Three years ago we got married. It truly was the happiest day of my life and since then I’m happier every day. To be honest, I’d never dreamed about my wedding, but as soon as we decided to get married I started to gather information and I became a Wedding machine. I just couldn’t stop. Wedding mode on. Bring it! Invites, dresses, decor, food… I was unstoppable. And I loooooooved it. I know that wedding preparations are stressful for most people, but for me it was paradise: I got plenty of beautiful things to decide, everything was about love, friends, lovely food and being pretty. There was not a hint of stress but a huge amount of excitement!!! In fact, when the wedding was over I was a little bit sad because I wanted to keep preparing things for the wedding. (Inside my head I had this conversation too many times: The wedding is over. Oh. Sad face. Wait! Now comes the honeymoon! Super happy face!! Yeah, but the wedding is over. Sad Face. But now we’re married! Super happy face again. And again. And again. Being married is awesome!)
We had a DIY destination wedding. On a budget. You might think it was difficult to organise, but it wasn’t. It was fun, beautiful and perfect for a control freak like me. I have put together a list of tips, in case you are preparing or would love to prepare a destination wedding. Or a wedding on a budget. Or both. This is going to be a looong post, so you’d better grab something to drink now…
1. Chose a place that matches your personality as a couple. Our first option was Rome because it had been the destination of our very first trip together. So it meant a lot. But when we thought carefully about what we want, Rome didn’t seem the best option: we wanted a quiet, discreet, relaxed wedding, with our closest and dearest friends. We are quiet and easygoing, not sophisticated party people. So Rome was out of the question. It was too fancy. It felt… too much. We wanted sun, nice food and the possibility of spending more than one day with our friends, so we decided that a house in the countryside would be perfect. We decided to rent a country house for a few days. We searched for weeks. Finally we found an amazing property in a tiny Majorcan village called Selva. It had six huge double rooms, a gorgeous patio, a lovely garden with a small swimming pool and a fantastic kitchen. It was perfect for our little wedding. All that we wanted. Click here if you’d like to see more of the house.
2. Before hiring the venue, visit it. That’s an extra expense because you’ll have to add the flight and accommodation costs to your budget, but it’s essential. We wanted to get married in May so we planned a weekend getaway in February. You need to feel the place. And you will know if it’s the right one when you get there. Everything gets real then. Besides, you get to see where are your guest going to stay, measure the spaces for your decor, and discover little things that will help tremendously during the preparations: from parking space to amazing corners to make your pictures. And you will find out about some major things too! In our first visit to Selva we discovered that there was no supermarket there, so we knew we would have to be very organized and buy everything we could need in advance.
3. God things come in small packages. Think about local charming venues and restaurants. You will have a more personal service, sometimes even better than in big hotels or very famous venues! We found a local restaurant, Ca na Toneta whose owners prepared an espectacular catering for our wedding. The products were fresh an, again, local, the service was super friendly and they made everything easy and familiar. The same thing applies to small courts and councils. Paperwork sucks and if you have thousands of nice things to decide, paperwork is the last boring thing you want to deal with. There’s no fun in paperwork! Well, since Selva was tiny they had only one secretary doing all things wedding-related. She was so happy to have a foreign couple wanting to get married there, that she even showed us the city hall on a Saturday during our first visit to Selva (See? You have to visit your venues first even more when it comes to a destination wedding). She helped us with everything along the way. We bought her some chocolates to thank her, but she deserved a whole chocolate factory! She was really nice. I highly doubt that the employees of a huge city hall would have been that thoughtful.
4. Ask, ask, ask. If you are going to be in charge of every detail of your wedding you have to ask everyone everything. Your guests first. Ask if they have any food allergies, if they need / want something special, when they would like to travel (that will help you arrange the transfers from the airport too) and, mostly, ask for help. You probably won’t have to do it, though. I didn’t because it wasn’t necessary, our friends just offered. They helped us tremendously. One of them offered to pick up some other guests from the airport, another one (who happend to be musicologist) helped us choose the pieces that were played during the ceremony and found the most handsome cellist in the island, other one helped us to arrange the flowers the day before the wedding… Guys, breaking news: we can’t do everything on our own. This small DIY far from everything kind of wedding made me realize that I may have just a handful of friends, but they are the best. Oh, and keep on asking locals and your suppliers about other things such as the best place to buy the flowers, where to find the nicest cakes… Listen and keep your eyes open. The chef who made our catering suggested a very typical Majorcan dessert instead of the usual wedding cake. And she didn’t stop until we got the best ensaimada of the whole island. And then she managed to convince the artisan pastry chef to add a little bit of chocolate.
5. Guest list: In case you don’t know, we are a same sex couple. We had huge problem with our family because of our wedding so sadly (very very sadly, I must say) they didn’t come to our wedding. Sometimes things are different and difficult and you have to deal with them and make the most of what you have. And what we have are amazing friends. So at the end we weren’t sad. In fact we were very happy because we were surrounded by people who made us feel really loved and made everything easy and fun for us. We knew from the beginning that we wanted a very small wedding with just our closest friends. It was going to be a very emotional moment and we wanted to share it just with our closest friends. And so we did. But since we wanted to share our happines with other people too (mostly work collegues and other kind of friends) we decided to celebrate a party in Madrid, where we lived at that moment, a few months after the wedding (Post about it coming soon). So here’s our tip: make YOUR very own guest list. Not your parent’s guest list. Don’t invite someone you’re not sure about. It’s a very important day, it’s your day and you get to choose. And if someone doesn’t understand: screw them, it’s YOUR wedding. I’m not going to lie to you: everything is easier when the guest list is limited. We got seven guest in our wedding (I know, I know, that’s taking limited guest lists to another level) and 50 guest in our celebration party a few months later. We did everything from the invites to the favors, the flowers, the decor, we prepared breakfasts for our guests during the couple of days we spent together after the wedding and decided to treat them to a lovely lunch by the sea the day of our departure. Obviously that was possible because our guest list was tiny. We wanted to spoil out guests a little bit!
Wow! That was a long post! So now that we have talked about choosing destination, venues and preparing your guest list, stay tuned for a second post about details: food, how to prepare your flowers, our JCrew wedding dresses and much more!!