We live in London and I had a trip planned to visit my family in Sydney. At the last minute, Jon decided to meet me there. A few days after he arrived, we went to a secluded beach for a morning swim. When we came out of the water, he pulled out a ring and got down on one knee. We were the only ones on the beach, apart for some seagulls. It was perfect. We had our engagement party in Bondi the following week. Because he did it in Sydney, it meant we could celebrate with my whole family.
I had nothing to do with choosing the ring and we never even discussed what I liked. Looking back, I knew nothing about stones, or shapes, but I always knew I didn’t want anything with multiple diamonds, any pavé or halo. In my head, I always envisioned something really simple. So when he pulled out the most beautiful Asscher cut stone on a simple thin white gold band from Michael F & Co I was blown away. He had chosen exactly what I would have.
There were quite a few things we didn’t want to compromise on. We wanted an outdoor ceremony, in a rustic space, with dinner and dancing and a late curfew. We love food (I run a boutique events company Chassay & Co with a bespoke food and wine focus) so delicious, local-style food and natural wine were really important. We wanted the wedding to feel like a beautiful dinner party, where people could move around and dance between tables. A lot of weddings have a meal, then the dancing as two separate events, and we didn’t want it to feel like that. It had to feel relaxed and effortless. We were adamant about creating a space that felt intimate and comfortable, but with lots of natural charm. Lastly, we wanted a selection of great DJs instead of a band.
One of the first venues I came across was one in Mallorca. I loved the look and feel, but it was so early in our planning (literally the week after we got engaged), so we continued looking. We considered the Amalfi Coast, Mykonos, Tel Aviv, the Negev desert, the south of France, Sicily, Palm Springs, LA, Barcelona, Ibiza, you name it! We live in London but Jon is from New York, and while I’m originally from South Africa, my family is in Sydney, so we really were looking all over the place. Finding an appropriate venue and time of year was tough. After about four or five months of research, we decided to go and see the venue in Mallorca. We fell in love with it instantly. It’s called Finca Son Termes and it's an extremely old, grand Spanish farmhouse at the foot of the Tramuntana Mountains. Hidden in the middle is an incredible rustic stone courtyard, with a big beautiful tree in the middle.
That first picture of the venue on Pinterest led me to Mandy Lago’s website and she quickly became our wedding planner. She knows Mallorca really well, plus, all the suppliers on the island. I had a very clear vision for how we wanted it to flow. She brought it to life in the most seamless, professional way. Planning has its natural ups and downs, but she and the team put together the most incredible day, doing more behind the scenes than we even knew.
Similarly to finding a venue, I struggled when it came to finding my dress. I tried so many on and nothing really excited me or felt right. One of my best friends introduced me to a designer named Ahmed Khyeli, so I decided to have something custom made. His dresses are phenomenal, so we combined some of my ideas with some of his. I actually ended up changing the shape of the neckline about a month before the wedding to a halter neck. I felt like I was going to have more support without a bra. The dress process was so stressful, and I didn't really enjoy it, but I was very happy with the result. It’s unique but not over the top. Most importantly, it was so comfortable and I had a good time wearing it.
I didn't wear any jewellery under the chuppah for religious reasons, but after the ceremony, I put on a pair of gold vintage drop earrings from The Hirst Collection in Notting Hill.
Make-up & Hair
My make-up was done by John Corcoran and was super-simple with most of the focus on a glowy, dewy complexion. In hindsight, I thought my eye make-up was too heavy, but otherwise I was really happy with it. Laura Gisbert did my hair. I just wanted something sleek and simple with my hair pulled away from my face, and I love a low, tight centre-parted bun. I didn't want a typical bridal updo so we went for something similar to how I wear my hair day to day. It also felt quite Spanish to me, especially when worn with earrings.
The Wedding Party
Jon and I didn't want to do the whole traditional bridal party/groomsmen thing, and although we did have them, I don’t like the look of a group of people all wearing the same outfits. My bridesmaids were my two sisters, my best friend and Jon’s sister. I told them they could wear whatever they liked, I just wanted them to wear warm colours – reds and pinks, or black and white. We told Jon’s groomsmen to wear a black suit and white shirt or t-shirt, no ties and we bought them all the same limited edition Stan Smiths.
I wanted to use vintage rugs to form the aisle and create the cocktail space. I had been buying rugs for a year on eBay and at antique markets in London, all of which I had sent to Mallorca. It looked so beautiful. We got married on a large veranda, in front of the finca, under a gorgeous tree. We left castanets on the chairs for each guest so when we walked down everyone was playing their castanets along with the Spanish guitarist. It was so magical.
After the ceremony, we had the cocktail reception just to the right – the space was big so we created two very defined areas. This was one of my favourite parts. I wanted to create an indoor/outdoor feel with lots of cool furniture and rugs for an eclectic chill-out space, and it worked so well. There were so many trees to create shade and everyone was just drinking and enjoying themselves.
We went with Tali Photography. Their photos are beautiful and our planner had a good relationship with them. We decided not to have a videographer, so were happy to splurge on photography – I’m thrilled we did.
The Décor And Flowers
The venue naturally had a very warm feel to it, so I wanted to play into that with the flowers. We had a beautiful mix of reds, oranges and bright pinks brought together by our florist Brigitta Norrenbrock. I loved the idea of having a mismatch of things and using rugs and textures to bring everything to life. I bought about 15 vintage champagne buckets to use as huge vases, which were scattered around – they looked really gorgeous. The dinner-party area didn't need much to make it feel special. It was such a raw, charming space. We had a mix of long and round tables so we could fill the space in an intimate, convivial way. For the chairs, I chose a mix of four different kinds, which looked great and gave it more of a relaxed, cool feel. There were some huge wooden doors that opened onto the courtyard (which remained closed during the ceremony and cocktail reception), so we decided to try out an ombre effect with the flowers.
When you walked into the space for the ‘reveal’, you could see a beautiful swathe of colours on the tables, starting with a deep red on the left side of the space, moving to a bright yellow, with pinks and oranges in between. I didn't want any large bouquets on the tables or anything that would obstruct people's view of each other, so we had a mix of flowers in different sized vases, all at different heights. It looked spectacular. We had lots of candles, a mix of salmon and sage coloured glassware, and festoon of lights across the courtyard.
The Food And Drink
We wanted the food to feel light, summery and local but still refined. We had a delicious cold gazpacho to start, followed by pan-fried sea bass with golden potatoes and black garlic aioli. There was a selection of salads and a local Mallorcan dish called tumbet to share, and beautiful homemade sourdough bread and olive oil. Dessert was alternating plates of dark chocolate fondant with pink peppercorn and tangerine ice cream, or white chocolate mousse with raspberry sorbet and pine nut crumble. My sister designed the menus in a beautiful handwritten style, which my mother then splattered with bright paint. It was all very handmade and lovely. We also had the wait staff wear denim shirts with jeans and leather aprons we bought for them. It was a nice touch.
We didn't want a traditional cake, and I have always wanted wheels of cheese. The caterers gave us an amazing selection of big wheels of blue, parmesan, manchego and some softer, creamier cheeses for the top. My mum wanted to decorate it, so the caterers gave her some dates, figs and grapes, and then she used flowers from the tables to decorate it then and there. It looked so beautiful.
For the first hour, when guests first moved into the courtyard to be seated, we had an amazing Latin band. It didn't feel too intrusive, it was just super chilled. After that, we had a DJ we’d flown in from Ibiza, and then another French DJ and a friend who played for the after party – which was in a cool, old mill and went on until 4am. Jon and I prepped and practiced a choreographed first dance. It was a mash up of four songs that started like a slow dance but then we surprised everyone and broke into a proper dance, which was so fun and really set the tone for the night.
The Day Before & After The Wedding
We had a welcome party two nights before the wedding at a beautiful venue called Jardines de Alfabia. After that, we had rented out an amazing tapas bar in Palma called El Camino for late night snacks and drinks – this was actually one of our highlights. A small group of about 40 of us took over this amazing little spot in the old town, which felt super fun and special. The day after the wedding, we sat at a rooftop pool overlooking the old town, eating lunch and having drinks with friends and family, with my feet in a champagne bucket of ice! That night, we had a small Shabbat dinner at a beautiful beach restaurant.
I couldn’t have done any of this without my wedding planner. I’d also advise couples spend money on things that will make the day better and more comfortable for your guests… think good quality, efficient transport, comfy chairs, good umbrellas for shade. And always have a space for people to sit, and make sure you provide plenty of food and drinks. Happy guests will make your day so much better and when you see people thoroughly enjoying themselves, you will too. I think it's also really important to create a solid flow with your timings so people don't end up waiting in one space for too long. It’s nice to have ebbs and flows to the event to keep people’s energy up. We spent so much time working that out, and it makes a huge difference. Oh, and keep the speeches short!
Photography by Tali Photography