something to us. It worked really well.
I run a small greeting card company called The Bees Knees Ltd so when I saw the “Meant to bee” personalised seed packets…I just had to have them! I think people loved them and loads of our guests have posted on face book or messaged us when they planted the seeds.
I also made a mock passport for our guests – it was the programme for the day and gave people some information as to how things would play out. I made the confetti cones out of photocopies of old maps – they worked quite well too. When James and I moved in together the first thing we bought was three scrabble name places – our initials and a heart. We started collecting other letters and every time someone new came for dinner we tried to get their own initials. It became a scrabble obsession! So when I said to James ‘shall we write our table names (cities and towns that are special to us) in scrabble letters’, he thought it was a great idea. I got most of the scrabble letters from Ebay. It was also a really fun way to write messages to our guests.
Anoulka at Nulki Nulks Stationery did the most amazing seating plan. It was a vintage Ship Destination and Passenger list – we LOVED it…and we are still trying to get it shipped back from Spain! She also made the coolest menus – paper airplanes!
The flowers were stunning, sculptural, wild, vintage, romantic – and perfect. I had quite a good idea of what we wanted regarding decoration and Rachel made my vision come true – while adding a few special touches of her own that made it all the more special.
Food and drink was very important and we wanted to keep it as Spanish as possible. James works for a fantastic and unique online wine company called Naked Wines – so the wine was a BIG deal. Paolo Sachetto, the award winning Prosecco maker, shipped some lovely Italian fizz – his highest rated Col de l-Utia. Rodolfo Bastido, spanish winemaker for Hacienda Don Hernan, provided a full bodied, ripe and award winning Rioja Crianza 2012 as the red. And for the white, he sent his brand new crisp Verdejo – mmm. And Carlos Rodriguez, another Naked winemaker, also sent some tasty Rioja Joven for us to tuck into. One of the definite highlights was the Spanish sherry during the canapés, complete with traditional Venenciadora pouring for us.
We had a beautiful and very tasty cake from Sweet Things by Fi. It was lovely, and scrumptious – and actually was a gift, as we were not going to have a cake. I’m really pleased we got one (thanks Fi!). We also had a cheesecake that we cut up later and had as an evening snack.
This is our Menu, with food provided by Fiesta Sol Catering:
Spanish Canapés: Hot sautéed chorizo, Roast beef tostadas with caramelized onion, Shot glasses of salmorejo, Goats cheese and caramelized onion tartlets, Tiger prawns wrapped in smoked salmon with dill yoghurt, Leg of Iberico ham.
Starter: Spanish Tapas – Boquerones en vinagre, Roasted vegetables & walnuts, Stuffed peppers, Manchego cheese with balsamic reduction, Selection of Iberico hams.
Main: Paella three ways – Chicken & Chorizo, Seafood & Vegetarian Paella
Dessert: Crepes with Hot Chocolate followed by Coffee & Petit Fours
Keeping with the traditional feel we had the amazing Luis Fonseca playing Flamenco guitar during the cocktails and canapés. During the meal and after, to get the dancing going, we had Sarah Howard. Her voice is incredible, and versatile, and people were itching to dance as soon as she started. It was amazing to have such good live music. We love dancing and Sarah rocked!
We chose Radka as our photographer quite simply because I loved her photos. I was taken with the feeling and emotion she captures in her pictures, and her ability to pick up the ‘vibe’ of the moment. Her attention to detail was exactly what we wanted. On the day her and her partner James were so relaxed and lovely to be around, it made it so easy. I think she captured the magical Spanish lighting so well. There were tonnes of beautiful and magical moments during the day…and she was there for them all!! I wanted a photographer who would capture all the little details and tell a story of our day moment by moment. I think Radka was fantastic.
We decided to get a Videographer when we found out James’ Dad was unable to travel to our wedding due to illness. Obviously it was devastating news that he couldn’t make it so we really wanted to capture it on film for him. We were recommended Salvador at Evergreen Malaga and I watch all of his wonderful videos on line. Just watching the promo videos had me in tears, as well as toe tapping – so we knew he would be good. I really liked his style and he was great to have around on the day. I know James was a fan of the 2 x drones grabbing aerial shots of the early stages!
Photography by Radka Horvath Photography
- Bride Justin Alexander
- Boutique Anna McDonald
- Shoes Michael Kors
- Headpiece Halo & Co
- Florist Flor Valentin
- Venue Cortijo Pedro Jimenez
- Decor, Styling & Planning Rachel Rose Weddings
- Cake Sweet Things by Fi
- Catering Fiesta Sol
- Bridesmaids Dessy
- Groom & Groomsmen Richard James
- Bowties & Pocket Squares Mrs Bowtie
- Scrabble Tile Cufflinks Not On The High Street
- Stationery Nulki Nulks
- The Bees Knees
- Singer Sarah Howard
- Videographer Ever Green
- Celebrant Malaga Minister
- Hair & Make Up Princess Bride
- Favours Wedding In A Teacup