As a girl growing up, I never really understood that giddy excitement which many of my contemporaries displayed when they talked (at the tender age of 9) about how fabulous their wedding day would be. They knew Every. Single. Detail. Down to the very tiniest. Maybe I wasn’t that way inclined because I was never into Disney? All those ultra sugar coated fairytales of how the heroine gets her prince charming and lives happily ever after… Well, its enough to rot your teeth, let alone your brain! No, I was definitely more of an adventurous, albeit a tad tomboy-ish, type. A free spirit, you might say.
Fast forward several years and, when I finally met my ‘Mr Right’, I knew ‘he was the one’. We got engaged 9 months after our first date, yet I still didn’t turn into a Bridezilla and plunge headfirst into a frenzy, to start planning our wedding. Maybe it’s my laid back spirit – which is borderline horizontal, to be fair, but we ended up having the longest engagement in history, before we eventually tied the knot 21 Years later!
I’m all for unconventionality
I think unconventional people add a vibrancy and colour to life. I embrace eccentricity with gusto. So, not one for ever having been accused of being ‘conventional’, you can imagine, when it comes to what some women describe as ‘the biggest day of their life’, aka your wedding, mine was never going to be an ordinary affair. The idea of spending a year organizing a traditional church wedding with people I barely knew and the obligatory reception to follow, where little bags of sugared almonds were left in table places, just never appealed.
Quite the opposite. Ours came about almost upon a whim. We were looking to book a holiday for us and our two little girls and, in our very laid back manner, we both just said “Let’s get married while we’re there!” – as you do. So that was that. I set about trying to sort out a wedding abroad, which, initially proved to be rather tricky.
An exciting secret to keep
Getting married abroad is becoming more popular each year and there’s a whole plethora of tour operators offering all kinds of destinations for such an event. From the off, when arranging our ‘do’, what I noticed about many of the holiday companies, wedding planners etc who offer such services, is that they make it into a huge affair. And that’s fine, if that’s what you want. But we weren’t loves young dream. We’d been together for so long our friends and family had given up on us ever tying the knot! So I decided to ‘design’ and organize the wedding myself – in our own, more subtle, style. It was to be a top secret shindig in Ibiza with just the bride, groom, 2 kids, the host & the photographer – no guests! We’d throw a party to celebrate with them, upon our return. My 9 year daughter proved incredibly good at keeping secrets and didn’t tell a soul!
Getting hitched…Ibiza style!
As we wanted the wedding to ‘mean’ something to us and Ibiza has long since held a special place in our hearts, it was the natural choice. With endless days of sunshine, blue skies and stunning sunsets, it’s no wonder that Ibiza is one of the most desirable places to get married in the Mediterranean. With her relaxed ’anything goes’ attitude, beachfront blessings are what this Balearic beauty does best – but there’s so much more on offer from this bohemian island.
The wedding season lasts from May to October and understandably, sunset is the preferred time for couples to tie the knot, especially on the west coast where you’ve got a front-row spot for the spectacular show Ibiza is synonymous for. Many ceremonies start in the late afternoon when the temperature is cooler and linger on into the evening’s frivolities.
I should point out here that it’s worth keeping in mind your desired time for the event, when choosing your dress and wedding party’s outfits. You don’t want to be melting in a huge gown at noon or the groom flaking over prior to saying his vows because he’s cooking alive in a three piece morning suit!
If you want to place the organising stress in the hands of another, local wedding planners on Ibiza can arrange bespoke packages and many venues have their own. However, many of these deal with bigger wedding parties. So if it’s intimacy you crave, you can arrange everything yourself, as I did, and still have the wedding of your dreams at a fraction of the cost.
Google is fantastic for sourcing suppliers, venues, photographers and hosts in Ibiza. Also, as Ibiza is such a hit with the A-list, there are plenty of top hairstylists, makeup artists and masseuses available to get you perfectly prepped for your big day. It’s a good idea to check out their website galleries before you book, to see if their style matches yours.
The legal bit
This is where I found it a little bit tricky. There seemed to be conflicting information, so much so I even had to email the consulate at one point for advice. But to put it simply, if either bride or groom are Roman Catholic then you can legally marry on Ibiza in one of Ibiza’s charming white-washed churches with English-speaking priests. For non-Catholics, following your civil marriage in the UK, you can choose between a religious ceremony through the Anglican Church or a spiritual ceremony in your location of choice. If the latter is for you, select an experienced host – they will be invaluable in guiding you and may suggest a venue to take your breath away – as ours, Hedley Paul, did!
We did it our way
I had organised everything from the UK via email, but we met up with both the photographer and the host prior to the wedding in Ibiza, to discuss any finer details. After speaking to them both, we decided on a location – which they both agreed would be perfect for us and which would provide a spectacular backdrop for our photos.
We had chosen to get married at sunset standing on a cliff at Cala d’Hort but, as is the case anywhere in the world, the weather can never be guaranteed. Typically, our particular day was the only overcast day of our entire holiday and during the actual ceremony – which took place at 8pm – we didn’t really have the sunset we’d bargained on. No, we literally experienced 4 seasons in 2 hours! This included lightning and a mini whirlwind! We could have been really upset by this but, to be honest, it added to the drama of both the occasion and location and gave us some really funny stories to regale later!
Location is everything!
Our location of choice included a steep climb up a dirt track in wedding dress and heels – not for the faint hearted, I can tell you. During our uphill climb, we met well-wishing hippies along the way, as this is a place they have long been drawn to on the island. It may have been a bit of a trek but, boy was it worth the effort. When we got to the top of the path, the view that unfolded completely took our breath away. There before us lay the spectacular Es Vedra. It was truly magnificent.
Shrouded in myths and legend, this uninhabited rock island is the third most magnetic place on the planet and many believe this is from where Ibiza draws her special energy. It’s also said to be the original site of Atlantis. It was perfect.
A role to play
Our daughters had their roles to play too. Yasmin, our 4 year old, was the flower girl and tossed rose petals into the air. These were caught in the whirlwind swirling around us. Maya, our 9 year old, was given the important job of ring bearer. As she loves ‘Lord of the Rings’ this went down a treat! It really was a family affair and so very special for us all.
The photographer we had chosen, Tamas Kooning Lansbergen, was incredibly talented. His work is truly spectacular and we now have the most beautiful photographs from our special day. Looking at these photos, it’s clear just how stress free the whole event was – unlike many traditional weddings I have attended. There’s nothing but smiles on all our faces. I had face ache by the end of the day from laughing so much! It was wonderful.
The little touches which mean so much
We had to hire a Jeep and chauffeur (from Ibiza Hire) to take us to our ceremony location as a normal car just wouldn’t cut the journey. Part of it was off road! The chauffeur arrived at the hotel with a top of the range black Cherokee Jeep dressed with a white ribbon. They also produced a bottle of champagne after the ceremony to toast us, a really nice gesture.
Also, as our wedding party was so small, we weren’t bothered about ordering a wedding cake, but our host’s wife, who owns the incredible Ibiza Cakes kindly sent 4 beautiful cupcakes and a bottle of fizz to help us celebrate. It’s these personal little touches which added to the magic of the event.
Ibiza has so much more to offer
With just a two hour flight time from the UK, this little jewel in the Med is synonymous for good times and partying. Ibiza has so much more to offer. She holds many surprise ‘hidden treasures’ waiting to be explored. But why restrict the celebrations to just the wedding day? With so many attractions on offer from speedboat hire, beach days, club nights, and perhaps even the hen and stag nights before the wedding. Your guests can make a holiday out of their visit!
The wedding that lasted a week
As our wedding was later in the evening, we decided to save our ‘reception’ for another day. So, upon the recommendation of our lovely driver, we went into Dalt Villa, Ibiza’s old town, and had a beautiful family meal at the La Oliva restaurant. It was intimate and wonderful.
We were in a celebratory mood and, as we had saved a lot of money on the wedding itself, we chose to continue the celebrations well into the week after and be a little extravagant. We hired a speedboat from Ibiza Boat Hire, which was fully stocked with Champagne and G&Ts, then toured the Island – even getting up close and personal with the mystical Es Vedra herself. I haven’t laughed so much! We had fun in the sun partaking in the many watersports. Then moored up in front of Café Mambo & Café del Mar to watch the sunset – Oh, so fabulous, dahling!
It was an utterly fantastic experience which we would all do again in a heartbeat. The 2 captains on board, Paul & Thomas, were very knowledgeable about the island and, after asking what we wanted from the day, knew exactly where to take us. They thoroughly looked after us. I wouldn’t hesitate to book them again on my next visit to the magical white isle.
Party back home
As we had kept this a very closely guarded secret, everyone thought we were just going on holiday. Our fabulously talented photographer, Tamas, had kindly sent us 3 photos overnight. Can you imagine everyone’s surprise the following day, when these photographs appeared on Facebook announcing we’d got married?! There was shock all around and a few noses out of joint, I can tell you.
A month after we returned home, we threw a party for friends and family. We wanted them to help us celebrate our wedding. Some people were clearly still annoyed with us and failed to attend. But the vast majority came and had a ball.
But do you know what? If I had my time again I would do it all again exactly the same. I wouldn’t change a single thing. It was our perfect, unconventional day. Just what we wanted.
The WOW factor
If you want the ‘WOW’ at your wedding – then Ibiza is the right choice. A magical cocktail of sunshine (sometimes!), beautiful scenery and a relaxed vibe guarantees to give you the best memories – and photographs – possible.
Best of luck in your wedding preparations!
Ps I hope you’ve found this blog helpful. Feel free to share and don’t forget to leave your comments in the box below.
To help you on your way…
Here’s a list of the people whose services made our wedding day perfect and whom I thoroughly recommend :
Tel.Ibiza: +34 971 338 244
m: +34 664 689 575
Tel. UK: 020 8123 0262
m: 07909 917 120
Tamas Kooning Lansbergen
Tel: Ibiza +34 971 57 37 97
Mobile M: +34 690363188
Captain Paul Fuller
Car Hire & Chauffeur
Nick @ Ibiza Hire