David is Spanish and I am Australian. We met at a photography group gathering in Munich, where we had both just moved and still live. We decided to marry in Spain, not far from where David is originally from, Costa Brava, north of Barcelona. After David offering to show me his tripod (the thing you put the camera on!) and many pseudo dates, we finally got together.
David is a very romantic person and we joke because his proposal was not as romantic as some of his other surprises in the past. We were in Leiden, Netherlands, for a long weekend. A place David had lived in the past and had always raved about.
It was a Sunday morning and we were having breakfast at a gorgeous café on a canal. David casually asked how long we had been together which I thought was weird because he is really good with dates. I started questioning why he would ask such a question when he already knew the answer. He panicked and said, “because of this” and produced a ring from Tiffanys. I started to cry tears of joy and eventually managed to say yes through the tears. Breakfast at Tiffanys is my favourite movie. Turns out it was quite romantic as we were having breakfast and I got a Tiffany ring.
David had originally decided to wear a navy three-piece suit but given the thirty-five degree temperature, he ditched the vest and went with braces instead. Our colour palette was navy, pink and cream so his suit fitted in with the style of the wedding perfectly. We both wanted to add an extra surprise to our outfits so David wore bright pink socks and I wore bright pink shoes.
My mum had passed away two years before our wedding. I wanted to have her with me but without being too morbid or obvious about it. I wear her engagement ring every day and also did so on my wedding day. I also wore the garter that she wore on her wedding day. Lastly, I bought a charm to tie around my bouquet so I felt that she was with me as I walked down the aisle.
Before my mum passed away we sat down together with a bunch of bridal magazines and my laptop to find possible wedding dress styles. This was her contribution to the wedding. I then set about trying to actually find shops that sold each of the dresses we had picked out. Through this search I came across Sweethearts Bridal in Sydney.
Marianna was incredibly helpful, patient and friendly when my bridesmaid, Danielle, and I went there to try on some dresses. The two of us were hopeless at making decisions about each dress, as we loved them all. It was so much fun! Finally we both narrowed it down to the Maggie Sottero ‘Betsy’ dress. I knew that I wanted lace and not too many layers due to the wedding being in the middle of summer.
I was adamant that I wanted some sort of sleeve but not long sleeves as Spain in summer is far too hot. The dress is actually strapless with a sweetheart neckline but they were able to include cap sleeves that were easily attached. I also added the cute little sparkly belt to incorporate a bit of bling to the outfit. I love the lace appliqué. It added to the romantic theme of the wedding and the polka dot tulle that was the second layer, was subtle but helped make my final decision.
I was so happy with the great job that Vanessa, a family friend and professional hairdresser, did. My hair turned out exactly how I was hoping. We found Maria on a wedding website in Spain. I am not used to wearing a great deal of make-up, so was a bit nervous about how it would turn out. The lovely Maria spent so much time consulting with me and listening to what I wanted. I was very happy with the outcome and would gladly recommend both girls if anyone happens to get married in Spain.
Since we had friends and family coming from all over the world, we really wanted to have everything happen in one spot. Hotel Castell D’Empordà was the perfect location, a castle surrounded by the rambling fields of the Costa Brava region, made for a romantic fairytale wedding.
It was only one of two venues that we looked at and once we actually visited the hotel, there was something really special that just appealed to us. Guests also had the option to stay at the venue. Plus, how many Aussies can say they got married in a castle!
Bridal parties are not part of Spanish tradition so we decided to keep it small and both chose our best friends. Danielle and I have known each other since we were 13 and I was her bridesmaid. It was so special to have her come all the way from Australia to help us celebrate, she was my rock.
In Catalonia a close male family member or friend delivers the bouquet to the bride. In the process they also give a speech and say a poem. Despite poor Juan, David’s best man, finding out about this 15 minutes beforehand, he did a great job.
David and I gave each other presents on the wedding day. He went to so much trouble to create a beautiful book that told our love story from before we even met, to what may lay ahead in our future together. I gave him a box full goodies that I know he loves. This included everything from his favourite Aussie Snakes Alive to homemade Aperol Spritz to calm the nerves to personalised cuflfinks and a photo book of our time together.
In Spain it is tradition for the groom to walk down the aisle with his mother. David walked down the aisle to Thinking Out Loud by Ed Sheeran and I walked down the aisle to Forever Mine by Marie Hines with my dad. I loved walking down the aisle and focusing on seeing my husband to be standing at the end, waiting for me with tears in his eyes.
Toby Harper, the ceremony officiant, was fantastic. He made every effort to get to know us and our love story. Our ceremony was partly in English and partly in Spanish to make all guests feel involved without being bored while everything was translated. Toby created a ceremony that was the perfect balance between funny and romantic, with some happy tears thrown in for good measure.
We wanted to make the ceremony personal and not have it go too long so we could get to the fun part. A friend of mine from university read the poem Fair Dinkum Love by Kim Cockerell and David’s brother-in-law read Marriage is Ugly by instagrammer caitlinfladager. We also wrote our own vows which were a surprise for each other. These were filled with love, laughter and a few tears.
Having friends perform A Thousand Years by Christina Perri was incredibly special. We had asked them to perform but they kept the song as a surprise. It was a beautiful song choice and performed perfectly. Having people close to us be a part of our ceremony made it so much more personal.
The final unique element to our ceremony was suggested by Toby. We bought a handmade, personalised wooden box and placed a good bottle of Spanish wine inside to open on our first anniversary and then we will replace it every year. Also, we had to write a letter to ourselves reminding us why we married each other, for when times get tough. Hopefully we won’t need to open these letters but the idea of it really appealed to us.
Our photographers and videographers, Basilico Studio, were amazing. Luca and Stefi are a brother and sister team who, with the help of Abel, worked tirelessly all day and constantly came up with creative and innovative shots. They listened to us regarding our vision for the wedding and hence our photos. We cannot recommend them enough for anyone who is looking for a professional, friendly and talented team in Spain or worldwide.
We decided quite early on in the planning stages that we wanted to have a romantic, rustic, travel themed wedding. We had two years to plan our wedding so had plenty of time to search flea markets, the internet and shops for travel themed items.
This added an element of DIY to many of the decorations. We created most of our own decorations, which really made the planning process a bonding experience. We loved doing this together. David’s mum is quite creative and helped us with this too. She made the ring pillow and refurbished an old suitcase so that we could use it for the cards.
Our seating plan and table names incorporated our travel theme and the table decorations consisted of various sized mason jars filled with flowers and candles. We also decided to go retro and include personalised disposable cameras on each table.
We wanted the flowers to reflect the environment we were in. Plus, the hotel is so beautiful that it doesn’t need a lot of decoration. Our florist, Aixó Flors, used a lot of wildflowers and relaxed bouquets were placed in mason jars. To be honest, flowers were not one of my priorities in terms of spending money. I wanted them to mainly add splashes of colour and to complement the rustic theme.
We wanted a fun, relaxed atmosphere. It was a priority that our guests enjoyed good food, good wine and plain old fashioned fun. To help create this we entered the cocktails by doing a short choreographed dance to Uptown Funk, it was actually David’s idea. It certainly set the scene for the fun night ahead.
We wanted to include traditions from both cultures as well as make our own traditions. We included a Spanish guitarist, Gavin Buckley, at the cocktails, a professional ham slicer cut delicious Iberian ham with precision and our guests waved their white napkins in the air as we entered the dinner (no-one can tell me why they do this). We also included Australian traditions such as speeches at dinner and the father-daughter dance.
During the dinner we had speeches from both of our dad’s, my bridesmaid and David’s best man. We also decided that we both wanted to express our thanks to everyone who attended the wedding, especially as it was a destination wedding. Our wonderful friend Diana, did a great job in translating the speeches and then creating a slideshow with the translations, which was then projected, so that everyone felt involved in this special part of the evening.
The wedding cake, supplied by Castell D’Empordà, was red velvet with cream cheese icing and was delicious. Being in a castle, we got to cut the cake with a sword! I surprised David with a personalised cake topper that reflected our love of travel and photography.
Our first dance was to All of Me by John Legend. Neither of us really knew how to dance with a partner so we took some dance lessons. We found Aida online in a facebook group. She quickly choreographed two dances for us and was able to come to our house at times that were convenient for us. We started off well but forgot the steps half way through, luckily no-one really noticed.
My mum and dad are big Elvis fans so I wanted the father-daughter dance to reflect this. We started off dancing to Can’t Help Falling In Love which then cut to Jailhouse Rock part way through. My dad loves to dance so it was a fun way to get the dancing started in the cave that was under the castle. We got so into it that the strap of my dress came undone for the second time that day, the first when we entered the cocktails.
To help beat those midnight munchie cravings we hired a crepe van from Food Garage to feed the hungry dancers with both savoury and sweet crepes. This was so popular that they ran out of several types of crepes.
To top the night off, David had planned a secret flashmob with 6 of our friends. I love the movie Grease and know all the words to Summer Lovin’. They dressed in character and came out of nowhere when the song started. It was such a surprise and so weird seeing David in a black John Travolta wig. I couldn’t stop laughing in between joining in on the lip syncing and acting.
All in all it was, as the cliché goes, the best day of our lives. We had so much fun, as did our guests. I would really advise all brides and grooms to just enjoy the day no matter what goes wrong on the day. For the majority of the time your guests will have no idea that things have not gone to plan. The day goes by so fast, you really don’t want to be spending some of the time stressing about things that really are not that important.
Ms Zebra Says: How amazing to get married in a serious, real life castle!?! What a fun wedding this looks like! Congratulations to the gorgeous couple!
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