Liza and Philipp returned to marry in the area they first met along Spain’s Costa Brava, finding their perfect wedding venue in the beautiful Mas Torroella. That the villa’s owner was so accommodating helped to seal the deal, and before they knew it they were celebrating the happiest day of their lives in this fabulous setting, surrounded by the ones they love and captured by the amazing En Route Photography. Check out more of this couple’s story below, as well as Liza’s advice on planning their destination wedding themselves, without the help of a planner. Oh and one last thing: Liza wears one of the most beautiful gowns we’ve come across, created by her best friend- a fashion designer. How perfect is that?

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HOW THEY MET

“Believe it or not, but we met in a nightclub called Universe in Lloret de Mar in Spain, in the summer of 2007. At that time I was still living in Russia and Philipp was living in Germany. So, if you were to tell us then that eight years later we would still be together and even married, we would have probably just laughed. We did seven and a half years of distance relationship prior to getting married and are still doing it, with plans of my relocation to Germany in a near future. Philipp proposed on our seventh anniversary in August 2014 in Germany.

DECIDING ON THE DESTINATION

Our guests are spread around the globe (the UK, Germany, the Netherlands, Poland, Russia), so we couldn’t just invite everyone for dinner or a one day event. We needed a place where we could all spend time together, therefore, a short vacation in a villa was a great option. The location was easy to pick: we are really into Spain (having been to Spain at least one time every single year since we met), particularly Costa Brava with its secluded beaches and incredible food. To narrow it down, we wanted to have a wedding somewhere close to Lloret de Mar where we met. Weeks after searching we came across Mas Torroella and just literally FELL IN LOVE! The masia was just perfect in every respect- secluded, surrounded by greenery, flowers, beautifully decorated, large enough to accommodate most of our guests with another hotel nearby. In addition, it had many facilities for our small nieces and for all the adults that would ensure a great time together. It was also close to beautiful city of Calella de Palafrugell. Silvia (the owner) was just so accommodating from the first email, which helped to make our minds up very quickly.

CHALLENGES

We faced many challenges on the way, but were very lucky to have worked with such professional, caring and accommodating vendors, starting from the owner of the villa to priest, photographer, catering company, florist, etc. All of them were trying to help as much as they could, answering our endless questions, contributing to our decisions, assisting with any additional queries and all together helping to create a perfect running order of the day. Luckily enough, most of them spoke perfect English which is not very common in Spain, especially in more rural parts, which definitely eased the process. However, bringing everything together was a huge challenge, especially distantly! Secondly, the logistics of having all of our guests arriving from 5 different countries on the same day was stressful as we needed to make sure everyone knew how to find the villa/hotel (the villa is situated in the middle of nowhere!), our wedding website was definitely of a great help here. Finally, keeping a constant track of all the costs was exhausting. Excel really helped here.

PLANNING

We didn’t use a planner since our wedding was rather small, however, it was a real effort to distantly organise accommodation for all of our guests (villa, hotel), the wedding day, three days entertainment and food programme and to try to keep the costs down. In order to do so we used a few useful solutions.

Firstly, we had to decide what we could compromise on and what we could do/make ourselves to cut the costs. Since all of our guests are spread across the globe and destination wedding requires some heavy logistics, printed invitations wouldn’t work for us. Therefore, we decided to create a wedding website which could be easily accessed by our guests at any time with all the information needed. We used the My Wedding platform. There we provided all the details about the wedding day, made some recommendations on how to reach the villa as well as gave advice on things to do in the area should our guests wish to explore it. The platform is well-equipped and we were able to send beautiful invites, updates and general emails to all or some of the guests. This is a brilliant tool and it was free.

Secondly, we made the dinner name tags ourselves. We have a rustic theme, so lavender fitted perfectly. We prepared them in Germany and since Philipp was driving down to Spain by car – he could easily transport them.
Thirdly, we were lucky to have found one of the largest wine and spirits warehouses in Europe very close to the villa, so this saved us a lot of money on drinks and they kindly offered to deliver the goods free of charge.

Hair and make-up – my father drove me to Palafrugell (about 15 minutes away) to a local hairdresser who did an excellent blow-dry for under €30 (the beauty of having a wedding next to a small Spanish city!) and I did the make-up myself. Finally, extensive excel spreadsheets to track the overall costs, be aware of important payment dates and regularly update the budget to avoid any unexpected costs. We included every little thing there and it worked perfectly!

STYLE & THEME

We wanted to have an intimate ceremony and a cosy, family-feel dinner surrounded by our loved ones. We both love whites, a rustic style and simplicity. I love field flowers. The greenery of the villa’s surroundings and gardens  added to the romantic, rustic style of the wedding. We didnt have any particular theme or colour palette in mind,  everything fitted together naturally.

MOST MEMORABLE MOMENT

This was definitely the ceremony: we wanted a very intimate one, just between Philipp and I. We found an English-speaking priest in Barcelona (who turned out to be Scottish) and he was just brilliant! He even asked the guests not to take any photos during the ceremony (except for our photographer Gabby) which added to the intimacy. The priest gave us so much advice during our skype sessions (technology rocks),  one of which was for me “to walk slowly” with my dad. And how right he was- walking with my father was so emotional to me, the most important walk in every girl’s life. The ceremony itself felt like there was no one around, it was the most memorable, touching moment of our lives up until now. We were told that almost all of our guests shed a tear. We also adored the way the ceremony area was decorated with flowers and tulle. Rose petals, wooden rustic chairs, hanging flowers- everything was perfect for us.

BEST DECISION

There were a few. First of all, hiring professional cooks and extra maids for all three days of the time spent on the villa. Originally, we thought as there will be ten females in the villa, we could prepare simple breakfast and dinners ourselves, but how wrong we were. Silvia (the owner of the villa) was insisting on hiring staff and we never regretted spending that extra money. It really took off the pressure on the day before the wedding and made the last day in the villa much more relaxing. Secondly, for me personally the best decision was to include the boudoir session with Gabby on the wedding day. I was initially very unsettling for me, but Gabby was so sweet and just asked to try and see. It turned out to be the best thing ever- we laughed, I jumped on the bed, danced and had so much fun. All worries were gone and it really helped me to relax and put me in the most amazing mood for the whole day. Finally, just before the ceremony when my father was waiting for me, Gabby and I went outside to the balcony to make few shoots. BUT it was a windy morning, so my dress and a veil got caught up in the wind and went all the way up. We laughed so loud, I think all the guests downstairs heard us. It felt a little like Marilyn Monroe moment and was definitely something I will always remember!”

Photography: En Route Photography | Reception Venue: Mas Torroella | Ceremony: St George’s Church | Celebrant: Revd John Chapman | Florist: Floristeria Cardona | Catering & Cake: Icookit | Bride’s Dress: Victoria Kapriz (kapriz.mail@gmail.com) | Bride’s Shoes: LK Bennett | Bride’s Ring: Monica Vinader | Groom’s Suit: Hugo Boss | Hair Stylist: Perrugueria Pons, Palafrugell – Sandra Pons | Wine & Spirits: Grau Online

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