“We always wanted to get married abroad but it was important that all our friends and family could be there.”
The couple: Alexandra Claire Redway & Neil Anthony Belcher
Length of engagement: 7 years | Wedding date: 6th August 2016
Wedding location: Spain, Elche, Costa Blanca Spanish Country Villa
Photographer: Schillings Photography
Spanish wedding planner: Lyndyloo in Spain
We met… the day before New Year’s Eve in Newquay, 2001. Unknown to us we had mutual friends and had both decided to spend New Year’s Eve in Cornwall that year. We met up with the rest of the group on the holiday site where we were all staying for the weekend. Neil and I hit it off straight away and never looked back since!
The proposal… was so romantic. Neil had booked me a massage at a local spa. I had no idea what his ploy was! I had been on at him for years to propose and he always said he wanted it to be a complete surprise and it was! After my relaxing massage the masseuse told me she was just going to get me some water, the next thing I heard was one of our favourite songs playing, and felt someone touch my hand. I thought it was a bit weird so took my eye mask off and there was Neil down on one knee, holding onto my hand in the massage room! He was so romantic and the ring was amazing! Of course I said yes and everyone in the spa, staff and guests all cheered as we were handed a glass of Champagne each! I will never forget that moment.
My hair and makeup… I actually did my own makeup, I am not one for wearing a lot anyway and wanted it quite natural looking. My hair was done by Neil’s cousin who is a hairdresser for a top London salon. I wanted very natural loose waves which she created perfectly, I was really pleased.
The suit… Neil’s suit was a navy three piece from Moss Bros. We knew it was going to be really hot on the day, but Neil insisted on buying the full three piece. He did in the end have to take his jacket off which I don’t blame him, it was 34 degrees on the day!
What our bridal party wore… We had six bridesmaids who all wore dresses in platinum by Dessy. Our daughter was a flower girl along with our two Goddaughters who wore cream lace dresses. Our sons wore navy waistcoats and matching shorts with Flossi canvas shoes. The ushers wore a light blue two piece suit with brown leather loafers and white shirts with navy ties. Neil’s brother was the best man and wore a matching suit to Neil. My dad wore a blue three-piece suit from Moss Bros and managed to keep the jacket on throughout the ceremony which was an achievement in itself as it was very hot! Although Neil’s stepdad Dave managed the entire day with his three-piece suit on! Neil’s dad and stepdad matched suits with the ushers.
Our ceremony… was romantic, beautiful and forever memorable. We had a great officiant who made us feel very relaxed and added a little bit of humour into the ceremony which we liked. We decided not to write our own vows so we conducted the usual wedding traditions which worked well for us. It was relaxed, yet traditional and we enjoyed every moment.
Our wedding theme/colours… We always wanted to get married abroad but it was important that all our friends and family could be there, and as I have close connections to Spain we decided this was the perfect place. We wanted it quite relaxed as it was important to us that everyone had fun and enjoyed themselves. We still wanted the traditions of a wedding, bridesmaids, best man, ushers etc, but with a bohemian style. I have always liked that look and felt that was well suited to a Spanish wedding.
We chose our wedding coordinator because… We had met Louise (of Lyndyloo in Spain) a few years back when we started looking at venues, she had a great approach and was very knowledgeable and was really easy to get on with. She knew the area well and was able to provide us with some great suppliers for the day.
I wore a Maggie Sottero
silk slip dress with a lace overlay. It was perfect for a hot Spanish wedding as it was so lightweight and it matched perfectly with my Bohemian theme. I loved my dress as it was so easy to wear, it had a lovely train and dipped back detailing. I picked a floor length veil and had matching lace from my dress sewn round the edge, it was beautiful.
We chose our venue because… Louise showed us round some beautiful venues, but our venue was a cut above the rest. We knew as soon as we walked into the grounds of the 19th Century Colonial Spanish House it was the place for us to exchange our vows. We loved the fact that it was a country Spanish home and the owners were so accommodating and made us feel so relaxed. It was truly a beautiful place. We also loved the fact it wasn’t touristy, it was a true Spanish home.
We chose our photographer because… we liked their modern and professional approach. They were really friendly and made us feel at ease. Having looked at several photographers’ portfolios we knew we made the right decision with Paul and Jolana from Schillings Photography. Not only that, we didn’t mind spending the extra money on getting the best and our wedding planner advised that they were the best photographers around, so we went with it!
The decor… For my tie backs for my chairs I used fake peonies from Etsy. They were so cheap and came in a bunch, I pulled off each flower individually and used string to tie them to the backs of each chair. I went to a local sewing shop and picked out several different fabrics. My Nan and Mum spent hours cutting up the fabrics into long strips that decorated the backs of the chairs. Each chair had 12 strips and we decorated over 50 of them, that was a lot of strips of fabric but it looked great. I bought my ‘order of the day’ wooden personalised sign from Ebay. The seller hand painted on the wording I requested, I loved it and it’s now handing up on our wall in the kitchen, it looks great. The children’s activity packs I put together using Mr Men and Little Miss books I got from Ebay and colouring pads and crayons from the local pound shop, along with sticker sheets. With my Nan’s creativity we put them together using hessian ribbon and labels, they looked really good and they went down a treat with the children. I loved our ‘tree of life’ where I placed photographs of loved ones who were no longer with us anymore and pinned them to some string that I wrapped around a tree, everyone was really touched by this.
Our honeymoon… With three children and a business to run we actually haven’t gotten round to having a honeymoon. We intend to go to Vegas in 2017, babysitters dependent!
My piece of advice for other brides… I was looking forward to this day for so long but when it finally came it went so quickly it felt like it was over in a flash, so the best and probably most common advice I would give to other brides would be make sure you really savour every moment. Take in everything and really make the most of the fact it’s all about you and your groom for the day, as after all it is just for a day!
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Former editor, current contributor, (she just can't let go!) Karen enjoys writing fashion but is known to dabble in decor from time to time. Her favourite section on the site is the Real Wedding section, followed closely by the Health & Fitness forums.