With a stunning venue just outside the Spanish city of Girona, Katie and Gooch organised a gloriously laidback party among family and friends, making this a sun-filled weekend to remember
Photographs: Divine Day Photography
Any real wedding needs to feel like the best party of your life, and Katie and Gürcan (aka Gooch) certainly managed that with a fiesta to remember. The couple chose Castell D’Empordà for their spectacular destination-wedding weekend, and held it over a bank holiday to extend the party.
The city and the castle hotel had special significance in their lives, as it was a place they had visited in the very early days of their relationship. Katie says: “It was a little risky, but we decided to make the most of a bank holiday weekend only a couple of weeks into our relationship and found ourselves in the majestic city of Girona. I stumbled upon Castell d’Empordà, a stunning 14th Century castle set upon the hillside. When we sat down for lunch there we realised it was actually our first proper ‘date’, which was extremely extravagant (and ludicrous/brave). We went on to fall in love over that weekend”.
The location was an obvious choice, not only because of its character and superb food, drink and service, but also because it could host a crowd. The bank holiday they chose was the anniversary of that first romantic weekend together five years earlier. Katie says: “It seemed like a very good omen”.
“It was so what we wanted… a summery party filled with the best people we know and lots of love!”
With arrival on the Saturday and check out on the Monday, this was planned as a weekend party to savour. The fun started the night before the wedding so that guests could get to know one another. The poolside barbeque, complete with flamenco dancer and Spanish band was, says Katie, a brilliant ice-breaker.
The weather on Katie and Gooch’s wedding day was as good as it could be – in fact, they were blessed with warm sunshine over the whole weekend. To let guests make the most of the locale and avoid the midday sun, they scheduled the ceremony for later in the day. Katie says: “We had a start time of 4pm in the olive grove and this meant that guests were free to head to the seaside, chill by the pool, enjoy a long lunch or just snooze off the night before”.
“It was a joy to look out at all of our beautifully dressed friends and family who were gathered before us”
The ceremony was conducted by humanist celebrant Toby Harper, and Katie, Gooch and all their guests were enchanted by his unique service, combining humour with a sense of commitment and love. With guests gathered around them in the sunshine, this was one of the high points of the day. Katie says: “It was a joy to look out at all of our beautifully dressed friends and family who were gathered alfresco before us”.
The photographs and wedding film, captured so brilliantly by Divine Day Photography show a relaxed and magical coming together of families and friends. Katie had chosen an elegant dress by iconic Barcelona designer Rosa Clará and its flowing lines and low back were the perfect relaxed and glamorous look for the sundrenched castle setting. Gooch looked dapper in a blue Ozwald Boateng suit with neat buttonhole to match the bride’s lush pastel bouquet.
Katie says Sandra Ribes, the wedding planner at Castell D’Empordà, was fantastic. “I felt as though I glided from one moment to the next soaking up every minute of the whole day and that is an absolute testament to all of the wonderful suppliers and organisers”. Family and friends had also ‘mucked in’ to help with final preparation. “We had a little production line by the swimming pool on the Friday afternoon helping us with the final pieces such as orders of service and favours. It’s amazing what a beer in the sunshine can do to encourage the troops”.
“It was brilliant witnessing our Cypriot grandfather dancing the Gay Gordons and British grandmother turning her hand to a Turkish dance”
Afternoon rolled into mellow evening sunshine, as guests celebrated in a unique Catalan setting. And after the feasting round the tables, guests headed to the cave under the castle to dance the night away. Katie says: “It was brilliant witnessing our Cypriot grandfather dancing the Gay Gordons and British grandmother turning her hand to a Turkish dance. I don’t think the cave at Castell d’Empordà has ever seen such a beautifully chaotic clash of cultures, energy and vibrancy”.
Katie and Gooch would thoroughly recommend a destination wedding. Katie says: “It changes the nature of the party, and believe me, people will come. We could not have hoped for more. Every drink that was drunk and every morsel of food that was devoured was delightful, and that was what we so wished to accomplish – a summery party filled with the best people we know, good food and drink, lots of laughter, lots of chatter, lots of dancing and lots of love!”