KATIE & GURCAN WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHER GIRONA
When Katie and ‘Gooch’ swung by for a pre-shoot, I did little girly jumps of joy! Here I had a couple of beauties…in every way. This was always going to be a wedding about fun, friends, family and a really good whiskey (dad makes the stuff). I won’t go into details about how incredibly warm hearted and effortlessly stylish they were…you have pictures that will tell you that story, but I will say that this was a wedding that was expertly devised to create a moment of utopic wedding escapism.
The venue, Castell D’emporda delivered an ideal spot close to Girona to sink into a weekend of friends and fun. It’s an all in one, with an olive grove in which to say the words, a couple of spectacular swimming pools to splash and suck back a few poolside bubbles and some really incredible staff, bent on delivering an exceptional time for all. The views are worthy too!
Katie has shared some words with us, so after you see these beauties, please scroll down to read her story!
How did you meet?
We met at work. I was in-between jobs and a family friend had given me an interim office manager role in their architecture practice where Gooch was an architect. It was a short and rather menial 4 months of work for me there but the most fruitful job I have ever had.
How did you know he was the one?
From the moment I met him I knew he must make someone the luckiest and happiest person in the world. He was kind, smiley, intelligent, popular, driven and well-mannered – everything which my Dad had told me to look for in a man and everything I had my heart and hopes set on.
How did he propose?
We were visiting my family in Glasgow over the Easter weekend and on the Sunday Gooch had suggested that the two of us go for a walk in a nearby country park. Despite my efforts to include my sister and our family dog on this walk Gooch finally managed to convince me that it was best we left them behind and so the two of us set off on a long ramble through Pollok Country Park. We must have experienced all types of weather during our wander, from wind to rain, to sunshine to hail, and I was beginning to get a bit tired and wanted to get home to freshen up before we had the family round for Easter Sunday Lunch. It was at this point that Gooch suggested we make our way back via the woods and it was on a mossy fallen tree that Gooch got down on one knee and produced the most beautiful engagement ring I had ever seen. Of course it was a big fat yes and I remember feeling completely weightless as we pretty much ran home to tell everyone the wonderful news. The best part of the whole day however was that as soon as I entered my parents’ house I pushed open the door and all of Gooch’s family from London and all of my Scottish family were there waiting for us! We went on to enjoy most incredible and emotional long lunch together – Gooch had planned it perfectly.
How did you find your venue?
It was a little risky but we decided to make the most of a bank holiday weekend only a couple of weeks into our relationship, and as such we bought a pair of cheap flights and found ourselves in the majestic Catalunyan city of Girona. I had spent an afternoon browsing local hotels and stumbled upon Castell d’Emporda, a stunning 14th Century castle set upon the hillside overlooking the Emporda region famed for its good food and wine. When we sat down for lunch at Castell d’Emporda on that first afternoon we realised it was actually our first proper ‘date’ which was extremely extravagant (and ludicrous/brave) but we went on to fall in love over that weekend and for this reason, along with the venue’s character, excellent food and drink, impeccable and personal service and the generous accommodation and capacity for our guests, it was the obvious choice when it came to choosing our wedding venue. The weekend we chose for our wedding was actually the very same bank holiday weekend we had first travelled there five years previously and so it seemed like a very good omen.
Your vision for the day?
Having our wedding abroad and over a bank holiday weekend we wanted to make sure that it felt like a holiday for all. We knew everyone would be wowed by the scenery but it was important that everyone felt relaxed and comfortable from the moment they arrived on the Saturday until check out on the Monday.
We started proceedings the night before so that our guests had a chance to mingle and to get to know one another, and as such we organised a poolside BBQ complete with flamenco dancer and Spanish band. This party was a great ice breaker and helped to generate even more excitement for the big day ahead.
We had hoped for good weather and we were utterly blessed with warmth and sunshine over the whole weekend. In a bid to avoid the midday sun we had given ourselves a later ceremony start time of 4pm in the olive grove and this meant that guests were free to head to the seaside, chill by the pool, mosey around the neighbouring villages, enjoy a long lunch or just snooze off the night before with plenty of downtime in anticipation of the party that was yet to come.
We had a wonderful humanist celebrant who managed to conduct the most unique marriage service for us that included a good mixture of humour, commitment and love and it was a joy to look out at all of our beautifully dressed friends and family who were gathered alfresco before us. What I loved most, and what we worked hard to achieve, was that we didn’t have ‘sides’ during the service and that really reflects who we are; there is no one who is more Gooch’s friend nor my family – everyone belongs to us as a couple and that was our vision for the wedding itself and the weekend as a whole.
The glorious afternoon rolled into the evening beautifully and as one friend put it our love was contagious, Castell d’Emporda was truly one bubble of love that whole day long and we could not have hoped for more.
Every drink that was drunk and every morsel of food that was devoured was delightful and that was what we so wished to accomplish: a summery party filled with the best people we know, good food and drink, lots of laughter, lots of chatter, lots of dancing and lots of love!
How close was your wedding to the vision you had for it?
The whole wedding far surpassed even our greatest of visions and that was largely due to our fantastic wedding planner at the venue, Sandra Ribas, and our varying suppliers who made our day so splendid. It was not always easy organising bits and pieces abroad and despite holidaying in Spain on many occasions neither of us are particularly well versed in Spanish (Gooch is far superior to me though!). That being said, the team at Castell d’Emporda and everyone who helped us to build our wedding acted with complete professionalism and the end results were nothing short of spectacular – it felt incredible watching everything come together! I’ve seen brides with a timetable of events for the day and I’m so lucky that I didn’t need this, I felt as though I glided from one moment to the next soaking up every minute of the whole day and that is an absolute testament to all of the wonderful suppliers and organisers whom I have mentioned below – they are the best of the best.
What I hadn’t banked on was the physical support of those family and friends who had arrived in advance of the weekend and we had a little production line by the swimming pool on the Friday afternoon helping us with the final pieces such as the orders of service and the favours – it is a wonder what a beer in the sunshine can do to encourage the troops.
Any surprises feelings or otherwise?
We were totally surprised with how well the Turkish and Scottish dancing went down! It was brilliant witnessing our Cypriot Grandfather dancing the ‘Gay Gordons’ and British Grandmother turning her hand to a Turkish dance. I don’t think the cave at Castell d’Emporda has ever seen such a beautifully chaotic clash of cultures, energy and vibrancy!
We have been overwhelmed with the well wishes and the compliments that our guests have given us and I truly believe we will be talking about this wedding weekend for the rest of our lives. The fact that our wedding touched people in the way it did makes us so happy and thankful. We wished for the party to be an extension of who we are as a couple and I genuinely feel as though we accomplished this and more. People say to enjoy every moment of the wedding as it passes by in a flash and whilst this is entirely true we were so fortunate to have stretched our wedding over the long weekend and neither of us felt as though we hadn’t spent enough time with any guest or that we longed for more time.
A favourite moment or memory?
Oh where to start, there is no defining moment that stands out against all others but here is a small selection of some awesome moments and memories which will last with me for the rest of my life:
Advice for brides?
Bride’s Dress: Rosa Clara
Bride’s Shoes: Stuart Weitzman
Bride’s Halo: Hermione Harbutt
Groom’s Suit: Ozwald Boateng
Groom’s Shoes: Hugo Boss
Bridesmaid Dresses: Maids to Measure
Groomsmen Suits: Paul Costelloe
Venue and Catering: Castell d’Emporda, s/n, La Bisbal 17115, Spain
Wedding Planner: Sandra Ribas, Castell d’Emporda
Photographer: Sandra von Riekhoff, Divine Day Photography
Videographer: Stephanie Trowell, Divine Day Photography
Celebrant: Toby Harper
Florist: Lali Cabani, Niflauers
Hair Styling: Robin Dautreppe
Make Up: Molly Sheridan
Cake: Joanna Khabaz, Creative Baking
Music: Amarende, The Arta Quartet, Little Informer
Sound and Lighting: Kamal Productions & Events