I’m pretty sure I’ve died and gone to bohemian heaven thanks to this stunning wedding, which is intimate, classy, trendy, rustic and romantic all in one. Multicultural couple Loredana & Jonatan live in Sweden but planned their dream day in Spain, inviting their guests to join them for three days of celebrations at the magical Marqués de Montemolar in Altea. The perfect October weather is matched by the picture perfect décor, with a macrame table plan, copper chairs, outdoor banquet table and floral arch. And then there’s our bride, in an utterly spectacular boho chic dress. Plus, the Orthodox ceremony involves a crown. Enough said.
If the streets of London are paved with gold then take me to Barcelona, for this golden jungle wedding – just outside the Spanish seaside city – must have been touched by Midas himself. Stunning couple Laia & Carlos shine amidst the hanging stars and sparkling lights at Masia Ribas, where the line between inside and outside is beautifully blurred by the incredible styling at the wedding breakfast. Gold insects, gold stars and gold vases vie for attention, but it is Laia’s golden headpiece that steals the show.
Calling all bohemian brides-to-be: this fabulous festival wedding will knock your socks off (appropriate, really, when our bride and groom are also barefoot). Set in the stunning Catalan countryside, Natashya & Nico could not have nailed their brief better. A naked tipi, petal mandala, Persian rugs and electronic music capture every inch of the festival spirit, whilst lace bridal separates and a purty protea bouquet add the additional wedding pretty. This wedding weekend was clearly so. much. fun. Time to party!
Part 2 para usted…
That means “part 2 for you…” and at that point I’ve exhausted my spanish vocabulary (which is pretty shocking as one of the words I used there was clearly English and another was a number).
Part 1 went down like free tapas on a warm Mediterranean evening, so now prepare for the entertainmnet, the celebration and the party.
Dan and Rommalee were married at Vejer de la Frontera earlier this year and the whole Spanish shebang was shot by Love Lust member Mister Phill, and rather uniquely reported by the groom, who we join once more.
Theses Aren’t Just Flower Girls…
We decided against bridesmaids but couldn’t resist getting our daughter Molly and her two cousins (Lauren and Daisy) involved as flower girls. Their dresses were actually skirts from Marks & Spencer that Romaleee loved so much, she had them converted by the same lady who made the adjustments to her own outfit. They also wore simple flower headbands made by Rommalee’s sister Etta
High Street Honeys…
Given our plan for a laid back wedding, we didn’t originally intend for the groom and the best men’s appearance to be themed in anyway but in for a penny, in for a pound and we all ended up going for a kind of ivy league/boaty style. All the shirts were from Next. Grooms shorts – Farah, hat – Debenhams, and shoes – Clarkes. Best Hombre Mats shorts – Ben Sherman, hat – Top Man and shoes – Ralph Loren. Best Hombre Jims shorts – Primark, hat – unknown shop in nearby town and shoes – Zara. I also wore a custom made wedding ring that I ordered from a Jewellers in Brooklyn.
I can’t say enough good things about Mister Phill. You’ve seen his photos so you don’t need me to tell you how good they are. But I will anyway. I’m really fussy when it comes to photography. I enjoy taking pictures in my spare time and the nature of my job means I come across a lot of great work in my day-to-day business. We checked out loads of quite mediocre and very uninspiring online portfolios before serendipitously stumbling across Mister Phills blog and instantly ending our search. His photos were technically brilliant, beautifully processed and they also captured the really important moments – the bits we knew we wouldn’t get to see and didn’t want to miss. And he doesn’t just take pictures. Each wedding that had been posted on his blog was not only well considered in terms of visual appearance but it was also accompanied by a superbly written and keenly observed narrative. As sappy as it sounds, Phill manages to make every couple feel a bit special, like theirs is the best and most exciting wedding he’s ever attended. He was undoubtedly the man for the job.
We met Phill a few times before the wedding and the more we talked, the more it became apparent that this was a man who loved taking pictures as much as his clients loved examining them. And he was up for a challenge too. When we booked him, our chosen venue was the barn in Corfe Castle and a less intrepid individual might have been scared off by the ridiculous change of location. We dropped the news into a conversation over dinner one night and he barely flinched. Anyway you get the message, we loved his work and we loved his attitude, we knew we were lucky to have found him. We booked him a ticket, gave him the GPS co-ordinates of the hotel and told him to leave his suit at home. Our next meeting was a couple of months and a thousand mile journey later, in the place we had chosen to get married. Phill spent every spare minute soaking up the new surroundings and reconnoitering the grounds of the hotel and the surrounding town to help build up the backdrop for the story he was about to tell.
We had really high, unreasonably high in fact, hopes for the photos of our wedding day and Phill still managed to exceed our expectations. Despite having to lug around his cumbersome equipment (sorry, I couldn’t think of any other way of wording it!), he proved to be extremely stealthy on the day of the wedding and if it wasn’t for an occasional glimpse of his newly acquired lightweight linen trousers disappearing up or down one of the many sets of steps around the hotel, we wouldn’t have known he was there (not until we forced him to have a beer anyway). We had no idea how much snapping he’d managed to squeeze in but we hoped that he would at least have recorded a handful of the days highlights. In fact he didn’t miss a single thing. Not after the encore anyway. We were eager to see the photos as soon as we got back but it was probably about a month before they were ready to be published. The wait was excrutiating but the anticipation and the build up to big reveal only served to intensify the impact when we finally got to see them. We were blown away by his stunning photos and the story that unfolded around them; all the things we wanted to see and then some. The people and places in the photos looked so good, so stylish and dramatic that it was hard to believe it was us. The post on his site was just as, if not more, enticing than anything that Rommalee had come across during her months of wedding blog browsing and it was ours! If it wasn’t for Phill, we wouldn’t be writing this for Rock My Wedding now and we wouldn’t have such a spectacular collection of beautifully composed words and photographs to remind us of our day. We love Phill.
Spongy Cream Delight
Ordered through the hotel and for a stupidly small amount of money, we had a traditional spanish cake (spongy creamy delight) from a small bakery in Vejer. It was plainly decorated with ribbon and rikrak that we took in our luggage along with a cake topper that we had custom made for us by a lovely lady in the states.
A Burst Of Entertainment
Spanish guitarist and flamenco dancers. These were also organised through the hotel and they performed, much to everyone’s amusement, in a few short bursts (and some interesting outfits) during the drinks on the terrace and in bewteen some of the courses of the meal. The music for the evening consisted of an itunes playlist played through a sound-dock that we packed in our luggage. I really enjoy my music and I slaved over the playlist for many late night hours but to be honest, I don’t think many of the guests were paying attention!
All I Want Is You
We had given this some thought in the months leading up to the wedding and narrowed the music down to four songs. We also decided that we didn’t want to find ourselves aimlessly swaying backwards and forwards (like a couple of teenagers at a school disco) in front of a crowd of people on our wedding day. Rommalee cut out an advert from a local magazine and next thing I know, we were in the function room of a local hotel with a pair of dancers quizzing us over our choice of music. We soon realised that nothing we’d shortlisted would suit the balmy rooftop setting where the dance would be taking place and went back to square one. Ten anguished minutes later and we’d settled on a song called ‘All I Want is You’ (by Barry Louis Polisar) which we’d liked ever since we’d heard it on the soundtrack of the film ‘Juno’. It didn’t have any deep significance for us but it was much better suited to the upbeat tone of our wedding and contained equal helpings of sentiment and humour in the lyrics.
For favours we dished out various Vejer de la Frontera fridge magnets from local gift shops. What can I say – we’re a classy couple!
La Vida Loca
We’d always wanted a bright colourful wedding to help encourage the guests to get into the party spirit and to contrast with the all white backdrop provided by the Vejer de la Frontera skyline. The hotel were unable to provide much in the way of decorations so this was left entirely down to us. Rommalee found some simple (but hopefully) effective ideas for DIY tissue paper flowers and cardboard birds and then we picked a bunch of vibrant colours to bring them to life. These were scattered around the venue together with various bits of signage (place settings, table plan and table names etc) that used the same colours and theme from the wedding invite and were displayed in bespoke wooden stumps made by my dad. To help provide a focal point and backdrop for the ceremony (and the head table later on in the day), we made some bunting (adorned with the meaningless but awesome and ever so slightly Spanish influenced Ricky Martin lyric ‘Livin La Vida Loca’) that was strung up between a couple of bits of bamboo. We also bought some colour themed glass paint and sploshed it on some cheap tealight holders from Ikea for additional decoration in the terrace bar for the evening doo.
As well as all the visual fluff, we provided a few little bits to help keep people entertained throughout the day. Hand-made moustaches courtesy of RMW, goody bags for the kids (with loads of stuff collected by Rommalee and tied with ribbon in hand decorated paper bags), 3D glasses with love heart vision by American Paper Optics, a photo wall featuring at least a couple of photos of each guest from over the years, and a personalised hand drawn guest book fingerprint tree.
A Hugely Rewarding Experience
Although it wasn’t necessarily something we would have chosen to do, the DIY ceremony really helped set the tone for the day. Much more informal than your usual church service, we injected quite a lot of humour (without being inappropriate or irreverent) into the wording and it also gave us the opportunity to say some much more personal and heartfelt words to each other. It wasn’t in the least bit legally binding (we’d already done that back in England a couple of weeks previously), but it was completely unique (apart from the bits I stole from the internet) and very special to us.
From our point of view, hand making all of the decorations was also a hugely rewarding experience. I would never, in a million years, volunteer to do it again but I’d definitely recommend it to others. The venue didn’t really need any decorations, it was beautiful enough as it was, but the little touches we added enabled us to put our own stamp on the occasion. The fact that we’d invested so much of our own blood, sweat and tears just meant that the results were even more satisfying.
Other quick tips:
- Don’t do anything for the sake of it.
- Don’t try to keep everyone happy.
- Don’t let children play near cactus’.
- Don’t let the bar staff choose your round of shots.
- Do get a good photographer.
- Do remember that you’ll only do this once.
- Do your own thing.
Destination – Vejer de la Frontera
Photography – Mister Phill
Stationery – Dan (the groom)
Grooms ring – Digby and Iona
Cake topper – Etsy
3D Glasses – American Paper Optics
I honestly have nothing to say. Ok that was a lie, I have lots to say but I’ll try to be succinct. I think at this point we all know that Dan has done Rommalee proud by writing one of the most enjoyable accounts ever to grace our blue polka-dotted pages. The wedding is an absolute gem, and Mister Phill? You are the daddy.
Quote of the day/week/year:
Dan …”it was completely unique (apart from the bits I stole from the internet).”
That’s what it’s all about people 😉
I am very proud indeed to announce a Rock My Wedding first!!
This afternoon we feature a wedding report written by The Groom. And He has a LOT to say! So just before I hand you over to Dan I should just mention that additional testosterone has been thrown into the mix courtesy of Mister Phill with his manly (and genius) camera work…
Dan and Rommalee were married at Vejer de la Frontera earlier this year.
Hi, I’m Dan. I guess you’re probably more accustomed to reading reports from the brides but I enjoy telling stories and I helped out a fair bit with the preparations for the day so Rommalee thought I’d probably be equally well qualified for the job.
I proposed to Rommalee back in 2009 and to begin with, we didn’t really know what we wanted from our wedding day. Although I was keen to get married and liked the idea of a party, I was quite indifferent towards the details of the event at that stage and didn’t give it much thought. We originally booked a beautiful venue overlooking Corfe Castle in Dorset but began having second thoughts when the costs started escalating, the guest list got out of hand and something that was supposed to be a celebration started turning into a big headache. That was when we decided to scrap everything we’d planned so far and relocate the wedding 1000 miles away in Vejer de la Frontera, the small hilltop town in Southern Spain where I had proposed to Rommalee a couple of years previously. We thought that by having a hotel as the venue for our wedding, we could forget about everything and let them take care of all the details whilst we put our feet up and cleverly avoided all the stress.
Putting On A Good Show
We were fools! Not because the staff at the hotel didn’t pull their weight, in actual fact they were amazing, but because we hadn’t anticipated getting so completely sucked into the whole experience. At some point we realised that if we were going to ask our family and friends (many of whom had young children) to trek all that way to be with us on our wedding day, we had better put on a good show for them. We wanted the occasion to be informal and to represent our personalities but we were also keen to make sure that the day felt like a proper wedding, despite the relaxed surroundings. This was going to be especially challenging after we were informed that a legally binding ceremony was out of the question (due to endless amounts of red tape) and that we would have to concoct our own service! So that was when Rommalee started pouring over the wedding blogs and I started to quiver under the weight of the ever growing to-do list. I’d heard friends talk about how stressful and all-consuming wedding planning can be but I didn’t really understand what they were talking about until it was too late.
Hand Made Decorations
A few busy months later and we were starting to make some progress. Dress sorted, rings chosen, photos printed, order of service written and moustaches cooked. It all began to take shape. We still wanted to keep the cost down so where possible, we hunted for DIY solutions to all of our wedding puzzles. A graphic designer by day (yes another one!), I was given the task of designing the invites and accompanying stationery for the day. The decorations were all hand-made and the majority of the initial preparation was done at home, mostly by Rommalee who spent many an evening sat in front of the telly folding tissue paper, cutting twine and bending wires. It seemed to take every spare minute of our time in the weeks leading up to the wedding but eventually came the day when we packed all of the props into a couple of boxes and posted them off to the hotel in Spain. We were finally able to relax. Sort of.
We flew over to Spain a week before the wedding so that we’d have time to acclimatise to the 30ºC heat and take care of all the preparation that couldn’t be done from home. To our dismay, the boxes hadn’t arrived and it was another four nail-biting days before they turned up and we could enlist the help of some unsuspecting friends and family to help fluff up the tissue paper flowers and string out the cardboard birds. Because the restaurant and rooftop terrace were well used areas within a small but busy hotel, we weren’t able to get in to decorate until the morning of the wedding so all that was left to do the night before the wedding was for me to finish off my speech and for Rommalee to keep me topped up with Brandy to aid the creative process. I don’t drink brandy and in retrospect, that wasn’t the best time to start experimenting with it.
Down To Business
We woke up at 7am on the morning of our wedding to the sound of Molly (our 18 month old daughter) playing in her cot and to a view that is difficult to put into words. Thankfully we had our brilliant photographer on hand so you can see for yourself. I felt terrible but there was heaps of stuff to be done so after we’d demolished some coffee and pastries in the hotel restaurant, it was straight down to business. The grandparents took charge of Molly and we, together with the help of our generous (and extremely tolerant) guests, started stringing up the decorations at lightening speed. It was 11am before we were done and that left Rommalee only a couple of hours to take care of her own decorating. I’m guessing that’s not very long by most bride’s standards but then most bride’s aren’t used to going about their daily routine with a squirming toddler in one arm. Rommalee had the luxury of both arms (and a talented sister) for this exercise and breezed through it with time to spare.
To summarise in words; Mat and Jim (the best men or best hombres as they were known for the day) led the guests, in the scorching midday sun, from the fountain outside our hotel up to the spot we had chosen for our DIY ceremony. We followed 10 minutes behind and then the ‘service’ commenced with Mat reading the lion’s share of the words and Jim stepping in to deliver the readings. We smooched, everybody cheered and then we sauntered back to the hotel for drinks on the terrace. We took pity on Rommalee’s dad and the best hombres and decided to get the speeches out of the way before the meal so that they could sit back and enjoy the amazing grub. A traditional roll-up-smoking Spanish guitarist was joined by some flamboyant flamenco dancers to serenade the guests as the wine flowed and the food disappeared. The cake was cut and the party drifted up a couple of flights of stairs to the terrace bar where a gentle breeze provided relief for the sun-baked guests and the stunning view provided the perfect backdrop for our lazy evenings entertainment. Myself and Rommalee were petrified before our ambitious first dance but to our surprise and delight, we pulled it off without a hitch. Only to find out that Mister Phill was downstairs utilising the servicios at the time and that we had to do it all again. The second performance signalled the end of our official duties for the day and the start of our night. We drank (enthusiastically), we danced (badly) and we partied (carelessly) with our family and friends until the bar ran out of wierd coloured drinks and our legs could stand no more. I think there’s a certain kind of intense relief and happiness that’s reserved for couples who’ve reached the end of their wedding day without any major hiccups or catastrophes. And we were definitely feeling it that night as we almost literally fell into a deep sleep with big grins fixed our faces.
Perched On A Hilltop
Hotel La Casa del Califa is in a town called Vejer de la Frontera in southern Spain. Vejer town is perched on a hilltop with spectacular views of the Andalucian countryside and is made up almost entirely of white painted buildings lining steep cobbled streets. La Casa del Califa is a mish mash of eight separate (wonky) buildings, some dating back to the 10th century, with colourful Moroccan inspired decor, extremely helpful staff, and a restaurant that serves some of the tastiest food we’ve ever come across. Having visited both the hotel and the town over and over again during our eight year relationship, the area had a certain magical feel to it and seemed like the obvious setting for a romantic wedding. We realised that the long distance planning might raise some issues of it’s own but we were happy to make a few compromises in order to secure such a unique venue.
Fit For A Princess
In keeping with our non-traditional approach to the wedding and because she wanted to contrast (and not be camouflaged against) the all white back drop of Vejer, Rommalee wanted to wear something with a bit of colour. She tried the whole dress shopping experience with her mum and sisters but didn’t find anything that fit the bill and eventually fell in love with a dress she found online. It was actually a bridesmaids dress and wasn’t quite as grand as some of the other options she’d considered but it was her favourite colour and it seemed to suit the location perfectly. Unfortunately it wasn’t current season and proved extremely problematic to track down but Rommalee knew what she wanted and it was going to take more than a few dead end links and an entire atlantic ocean to stop her getting her hands on it. She finally tracked down a store in Orlando that still stocked the dress and that was that; a few alterations from a local dress maker later and it was fit for a princess.
Rommalee wore a white gold chain with a pearl from John Lewis (a gift I gave her after having Molly) and a pretty old ankle chain donated by her friends for the ‘something borrowed’. The flower in her hair was an Organza Clip from Acessorize and her wedding ring was custom ordered from Baroque Jewellers in Brighton where we’d bought her engagement ring a few months earlier.
Gnarly Cobbled Streets
The brides shoes were Gold loop sandals from Next . We knew that our wedding day would involve marching up and down some gnarly cobbled streets so Rommalee chose something flat as well as a little bit dressy.
Spring Time Beauty Queen
Rommalee wanted to avoid the chic traditional up-do (FYI – I have no idea what that is) but really wanted to try something different for the day. With the expert help of her sister Hadley, she styled her hair into a messy side-bun for the ever-so-slightly more formal ceremony and restaurant parts of the day and then let it all down for the evening. Rommalee doesn’t wear much make-up and knowing how hot it was going to be, she wanted something light and natural. She based her look on the Spring Time beauty queen article in the ‘how to’ make up section on RMW (you know the web address!) and did it herself.
Blooms, Brollies And Brooches
This was one of the few areas where we knew we were going to have to compromise. Communication with the florist was restricted to emails through the wedding contact at the hotel so we decided to keep it minimal, just a bouquet for the bride and mini posies for two of the flower girls. Rommalee found some nice ideas and emailed a picture of what she wanted but somehow ended up with an entirely different looking set of flowers! They weren’t what we asked for but they were still nice and we certainly weren’t going to get hung up on such a small detail. I doodled some button hole designs for myself (the ‘gringo groom’), the best hombres and the fathers (padres) and these were turned into hand-made brooches (and miniature works of art) by the very talented Zoe at Love from Hetty & Dave. Knowing how intense the sun could be at that time of year and not wanting the mothers to feel left out, we gave them ornate paper parasols from Brollies Galore to provide some shade for the day and to add another splash of colour to the proceedings. We contacted all the other female guests and put together an additional order on their behalf so that nobody was overlooked. Apart from the gents who just had to man-up and deal with it!
Destination – Vejer de la Frontera
Photography – Mister Phill
Stationery – Dan (the groom)
Boutique – Solutions Bridal
Ring – Baroque Jewellers
Hand made brooches – Love from Hetty & Dave
Parasols – Brollies Galore
I hope you have enjoyed the alternative perspective provided by Dan, because there is still plenty more of it to come.
My favourite things so far…
1. A man talking about weddings (at last I’m not alone)
2. A groom/Graphic Designer man (yeah, like me!)
3. A Mister Phill camera man (just a bloody genius)
There have never been so many manfolk on the blog at once. It just leaves me to say that everyone must come back for part 2 mañana (does that count as another man?)
Take care folks,