Laura and Nick’s gloriously sunshine filled wedding is a real breath of fresh air for a Monday morning.
The pair chose to hold their reception at a remote Spanish hotel in Seville, surrounded by fields of sunflowers, with just fifty guests.
Bride Laura kept cool in a divine Temperley gown and wore a bespoke sunflower headpiece as a nod to the idyllic surroundings.
They provided guests with a feast of local delicacies and kept the Jerez (sherry) flowing as a thank you for the journey made for their special day.
As the couple were living in Seville at the time, their dog Chancho was allowed to join in all the fun too. Although he does look suspiciously like a bear, not a dog to me…
Private And Simple
Laura The Bride: We were living in Sevilla in Southern Spain for a year and despite previously deciding to get married in the UK (where we’re both from), the bad weather eventually put us off. We have Spanish friends who drove us around showing us venues, but Cortijo Barranco in Arcos de la Frontera was actually the first one we saw and remained our favourite.
We really loved the simplicity of the place and it was very private. The capacity for seated guests was just 50 which suited us perfectly as we wanted a low key ceremony. The venue assured us that even if our guests didn’t fill all the rooms, they wouldn’t rent out the remainder.
A Sunflower Headpiece
I always hated the idea that brides, and the wedding party in general, don’t look like themselves at weddings, and this was something I desperately tried to avoid. I personally don’t really wear much makeup on a daily basis so I wanted to keep everything very natural looking.
My friend Sarah did a couple of trial runs with my hair and makeup, including accompanying me to an appointment at Laura Mercier, where we bought all the products. My gorgeous sunflower headpiece was made by Anna Dominoes and designed to fit with the rustic feel of the day.
A Temperley Bride
I hadn’t ever really imagined myself getting married so I wasn’t one of those girls that had everything planned out years in advance. Therefore, shopping for a wedding dress was quite a daunting process; I even considered wearing a non-wedding gown for the occasion. I made a couple of bridal appointments in London and went along with my Mum. I was mainly looking at vintage dresses as I imagined wearing something from the ’60s or ’70s.
My first appointment, however, was at Temperley London in Notting Hill. I didn’t expect to be able to afford anything there but I just wanted the experience. As it turned out, the first dress I tried on was so beautiful that I ended up buying it (it was also more affordable than I anticipated). I did try on about 10 other dresses afterwards but none matched up to the beauty of the Temperley gown. I really liked how it didn’t look too “weddingy” and I’d never seen another dress like it. The train was just beautiful. Nick wore a navy blue suit with tan brogues from Reiss UK.
Patent Blue Shoes
Like most brides-to-be, I had a Pinterest board filled with wedding ideas ahead of the day. One of the images I had was of a bride wearing blue shoes and I really liked that idea for many different reasons.
I found the perfect blue patent heels at a Rupert Sanderson sample sale. They were comfortable and I wore them for the whole day. My other accessories were minimal because I thought the dress had enough detailing but did include a gold bangle from Whistles and my sunflower headpiece.
A Select Few
We wanted to have a really small, intimate wedding with just people that we really wanted to be there and having a capacity of 50 ensured that was the case. I don’t have any sisters and I have many really good female friends so it was either no bridesmaids or everyone was a bridesmaid! Therefore, I decided to keep it simple and just have our nephews as page boys.
Like everyone else, we wanted them to be relaxed and not too hot so they just wore striped shirts, chinos and matching trainers. We advised everyone to dress however they wished as we didn’t want people to be uncomfortable or too hot. This meant that some male guests wore suit and ties, but most opted for open neck shirts. Some of the guys even wore sandals which started a lot of ‘wickershoes’ jokes.
The Middle Of Nowhere
The Cortijo Barranco is in the middle of the countryside and miles from the main road. From there, you can only see one other building and the rest is sunflower fields. We therefore decided to work with what already existed and chose yellow as one of our main colours. The groom wore a navy blue suit so that was our second colour.
Our florist decorated the venue with more sunflowers and I actually made most of the table decorations myself based on ideas I’d found on Pinterest. Everybody got really stuck in with helping out, so a friend made the serviettes, my aunts made bunting and a very creative friend helped decorate on the actual day.
Sunflowers And Daisies
We tried to use local suppliers where possible and our florist really exceeded my expectations. I went to her with a lot of photos of things I’d seen and ideas I’d had and she brought them to life. She was a little surprised by how low key I wanted it to be, but in the end it worked out perfectly.
We mainly had sunflowers and daisies and then the bouquet had a few lilies in it too. There were flowers in the middle of all the tables and at the end of each row of chairs. The next day I caught several guests trying to leave with the table decorations so I guess they were a hit!
Tears Of Joy All Round
Getting married abroad is incredibly complicated, even if you live there. There are ways to make it possible, but in the end we decided it was easier to complete the paperwork in the UK ahead of time. We therefore asked a mutual friend, Matt, to lead the ceremony at the Cortijo and this gave us complete control over what we said and did.
Matt has known us both for a very long time so was able to talk at length about us individually and as a couple. He included a few readings and we also had readings from my Mom and Nick’s brother Billy. We then read out brief speeches about each other and it seemed like everybody in the building was crying.
Free Flowing Liquor
In the lead up to our own wedding, we went to several friend’s weddings and took aspects that we liked for our own celebration. We knew we had to have an open bar to make up for the fact that so many people had flown over to Spain for the occasion and to show that we appreciated the expense.
We also wanted to make sure everyone was relaxed and having a good time and alcohol always helps that! We asked two friends to DJ at the reception and they both did a great job. We divided it up in to eras so that they wouldn’t be playing the same songs and this also way meant that some of the soul/motown was early on which was good for the older guests. Our first dance was to Sam Cookes’ Wonderful World.
Local, Traditional Food
Since our guests were travelling to Spain for the wedding, we thought they’d probably like to eat local traditional food so we kept things quite simple with paella, tortilla (Spanish omelette) and salmorejo. Also, at the reception we had a ham leg and sherry (Jerez) which was from a local vineyard.
A man came from the vineyard to serve the sherry straight from the barrel – it was very popular with our guests! The cake was French style with profiterole style pastries filled with crème Catalan from a local bakery, Pasteleria Sandra. The favours were little packets of sunflower seeds.
Thoughtful Homemade Décor
I made a lot of the table decorations myself using ideas I found online. The table plan was written on a blackboard which fitted with the country theme of the venue. Each table was themed with something Spanish or something that was invented in Spain. All of the name cards had a fact inside about someone else on their table, the aim was to introduce people that didn’t necessarily know each other.
The invites were perhaps one of our bigger expenses but one that was definitely worth it. Since we were getting married abroad, we chose a plane ticket style design which I found on Etsy. It included a luggage tag which had additional venue information and details of our wedding website.
Tailor Your Day To Your Needs
I think the best advice about organising a wedding is just to consider all of your options. You don’t have to do anything in a set way and there are now so many options available that you can really tailor your day to your needs. We didn’t start the ceremony until late afternoon which gave us plenty of time to prepare and get ready. I often find that weddings that start at lunchtime end up with a lull period in the afternoon which leaves guests exhausted and hungry.
Also, little details can really help to personalise the whole event. We had our dog, Chancho, at our wedding and that was really important to us, plus he loved all the attention (although he did try and jump up on my dress). If you want ten bridesmaids, then have ten. Also, set a budget before hand and try to stick to it (at least vaguely). Spend money on things that you and your guests will remember. For example, place settings are really easy to make yourself if you have the time. Food wasn’t a big priority for us so we kept it quite simple which really reduced the cost too.
Last Minute Hero
We had a bit of drama with our original photographer and had to find a new one with just two months to go. Zoe Campbell was recommended to me and we emailed several times before we actually confirmed to discuss exactly what we wanted and to ensure she was able to come to Spain.
We really liked the photos on her website and the fact that she was happy to shoot both analogue and digitally. One of the things that I loved about having her as our wedding photographer was that she was always around but she wasn’t in your face! She has a very relaxed style and didn’t make us do any cheesy poses that we were uncomfortable with.
Zoe really fitted in with our guests both in the way she adhered to the dress code and in the way she was happy to get stuck in and chat to anybody and everybody! She wasn’t demanding at all, in fact I barely noticed her most of the time and she was just happy to mingle.
We were really happy with the venue, Cortijo Barranco, and the way they met all of our needs throughout the weekend. We had a disabled guest who stayed at the venue for the whole weekend and they really went out of their way to make his stay comfortable. All of the staff were really friendly and helpful, especially as the manager speaks perfect English. I would definitely recommend it as a wedding venue or even just somewhere to stay for a weekend.
I really do love an intimate wedding, they always look so relaxed and fun.
And the combination of white washed walls, bright sunshine and yellow blooms is always a winning one.
Lots of love,