Some frequently asked questions, from how to start the planning, to questions on the ceremony music, & decoration, to ideas on how to amuse children at weddings……
Q: Help!…Where do I start with planning a wedding abroad and how does it work?
A: I like to think of the wedding planning in 7 steps – here goes:
Step 1: Contact me; the earlier the better because unfortunately I am very limited to how many weddings I can do in a year and when I reach my limit I stop taking on new bookings. I can answer all of your questions by email or I can call you.
Step 2: Visit Nerja; to meet with my colleague Mat to view the venues in the Nerja area, look at menus and more photos. Afterwards you will sit down with me and go over a budget for your wedding, the suppliers needed, prices etc to give you a good idea on the cost of everything. You take all the information you need with you, and contact me on your return with your decision. You do not have to sign up for anything at this meeting or make any decisions.
Step 3: Make a Booking – venue, wedding planner; The venue asks for a deposit. Once I confirm your chosen date with the venue, I will give you the go ahead to pay the venue. This is paid directly by you into their bank account. You don’t make anymore payments to the venue until the week of the wedding. I then ask you to pay my deposit around this time, so I can forward you on my “client information” (this is information/website links all the suppliers and musicians).
Step 4: Plan a 2nd visit; Based on the information you have on the suppliers, I start to make bookings for you, at your request, and / or make appointments for you to meet with them on your second visit (celebrant, photographers, florist, cake lady, hair and make up trials etc). Top of the “to do” list is to taste the food and wine at the venue – so I ask you to send me your choices from their menus. I can also arrange for you to meet with musicians where possible, to hear them play – although I will provide you with their websites, play lists and cds beforehand. Before this second visit, I will advise you who will need to be paid a deposit and how best to pay them (cash or visa).
Step 5: 2nd visit; on this visit we go through the “to do” list (all pre-arranged in Step 4) and confirm the suppliers´ bookings after the meetings / trials, and the final menu choice after the taster. We revisit the venues also and discuss table plans, decorations, and timing of the day in more detail. Deposits to be paid on this visit are normally small holding deposits to the hairdresser, makeup artist and photographer.
Step 6: The final countdown; in the months before the wedding, we will be in constant touch by email. I work by a checklist at this stage. Each part of the wedding day has its own “box” and in it will be the timing, the suppliers needed, who to pay / who has been paid a deposit, when to pay and how (cash, bank transfer, visa), and also food, drink and music needed during this time. Other suppliers such as the florist, photographers, and hair and makeup artists will also have their booking details on this.
Step 7: The week of the wedding; we arrange to meet as soon as you arrive to go over the checklist face to face, make payments, and visit the venue and the suppliers to reconfirm all details with them. I then leave you to enjoy your days before the wedding to meet and greet your family and friends, leaving you with peace of mind that everything is under control!
Q: Do you offer packages?
A: No, because they tend to restrict your options. Choosing your favourite suppliers and getting excited during the build up to the big day is the most enjoyable part of the planning. I will send you lots of options for all different suppliers with costs clearly indicated so you can choose which ones you like and I do the rest. I´ll give you a budget forecast so you know the overall cost of everything but this is flexible, you can add things in or take things out if you need to tighten your belt.
Q: I have no idea how many guests I´ll have. What happens if I have more or less people than the minimum or maximum the venue allow?
A: If your numbers are less than the minimum required by the venue, you´ll usually have to pay a supplement per person to make up the numbers, or you might have to spend an amount to make up for the missing guests. If you have more guests than we recommend for a venue then you might have to use a different area for part of the wedding day. We´ll go through this in detail with you before you make any decisions.
Q: How does the day run? What is the timeline? What time do you start and finish?
A: The ladies usually start to get ready at 11am so there´s no stress or time pressure. The ceremonies usually start at 4 or 5pm in the hot months (July/ August), then we have a drinks reception for an hour or two and then go for dinner between 6 and 8pm. The meal usually lasts for approx 2hrs then cut the cake served with tea & coffee. Between 10 and 11.30pm we move the guests inside for music and dancing. The evening will finish between 3 and 4am.
A: I will start early morning running through the plans checking all ok with the suppliers. I´ll then go to the venue to organise any decorations. I will check on both bridal parties as they´re getting ready and run through last minute ceremony details. I´ll then go to the church to meet the guests, organise readers, music, flowers, priest, photographer etc. After the ceremony the bridal party go for photos around the Balcon de Europa and I bring the guests to the venue for drinks and canapés. After the drinks reception I move the guests to the meal area for dinner. Here I organise the bridal party entrance and speeches then explain to guests at the tables what drinks are available and identify guests with dietary requirements to the Maitre D. After the meal, cutting of the cake etc I move the guests to the night club. Once in the night club, first dance done, pizzas, snacks delivered and you´ve been introduced to the night club manager I leave you to enjoy your night, usually around midnight.
Q: Is it cheaper than getting married at home?
A: Prices might be slightly cheaper than Ireland or the UK but you would normally have a lot less guests than you would be inviting at home so that is where you can save money. See our prices page for more info on suppliers prices
Q: When´s the best time of year to get married?
A: We organise weddings throughout the year but our main wedding season is from April to end of October. Generally the evenings are warmer from mid May to mid October.
- April to mid May = warm and sunny day time, chilly evenings.
- Mid May to end of June = hot and sunny day time and warm evenings.
- July and Aug = very hot day time and hot evenings.
- Sep to mid Oct = hot and sunny day time and warm evenings.
- Mid to End of Oct = warm and sunny day time, chilly evenings.
- Nov to Mar = usually warm and sunny day time, chilly evenings.
For more info, daily average temps and rainfall nerjaweather
Q: We will have kids coming. How can we keep them entertained?
A: We have an excellent contact for a creche/play area service for during the meal. The ladies who run the service also offer babysitting if needed.
Q: Everyone has email nowadays, why do I need a planner?
A: All suppliers have email but most prefer to work with a capable planner than deal direct with the couple because it´s much easier for them. See advantages of a good planner for more reasons why hiring a planner should be the first thing you do.
Q: Do you organise same sex weddings?
A: Absolutely! I have been involved in the planning of many same sex weddings.
Q: How does it work with booking suppliers like bands, photographers etc? Can I talk directly to them?
Q: Can I talk to previous couples and get their feedback?
A: I will send you a list of my trusted suppliers and their contact details, photographers, bands, celebrants etc. You choose which ones you like the look of then I will organise the details with the supplier for you.
A: I will send you feedback from previous couples as I receive them and I have lots from past weddings. I can also give you the contacts of couples who have used a certain supplier if you´d like extra reassurance.
Q: Do you work in other areas or with other venues that are not on your website?
A: Unfortunately we only work in Nerja and with suppliers that we have a good working relationship with. There are far too many variables with a new venue that it´s not worth risking your wedding day and our reputation on a venue that we don´t know.
Q: What kind of food will we eat?
Q: Can we have an informal bbq or tapas for the meal?
Q: Do you normally have dessert and wedding cake?
A: The venue menus are very varied and flexible but you can find the same kind of food that you´d eat at a wedding at home ie: chicken and mushroom vol au vent or caesar salad to start and then fillet steak or seabass are popular main course options. If you like the idea of letting your guests try something local or a bit different the canapés at the drinks reception are great for this because it´s not their main meal so if they don´t like a few of the options it´s no big deal. It´s best to play safe with the mains and choose options that most guests will like.
A: Some venues offer bbq or tapas menus and they´re great if you want to offer guests lots of options.
A: You wouldn´t normally have a dessert and wedding cake. You can opt for the Spanish style wedding cake that´s included in the menu price. It can be presented in tiers but is more a dessert/ gateau type cake – cream, vanilla or chocolate sponge and fresh fruit, or a cheesecake or similar. If you want a traditional iced and decorated cake, you can have one instead but you pay for this separately from a different supplier. It can still be the dessert – popular flavours are chocolate, lemon or victoria sponge, – the hotel can serve it with fresh fruit and ice cream too.
Q: Do guests have a choice of main meal on the wedding day?
A: No. Spanish couples tend to offer a full 4 course meal – starter, fish course, meat course and wedding cake. Most Irish, British couples will only have a 3 course. Some have the same main for everyone OR if you do want to offer a choice of mains, you have to ask your guests before the wedding (you can put this on the invitation) and advise the hotel by 10 days before the wedding the numbers of each. They will also cater for kids, vegetarians, and anyone with allergies – but again they need to know this information in advance.
Q: Do you have to have a long top table?
Q: How many guests normally sit on the other tables?
A: No, not if you don´t want to. Some opt for a round table although this means that some will sit with their backs to the room. You can have a horseshoe shaped top table instead.
A: Most guest tables are for 8 to 10 guests. If you have a big wedding you are better off filling the tables with 10 guests on each, to have less tables in the room, so you are closer together. If its a small wedding you can have tables for 6 guests if you wish, to fill the room out a bit more.
Q: What kind of decoration should I put on the tables?
Q: Do I need to buy favours, place names, table numbers or names?
A: Most venues supply small flower centres for the tables to match your colour scheme. They also provide printed menus and tea candles. If you wish you can order some petals or similar to scatter on the tables too. As there are many glasses on the table – for wine, water, cava toast, and cutlery for the various courses, with side plates and napkins, I really don´t think you need much more. Sometimes the tables can look too cluttered otherwise.
A: Favours tend to get left behind, and place names ignored but it´ s up to you. As long as you have a list of guests on display to show what table they are seated at, that´s the main thing. The hotel will also supply the table numbers, but if you want table names you have to supply these yourselves.
Q: What´s the best sort of music for during the meal? And after?
Q: Are there any restrictions on times for music?
Q: At what time does the wedding end?
A: Just background music will do for the meal, either cd´s provided by the hotel or you can bring your own cd´s / ipod. Most couples leave the live music until after the meal – for instance a flamenco show or rat pack hour before the band / dj start.
A: Live music is only allowed until eleven thirty outdoors, so if your meal is outdoors, you will have to go indoors at some stage to continue the party. For the disco you can have a dj or live band. Some venues include the dj.
A: The party will end between 03.30 and 04.00 depending on the venue.
Q: What times are the wedding ceremonies at?
Q: How will my guests get to the ceremony?
A: Normally 4pm and 5pm due to the heat. You can have your ceremony at any time but it´s best to avoid the middle of the day during the Summer months (June to end of Sept).
A: If the ceremony is at a venue that´s away from the main town centre we will arrange to meet everyone at a central location then escort them to the buses. None of our venues are more than a 10 min bus journey (except the hotel El Cortijo Bravo which is 30 mins away). At the end of the night the venue will call taxis for guests as they are ready to leave.
Q: Can we hire equipment for our baby instead of bringing over everything with us? And whats the best way to keep the children amused during the meal on the actual wedding day?
A: We can provide a separate table for the children with colouring pens and books and stickers, bubbles, disposable cameras, toys and games. We can also hire a TV and DVD player too. There are children’s entertainers and babysitters available also – please email me about this. Also if anyone needs to hire baby equipment for the duration of their stay – I have a contact for this, they can provide bottle sterilizing equipment, buggy, play pen, high chair etc…
Q: Can I bring my own photographer/ hairdresser/ make up artist/ singer?
A: Yes, if you have a guest who´s service you´d like to use on your wedding day that´s no problem. Just give me their contact so I can liase with them.
Q: Should we organise a party for the day before or after the wedding?
Q: How much will that cost?
A: It´s a nice touch to have a get-together before the wedding, especially if both sides of the family don´t know each other very well. And as for after the wedding, it´s a great idea for everyone to get together to talk about the day before and chill out. My only advice would be to keep it simple, informal and the cost low as it can easily spiral out of control and be more stressful than the wedding day. You want the day before to be an informal icebreaker over a few drinks and the day after to be a chill out after the big day.
A: To reserve an area of a venue doesn´t cost anything. Guests usually pay for their own drinks. If you want to put on food you can offer tapas, a buffet or a bbq. Mat organises the day before/ after parties as well as several other things which are not part of the main wedding day but are important parts of the overall services package which we offer. See the extra services page for more details on Mat´s services. Extra Services