Here is my list of top recommendations that I think from my humble experience couples getting married in Spain should have (if budgets permit!) if they want to have a perfect, stress-free wedding day.
Top tip number one – Use a wedding planner or onsite co-ordinator
The internet is a wonderful thing and for any couples getting married in Spain it is a useful resource in finding suppliers and getting ideas for weddings, BUT and it is a big BUT, as much as you may be able to pull everything together before you arrive, on the big day itself, you will find you will be too busy yourself to oversee all of your plans. I have been to weddings where there has been no planner present and although the couple did a great job with bringing everything together, on the wedding day itself it was quite stressful for them, trying not only to get themselves ready but to co-ordinate their friends and family to help them ensure that everything ran smoothly. I have also been to weddings where an hour and a half beforehand, the bride has been hanging up decorations and telling the band where to set up, when really she should have been up in her room, with her girlfriends enjoying a glass of cava. Wedding planners take care of all of this. They think of things you will not even think of, or be aware of and if any issues do arise they will deal with them without you even knowing or needing to know. During the summer, they are at weddings on a weekly basis, whereas you are only at your own wedding once, so take advantage of their experience, attention to detail, exhaustive list of contacts and knowledge of the area that they have.
Top tip number two – Use a professional photographer
Everyone knows someone who is a photographer! And although it may at first seem handy to have a guest at your wedding who can also take a good picture or who is a photographer, there is a big difference between asking them to take your pictures and asking a professional wedding photographer. Firstly, your relationship with a professional photographer is just that, professional. They are there to take pictures on your behalf, because you have paid them to do so. They will get the pictures you want and the pictures you didn’t even know were possible. Like wedding planners, they spend most of their lives at weddings. They know what shots to look for and they know where to position themselves to get them. Also, they live here, so they know about the Spanish weather, the light and whatever else they need to know for taking a good picture, which clearly I don’t! The last thing you want is to get in a mood with your guest/friend/photographer who is busy dancing and stuffing his face with cake, when you wanted a picture of you dancing and stuffing your face with cake! That’s why you should use a photographer, to ensure you get the quality mementos that you deserve for your big day.
Top tip number three – Use a hair and make-up artist
Even if you always do your own hair and make up, it doesn’t mean you should do it on your wedding day. Your wedding day is a chance for you to relax, be pampered and have people to run around after you all day and having your hair and make up done professionally falls into this category. Again, as with the photographers and wedding planners, hair and make-up artists live and breathe Spain. They know how to do your make-up and style your hair to bear well with the weather and sun-light conditions that we have here and how to accentuate your best qualities for your photographs. Wedding hair and make-up is a specialist art form, and you should take advantage of the wealth of experience that they have, so that you look the best you can on your wedding day.
Top tip number four – Use a DJ/wedding entertainer
A Wedding DJ is so much more than a man in a bad shirt dancing behind his turntables (sorry to all my DJ friends out there, there is a compliment in that quote!) Yes, I-pods have revolutionised the way we listen to music, but it doesn’t always mean it’s the best option for a wedding. A good DJ knows how to go with the rhythm of the evening. He knows when to get everyone up on the floor and with what songs to do it with. I can say this from personal experience because I had music played from an I-pod at my wedding and if my cousin’s boyfriend who is a DJ didn’t step in, our evening could have fallen flat around us. For example, songs that you love listening to or love singing along to, doesn’t mean they are great songs to dance to and good DJs are well aware of that and will work with you to play the songs that you want, as well as stuff that they know will get people on the dance floor. Also, who is going to control your music for the start of your ceremony, end of the ceremony, your first dance etc? That trusted friend, who is supposed to be a guest at your wedding or a professional DJ?
Top tip number five – Use your time to research well and book early
Every year there seems to be certain dates that are in demand. I’m sure my wedding colleagues have their own dates they are constantly asked about! If you do your research early and you find someone you like the look of, book them. This year I have had to disappoint quite a few couples who although they had admitted to coming across me early in their research, they waited only a few months before their wedding to book me, without joy and I know this is the same for many of my colleagues. If you have a date in mind, and have found the venue/wedding planner/photographer/hair and make up artists/DJ/wedding celebrant etc that you like the look of and are happy with the service that they can provide, book them. Don’t hang around, because you could be disappointed and not get your first choice. There are so many amazing suppliers here in all fields and you’ll be surprised how quickly they get snapped up.
And as you’re already reading this blog, you might as well check out my useful links page for details of some of the ace suppliers I work with and maybe help you think about other options such as musicians, florists, cake makers etc. Happy planning!
You can of course having a wedding in Spain and not have any of the above, yet still have a wonderful day – this simply is a guide for those who feel their day may be a stressful one (due to size, distance, whatever the reason!) and may prefer a helping hand!