I’m excited to finally share the first set of pictures from our wedding in June on the Spanish Balearic Island of Menorca. As soon as we decided that we were going to have a destination wedding we knew we wanted to organise a series of events across a weekend. This was so that we could make sure we had enough time to spend quality time with our guests who had generously travelled from across Europe, America and Australia to celebrate with us. Today’s post focuses on the first of those events – our wedding rehearsal dinner. Since we first visited together some five years or so ago, the island has grown to be one of our most treasured spots on the planet (I’ll share more on this in part two on the wedding day on Wednesday), but it’s outstanding natural beauty certainly plays a big part in the reason we fell in love with this special place. The location of Sant Joan de Binissaida turned out to be more than we could have dreamed of. I say ‘turned out’ because we had never visited the location, nor tasted the food or met the staff, before the rehearsal dinner itself! When I returned from my American book tour at the end of May we headed straight to the island for three days of last minute planning. One of the items on our list was to find and book a restaurant for the rehearsal dinner. We managed to do this, only for it to fall through the same day we were told by our landlord that we had to leave our apartment within a month because he had sold the property. No tears were shed, we simply turned to one another and laughed; it was almost as though the two problems (first world ones, at that) canceled each other out and became amusing. Having included Binissaida on the list of recommended hotels for our guests, it immediately came to mind as a potential venue. Plus, my best girl Rachie was staying there and due to help out with some fun games, so it felt like fate when everything fell into place and we had it booked within a week or so. As this was the kick off event for our wedding weekend we thought it would be fun to introduce a theme to help kick start conversation and unite our guests. Naturally, we went straight for a Nautical Chic theme! Not only do we both love stripes (OK, so Tobes likes them whereas I am legitimately obsessed with them!) but we also felt it would be easy to dress for, while also suiting the exotic, sun-soaked location of the wedding. It was SO fun to see all our nearest and dearest dressed in stripes and maritime-flavoured outfits, and we’re really grateful that everyone made an effort to embrace the theme. The nautical look continued across the decor and tablescapes – an element that wouldn’t have shone nearly as much without the wonderful folks over at Minted. Their Sea Chart Too Party Decor collection was a complete lifesaver as we attempted to pull together a professional-looking event just a few weeks out from the wedding weekend, all the while in the midst of packing up our apartment! We had originally planned to use the navy linen table runners for our wedding table but we swapped and used them for the rehearsal dinner once we decided on the nautical theme. I am thrilled with how it came together, especially as Brooke, my dear, dear friend and fashion illustrator (for Vogue, no less!), kindly drew us in our nautical outfits to use as place name cards for the tables. Brooke and I met at the launch of Rue magazine in NYC in 2010, instantly became pen (email!) pals and have since enjoyed many adventures together in and around New York City together. Toby and I were honoured to have such a gorgeous personalised element to complete the tablescapes – it was a huge talking point and brought the event to life. This photograph is my favourite from the whole set of rehearsal dinner images and I’m so grateful to Jean-Laurent for capturing this quiet moment. During my wedding speech I spoke of how thrilled I was that my dear gran was able to make it out to the island for our wedding. My gran has suffered with her health in recent years but has shown me, just as she has done for many, many years before, what it means to have strength, courage and wisdom. I certainly don’t say this lightly when I say that alongside Toby, my gran is the most important person in my life. Her passport is due to expire in three years and because of her health our wedding was very likely going to be her last ever trip abroad. When she turned to me at the end of the rehearsal dinner and said it was one of the best nights that she can remember, I just felt all the worry and nerves ahead of our Big Day ebb away. Knowing that she was happy, at ease and enjoying herself was the best wedding gift I could have ever been given. My gran actually visited the island over 40 years ago (I often wonder if this is one of the reasons I love the island so much; why I feel so at home there) and so it seemed like perfect synchronicity that this was probably her last visit overseas – almost as though everything had come full circle. I am filled with emotion when I look at this photograph and I know that I will cherish it for as long as I live. When Tobes and I climbed into bed back at our villa we said to one another how we had felt completely overwhelmed, almost stunned, at seeing all of our loved ones in one space at the same time. I felt like I was in a daze for the first hour or two of the event; there’s something incredibly special and moving about seeing almost all of the important people in your life in the same place. We were so grateful that Rachie, my best girl, so kindly arranged a game to see who knew us best as couple (and how well we knew one another!) to play after the meal. It was just what we needed to help us relax and begin enjoying a weekend of absolute brilliant memory-making with our dear friends and family. I can’t wait to share the wedding day pictures with you later this week, but for now I’ll leave you with these stunning snaps from the rehearsal dinner – wasn’t that golden hour just incredible?!
// Photography by Jean-Laurent Gaudy