November 24, 2016

Relaxed Casa Santonja Wedding, Denia Spain

Mid April took me out to Spain for Zoë & Merwin’s spring wedding in Denia, situated between Valencia and Alicante. As they live in Spain they’d decided to have the wedding there for various reasons including guaranteed sunshine and because they’d found and fallen in love with Casa Santonja, a stunning 19th Century villa set in lush gardens overlooked by the mountains, not too far from where they lived. The backstory: I met Zoë and her family about 18-months earlier when I photographed her graduation in London. She’s a great chick – a committed vegan, passionate animal lover and a bit of an eco warrior who’ll fight to support those causes she really believes in… all done with a huge smile! (If you’re interested in the musings of a crumbly vegan click here). Zoë randomly said at her graduation that if she ever gets married she wanted me to be her wedding photographer, and hey presto just over a year later she was back in touch telling me about their wedding plans.

Spanish Destination Wedding

So off I flew arriving in Spain a few days before the wedding to get some much needed sunshine before the wedding season kicked into full swing for me. The villa was totally gorgeous and so amazingly lush despite being literally in the middle of arid nowhere. I arrived on the big day to what was a real family affair. Zoë was getting ready in her relaxed laid back way, with her mum and aunties (who’d both overdone it a bit in the hot sun the day before). One of her friends Sam, a very talented shoe designer (previously featured in Vogue no less), was there and had brought Zoë’s hand-made vegan wedding shoes with her. Check them out!

The wedding wasn’t until late afternoon and staff at the villa were busy setting things up for the day. Meanwhile, make-up and hair sorted, Zoë was beginning to look like a bride now. With her gorgeous two-piece wedding dress (by Yoav Rish) finally on, Zoë looked all boho and floaty, simply gorgeous! Merwin and his family (who had flown in from New Zealand) arrived by coach with lots of their guests, and that familiar wedding buzz I know so well, started well… buzzing! When guests are arriving with happy excitement and anticipation, the bride is more or less ready and the champagne starts to pop, it’s then that it really starts to feel like a wedding. There are quite usually some nerves and tears at this point, and Ruth, Zoë’s mum obliged with such pride love and excitement all rolled into one when she saw her all ready to go. Dad then made his way in, and that was another teary moment!

The Garden Ceremony

Guests seated in the gardens for the outdoor ceremony, it now felt about 30 degrees in the hot afternoon sunshine and their sweet friend Andrea played the guitar as Zoë walked up the long garden aisle with dad towards Merwin. The ceremony with vows, readings and candles (and a few more tears) over, they walked back down the aisle as newly-weds straight to the shaded terrace, with their guests following, all ready for drinks and canapés. Greetings, hugs, photos, champagne, gourmet munchies all with a fabulous mariachi band playing in the background as guests settled into the afternoon’s celebrations. It was a great atmosphere. This is what destination weddings are all about! Guests wandered around taking in the views, friends and family were chatting and catching up, lots of selfies and other family photos were being taken…. so we took a short walk around the gardens for some photos just as guest were starting to make their way inside for the wedding feast! The cavernous cellar was an extraordinary place, beautifully decorated by their lovely wedding planner Marcella Doran and her team (Your Dream Wedding in Spain).

The Evening Celebrations including guitar play offs!

First were the speeches – all the usual suspects, and then their 5-course wedding dinner began. With immaculate attention to detail, Zoë & Merwin had chosen an array of gastronomic delights for their guests, including me! I was delighted to be sitting with some of their London friends who were fab company. We all had a drawing of ourselves on our place settings which was such a nice, personal touch!  Dinner rolled for a few hours, the day turned into night, not long after the DJ got started with a few songs to get the crowd going. They were a rowdy lot too! Some crazy mad guitar play-offs got underway and then dancing, dancing and more dancing! Zoë, a football loving kinda gal, put a footie shirt on so she could properly boogie and the party started! Vegan wedding cake followed courtesy of Cakes in Spain. I headed off after a few hours of dancing, back to my hotel to pack for the following day’s wedding back in London!

What a day, what a night! Zoë & Merwin, thank you for letting me share your day with you all, and for making me feel so welcome, much more a guest than just your wedding photographer. I loved every blimmin minute of it! Wishing you both love peace and happiness xxx

If you’d like to chat to me about your destination wedding, get in touch here, I’d love to hear from you.


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Amazing shoots Mona, beautiful !!!

Thanks Adam, it was great being there!