Ever since I was born, I’ve spent every summer in Mallorca – my parents have a home there, so it was only natural Ben would choose to propose on the island. It was May Bank Holiday in 2018 and we were staying at my parents’ place. The weather was awful, so he said he’d booked a hotel for the night to give us something to do. We drove to the beautiful Castell Son Claret in the hills – I had my suspicions, but when he spent the afternoon asleep in the spa, I figured he was too relaxed for someone who was about to propose. After dinner at Zaranda, we went back to our room which was filled with flowers and candles, and he popped the question.
He knew I wanted to choose my own ring, so he proposed with a fake one he bought on Amazon. Ironically, it was pretty close in design to what I wanted – a very simple round diamond on a thin platinum band. I mix metals a lot, so I chose a simple gold band from Tiffany to go with it – it’s actually a men’s design.
I wasn’t the girl who had every detail of the wedding planned before the proposal, but because we know what we like, there were very few things we deliberated over. Mallorca was the non-negotiable – I’ve wanted to get married there since I was a little girl. The Hotel Residencia was our dream venue, but they have a maximum capacity of 70, which sadly wouldn’t have quite fit everyone in. But we knew that classic Mallorcan style – olive groves and rustic Finca – was the look we wanted. A band was also a must – we’ve been to enough weddings to know how much the music matters. The Muzika team, who came in from all over Europe, did an incredible job.
In the end, I couldn’t have imagined a more perfect venue than Son Mir. The expansive lawns and long stretches of groves, blooming blossom trees and old cobbled courtyards meant it had all the aesthetics of a traditional Mallorcan home, but towering palm trees and a blank canvas gave it scope for a bit of wow-factor, too. There’s an amazing entrance – big gates and a very long driveway – plus, a few different spaces to allow the ceremony, reception and dinner to all take place in separate areas.
I can safely say Mandy Alago is one of the best planners in Mallorca. She only plans weddings for visitors from abroad, and understood all the kinks, quirks and demands of a Jewish wedding, which was important – it’s a very different event to a traditional English wedding. You say jump, Mandy says how high – she can literally work magic.
The Build Up
We wanted to draw out the wedding and make a weekend of it for our guests. We organised a Friday night welcome dinner at Assaona, a terracotta beach club in Palma. It has huge raffia lights and big wooden tables – it feels like you’re in LA. We had a mariachi band, drank sangria, my bridesmaids made a speech, and we sat laughing by the sea until 1.30am when our friends headed out to a club and we sensibly went home! The next day, my parents hosted their friends at their home, and we took ours to Puro Beach Club in Illetas. We had magnums of rosé, an endless stream of nachos and scorching, blue-sky weather. That day almost rivalled the wedding itself.
Ben and I are both from traditional Jewish backgrounds, so our ceremony was always going to be religious. In Judaism, you have marriage classes with your rabbi for a year in advance, so it was particularly important we had a good relationship with the rabbi who was going to marry us – hence we chose the brilliant Moshe Meyerfeld. There are many rituals involved in a Jewish ceremony, from a Bedekin to the stamping of the glass to the circling of the groom seven times by the bride (not easy in a dress and veil), and the music is key, too. The lead singer in our band was also a Jewish singer and he sung the most beautiful a cappella versions of traditional Hebrew songs throughout.
Apart from the band, our suppliers were all local, including the photographer Roger Castellvi. He takes beautiful, modern photos. A videographer was high priority for us too, and the team at Made In Video did the most brilliant job.
I was quite pragmatic about finding my dress. Wedding dresses aren’t very me, and I never felt I looked good in any of the styles I wanted – I just had to go with what suited me best. The Amanda Wakeley gown I ended up with had ruffles, sequins, lace – all the things I didn’t want – but the shape was really flattering, and I really felt I looked the best I could. My mum had lace on her wedding dress, so she cut it off and I had parts of it sewn onto my bodice, which was very special. Later in the evening I changed into a heavily sequined, incredibly short but oversized Caroline Constas piece which I felt much more comfortable in.
As far as accessories went, I kept things simple and just borrowed a pair of diamond studs from my mum. My wedding shoes were a burnt gold pair by By Far – they were strappy with a block heel, which was essential with all the grass. When I changed into my second dress, I put on some barely-there silver Jimmy Choos I’d worn at our welcome dinner.
We brought the very talented Charlotte Cowen over from London to do our make-up – we have worked with her on SL shoots so I knew I was in safe hands. A shout out for the Giorgio Armani Luminous Silk Foundation she used – it was a lifesaver: nothing stays in place quite like it. Hayley Harris has been doing my mum’s hair for years, so she was the only person we could trust for the big day. We tried about 15 different styles at home, before settling on my usual loose waves.
Personally, I’m not a huge fan of matching bridesmaid dresses. Instead, I gave my five best friends a colour scheme and told them to run with it. It worked out perfectly as they all ended up feeling good, comfortable and looking like themselves. It was a bit of a risk because they live in London, Hong Kong, Tel Aviv and Paris respectively, so we didn’t see all five dresses together until the day itself. But because they’d each gone for something so different it worked – plus, the looks were tied together by their matching bouquets.
Ben went to Richard James for his suit. We chose it together, working with the brilliant Stefan to create a summer weight, bright blue style. He bought a beautiful pair of Manolo Blahniks for the occasion, but last minute decided he felt more comfortable in his Gucci loafers – the Manolos are still unworn, sitting in their box!
When we started planning, I was adamant I didn’t need spectacular flowers anywhere other than on our chuppah, the canopy Judaism requires you to get married under. We worked with Brigitta Norrenbrock to create a romantic, imperfect design that look like it had almost grown out of the venue itself. The bouquets and the buttonholes referenced the chuppah, and we kept the tables relatively simple, with little pink and white arrangements to break up the candelabras, which were in place ready for when it got dark. I also wanted to have creative place holders, so we built our reception like a flower market, filling big silver buckets and rustic crates with hydrangeas, daisies, roses and greenery, interspersed with wooden sticks with the name cards attached. We then served food from wooden market stalls to play on the theme.
Ben and I love food, so we wanted our wedding to feel like one big, relaxed meal out with friends – plus, we wanted everything to be locally sourced. The market concept lent itself to enormous paellas and a raw bar, and then for dinner, we served huge burrata and tomato salads, traditional Mallorcan tumbet and giant white fish. The grown-ups had dessert and our friends had tequila.
Pretty much the first thing Ben said to me the night he proposed was that he wanted me to speak at the wedding. But when I sat down to write, every draft felt boring and flat. Eventually, I told the story of Ben and I, right back to the Facebook messages we first exchanged aged 15, long before we dated. I’m so glad I did it – you’re never going to have a more supportive audience than on your wedding day, so unless you’re horribly shy, I’d have a good think about it.
The Finishing Touches
We really tried to imbue the day with an informal, friendly feel. Jewish weddings give out cupples (kippot in Hebrew) for the men to cover their heads with, and usually they’re inscribed with the date of the event – we went for ‘Charlotte & Ben – what a lovely cupple’ instead. We also had fans engraved with ‘Charlotte & Ben’s fan club’ and provided parasols for the ceremony. During the Israeli dancing – a high point of all Jewish weddings – we had coloured smoke canons go off – they look amazing in the pictures. We set up a cigar bar towards the end of the night, and an empanada stand by the coaches, so our guests didn’t leave hungry.
A wedding is such hard work – I really didn’t enjoy the build-up very much. We were so aware what a big commitment it was for our guests to fly in from all over the world, so we worked tirelessly on each and every element. I’m so pleased we did – the small stuff really pays off. If I had my time again, I would have a hairdresser on hand all night – Israeli dancing in 30-degree heat is not conducive to good hair. But I still had the time of my life.
Charlotte Collins is Senior Fashion Editor & Head Broadcaster at SheerLuxe. Follow her on Instagram here.