BEHIND THE SCENES – INSPIRATIONAL STORIES FROM A PRO WEDDING PLANNER
“If you think it’s expensive to hire a professional to do the job, wait until you hire an amateur.”- Red Adair
Wedding professionals help make your day run smoothly and can help you to create the fairy tale wedding you have always dreamed about.
Professional wedding planners witness a lot in their careers. From wedding disasters to wedding goals every planner has a million different stories to share of love and laughter. José Levy has been in the wedding planning business for over 15 years in Spain. He has worked in over 600 weddings and recently started his own destination wedding company based in Barcelona, Spain.
We asked him for a few of his favorite moments in his career and for some words of advice about destination weddings.
1. What was one of the most inspirational weddings you celebrated?
I will always remember one older couple from a few years ago who at first made it difficult for me to meet them in person to discuss the details of their wedding. I proposed to Skype and many other options of communication because I believe it is best to communicate face to face when discussing important details about the wedding.
I understood from their Whatsapp picture that they were an older couple looking to renew their vows. I was excited to meet them in person and finally, one day was able to meet them at a nearby mall.
The two arrived in a wheelchair with very reduced mobility. They told me their story and explained their nerves about hosting a wedding ceremony that was accessible and enjoyable for them both. They were excited to meet me and take one step closer to the wedding of their dreams. They were older, they had been wheelchair-bound for medical reasons. Their passion and enthusiasm shown through as they talked at the same time telling stories of how they met, the activities they had done together and how happy they were.
What struck me was that they did not see their limitations but their possibilities to help each other, and to love each other. When the day arrived, it was a simple and very emotional wedding. The couple radiated happiness and a desire to live a fulfilled life together. When I finished, there was something that made me feel as though I should try and help this couple. I was aware they lived on disability pensions. Normally I charge everything for the wedding in advance; however, in this case I told the couple that the rest of the amount could be paid on the same day as the celebration. The boyfriend approached me excited and very grateful. When he came to pay me I told him that I would gladly adjust the price and that there was no need to pay the full amount that was pending. The man and women became angry. They did not see the disability as a hinderance. He saw a wedding that he loved, that had made both him and his wife happy. They enjoyed the celebration very much and wanted to pay the full amount.
It was the one of the simplest weddings I have done and also one of the couples who thanked me the most. I sincerely hope they allow me to organize the renewal of the vows 🙂 I learned a lot at that wedding. I owe them for teaching me how to appreciate life and how to live every aspect to the fullest.
2. What is the funniest moment in a wedding you celebrated?
It was a very formal wedding. In a luxurious medieval setting, at the time of the ceremony I asked Mark to confirm that he agreed to marry Evelyn. Mark did not answer. Silence in the castle. Evelyn looks at Mark. Evelyn’s parents look at Mark. Evelyn’s friends look at Mark. Mark’s parents look at Mark. Mark’s friends laugh. You can hear the choppy laughter in the last rows. Each time they were harder to disguise. The parents of both turn in indignation. A little more than 2 minutes have passed. Lucy, Evelyn’s sister gets up. Evelyn’s parents ask Lucy to sit down. Mark starts to sweat. Nobody knows what to do. Mark turns and looks at Evelyn and answers “I Do”. Mark’s friends laugh out loud. The ceremony continues. At the end, Mark’s friends approach the altar and one of them explains that they had bet 100 Pounds that Mark could hold 6 minutes without answering that question. Mark lost the bet and almost lost the marriage. What’s a wedding without a little fun with good friends, right?
3. What is your biggest piece of advice for couples planning a destinaion wedding?
Define your dream and then build your budget.
This year I will surpass 700 meetings with different couples. In general, there is a greater illusion to marrying abroad, in this case in Spain. Your friends, family and loved ones are all going to another country to celebrate your love. Make no mistake, your guests will also incur expenses. It is for this reason that sometimes a couple who is marrying abroad can feel more pressure to make sure everything goes well.
I always say the same thing to each of my couples: first, close your eyes and imagine your wedding, what is it that makes you glow with excitement? Open your eyes and write all the details, however small, that you are looking forward to on your day. If it is possible, do it separately. Every wedding is a unique day for each individual and it is important to share your aspirations with one another.
Once we have all the information of what they want, then, and only then, we define the budget. How do you put borders to a dream? If you start looking for a wedding that falls within a budget then you will not have a dream wedding, you will have a wedding that fits within your budget. When you dream of your wedding dress, do you start the dream thinking of models that fit within your budget? Do you go to stores looking for only dresses that fit within your budget? Or take the opportunity to see the new collections and that the clerk will show you other models? You’re right. It is very possible that having the wedding of your dreams costs a lot. So let’s put a list of priorities, what are the most important aspects and in what order? The accommodation, the place of the celebration, the catering, the DJ, the decoration, the flowers, the officiant, the photographer, … In this way, we can build a true and attainable budget. You are going to get married in Spain and it is quite possibly the only time in your life that you will gather so many family and friends in one place for a nice celebration … take advantage and dream!
From Spain with Love,