So what do you do when your perfectly planned styled wedding shoot on board a vintage Spanish fishing boat is called off due to the highest winds in twenty years – with only 24 hours to go?
Always have a venue contingency
The day before our beautifully organised shoot in pretty Marina del Este on Spain’s Costa Tropical came the call we had all been dreading.
“The marina is closed due to the worst winds in two decades. You will have to cancel the shoot.”
With so much anticipation for our boat wedding ceremonies the team of suppliers had joked that we would go ahead come hell or high water, but this was a mixture of both. So what do you do when your venue is effectively closed? You raid your address book and contact the tourist information office!
Pink palace is perfect plan B location
As a wedding celebrant on the coast of southern Spain it is my passion to raise the profile of the Costa Tropical (next along from the Costa del Sol) as a destination wedding location.
To this end I had recently made friends with the local minister for tourism who had proudly showed me around his new office at the recently restored Palacete de La Najarra in Almunecar.
Affectionately known as “the pink palace” because of the colour of its exterior, this historic cane sugar owner’s mansion was like a mini Alhambra palace. The restored carved Moorish tiles were exquisite and the dark wood furniture and stained glass windows cast some incredible light. The gardens were an oasis of tranquillity just one street back from the sea front with fountains and ornamental fossils dotted around under the palm trees. It would be perfect. Now to convince the minister!
Marketing is an international language
In fact, the tourism minister could not have been more helpful. He quickly understood that this was a fabulous marketing opportunity and made all of his staff at our disposal with nowhere off limits. The only restriction was upstairs where no more than 14 people were permitted in any one room, as the floor couldn’t cope with the weight- Spanish health and safety is slightly more relaxed than the UK!
Timetable goes out of the window
The team of suppliers were all seasoned professionals with many years of experience of real weddings between them. Which was just as well as the carefully planned timetable of shots went out of the window. The two photographers treated it as an opportunity for a series of mini wedding ceremonies with two gay couples, two straight couples and two wedding celebrants dashing about between setups… and all the time the venue was open to a bemused public. But it was this or nothing. Absolute craziness, but it worked!
Adaptability is key to a changing shoot
The florist had ordered flowers suitable for decorating two boats but with some very last minute arranging, produced some fabulous formal arrangements that we picked up and moved around between “ceremonies” – yup, it’s the same flowers in every shot!
The celebrants brought a couple of clothing changes and a variety of props to simulate rituals such as handfasting, hand tying and sand blending – anything to make the ceremonies look different!
My favourite ceremony was in the toilet
As one of the celebrants and the main blogger of the group, I also had half an eye on what “stories” I could make from the shoot to promote to the bridal magazines. I already had a play on words in mind for the pink palace and gay weddings.
But my favourite ceremony and the one that has given the most inspiration was when our real life chico y chico models chose the restored toilet as their ceremony location. With a lot of giggling I got them to do a hand tying ceremony. Honestly, you couldn’t make this stuff up, it was fun, it was fantastic and it just worked.
The bonding and camaraderie between the team on this shoot was incredible. We had a team photo at the end and then all went for a very late, very long three course Spanish lunch.
And yes, we got together again all of us after the very strict Spanish lockdown and nailed the original boat wedding shoot too in glorious sunshine, millpond Mediterranean and even a cameo appearance by a dolphin – but that is another story.
Our behind the scenes photos are from a styled shoot on location at Palacete de la Najarra, Almunecar, Costa Tropical, Spain
Wedding Planner: Mar Aday
Photographer: Toni Bonet
Photographer: Lara Jackson
Wedding celebrant: Debbie Skyrme
Wedding celebrant: Wendy Sherwood
Florist: El Rincon de Los Flores
Hair stylist: Cesar Morillas
Makeup artist: Violeta Carvajal
Bridal fashion: Rafa García
Groom’s fashion: BXS
Hair accessories: Cala by Lilian
Hand painted fan: Pinsed Pintura
Girls: Olalla, Estefania, Carmen, Aitana
Boys: Migue, Jesus, Miguel-Angel, Fran