A Spanish inspired wedding on the south-east coast of Spain
18 Dec 2019
It was meant to be for Kelly-Jayne Tolman and Phil Whalley who, after knowing each other since they were children, tied the knot following a proposal in Rome
How did you meet?
We met at the age of 10 and 12 through tennis. Phil is one my brother's best friends. However, we only started dating following my 30th birthday. Over the years we have got together but the timing just wasn’t right, then all the stars aligned. We had always said when we were little, we would marry each other at 35 if we hadn’t already and funnily enough Phil turned 35 the week after our wedding day.
Tell us about the proposal.
Phil planned a romantic weekend away for my birthday which happens to be Valentine's Day. It was our first year together and he planned everything from start to finish, including a beautiful penthouse apartment in the centre of Rome with champagne on arrival and then a tour of the Vatican the morning of the proposal.
Phil had said he had a lunch booked for us on the Saturday, so we got dressed up and set off. On route Phil dropped down on one knee in the bustling Piazza Novona by the fountain and popped the question. He had also organised a secret photographer to be there at the time to capture the moment which was amazing.
What was the theme for the day, and did you have a colour scheme?
The theme was 'SiestanoFiesta' taking on the Spanish way of life with lots of love laughter and a big party. The colour scheme was all white with the wedding party in stone grey and gold.
What venue did you choose and why?
We chose El Parador as we have been going to Spain for years and have always loved the venue. It has the most beautiful sunset views, a stunning ceremony area and the food is phenomenal. Since I was a little girl, I knew this was always going to be the venue. We knew the venue was gorgeous without any additions, so once the decorations and details were up on the day it looked truly phenomenal. The team at Everythink were incredible at pulling together the vision we had and putting everything in place on the day; from the chill out area, to our beautiful baubles and lights in the main dining room.
When did you know you’d found ‘the’ dress?
I went to three shops and tried on all the styles I thought I wanted but they just didn’t suit me. As soon as I put my dress on, both mums were convinced that was 'the one' and so was I. It suited my figure and I felt like a princess. The designer was Sophia Tolli, it had a lace-up corset, which mum had to learn how to master ahead of the day, and it had a full hoop in the skirt which kept me cool in the Spanish heat. I also chose a floor length veil as I wanted to go all out - you only get to wear this once - and I kept my veil on all night as I just loved it.
The dress is not what I thought I would go for. I thought I wanted sleeves and something more fitted. However, I loved the dropped waist, corseting and being strapless was perfect for the heat.
Who were the bridesmaids?
I had six bridesmaids. They are all my absolute best friends in the world and wanted them to feel special and most importantly comfortable. They are all very different so I wanted them to have a different dress so they all stood out. They all had different shapes and styles of dresses but all had embellishment, which glistened in the sun and also matched the colour palette.
Two bridesmaids wore Amelia Rose and four bridesmaids wore Maya Deluxe.
The bridesmaids were Caroline Tolman, my sister-in-law and best friend since I was 10; Stella Coffey, a best friend from my first ever job who flew in from Australia; Becky Killick, my best friend from school who managed to get time off from her acting career to be there; Kimberley Jones, my best friend also from my first job who did my hair and make-up on the day as I she’s just amazing with all things beauty; Roxanne Doyle my best friend from my current work; and Lauren Wilding, my mum’s best friend’s daughter and now my best friend. Her mum was my mum’s bridesmaid 40 years ago.
What did the mother of the bride wear?
She wore a stunning Bariano off the shoulder sweetheart sequin maxi dress. I wanted my mum to match with the bridesmaids.
Where did you find your suits?
Phil had his suit made by a luxury tailor in Liverpool city centre called Sarto. It was difficult to find the right colour and fabric we wanted for Spain and to match our colour scheme. We went to see the two owners there, Kostas and Andreas, who specialise in luxury tailoring and made-to-measure suiting. We had several fittings and meetings picking the fabric, shape, trims and all the details right down to the personalised gold embroidery on the inside of his suit jacket.
Did you hire a wedding planner?
We didn’t hire a wedding planner as we didn’t really know any around the area and we wanted someone who we could trust. We asked our good friend Bev Jewell who lives in Spain whether she would take on the role as she’s amazing at organising events and interior design, as well as speaking fluent Spanish. She also knows us really well so knew exactly what we were after.
Bev then linked up with an amazing company called Everythink who came highly recommended and they worked closely with us on all the decorations and co-ordination of the day from start to finish. They were fantastic in working with Bev to pull the day together and worked with my many mood boards and ideas to get the day and venue perfect.
Between us all we had several long meetings when I was back and forth to Spain as well as a lot of texting, emails and phone calls to pull it all together. We didn’t just want help to make the wedding day perfect but also all the pre-wedding parties in the lead up to the big day, so Bev and the team helped to co-ordinate a boat party, a beach fiesta and a Mr & Mrs celebration all of which were incredible.
Tell us about your floral arrangements.
We had the help of an amazing florist called Jose Ramon from Floristeria Alameda in Cartagena. Although we don’t speak any Spanish, we bonded over our mutual love for Liverpool Football Club. We showed mood boards of what we wanted and obviously our all white colour scheme. We had flowers at the entrance, stunning bouquets for me and the bridesmaids, show stopping centre pieces that were complemented with hanging candles and tiered flowers in water and a beautiful floral arrangement for the head table.
Often the aspect that makes a wedding original to the couple is the detail – tell us about the details of the day.
We had a lot of detail at our wedding. We had a beer boat, Sangria corner, saxophonist, photobooth, chill out area with shisha, t-shirts and vests for the party, goody bags, a beautiful guest book with the photos from our engagement and, throughout the wedding, everything had a logo on with the strap line 'fiesta no siesta' - this was used on the ceremony cards, the menus, the t-shirts and background of the photo booth. Phil also arrived on a boat and guests had a spin round the Mar Manor which was spectacular. Bev and Everythink worked tirelessly to remember every detail and absolutely nothing was missed.
How did you feel as you walked down the aisle?
I thought I was going to be really emotional walking down the aisle, but I was just on cloud nine and so happy to see everyone, and obviously Phil’s smiling face waiting for me at the end.
How did you make the ceremony personal to you?
The ceremony was just perfect. We wanted the whole thing to be about Phil and I. Our friend Laura Dodd was amazing helping us to write the entire ceremony and vows so it was from the heart and really about the two of us. We then had our mums there who did a reading together that they had written specifically for us, which was really touching.
My sister-in-law, Caroline, sang a stunning rendition of ‘Higher and Higher’ with the acoustic band. Laura then delivered a poem that she had written herself and we finished with a sing-along from everyone to 'Happy Together' by the Turtles. We exited down the aisle to the Beatles, ‘Eight Days a Week’ which was a nod to our home in Liverpool. One of the best things we had at the ceremony were our personalised fans with our names and date on that kept everyone cool.
What was your most memorable moment?
There really wasn’t one moment that was memorable as the whole day was simply perfect. However, the ceremony was really special and completely personalised to us as a couple. All I can say is we are still on cloud nine as it was literally the best day of our life. It got to 5.30am and we still didn’t want the day to end.
What was the most challenging aspect of planning this wedding?
There was a lot to sort for the wedding as it was a full wedding week with all the events we had planned. Thankfully we had Bev and the fantastic team at Everythink who helped pull it all together for us, which on the day really enabled us to enjoy every minute as they took all the stress off us. I think I was most worried about all the timings on the day as there was so much to fit in, but we managed to do it and on the day I was having way too much fun to even think about it. It's important to have people you can trust to help pull it together and I had that with Everythink and Bev as they made a great team and wanted it perfect as much as I did.
What was the most important investment for you?
I think the most important investment for us was the food, drink, the band, the photographers and videographers. The recipe of all these elements delivered so much fun. I have to say the photographers and videographers were first-class and have created the best memories of the wedding week we could have ever dreamed of. You can't put a price on that as we will have it forever.
What song did you choose for your first dance, and why?
We chose 'Everywhere' by Fleetwood Mac for our first dance. We wanted something that wasn’t slow as it just wasn’t us and this song means a lot to us as a couple.
Did you have any evening entertainment?
Yes, we had a fantastic saxophonist called Jen Jammin who played during cocktails. She was incredible and set a fantastic vibe on the beach. We then flew in an amazing band called Spyglass from Nice, France, who we had seen at a friend’s wedding and we knew would get the dancefloor going. They also did a beautiful acoustic set when guests arrived and played with Caroline during the ceremony and for our sing along. Lastly, we had a really cool DJ called Jay who kept the night going strong until 6am with the best house music ever.
Tell us about your wedding cake.
We didn’t have a wedding cake as we felt it was a little dated, so we chose a churro van instead that arrived on the beach at 2am and ran for a couple of hours. It went down a storm with the open bar.
Did anything go wrong on the day?
Nothing really went wrong on the day. Phil was behind schedule but that’s nothing unusual and a few days prior to the day the hummer we had booked for the bridesmaids had broken down, so we had to have a mini bus but it wasn’t the end of the world. I think even if things had gone wrong Everythink and Bev certainly wouldn’t have let me know as they always had a solution at hand – it's definitely important to have a back up plan.
Did you have a custom hashtag for social media? If so, what was it?
Yes, we had #WhallmanWedding which is mine and Phil’s surnames combined, and we also had our logo with ‘FiestanoSiesta’.
Was there anything you wish you’d known before?
I think we should have highlighted where the photo booth was. Although it was used, it could have been used more. That said, the guests were having so much fun it didn’t really matter.
Where did you go on honeymoon?
After the wedding we had the Mr & Mrs celebration on the Sunday to see the guests again, have some drinks, reminisce about the wedding and say goodbyes. Phil and I then jetted off for four days for our minimoon to Santorini, which was perfect and gave us time to be together and reflect on the incredible week. We now have our honeymoon in September to look forward to, which we are glad of as it would have been a bit of a comedown for it all to be done and dusted. The photos and videos are keeping us going and we are still on cloud nine.
Do you have any advice for couples in the planning stages?
Have someone you trust to help you plan your big day – Bev and Everythink made my life easy and were as passionate about our wedding day as we were. It’s important to do little and often throughout the planning as you don’t want to leave it until last minute and you want to enjoy the build-up. Also, give everyone as much information as possible, it’s best to be over organised than under.
Steal Their Style
Photography: Carmen Egea Fotografia
Venue: El Parador
Lights: The Light Team
Flowers: Floristeria Alameda
Dress: Sophia Tolli
Bridesmaids' dresses: Amelia Rose and Maya Deluxe
Groom Suit: Sarto Tailoring
Entertainment: Jen Jammin and Spyglass
Videography: Acrox Audiovisual
For more wedding inspiration, click here to view our 2020 magazines.