“…when I got into the back of the car my engagement ring was there waiting for me!”
The couple: Kelly and Gavin Kenneally
Length of engagement: 15 Months | Wedding date: 11th September 2016
Wedding location: Casa de Los Bates, Motril, Spain
Photographer: Owen Farrell Photography
We met… Gavin was having a fancy dress party for his birthday and I gatecrashed – sort of… I was working with a friend of his and she invited me along. The theme was to go dressed as something to do with your name – I went as Kelly Osbourne (!) and Gavin was dressed as Rob Stark from Game of Thrones because Kenneally means ‘Head Wolf’ (or so he says!) We met up with other friends a few times after that before going on our first date a month later.
Our proposal… I love visiting caves…I can’t really tell you why! One of our first holidays together was a trip to Cheddar Gorge and Wookie Hole in Somerset, and whenever we go somewhere different I am always looking to see if there is a cave nearby that we can visit. So, when we were going to Nerja in Spain for a friend’s wedding, I was delighted to discover that there are world famous caves there! While we were looking around the caves, Gavin asked someone to take a picture of us, and it was then that he got down on one knee and proposed with his father’s wedding ring, which had been given to him when his father passed away. When we landed back in London, my stepdad was picking us up from the airport, and when I got into the back of the car, my engagement ring was there waiting for me! Such a lovely surprise! Gav hadn’t wanted to bring it with him on our holiday in case he lost it or I found it!
The dress… The very first dress I tried on was ‘The One’ – it was by Allure Bridals. I had a very clear idea of the kind of dress I wanted; Simple, all over lace and luckily as I described it the assistant in the shop pulled it out! I tried on quite a few dresses after that, just to make sure – but nothing compared. I loved how natural it felt and it was nice and light, just a slip and overlay – perfect for a wedding in Spain. I added a thin belt from Lily Bella that had tiny rhinestones on it to add a bit of sparkle and a Joyce Jackson veil with lace edging that gave the whole look a vintage Spanish feel. For the evening I removed my veil and had a flowery headpiece from Jon Richard. For my shoes it had to be Jimmy Choo. I chose a pair of champagne/silver stilettos with a netted peep toe.
We chose our wedding coordinator because… We didn’t really know where to start when we first began planning the wedding. We knew we wanted to get married in Spain, but didn’t have any idea about how much it would cost or what it would involve. We searched online and emailed a number of wedding planners in the area but weren’t getting the responses we were after. Then we contacted Perfect Spanish Weddings and Moira gave us the best response by far, sending us details of all the properties they had, giving us details of typical prices and breakdown of costs, answering all our questions quickly and organising a Skype call with us. The effort she put in, when all we had done was make a simple enquiry was amazing, so it was a simple decision after that.
Our ceremony… We had a Humanist Ceremony which was held in the middle of a circle of hedges called The Secret Garden. There was just about enough room for everyone so it felt really intimate. As it was a Humanist Ceremony we had the option to write our own vows. At first we were reluctant as we felt a bit awkward about it but then we realised it would be silly not to embrace the opportunity and I’m glad we did, it made it so much more special. We also included a Celtic hand fasting ritual and lit candles with our mothers. We still get guests telling us that it was one of the best wedding ceremonies they have ever been too; very personal and all about us. I’m very proud of that.
We chose our venue because… We travelled to Spain for a long weekend and spent a day looking at venues. We had given a list of things we wanted from our venue to Moira from Perfect Spanish Weddings and she had picked out 4 of their venues that met the criteria. It was definitely worth the trip because we had seen all the venues online and thought we knew which one we wanted – and we were so sure! But on seeing it we completely changed our minds and it wasn’t for us. Casa de los Bates was the last venue we saw. We weren’t expecting to pick it as we thought it was just a little bit far for our guests to travel – but we loved it! It is on top of a hill, so the views around were amazing. On one side you can see the snow topped mountains of the Sierra Nevada and on the other side the Mediterranean Sea. As we were looking round we went to the top of the staircase at the back of the house that overlooks where the meal would be held and is where we would walk down to be introduced as Mr and Mrs. I got very emotional and it was the first time looking round any of the venues that I had been able to picture us there on the day – we knew then it was the one for us. What I liked the most was that there was a separate area of the venue for each part of the wedding – The Ceremony was held in the secret garden, cocktails and canapes were served around the fountains in the front of the house, the wedding breakfast was held at the back of the house and then the dance floor and bar were back down to the bottom of the gardens.
We chose our photographer because… For me, choosing a photographer was the most important part of the wedding planning. We chose Owen Farell to be our photographer because we really liked the relaxed feel of his photos. They captured all the right moments and didn’t looked staged or posed for – which is exactly what we wanted. I love all of our photos and couldn’t be happier with them. Owen captured some beautifully creative shots that I wouldn’t have even thought possible.
What our bridal party wore… The bridesmaids (my sister and best friend) wore Blush Pink Dresses from Mango that I got from ASOS. I didn’t want a traditional style of bridesmaid dress and eventually I came across the Mango dresses and ordered them for them to try on and they both loved them. My junior bridesmaid Ellie (or Mini Bridesmaid as we liked to call her) wore a Teen Blush One Shoulder Bridesmaid dress from BHS. The Ushers’ trousers and waistcoats were a light navy blue from Next. We had originally planned to get Blush pink linen ties for them, but were struggling to find any that wouldn’t break the bank! After months of looking, I was walking through Primark when I saw the cotton flowery ties the boys ended up wearing. As soon as I saw them I knew they would look great and am so glad we went with something with a bit of character. As a thank you for being part of the wedding party we got them belts, also from Next, and had their initials embossed on each of them.
Our menu… Guests arrived to fruit infused water as a welcome drink. After the ceremony we had beer, wine, Sangria and Cava served alongside canapes that were traditionally Spanish with a modern twist – lots of prawns, fish, pork, Serrano ham, little pots of Gazpacho, Spanish cheeses – too many to remember! For the main meal we had : Starter – Spanish Serrano Ham & Port Melon with Almonds. Main Course – Beef Entrecote & Mushroom Sauce with Vegetables & Potato Cake or Pastry Corner with White Fish & Prawns in a Warm Tomato Sauce. Dessert – Three Chocolate.
Our honeymoon… We spent a week in Sri Lanka touring the Hill Country. The highlights were visiting an elephant orphanage and then having lunch overlooking a river where they took the elephants to play and wash. We then spent a week relaxing on the Maldives – Reethi Beach – where many, many Pina Coladas were drunk! We also snorkelled every day and had a couple of scuba diving lessons – the reefs there are amazing! One day we had lunch on a small private island, just the two of us – which was an experience!
My favourite part of the wedding day… My favourite part of the day was hearing the vows that Gavin had written. We had kept these a secret from each other until the ceremony. I could tell he had put a lot of time and effort into them. They are words that I will cherish forever.
My piece of advice for other brides… Stop to take in as many moments as you can – the day will fly by! And if things get stressful during the planning process just remember that as long as you have each other, nothing else matters. Don’t get caught up in trying to make everything perfect – it will be, no matter what.
Photographer: Owen Farrell Photography | Dress: Allure Bridal – Morgan Davies, Hitchin | Belt: Lily Bella – Morgan Davies, Hitchin | Veil: Joyce Jackson | Head Piece: Jon Richard | Shoes: Jimmy Choo | Necklace: Hedgehog Project, Etsy | Bracelet and Earrings: Monica Vinader | Hair: Alex Bridal Marbella Spain | Makeup: Lyndsey Cavanagh, Ireland | Groom’s Suit: French Connection, Moss Bros | Shoes: Barkers | Bridesmaid Dresses: Mango, ASOS Junior | Junior bridesmaid dress: BHS | Ushers’ Trousers and Waistcoats: Next | Ties: Primark | Place Name Holders: Mdcrafts.co.uk | Table Candles: Coco Four | Order of the day/ceremony fans: Trieu Love Boutique, Etsy | Cake topper: le Rustic Chic, Etsy | Cake: Weddingcakesinspain.co.uk
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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.