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WEDDINGS IN IBIZA: LEANNE & JAMES

Photographed by Gypsy Westwood Photography.

Leanne and James Kifford booked trips to the white isle at every possible opportunity throughout the wedding planning process. Leanne had first been attracted to the island for its party scene in 2007, visiting year after year, and it wasn’t long before the island worked its magic on her and she discovered just how much more was on offer. “I adored Ibiza from the moment I first came here,” Leanne admits.

In 2010, during their first summer together as a couple, she and James visited the island together, as part of a special family holiday to celebrate Leanne’s parents 25th wedding anniversary. “We stayed in the north, just outside of San Miguel,” she says of that time. “The whole family fell in love and we’ve been returning as a family every year since.” It made sense then, after their 2014 engagement in Thailand, that Ibiza would be the chosen location for their nuptials.

The family love affair with the north meant the perfect venue would need to be in the area, and Leanne and James had actually decided on the location long before he popped the question. “We were eating dinner one night at Elements Ibiza on Benirras,” Leanne recalls. “Benirras had become our favourite beach and was where we spent the majority of our time. We saw Elements Ibiza were starting to hold weddings there. We weren’t even engaged at that time but we decided then and there that it was going to be the location for our wedding.”

Having spent many years dining and relaxing in the venue, the couple had become friends with the restaurant staff and owner, who were thrilled to be able to host their big day. “As Elements Ibiza is not a wedding venue in essence, we were able to personalise every aspect and although this was hard work, it was so completely worth it. I cannot thank them enough for being so accommodating and truly wanting us to have the day we had always wished for.”

Part of that wish included a spiritual blessing on the beach rather than a traditional English wedding. “In our eyes, the only place for that was Ibiza,” says Leanne. “We were very blessed to have a spiritual ceremony by Gianluca, who we had met at Elements several years before the wedding. His ceremony brought together many spiritual elements learned from his years spent living in Bali.” Adding more to the emotional experience, Leanne and James wrote their own touching wedding vows to one another.

The wedding catering was left to the experts in the kitchen at Elements Ibiza, and guests were treated to tapas style starters of calamari, grilled vegetables, stuffed tomatoes, mozzarella, cold meats, bread, aioli and hummus. Main courses included seabass with quinoa, orange chicken with wild rice and a summer vegetable risotto, followed by the decadent vegan wedding cake created by Sharon Edwards of Cupcake Collection Ibiza and raw chocolate truffles made by Wild Beets.

In order to transform the laidback beach restaurant into a magical bohemian wedding venue, Leanne and James called on the services of Danielle Hodgson-Lindley of Velvet Circus Ibiza. “She did an amazing job at pulling everything together,” says Leanne, who entrusted Danielle with her visions of lots of greenery on the decking for the ceremony among other details – although the couple were also very hands-on with decorating process.

“I made a dreamcatcher for the decking, the table plan, the ‘web’ which displayed photos of James and I from babies right up to present day and James made the wedding guest book and the table numbers,” Leanne says. “We also provided dried lavender and pheasant feathers to be placed next to the place cards.” Ibiza wedding photographer Gypsy Westwood was on hand to ensure all these beautiful details were captured on camera. “I loved her natural photographs which really capture the essence of Ibiza,” says Leanne.

The bride – who was barefoot for the ceremony – wore a gorgeous Amanda Wakeley gown, accessorised with simple heart chakra earrings and a bracelet by Daisy Jewellery, and later on, shoes from ASOS. Leading Ibiza hair and make-up artist Louise Maxwell was in charge of beautifying the bridal party, with the finishing touches being fresh flowers in their hair. The dashing groom wore a bespoke suit by Summer Couture and shoes by Russel and Bromley.

“The first highlight of my day was walking down the path leading to the beach with my dad,” says Leanne, looking back on the experience. “You had a fantastic view of the beach and I could see the decking where we were having the ceremony, how beautifully it was decorated and all our guests there waiting. As we descended towards the beach I could hear some drummers (the sound of Ibiza for me) and then as we started our walk along the beach, members of the public started clapping for us – something which really made me fight back the tears!”

The emotive moments continued, as after the ceremony, at the magical hour of sunset, Leanne and James stood together for the first time as husband and wife and watched the sun go down, surrounded by their closest friends and family, to the sounds of a saxophone. “I don’t think I have ever been so happy.” says Leanne. Another standout was the fire dancers performing just before dessert was served. “We wanted to give people a taste of authentic Ibiza,” she explains.

The morning after, the newlyweds returned to the scene of the wedding for breakfast to keep the good vibes flowing before heading off to Formentera for a brief honeymoon before their official Sri Lankan escape during the winter months. “The wedding had been everything that we had wished for and so much more,” says Leanne with a smile. “We were just so over the moon. We’ll be back next summer for our one year anniversary – Ibiza will not be getting rid of us anytime soon!”

Photography: Gypsy Westwood Photography
Venue: Elements Ibiza
Styling: Velvet Circus Ibiza
Cake: Cupcake Collection Ibiza
Dress: Amanda Wakeley
Hair & make-up: Louise Maxwell
Groom’s attire: Summer Couture
Flowers: El Ramo de Flores

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