The southern Spanish wedding of Nicola Cox and Michael Brown
01 OCTOBER 2013
English girl Nicky met American guy Mike when both were based in Spain. The pair met through a mutual friend while living in the town of Rota, and love soon blossomed for the HELLO! Online readers.
Nicky was in Spain as a language teacher while Mike formed part of the American Navy as an explosive ordnance disposal technician. Their relationship moved fast and just over a year later, Mike proposed when the lovebirds holidayed in Malta.
"We had talked about getting engaged, but I had no idea he had already bought the ring and was planning to do it while we were on holiday," said Nicky.
CLICK ON PHOTO FOR GALLERY OF WEDDING SNAPS
"I started planning the wedding straight away as we knew we didn't want a long engagement," said the bride. "Mike was deployed to Africa for four months shortly after we got engaged, so I threw myself into wedding planning to keep my mind off missing him so much."
The English-American couple decided on Spain as their destination, the country where they had met. The next hurdle was trying to set a date as Mike's job was so unpredictable.
"I decided on June as it's usually guaranteed nice weather in Spain, but still not too hot," said Nicky. "Mike did call me from Africa at one point saying he was unsure if he was going to be able to make it back for June, but luckily it all worked out in the end."
Nicky looked beautiful on her wedding day, and luckily had her close friends to help get ready on the big day. The bride wore a truly bespoke dress, by taking elements from all the gowns she had tried on and combining it into one.
"My wedding dress maker Hayley J did a good job at making that vision a reality," said Nicky. "I also wore a cathedral length veil, and Hayley stitched some lace on my shoes to match the dress."
As Mike and his groomsmen were planning to wear their white summer military uniform, Nicky had to choose a slightly whiter dress than she would have normally chosen.
"Hayley did a great job of making sure that the fabrics didn't clash," she said.
Given the heavy detailing on the dress, Nicky opted for simple earrings and a bracelet to match the bodice of the gown. She wore her hair half up, with the rest down in loose curls.
"My bridesmaid is a hair dresser and did such a great job," said Nicky. "My makeup was very natural, and was done by my other bridesmaid, my sister-in-law.
"It made such a difference having close friends and family doing my hair and makeup — it really helped me to relax on the day."
Through a recommendation, Nicky and Mike chose the Casa La Siesta to celebrate their wedding — a small boutique hotel about an hour from where the couple live.
Their immediate family and bridal party stayed at the venue for the weekend, giving the guests plenty of time to bond and make a holiday out of it.
"We had about 60 guests as we wanted to keep it close and personal," said Nicky. "A lot of our military friends were unable to make it due to work and it was very far for people to travel. But we had a wedding video so people who couldn't make it were able to relive the day with us too."
Nicky and Mike wanted to represent both sides of their culture into the wedding, as well as a touch of Spanish culture. The entire wedding was held outside in the front courtyard and was actually pushed back an hour due to the Spanish heat.
A flamenco guitarist played beautiful music while the bride walked down the aisle, and guests cooled themselves down with fans Nicky had provided on their seats.
The couple then read out their vows and exchanged rings. Nicky's ring was made of platinum while Mike's was titanium. "It had to be something durable and non-expensive due to the nature of his job," said the bride. "I had 'forever yours' engraved on the inside as a surprise to make it a bit more special."
The couple then added a Spanish touch to the wedding with the 'blending of the sands' tradition, where they combined two different coloured sands together to signify they could never be parted.
"It was something different that most of our guests had never seen before," said Nicky.
As the couple walked out of the ceremony as husband and wife, guests blew bubbles over them instead of confetti.
The wedding party then moved on to the drinks reception after the ceremony, in one of the hotel's gardens that had a pool in the centre.
"We decided to do the speeches then so that the speakers could get them over with and enjoy the meal without having to worry," said Nicky. The caterers served traditional Spanish tapas and white and red sangria while the guitarist played music throughout.
As the venue was so beautiful and set in the middle of rolling hills with no other building in sight, Nicky and Mike decided on minimal decoration.
"There were flowers and lavender bushes everywhere, and when the sun went down the hotel turned on the fairy lights and lit lots of candles," said Nicky. The tablecloths and centrepieces matched the bouquets and bridesmaids dresses, and the reception area was dotted with "Mr and Mrs" signs.
Guests sat down to a five-course meal, made by local Spanish caterers, and soaked in the gorgeous view of the rolling hills. The DJ played background music throughout the meal to create an ambiance, and guests were then treated to an open bar and late night nibbles.
"An English band Monkey Tennis started off the night and led our first dance, and then the DJ took over until 3am," said Nicky. "We ended up jumping into one of the hotel pools at the end of the night. I had changed into a bikini as I couldn't face ruining my dress. It was a great way to end the evening — swimming to the last of the DJ's tunes."
The moving ceremony was captured by the couple's fellow military wives and professional photographer, Carolyn Andros and Millie Price.
"They did an excellent job and made everyone feel so comfortable and relaxed, which was so important for people like my husband who hates having his photos taken," laughed the bride.