Sitting down to chat with Eileen and Hedley-Paul is like cuddling a huge teddy bear or snuggling into the sofa on a winter’s night or finding that there is still chocolate left in the cupboard when you thought it was bare. Basically, it’s like being enveloped in pure love. Eileen is an extraordinary cake artist, specialising in weddings with her company IbizaCakes while Hedley-Paul (who answers to ‘HP’) is one of Ibiza’s most respected wedding celebrants and founder of Blessings On Ibiza. But when they are together, it’s like they are teenagers falling in love for the first time.
True love always comes at the right time and even though they originally met in England, it was Ibiza that tied the duo together. Both had owned houses here while married to other people and Hedley-Paul remembers walking past Eileen’s restaurant in Santa Eulalia years before they even met. Firm believers in kismet, the pair were introduced by Eileen’s brother and the rest, as they say, was history. “The minute I laid eyes on Eileen I knew,” he says. “It was a magic moment.” Blessings on Ibiza indeed…
Eileen had been making wedding cakes as a hobby for most of her life but always brushed aside friends who told her to go professional. “It had always been a hobby,” says Eileen. “After I made the cake for my daughter’s wedding, Paul told me to go for it. We found our apartment in Ibiza just as the wedding industry was taking off.” That as the beginning of IbizaCakes and Eileen quickly became dubbed by the press as ‘Ibiza’s queen of cakes at the top of the Ibiza wedding scene.
Hedley-Paul was essential to the burgeoning operation. “I washed up and carried cakes,” he says with a cheeky grin. But with all the love bouncing off these two, it was clear Hedley-Paul would also end up becoming a member of the Ibiza wedding elite. After witnessing many weddings, he found himself offering critiques on the performance of the celebrants. “A wedding ceremony is monumentally important”, he says. “I saw some celebrants reading from a tablet! It’s shabby. A wedding is a formal declaration of love for each other, you should give your absolute best for the couple.” Friends urged him to give it a go and Blessings On Ibiza was born.
Hedley-Paul’s first job as a wedding celebrant is a typical Ibiza story. A friend called to say he was going to propose to his partner of 25 years while on the plane to the island and would need a ceremony at Es Vedra immediately on landing. “They spent the whole time looking into each other’s eyes with tears streaming down their faces,” he remembers. “Afterwards, they said I’d changed their lives but actually they had changed mine.” Steeped in this kind of love and romance, Blessings on Ibiza is now one of the most popular celebrant services on the island.
An Ibiza wedding without a sincere and beautiful ceremony is just another party. Hedley-Paul always connects personally with each couple, either face-to-face or over Skype in order to really understand their own unique story. “I never read from a script,” he says. “I’m a storyteller; I tell the story of their love, weaving it into the ceremony.” Some couples want traditional or religious readings; others opt for Buddhist traditions or a Humanist ceremony. Some arrive with their own vows and others ask Hedley-Paul for guidance. Whichever path they choose, they are guaranteed to receive the sincerest Blessings On Ibiza.
In 2018, Hedley-Paul officiated at his son’s wedding and Eileen, of course, made the cake. “It’s a bit clichéd I guess, but every time I do a wedding I think, if these people were my children what would I want for them?” says Hedley-Paul. “It was a very moving moment, doing my own son’s wedding and it was such a great privilege.” For his Blessings On Ibiza, he regards every ceremony as a piece of theatre, which requires both dedicated preparation and delivery. Ceremonies are each one-off occasions, and like life, not a rehearsal.
Just like every Blessings on Ibiza wedding ceremony, each of Eileen’s cakes are one-of-a-kind. “Usually a couple will show me examples of what they like and then we’ll work on the design together,” she says. “Once we meet, either online or face-to-face, I have a good idea of what they want. I just have an eye for it.” Traditionally wedding cakes were made with fruitcake but these days an IbizaCakes creation can be any flavour at all. “I love my workshop,” Eileen continues. “When I go in there it’s like meditation.” Surrounded by pots of paintbrushes and piles of icing, Eileen creates delicate laces and flowers out of sugar – many of which have seen her win countless competitions.
Eileen has mastered the challenges of a meltingly hot Ibiza sun and bumpy roads to provide many happy couples with beautiful cakes, but the crowning glory for IbizaCakes was a half and half cake that was featured in a UK wedding magazine. “It looks like it’s been cut in half and there are hundreds of sugar flowers pouring out of it,” says Eileen, who considers it to be the most challenging cake she has ever made due to its intricate structure.
Naturally, she also made the cake for her own wedding. “I wore a red dress with a cream top and Hedley Paul wore a cream suit with a red tie,” she says. “I created our wedding cake as cupcakes, with a little cake to cut. It was in cream, red and gold and it came together beautifully.” Both Eileen and Hedley-Paul are still in contact with many of the couples they have helped start married life. “It’s lovely,” says Hedley-Paul. “They become friends. I’m still in contact with people I married over ten years ago.” Whether a couple enlists both IbizaCakes and Blessings on Ibiza, or just one half of this gorgeous couple, both bride and groom can rest assured their wedding will be ensconced in the warm, sweet glow of true, everlasting love.