We’re always thrilled to blog the weddings of our real blogging brides, and we could not be more excited to feature beautiful Hayley’s sun-drenched Spanish wedding to Ashley at El Cortijo de los Caballos.
We loved reading along with Hayley as she went through the process of converting to Judaism during her engagement, and couldn’t be more proud to see her and Ashley standing under their lovely DIY chuppah, which put folded umbrellas to use as poles, draped in tulle and lace — including a square from Hayley’s dress! Check it out in Anna Gazda’s luminous photos.
This wedding was chock full of personal touches… between custom kippot inscribed with “Man Utd Rule” with footballs printed on them, as a nod to Ashley’s chosen team, to a very memorable rap by the bridesmaids (they turned Ice Ice Baby into “Ash Ash Hayley”!) Hayley and Ashley injected so much personality into their fun-filled day.
And to make sure their wedding was a party to remember, the couple flew out Smashing The Glass Recommended Vendor Totem as their band! Performing at both the ceremony and reception, Hayley and Ashley credit their fab band with making the party happen — and report that guests are still telling them how great the music was!
Now over to Hayley, who was lucky enough to have her gorgeous princess gown was custom designed for her by her new sister-in-law, who used to be a pro bridal wear designer…
How we met
Hayley, the bride: We met online through Tinder, although I’m sure Ash told a few people we met at a bar in Shoreditch!
A Marbella Wedding
We got married in Spain, Marbella to be exact, at a finca (estate) called El Cortijo de los Caballos. This venue was perfect for us. It slept 28 people in individual apartments, so we could have all of our nearest and dearest present. We chose Spain because Ashley’s parents have lived out there for over 12 years and we have created many memories there!
Not only because was the venue beautiful in every way, but the wedding flowed around the it. We were married under the chuppah in the garden, had our cocktails and pimp my prosecco under the pool bar, and dinner next to the pool and the party under the pergola.
From Boho to Elegant
Our wedding was completely about us (well, me mostly, but I’m sure every bride can relate to this!)… I was first going for a boho kind of vibe, which I really thought was us… 6 weeks before the wedding I decided that boho wasn’t for us. I dreamed of candelabras, but I wasn’t completely sure how the elegance of candelabras would fit in with an outdoor wedding in la finca…
That’s where Becky (our wedding planner) and Claire (our wedding stylist) from Rachel Rose Weddings came in. From start to finish these ladies were fabulous, listening to our every request. They made our wedding run so smoothly and the dà©cor was everything that we could ever wish for.
Let’s start with our save the dates, which went out exactly a year before our wedding date. They started with a coral theme in a postcard style, following the boho theme, which didn’t last for long.
We sent out our invites five months before (giving our guests enough time to book flights and hotels etc.). They were a passport style that had a picture of us both along with all the details and an RSVP through our web page.
Keeping it down with the kids, we decided to set up our own website where our guests could RSVP online choosing what starter, main, and dessert they would like, as well as find all information they needed, from hotels, flights, and car hire to scheduling of the meet and greet tapas and cocktail Friday night.
Hair + Makeup
My hair and makeup were done by the gorgeous Chery. This women works wonders. I love makeup and I love having a full eye of makeup; Cheryl gave me a very understated smoky eye which was a classic. My hair was beautifully done in an elegant updo. The best thing about having my hair and makeup artist on site was the all-day touch-ups, especially after the Jewish dancing.
A Two-in-One Dress
Two dresses, one day! The best part about styling a wedding… If only I had looked at my dress and really took in how much I loved it, I think I would have realized that the elegant style was what I should have had from the start.
I trudged around plenty of shops with my mum, sister, and one of my best friends looking at dresses all over London. Everything I put on I loved a little more than the last, but nothing was giving me the “WOW.”
This is where my new sister-in-law comes in: introducing Elisa, she made all my dreams come true. Elisa used to design wedding dresses, and she designed me the most beautiful princess gown with a flawless lace bodice with long lace arms and a gorgeous tulle skirt with Swarovski crystals that sparkled in the sunshine for the ceremony. The dress had a removable tulle skirt, so it could transform into a mermaid full lace party dress with a tulle tail. Yes, in 30 degree heat I had a full mermaid dress on with a very full tulle skirt over it! It was everything I could ever wish for and more.
A Floor-Length Veil
Much to my hairdresser/makeup artist Cheryl’s (my mum’s best friend, but is like a second mum to me) annoyance, I decided to have a floor length veil only for the ceremony. I wanted to feel like a bride. My sister-in-law used to use Elizabeth Dickens for all of her veils so we ordered one from there and it was perfect. It had plain tulle fabric, but around the edges it had little flowers with Swarovski crystals stitched into the middle.
Michael Kors Shoes
My shoes were actually the last thing I got in a very quick dash. It was my last dress fitting at the seamstress and I needed shoes. This was never my finest moment, but I was in TK Maxx and I came across a gorgeous pair of Michael Kors gold/silver shoes. They were not too high, which is always a plus, as I had grass to walk on for the ceremony and stones to walk across for the photos. They were very classic sandals that had one strap across the toes and a clasp around the ankle. Thank god for TK Maxx!
The handsome groom
My groom, his face was a picture, I don’t think he could quite believe that he was getting married. I don’t think his mates could either! Ha!
He looked so gorgeous, he wore a blue suit from Reiss, which his best man, Mark, helped him pick out. I’m glad he took Mark with him, as I can only imagine what he would have come back with…
He looked very handsome and so happy with this giant grin, no socks, and dark brown suede car shoes on. Although I was so nervous, as soon as I saw him I felt completely at ease.
Bridesmaids in Champagne
I had five very gorgeous bridesmaids and one very gorgeous flower girl. Our flower girl’s dress came from Monsoon. It was a lace dress with a little puffy skirt, although we had the seamstress take some of my spare tulle from my dress and add onto Olivia’s dress; we then added small Swarovski crystals to the tulle skirt, and she was a little princess.
My adult bridesmaids, my sister, my niece, and my the very best friends were wearing coral boho dresses, but after I changed the styling for the wedding they wore very glamorous floor-length champagne dresses from Biba. They loved the dresses, and they tied in with my dress perfectly, but most importantly they could dance in these dresses! Kelly, Talia, Marie, Em, Hay, and Olivia, you kept me sane! You are all amazing.
Our groomsmen were amazing, from our nephews (all four of them), to our best man and ushers. They all looked handsome in their bright blue suits, and they all took on their roles, from giving out drinks, to supplying fans, to master of ceremonies and keeping Ashley calm without biting his collar!
A DIY Chuppah
I found it very difficult to get what I was looking for, something with draped material and nothing wooden looking. My sister came up with this fabulous idea of having four parasols (that were not put up) draped in material, we used some tulle and lace. We stood under a square of lace that was from my dress, which made it so much more personal.
As a special touch, we ordered kippot from Hebrewear inscribed with “Man Utd rule” and with footballs printed on them.
Our wedding songs were completely all about us! The groomsmen, family, Ashley, and my bridesmaids all came down to Flowers by Katy B.
I came down the aisle to Leanne Jarvis, one of the Totem band that we had flown over, singing “Nowhere I Would Rather Be.” I can honestly say as soon as I heard Leanne sing I wanted to cry. This girl can sing! Leanne made my memories of that moment last forever.
Ashley’s favorite was when we were introduced by our master of ceremonies (also a very close friend and usher, Wayne) to Glory Glory Man Utd. Ashley is an avid Man Utd fan and Wayne is too, so both were singing at the tops of their voices!
Our first dance song – we both were sceptical about this and wanted people to join us on the dance floor as quickly as possible. We chose One Dance by Conor Maynard; we thought this song would get everyone dancing within the first 30 seconds and our trick worked.
My flowers were completely gorgeous and reflected the setting, the styling, and, amazingly, all the dresses. They were done by a florist called Flor Valentin, and they truly captured everything I wanted: white hydrangeas, white roses, green foliage, and succulents. They made our centerpieces of candelabras stand out; the white hydranges went perfectly against the champagne color of the girls’ dresses, and the mixture of flowers and foliage from my boquet tied it all in.
Our fabulous photographer…
Our photographer Anna Gazda captured every moment; with over 1200 photos not a moment was missed. We found Anna through Rachel Rose’s list of photographers, and after seeing Anna’s photos from previous weddings, we fell completely in love with the style.
We also decided to have a videographer, Evergreen. Salvador and the team were amazing. We haven’t seen the final video yet, but from seeing snippets we know this video is worth waiting for and cannot wait to relive our most special day through everyone else’s eyes.
Our catering was done by the very wonderful Toni Foran at Sana Catering. These people are masterminds; what they produced not only looked wonderful but tasted sublime, from lobster salad, antipasti, sea bream, rack of lamb to the dessert cart with choices of five different mini desserts – I only got to taste one, which was the cheesecake!
Our wedding cake was made from cheese, nothing beats cheese and biscuits after dinner and dessert, it suited us perfectly!
Our entertainment was Ashley’s most important part of the day. Mine was food and drink because if you have all three you have yourselves a party!
We flew out part of the most incredible band, Totem. They made our day amazing. From singing me down the aisle to dancing the night away, these guys made our wedding day. They made the party happen, and we still have guests saying how incredible they were.
They even let some of our wonderful friends take the mic on a garage set – the song 21 Seconds now evokes a very special memory for us.
Our individual touches were little things that only our friends know about us…. We had a sweet vanity unit; anyone that knows Ashley knows he is obsessed with sweets. We had a shot bar – anyone who knows me know that I love a shot – we had cafà© petron and tequila rose. We served rose sangria, beer, and soft drinks for our welcome drinks, and we had hand fans put on every chair to try and stay a little cooler during the ceremony. Our pimp the prosecco bar we had along with the canapes went down a treat.
Our wedding day was the best day both of us could have imagined. We had everyone we loved there, and without each and every one of them our wedding day would have felt different. We had friends fly from Thailand, Dubai, and England and family from Cambodia and the UK. From the music to the catering, the dà©cor to the planning, and just having the build-up in the venue, made our wedding the best it could be.
A Bridesmaid Rap
Four of my gorgeous bridesmaids (my sister and best friends) did a rap to Ice Ice Baby, which is now known as “Ash Ash Hayley.” They truly made my heart melt but made Ashley hide his face, ha. It was the most entertaining and I truly think they might get a record deal from it!
My mum did a speech instead of my dad (this is unusual I know but believe me, my mum is the better speaker out of the two) and she made me so proud.
Mark’s best man speech was highly entertaining, a few people like the rabbi and Ashley’s mum learned things about Ashley that you know had stayed secret because they were meant to!
Ashley’s speech was exceptional; I couldn’t be prouder to be his wife at that moment.
Advice to couples currently planning their wedding
My advice to any future bride would be take everything possible in, take 5 minutes to readjust to what is happening after every part of the day, as it goes within a minute (a videographer may help with this).
Hayley & Ashley’s little white book
Photography — Anna Gazda Photography
Band — Totem
Kippot — Hebrewear
Videography — Evergreen
Wedding planner — Rachel Rose Weddings
Venue — El Cortijo de los Caballos
Bride’s veil – Elizabeth Dickens
Bride’s shoes – Michael Kors purchased at TK Maxx
Groom’s attire – Reiss
Hair + Makeup – Ella Megan Makeup
Bridesmaids – Monsoon and Biba
Flowers – Flor Valentin
Catering — Sana Catering
Stationery – Nulki Nulks
Rings – Jayce Wong