This Destination Wedding in Sitges, Spain, Was Filled with Rustic Chic Details
When Arielle Williams moved to Kansas City in 2012, she spotted a cute guy at her new gym. That guy turned out to be Jeff Stegeman, and the pair quickly realized that they lived in the same condo building. After a couple of run-ins, a thoughtful plate of Thanksgiving leftovers, and a little moving help later, they had become close friends. When Arielle was transferred to Denver for work, Jeff helped her pack for the move. The two, both of whom work in the medical devices industry, visited each other for three years before deciding to officially date.
While the pair was in Portugal to attend a friend's wedding, they stopped at a beautiful building, Jerónimos Monastery. Little did Arielle know that Jeff had actually been planning this "random" stop for quite a while. Arielle wandered out into the middle of the monastery's courtyard under the guise of posing for a photo and as she remembers, "I turned around and he was down on one knee, fittingly asking me to take a leap of faith with him." Of course, Arielle said "yes," and the planning for their organic, Mediterranean-inspired celebration began. On May 27, 2018, the duo welcomed 100 guests to their celebration at Villa Catalina in Sitges, Spain. Although the pair is now based in Morristown, New Jersey, they had always loved Barcelona. When they discovered the small town of Sitges about 45 minutes to the south, it was a destination wedding dream come true. Event planner, Evoke, accentuated the lush, natural setting of the villa's grounds when designing Arielle and Jeff's enchanted celebration, which lasted until the wee hours of the night.
Saima Says Design created a natural stationery suite which featured a gray linen pocket folder with the invitation mounted on one side. The simple reply card and envelope were tucked in to the other.
The Welcome Gifts
Prior to the wedding weekend, Arielle and Jeff thoughtfully mailed each guest a note to give them an introduction to the destination and to get them excited for the trip. Designed by Saima Says Design, the notes said "Bienvenidos a Espana" in a terracotta-colored script, a nod to the wedding's color scheme.
A Moment with Dad
"My dad melted," Arielle says of the moment her father first saw her on the wedding day. "I was the first out of three girls to get married. He was emotional the entire week. He had the time of his life celebrating with us."
The First Look
"Seeing Arielle at the first look brought me to tears," Jeff remembers. "She was so beautiful. It was in that moment that it hit me. We were about to take a ride of a lifetime together. A feeling I will never forget. I remember turning around like it was yesterday."
Stylish in Spain
The Bridal Bouquet
Arielle carried a bouquet of mostly ivory flowers, with a few soft pink roses in the mix.
Although the pair went ring shopping together before getting engaged, when Jeff proposed, he decided to take a completely different route. "He spent weeks learning about diamonds and settings to make sure he was making the best decision," Arielle explains. Fortunately, his bride was thrilled was his final pick. "Classic and beautiful!" she exclaims of the Tivoli sparkler. The duo's wedding bands were from the same brand.
The bridal party consisted of Arielle's two younger sisters, shown here, and two of her best friends. Jeff's two older sisters also stood by the bride's side. The ladies stunned in long dresses by Shona Joy, which were very much in line with the wedding's "vacation chic" dress code.
The Ceremony Location
Branco Prata built a floor-mounted wreath on the upper terrace of Villa Catalina's backyard to surround the couple as they were married. The structure included a variety of blooms such as white peonies, cappuccino roses, patience roses, white roses, beige carnations, hellebores, white matthiola, Italian ruscus, pittosporum, and other foraged greenery from around the property were also added to the ceremony installation.
Given that Jeff's aunt is close to both Arielle and Jeff, the pair chose her to officiate the ceremony. Two of Arielle's best friends from high school performed readings during the nuptials.
The joyous newlyweds exited the ceremony to the sounds of the Gipsy Kings' "Volare," played by a Spanish guitarist.
The Cocktail Hour Fare
Following the ceremony, guests moved to a different part of the villa's upper terrace for cocktail hour. There, they were treated to a traditional Catalan buffet from Catering Sensacions which featured a spread of gourmet local cheeses, pickles, grapes, quince jelly, assorted freshly baked breads, hand-carved Iberian ham, and pan con tomate. Passed appetizers were in no short supply, and delicious offerings like watermelon and burrata, salmon sashimi, flatbread with eggplant, tomatoes, and grilled onions, and mini scallops with dry tomatoes and hazelnut mayonnaise were enjoyed by all.
Arielle and Jeff had black-and-white photos of their parents framed to display at the wedding. In addition to personalizing the space, the photos served as a reminder of the two most important marriages to them.
From Near and Far
Guests traveled from all over to attend the destination wedding, including Arielle's friends from high school.
Smiling and Swaying
Arielle and Jeff beamed as they danced to "Better Man" by James Morrison. "We actually had a tough time deciding but then this song randomly came on and we both knew it was perfect," says Arielle. They then danced with their parents to Celine Dion's "Because You Loved Me" because the bride and groom had special memories of their father and mother, respectively, singing it to them as children.
The Wedding Hashtag
To further personalize their destination wedding, the couple used floating letters placed in the villa's pool to showcase their hashtag: "#wedinbarca."
The bride and groom asked their moms to wear navy blue, and each important woman found a dress that matched her style perfectly. Both sets of parents are an inspiration to the newlyweds—Arielle's parents have been married for 30 years, and Jeff's for 29. Their parents advised the bride and groom on the importance of practicing patience, loving one another even when it may not come easy, and prioritizing time together.
The Reception Setup
A mix of round tables and black and white metal chairs were set up outside the villa's wine cellar. After dinner, guests headed inside for dancing.
On each table, colorful floral arrangements were housed in terracotta pots, along with taper candles and moss in smaller versions.
The Place Settings
Slate boards were used as chargers to add texture to the tablescapes. Plates made by local potters sat atop the chargers and green stemware was chosen to inject some color. Printed on gray linen, the menus by Saima Says Design were topped with laser-cut leather in the event's signature terracotta hue. For dinner, guests enjoyed three different types of paella, all served family-style. The escort cards were beautiful pieces of broken terracotta pots that were calligraphed with each guest's name and placed at their seat.
"My favorite moment was at dinner, looking around and seeing all the people that mean the most to us together in one place in such a beautiful location," Arielle says.
Instead of Wedding Cake
The couple skipped a traditional wedding cake, instead opting to serve their guests chocolate mousse.
T Bakes provided terracotta-colored hexagonal cookies, inspired by Spanish tiles, for both families and the bridal party. The bakery also created leaf-shaped cookies for these special guests.
Photography and Flowers, Branco Prata
Locations, Villa Catalina
Catering, Sensacions Catering
Stationery, Saima Says Design
Cookies, T Bakes
Music, Nuno Franco
Bride's gown, Vera Wang
Hair and Makeup, Estilista Barcelona
Bridesmaids Dresses, Shona Joy
Groom's suit, Richard Contratti
Patience roses, David Austin