Perfect clear skies, a deep blue sea and one very happy Jewish couple form the ingredients for today’s gorgeous Marbella real wedding.
Childhood friends, Steph and John, reunited in 2014 and, in the infamous words of one of our favourite movies, Fiddler on the Roof “from such children come other children”. Together they have a gorgeous son, Joey, and their beautiful Spanish wedding consolidated that commitment.
Their theme was a white wedding with accents of silver and blush in the floral arrangements and bridesmaids’ dresses. The white color scheme added to the serene atmosphere of the day – just look at that chuppah against the beautiful seaside backdrop!
Beautiful bride, Steph, showcased her fabulous tattoos in a stunning lace-illusion Pronovias gown, with old Hollywood hair and makeup completing the look.
The big day ended with a bang – or a blaze, with surprise midnight fire dancers! Fantastic!
Of course, like so many STG weddings, one of our brilliant Recommended Vendors was involved. outstanding photographer, Jeremy Standley, is responsible for the sensational spread of images below. And, if that wasn’t enough, it’s supplemented by an absolutely sensational, atmospheric and beautifully filmed wedding video by Antonio de Perez.
We’ll leave you in Steph’s capable hands now for all of the divine details – over to Steph!
How we met
Steph, the bride: I’m from Manchester originally, and my mum knew John’s mum, Pauline from before we moved to Spain. They actually lived on the next road from me, and our sisters were friends!
I was up in Manchester for a wedding in 2014 with my mum and dad, and we bumped into Pauline in a shop, having lost touch for years. They suggested we should meet up for a drink sometime, and it all happened from there!
A contemporary Spanish seaside venue
We chose the Kempinski Hotel in Estepona. I always knew I wanted to get married in Spain, as it’s where I grew up and where my parents still live, so I think of it as home.
We looked at a few venues, but we wanted something a bit different, and the Kempinski had the perfect mix of traditional Spanish design elements with a fresh, contemporary feel.
The venue was perfect – it is set next to the beach and self contained, so for older guests and those with young children, it was stress free getting everyone from the hotel to the chuppah and on to the reception and dinner, all the while surrounded by the crashing waves on one side, and the stunning pools and gardens of the hotel on the other.
A relaxed atmosphere
We wanted something special and a cheeky bit glam! I wanted the wedding to be very intimate, pretty and sun kissed. I wanted the color scheme to be simple, elegant and timeless, blending seamlessly with the gorgeous setting.
The decision was lots of white, with elements of silver and blush. The dress code was black tie, but at the same it was important that there was also a relaxed atmosphere, so, we were most definitely family friendly, with kids running around and having fun. Led by the groom and ushers, bow ties and jackets were quickly dispensed with, so that the dancing (and drinking) could commence. Our wedding planner was Scott at Sunshine Weddings.
White and silver invitations
We had our white and silver invitations and thank you cards done by Michael Spector at Simcha Invitations, who I thoroughly recommend.
Old Hollywood makeup
My hair and makeup was done by the incredibly talented Liza Mayne. I knew Liza from when we went to school together in Marbella, so was lovely having that connection.
I wanted a glamorous look, big lashes and a red lip – a little bit old Hollywood. My hair was back in a low Spanish style bun for the ceremony but I unpinned it later so I could wear it down and flowing for the party.
A Pronovias lace-illusion dress
My dress was from Pronovias, I found it at their shop in Malaga, Spain, and flew over for my fittings. Our 19-month-old son, Joey, really loved coming along and playing with the cushions and generally making as much noise as possible!
I always knew I wanted something fitted and slinky, and tried on several with different finishes, but fell in love with the lace and illusion detailing on this one.
Simple accessories and a Spanish-inspired veil
I chose a beautiful veil, also from Pronovias, which looked quite Spanish with the lace all around the edges. I kept it simple with jewelry, and borrowed a pair of pear-drop-style earrings from my mum.
Cinderella Jimmy Choos
I just had to have a pair of Jimmy Choo heels! They were white with a pointed toe and shimmering crystals all over them – my Cinderella shoes.
The handsome groom
John wore a simple, traditional, tailored black tux and looked great walking into the ceremony with his sunglasses, tallit and hair back in a ponytail.
It was the shirt where he’d added a few special touches – such as having our initials and the date of the wedding embroidered on the sleeves, which was a lovely thought.
Bridesmaids in silvery grey
I had four gorgeous bridesmaids: my sister, two sister in laws and my best friend. They wore subtle and elegant, long silver-grey dresses which could be tied differently for some variation, and really complemented my dress and the colour scheme for the wedding.
Their hair was done by Maite at Glamorous Hair Marbella.
A floral garden chuppah
I wanted all white flowers for the chuppah, as I knew this would look so pretty in the light and against the greenery, blending perfectly with the surroundings of the beautiful hotel gardens and the beach in the background.
We had a frieze of of hydrangeas, LA lilies, roses and lisianthus across the top of the chuppah.
A lighthearted Jewish ceremony
The Rabbi was very relaxed and friendly and kept the tone lighthearted and fun, which was important to us.
It seems like such a blur now, but one very special moment was when my husband walked up the aisle to meet me and lifted my veil down, performing badeken. We decided to incorporate this into the ceremony rather than having it before, so that all the guests could be a part of it. We chose a beautiful ketubah which we’ve now framed and hung in our lounge.
We had a fabulous violinist for the ceremony, Quike Navarro play Israeli music. He also did the music for the traditional Jewish dancing later and really got everyone going – blue hair, lit up bow and all!!
We had traditional Spanish guitar for during cocktail hour, while people enjoyed the canapà©s and drinks, including pink fizz with strawberries.
We had the most amazing band for the party, led by Mike and Simone. They started with motown and soul music and went right through to Beyonce and Mark Ronson for final set. I was up dancing all night!
The flowers were a very important part for me. The bouquets were made up of oriental lilies, roses and peonies, with grey senecio leaves.
For the centerpieces, we had a combination of different heights to give a bit of variation. We had glass cylinder vases filled with water, suspended roses and submerged lighting with cascading flowers all in white consisting of white lilies, roses and lisianthus.
I also had gold and silver star of David confetti scattered on the tables. Our ideas were brought to life by Karen at Deseos.
Our fabulous photographer…
As soon as I saw Jeremy Standley‘s work and the way he captures Jewish weddings, I knew I had to have him! He did the most outstanding job of capturing it all so perfectly, looking through the photos is like reliving it.
We also had the very talented Antonio de Perez as videographer, who we knew would capture the energy and atmosphere of the event and the amazing beach location. Even a drone camera made an appearance!
A three-tier lemon cake
The catering was all done by the Kempinski. We had a three-tier lemon cake as we wanted something light and refreshing. I had the amazing toppers made by Lucy’s toppers, couriered over to Spain a few days before wedding.
Midnight fire jugglers
We had a fun photobooth complete with silly hats and costumes – the shots formed the guestbook and we had a great time looking through the pictures of slightly worse-for-wear guests after the wedding!
We had fire jugglers at midnight, just after the cutting of the cake which was an exciting visual treat for us and the guests.
For wedding favors, had white kippot for the men, white fans for the women (practical in the heat!) all printed with our names and the date of the wedding.
For the children, we had little white teddy bears and child-size kippot. Everyone got a keepsake to remember our special day.
There were so many special moments from the day, but I suppose the stand-out ones would be walking down the aisle to my waiting groom, in that spectacular setting, with all my family and friends, and of course, our beautiful son, Joey.
The speeches were brilliant – my father, the best man and the groom. They were funny, heartfelt (and not too long!). During my husband’s speech, our son Joey came running over to him and he picked him up and involved him by letting him speak into the microphone – a gorgeous moment (one made possible because he was speaking without a script – I’d always recommend this if possible). At the end of his speech he surprised everyone, including me, by presenting me with a framed collection of photographs of us, mapping our relationship, and, mounted in the center, were the actual train tickets from the first time he came down to meet me in London.
Advice to couples currently planning their wedding
My advice would to try not to get too stressed out about all the little details in the lead up, because as important as they are, the things that make the wedding are the emotions, the love and the little spontaneous moments which you cannot plan or organize.
Steph & John’s little white book
Photographer – Jeremy Standley
Videographer – Antonio de Perez
Wedding planner – Sunshine Weddings
Venue – Kempinski Hotel
Bride’s dress and veil – Pronovias
Bride’s shoes – Jimmy Choo
Hair + Makeup – Liza Mayne and Glamorous Hair Marbella
Flowers – Deseos
Invitation – Simcha Invitations
Music – Quike Navarro, Nicolas and Mike and Simone
Cake topper – Lucy’s toppers
Photobooth – Funky Photobooth Spain