If you are currently in the midst of wedding planning and feeling a bit overwhelmed...
Happy Friday everyone, I hope you are all well and have enjoyed a fab week. I have been off all week and it has been lovely. Nik, Dexter and I have spent the week, taking day trips out and really enjoying time as a family. We have been to Chester Zoo, Eureka the children’s museum, a dinosaur farm event and today we are off to London to visit Nik’s sister and are off to the London aquarium tomorrow, which Dexter is really excited about. All in all a really great week.
Today I have this beautiful intimate Spanish wedding for you, courtesy of Dos Mas En La Mesa who shot both in digital and film. It’s the wedding of Cheryl and Simon, who held this beautiful Spanish wedding in a little town that they fell in love with during their travels. With a traditional Chinese tea ceremony, first look and stunning Grace Loves Lace gown, this wedding is just what we need to end the week with.
Cheryl and Simon were married on the 1st July 2017 with a Ceremony and Drinks at Far out Inn, San Sebastian, Spain, followed by a meal and speeches at Chin Chin. ‘We travelled around Europe for 12 weeks in 2014 when we first got together and a friend suggested that we visit a small town in Northern Spain as the food was fantastic. We took their advice and fell in love with San Sebastian instantly. We had 11 guests in total – Our parents, our best friends individually and the first friends we met as couple. We visited San Sebastian 12 months before the wedding and started to visualise our plan and meet wedding planners, but instead of rolling up our sleeves and cementing our ideas – we partied. This became our plan – no planners, no rules. We wanted our wedding to be a celebration rather than a stress.’
How they met
We had been together for exactly three years on our wedding day. We met in a bar in Macau, China, where Simon was working towards building a casino. After a few weeks, Simon had handed in his notice to follow Cheryl back to London.
Simon persuaded staff at an art gallery in London (The Wellcome Collection) to close an exhibition to the public in order for him to propose somewhere original. The exhibition was a mist-filled room and Simon disappeared from sight, when Cheryl eventually located him, he was waiting on one knee. Thankfully the infra-red safety cameras allowed us to capture everything.
How did you allocate your budget?
Due to the small guest list, we felt that we were able to be less strict with our budget. Our list of expenses was constantly changing but we were adamant that we didn’t want to waste money. With this in mind we made our own save the dates and invitations. We also made our own wedding favours (polaroid photos- taken on the day- framed expertly by the best man with minutes to spare.) We decided to hold our reception in a private dining room rather than at a hotel or wedding venue – this meant everybody could eat whatever they wanted and we could remove some more formality.
Where did you splurge and where did you save?
Our biggest single expense was the photographers. We put a huge amount of emphasis on this decision as the photographs record the day and last forever. We saved money by not using a wedding planner and by holding the ceremony in the villa we were staying in. The Villa is a quirky yoga retreat which overlooks the bay – this meant that no decorations were required. Everything we needed to make our day special was already there.
Why did you choose your photographer?
Cheryl searched for Spain-based photographers on the internet and narrowed the options down to three. We discussed the merits of each and were in total agreement when opting for those which we used. Dos Mas En La Mesa use two photographers and a mixture of film and digital to capture the couple and the guests throughout the day – this sounded perfect to us to ensure we would have lots of photos of our guests too.
Cheryl’s dress was the original Hollie gown from Grace Loves Lace, accompanied by the Salita Matthews designed for Grace Loves Lace Hera anklet. The shoes were from Steve Madden and the earrings from Mejuri. Both bracelets were gifts from her maid of honour and mum.
And the suit? And bridesmaids?
Groom’s suit by Paul Smith London and the maid of honour found her dress in Madrid.
Theme or Colour Scheme
It never felt like we were working towards a theme and we were constantly coming up with new ideas based on research and inspiration from our friend’s weddings. The overriding theme was to go with whatever felt right at the time – even the song to which Cheryl entered the ceremony was chosen on the morning of the wedding when it popped up on a random playlist. Neither of us had heard it before but it seemed to fit perfectly (Toothpaste Kisses by the Maccabees)
Cheryl’s favourite flowers are dahlias and she also loves succulents; luckily, she found an amazing florist (Flowers & Co) close to San Sebastian who agreed that the two would look great together. We sent each other pictures back and forth so we knew the kind of bouquet and flower crown that I wanted but I thought it would be nice for it to be a surprise on the day; I knew I was in safe hands and Izaskun did an amazing job – I can’t have asked for a more beautiful bouquet.
The villa was so perfectly quirky we didn’t need anything at all. The view from the balcony and the incredible secret garden also provided unbelievable backdrops for our photos. We chose the restaurant Chin Chin especially for its private dining room situated in the middle of the restaurant with glass windows and hanging plants so we didn’t need to decorate that either!
The food is an important part of the day but we didn’t want the wedding dinner to be stuffy and formal. We ordered shared starters for the table before we tucked into burgers, ribs and pad Thai in the most incredible private dining room. The food was fantastic.
The cake was from a local cupcakery called Sweet Roma. We knew we wanted a semi-naked cake so had sent through some ideas to Olatz and when we visited San Sebastian before the wedding we popped in to meet with her and decide on a flavour and size. She was so helpful and actually suggested Chin Chin as the place for our dinner. Her cheesecakes are amazing too!
After dinner we left the restaurant and headed to some bars in San Sebastian’s old town with our guests. It was great to dance and drink the night away surrounded by friends and strangers alike – everybody congratulating us and joining us to celebrate. We even persuaded our wonderful photographers to put the cameras down and have a drink with us too.
We made all of our own save the date, invitations, favours and thank you cards. As our wedding was with such a small group, we wanted to really personalise as much as we could, like giving everyone a scented candle with our wedding date on it to go along with the framed polariod.
Everything we did felt like a personal touch because we made all the decisions for the entire weekend as we wanted our guests to enjoy their first time in San Sebastian. We did take some advice, especially from our photographers in regards to the room set up for the ceremony but our cake maker and florist were given the freedom to coordinate their services without too much input from us.
Special Moments or Highlights
Being able to see friends and family laughing and relaxing in a beautiful setting will be a lasting highlight from the day. We have left San Sebastian so happy with our wedding and feel like the best moments were generally the product of a relaxed attitude to the flow of the day. Cheryl’s mum is Chinese so we took the time to have a traditional tea ceremony with her after we exchanged vows. It was great to be able to do something that paid respect to Cheryl’s heritage and also show our other guests something they probably hadn’t seen before. Simon pouring Txakoli in the Spanish style on the roadside and Cheryl stopping for photos with a passing stag party where the stag was dressed in a wedding gown have to be up there with some of the more memorable moments. It truly felt like everyone was having a great time – that was really important to us.
Advice for Other Couples
Our wedding suited us but it’s hard to give tips to others especially as we chose to block out most of the tips we were given. It’s important to prioritise the things that matter most – in our case it was capturing our memories of the wedding in the photographs.
It was also great to meet our celebrant, Inaki and our photographers, David and Bernardita before the wedding. They all made us feel comfortable immediately and had valuable input into some of the day’s details – they were as much part of the wedding as our guests so it was great for us get to know them in the lead up.
We are still smiling about how well everyone got on; even Inaki our celebrant and David and Bernadita our photographers felt like our guests as well. Although not a surprise on the actual day, it was incredible to have each of our best friends fly across the world to be with us; the day wouldn’t have been the same without them and we are beyond grateful.
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