France is an exquisite destination for honeymooners. With its unparalleled romantic ambience, iconic landmarks like...
Today I have a gorgeous sunny Spanish Wedding to brighten up your cold December day. It’s a stunning wedding, set in an old traditional Spanish village with lots of rustic touches and handmade decoration. From the giant paper flowers to the reception venue itself, so much hard work and effort has been put into every aspect of this wedding by the couple, as well as all of their friends and family. Leton and Lee did a wonderful job planning this wedding from a different country, and as so much of it is DIY it makes their efforts even more impressive. Big thanks to Amber from Amber Marie Photography for the gorgeous images.
Leton and Lee were married on 8th August 2015 the Ceremony was held at Velez Blanco Castle in Spain and reception at my parents Olive Grove. ‘Our wedding was in the beautiful region of South Spain in a Moroccan white washed town called Velez Blanco. My parents have lived there for 10 years or so now and I had always imagined that the castle on the top of the hill would be a beautiful location to get married in. When we looked into the castle as a venue we found out that for the first time since my parents had moved to Spain, the town were finally going to start work on the castle and that we may not be able to have this as a venue for our special day. So we of course looked at other options as a back up and what better place then my parents olive grove in their home Rio Claro that is situated just an 8-minute drive away from the town. In the end we were able to have the castle for the ceremony and then the reception so this ended up being perfect. We had a total of 55 guests. The main bulk of the planning was the full 6 months before hand from January 2015 to August. I even managed to visit my parents and speak with everyone I needed to in January in Spain which helped immensely.’
How they met
I moved to Qingdao, China in 2010 to work for a UK based company called DCK. One night a group of us went there for a friends birthday and we had one of those fabulous candles that is shaped in a flower and is supposed to open when lit and sing. We all started singing happy birthday as we lit the candle and a few moments later when the candle didn’t open it started to catch on fire and create a bit of a scene very quickly! This is where I saw Leton for the first time as he raced out from the kitchen, picked up the candle and raced back to the kitchen to put the fire out in the sink! A few months later a friend of mine and myself went to our local bar and were just having a drink and a chat when I saw Leton pop over to the bar and order a drink. Now this time I did pay attention to this strapping young man, who to me looked Japanese, but he quickly got his drink and left. Probably around 5 months later I got all dressed up for a fancy dress Halloween party I went as a zombie bride. When we arrived to the party I went around taking photos of all of the amazingly dressed people and quickly noticed the killer chef outside on the balcony! Then for the rest of the night this killer chef (Leton) proceeded to be in all of my photos in the background of all of my shots! Finally we both happened to bump into each other at one of the worst/ best bars in town ‘Jazz Corner’ and after thinking he was walking towards one of my friends he turned towards me and headed over to talk to me! Well the rest is history and we have been together ever since. We now also have a Cat together called Jazz!
4 years later Leton and I went on holiday to Bali and Lombok during the Australian winter months of August. One night we were out near the nd of the holiday, we sat down on the beach and I proceeded to take photos while I heard a slight rustling down beside me . I turned around and Leton had laid out some beautiful flowers around a ring box! OMG THIS IS IT!!!! Leton opened the box and proceeded to speak…. I wish I could remember exactly what he said as I know it was beautiful however I just was focused on this giant amazing blue and mixed metal ring shaped so beautifully and organically like a shell!I didn’t even give Leton a chance to put it on my finger…I just took it and placed it on my own hand and couldn’t stop saying WOW this is amazing!!!!!!!! He even had to ask me if that meant yes! Which of course it did.
How did you allocate your budget
Luckily for us my family and friends are all amazingly creative and so we saved a huge amount by Mum making our giant paper flowers, I handmade all the jewellery, we bought a lot of the lighting and favours from China and then the key bonus for us and really the only reason we were able to have such a successful wedding was my parents relationships with all the locals in the village! We made sure we only used the locals for everything to support the village and in return we ended up getting some very amazing bargains! We knew food and drink would be the biggest budget so most money went towards this… oh and my dress of course. On the week lead up to the wedding the dance floor probably ended up being the biggest cost as the ground was a bit too soft to dance on so we had to get a last minute raised dance floor.
Where did you splurge and where did you save
Definitely splurged on my 2 dresses! I had originally bought my more traditional wedding dress from Hills of Hollywood in Melbourne which was actually a bargain at only $1,500. However I then went on a work trip to New York nearer to the wedding and found a beautiful Alice and Olivia floral two part dress and couldn’t decide right up to the day which to where. In the end I decided to keep the Alice and Olivia dress for the official signing of the papers which we had to do back in Melbourne the day after we landed back home so it worked out very well.
How did you choose your photographer
For me the photography is one of the most important elements to get right for a wedding. It’s the one big day. We were so lucky to hear about Amber from my uncle and as soon as we looked on her website we knew she was the girl for our special day. Luckily for us Amber was available that day and the few days leading up the wedding. One of our key wishes for the photos was that they were fun, not too cheesy and captured all the natural moments of the day and this I can safely say they truly did! At one point I had even forgotten that there were professional photographers around us as they blended in so well and just made the whole photo experience so relaxed and indiscreet. I cant recommend them both enough and having the duo where Amber was with the girls getting ready and then Tom was with the boys meant we captured the whole atmosphere across us both as individuals and a couple. Perfect!
Lace wedding dress: Hills of Hollywood, Armadale. I knew from all the Pinterest research that I wanted a lace dress and ideally a beautiful back feature. I just knew this was the one and my two bridesmaids also knew it. Bride’s Shoes: I am very lucky to have one of my best friends, Lily Harper as a shoe designer! She offered to design my wedding shoes and after a couple of meetings and a few different sketches and decisions on the colour and shape she came up with my funky shoes. Again not being traditional but my dress looking quite traditional I wanted to Lee Li it up and have some wacky design on my feet. Jewellery: My necklace and all of the bridesmaids necklaces were hand made by myself. Brides bag: Bought from a Korean Market in Seoul on a work trip
The Suit and Bridesmaids
The best man and grooms men all wore blue ‘Zara’ trousers and Leton had bought them all some simple braces and tie clips from China. They looked very dapper indeed. The bridesmaid’s blue dresses were from Alannah Hill. The flower dresses were scuba material from Asos with Asos shoes. My beautiful flower girl had a dress made from Etsy from VEIL9. My Dads Suit I got tailored in Hong Kong from an amazing and super quick suit maker. The lady was called Kristy
Theme or Colour Scheme
Our theme and colour scheme was Blue (to match the amazing engagement/ wedding ring that Leton designed for me), Red to represent the China and Spanish element and White for the English part of the wedding and the Moroccan Spanish feel too.
Originally we were looking at hiring a professional florist however as the day got nearer and all the last minute costs of getting a dance floor, fencing etc we decided to try and save money in other areas. So Leton, myself and a couple of our bridesmaids and my brother went via a shopping centre that happened to have a small flower shop inside. We ended up buying potted plants so that they wouldn’t die straight away in the heat and then bought lots of really amazing looking fake flowers too! For the castle we wanted a really natural feel and links to the olive grove so our wedding planner bought along lots of olive branches and leaves which then complimented by some potted plans just finished off the already amazing castle! Then for the bridal bouquet and the flowers for the centre of the tables I had seen some amazing Pinterest inspiration of paper flowers and asked my mum if she would kindly have a go at making some. As soon as she made the first one I knew this was going to be perfect…especially the bridal bouquets!
Almost everyone who came the to the wedding but in particularly my parents and the whole bridal party spent a huge amount of effort and time on making flowers, bunting, building the venue, painting the wood signs, building the dance floor, making a Photo Booth and generally making sure that everything ran perfectly. As the reception was originally just a raw natural olive grove my parents their two close friends had to spend a tremendous amount of sweat and tears on flattening and organising the land so that it could be walked and danced upon! The final result was amazing and we even had too many areas to choose from in the end! I also can’t thank enough my Best friend, Cecily Benson for all her hard work and organisational skills in paying all the people on the actual night of the wedding and for all the hard work in getting the venue looking amazing.
Sticking with the theme of using all the locals in the village we used one of my parent’s favourite tapas bars, ‘Bar Alfonso’ to make the food. On reflection we probably should have listened to our wedding planner about using an organised catering company, as it did prove very difficult to control everything especially in a foreign language. However it thankfully all worked out but could have been a disaster.
Our cake was made by another local man to the Velez Blanco village called Ramon – Gines. So, lemon being my favourite type of cake, we opted for a lemon sponge with caramelised lemons around the edge. The funny thing is that although the cutting of the cake was supposed to be around 10.30pm we didn’t actually cut the cake until more like 1am!
For the ceremony we wanted a Spanish guitar, We ended up going with a guitarist called Pedro and we were so thrilled with him! He played as the guests were arriving and then also ￼￼￼￼helped to set up the music we wanted for walking down the aisle and then also for out of the castle at the end. He then also played while the guests walked outside and had a glass of bubbles to celebrate. Then for dinner Mum and Dad had been recommended a DJ in the local area! Again we were absolutely thrilled and really fell on our feet as we didn’t confirm Gary until a few weeks before the wedding. Gary really completed the wedding for us and him and his wife were amazing coming to our reception location several times before the wedding and also lending us lots of extra lights for the evening.
We are so lucky to have such amazing friends and family and everyone chipped in in some kind of way. But a HUGE gift for us was one of my Israeli Maids of Honour’s, Hilla Oren, designing our invites. We wanted to have a travel theme so we opted for a passport invite, boarding pass RSVP, luggage tag for the guests to send their photos back to us on ready for the seating plan, and a brochure to give the guests and idea of the location, accommodation and any extra details that may be fun for coming on holiday. I hand designed and had lots of help putting together some Fans for the ceremony, which doubled up as our wedding schedule for the service. For a bit of fun I decided to make these into heads of Leton and myself, which seemed to go down well as something a bit different. The bunting was handmade in two styles from two different people.
So many moments of the day, ceremony and reception were super special but if I had to name a few it would be the following:
Practicing my vows with my Dad on the way up to the castle…with everything going on I had not long before written them!
Seeing Leton’s reaction as I walked with my father down the aisle and the little moments where he would whisper how beautiful I was or ‘can you believe we are finally doing this’.
Seeing the traditional outfit our officiant wore which represented the castle and history of the town!
Letons reaction again when I played the guitar and sand his favourite Chinese song called Cinderella!
Getting a lump of glitter thrown in my mouth by accident by my Uncle as we walked out of the castle…very funny!
The speeches at the reception…everyones were just so amazing, personal and not too long so I think everyone loved them and didn’t feel too bored!
DJ Gary’s lighting for the night in particular the star effect he projected onto the mountain behind us! I think most people mentioned how amazing that was!
Our first dance which was actually a dance for everyone. We had a screen and projector where we played a video of a dance game so everyone had to get up and try to copy the moves to Queen ‘ Crazy Little thing called love’. Very entertaining!
My Parents very unusual and funny dance for Leton and myself on the dance floor
Our best friends amazing rap that they made up and sung to us half way through the night
Advice to other couples
If I had to give any tips for planning your big day I would say ideally work with a venue that already exists and where maybe the food and furniture more etc are all part of the package. Although at the end of the day our wedding was super special because we had so many different elements we put together and sourced it was far from easy and even meant that unfortunately the few days leading up to the wedding we were all a bit stresses and didn’t relax and spend as much time with the key people as we would have liked to. As for the big day remember that at the end of the day it is you marrying your best friend and thats the most important thing. Its great that your family and best friends from all over the world are there to be with you too but remember to take time for you and your husband and have your special moments too.
Probably all the amazing personal things our friends did and said throughout the speeches and the dances. It was lovely that people had gone to so much effort to do so many lovely things to add to our day. Also was pleasantly surprised that as soon as we started the wedding the sun came out and the chance of thunder storms (which had been going on all week) vanished!