Planning your wedding in the Costa Blanca

How and when to start planning your wedding in Spain

Some time ago, I wrote an article on how to plan your destination wedding using the 5W system.
It has been published on various international blogs about weddings abroad, and couples have found it very helpful.
In short, it all starts with 3 "W"s

WHERE
We're based in Altea, in the Spanish Costa Blanca, which with 300 sun-days per year, not too hot in the summer and little chance of rain.
In short, it's an ideal climate for destination weddings in Spain.

We work with more than 30 superb venues; beach, seafront or sea view venues, inland venues and churches.

You can either choose your venue from the extensive photo gallery of our places, but if possible, we recommend to book a visit to come and see the venues for yourself.

WHEN
Choosing between our 30 places to get married in Spain is excellent if it's available. If not, you either have to select another date or another venue. That's why "when" is the second "w". 

In choosing the date, you also need to check if all the persons who really need to be there can make it to the wedding.

From April to October, there is a tiny chain of rain, so it's safe to choose a wedding date. Still, even in the rest of the year, temperatures can be exceptionally mild. Hence, winter weddings in Spain are definitely an option.

Additionally, the region of Altea, where our office is located, together with neighbouring Albir and Benidorm benefits from a micro-climate.
This is because these towns are located between the sea and high mountains, shielding them from pollution and rain coming from inland Spain.

Finally, sunrise and sunset times can also be of relevance, in choosing the ideal time for your ceremony, which is why you can consult them on our climate page.

And in the unlikely forecast of rain, we will contact you to discuss the various options.
Apart from climate, are there other considerations to choose a day or date?

July and August are the 2 hottest, busiest, and also the most expensive months.
There is little or no difference in the cost of the wedding since we have negotiated fixed deals with all our venues and vendors.

However, since July and August are high seasons, flights and accommodations are more expensive, and some will also impose a more extended minimum stay.

April, May, the second half of September and October are - apart from the winter - the cheapest months.
There may be considerations regarding vacation of you and your guests.

WHO
Unless you want to plan your wedding all by yourself ( which we absolutely don't recommend ) you need to hire a wedding planner.
Someone who lives and works in your chosen destination, who's experienced and ensures that your wedding dream, becomes a dream wedding. That's your 'who'.

Related topics on this site and useful links ;
Wedding venues in the Costa Blanca (3.1)
Photo gallery of the venues
Climate and the best month for a wedding in the Spanish Costa Blanca (1.2)
Chances of rain (1.4)
Costa Blanca Events wedding planners (21.1)
Our wedding arrangements ( 9.1)

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What are the advantages of hiring a wedding planner?

Advantages of hiring a wedding planner, stressed out bride versus a relaxed bride, enjoying every second of her wedding day.

You're a well-organized person and a good planner, and you have attended numerous weddings.
Does that make you a wedding planner? No, nor is a person who is a frequent flyer, a pilot.

Your wedding should be one of the most beautiful days of your lives, one to remember for many years to come.
A day without stress or worries, because they will make it impossible to truly enjoy every second because before you know it, the day will be over.

The internet is full of testimonies, and videos of weddings gone horribly wrong.

A good, professional and experienced wedding planner will spend time listening to the wishes and preferences of the wedding couple.
Discuss potential problems in the planning, since often couples underestimate the time required for each part of the wedding plan.

If the timing in the planning is not right, delays can accumulate, creating big problems for caterers, for example.
Dance parties commencing much later, sometimes even so that elderly guests have left before the firsts dances.

Does that mean that on the wedding day everything is rigorously timed?
No, on the contrary, it means that the wedding planner has used his experience to create a plan with flexibility for even spur-of-the-moment changes.
In wedding planner jargon, we call them 'buffers' and we include them in the planning.

A professional and experienced wedding planner also knows the climate conditions, sunset times, and plans the wedding, keeping all of these in mind.
There is no (wedding) place in the world where it never rains, so even in areas ( like the Costa Blanca ) where the chance is minimal, a good wedding planner always has a 'plan B'.

Keeping this in mind, it's already very demanding for a wedding planner to plan your wedding in your home country.

Imagine how challenging it must be for you, of for a wedding planner in your country, to plan a wedding thousands of miles away.

Add to that, the differences in culture, not knowing the venues or vendors.

And specifically in the cast of Spain where few people, even in the wedding industry, speak very well English, there is the additional language barrier.

So, what are the advantages of hiring a wedding planner?
Well, that depends.

  • If you hire a local wedding planner in your home country, to plan your wedding abroad,, then the advantages are minimal.
  • If you hire a wedding planner without experience, things may even be worse.
  • But if you hire
    • a professional, experienced wedding planner 
    • who lives and works in your wedding destination
    • speaks your language and the local language
    • knows the best venues and vendors
    • has negotiated great deals for the services you'll need
    • Then the advantages will be immense!

Costa Blanca Events is all of the above and is considered Spain's best wedding planner.

And because so many wedding couples entrust their dream wedding in Spain to us, we don't even have to charge a fixed wedding planner fee!

Related topics on this site and useful links ;
Costa Blanca Events wedding planners (21.1)
Cost of Costa Blanca Events (22.1)

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Step-by-step planning of your dream wedding in Spain.

One of the many advantages we offer our wedding couples is step-by-step planning. 

No thirteen-to-the-dozen package where you have to decide everything at once.

Instead, our couples choose from an extensive list of services for whom we've negotiated exceptional deals with venues and vendors.

And they do so at their own pace, in order of importance.

If a colossal wedding cake is essential for you, then you'll probably want to order it early in the planning process, so that it's part of your confirmed budget.
On the other hand, if a cake is of minor importance to you, you'll postpone ordering it, maybe even until 6 weeks before the wedding, when we close the planning. Then, based on your remaining budget, you can still decide to order the vast or just a tiny cake.

But right from the start, from the first contact, our wedding couples have access to our full online catalogue, with detailed information and prices of all our services.

So they know the price of each service, and what it precisely includes, even if they won't order it until much later in the planning.

That's one of the many ways in which we avoid disappointments for our wedding couples.

Related topics on this site and useful links ;
How and when to start planning your dream wedding in Spain.
What are the advantages of hiring a wedding planner

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What's the best month to get married in Spain ?

The best date for your wedding depends on so many things.

The weather is, of course, an essential part of the decision.
We've explained the exceptional climate in this region on our 'climate and the best month for a wedding in Spain page'.

Budget wise there are differences with July August, holidays and bridge days being more expensive than other periods or days.

There is also a difference in the day of the week.
Saturdays, holidays and bridge days are the most expensive because it's when Spanish weddings are almost exclusively celebrated.
Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays are the cheapest because no Spanish couple will celebrate their wedding during the week.
Fridays, Sundays and Mondays are in between
Though the difference between the days is not enormous, it may be worth considering.
A midweek wedding is also advantageous for your guests since on average flights and accommodations will also be cheaper.

Finally, but certainly not less important, is the availability of your closest family and friends.
Especially for bigger groups, we certainly don't recommend asking their date of preference to all of your guests.
You'll get so many different answers, and unavoidably, you'll need to make the decision, which potentially is not ideal for all of your guests.

May, June and September are the most chosen months.
April and October often also are great months, though the weather can be a bit unstable and in the late evening hours it may be a bit chilly.
November and January are not often chosen, though by experience we always find them to be very sunny during the day.

Related topics on this site and useful links ;
Climate and the best month for a wedding in Spain
Chances of rain in the Costa Blanca

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What is the timeline for a destination wedding day?

What are the things to consider when creating a perfect destination wedding timeline?

  • Preferences of the wedding couple
  • Wedding date
  • destination
  • the distance between accommodation(s) and venue(s)
  • means of transport for guests
  • the number of guests
  • Sunset time
  • The maximum time the venue allows the dance party to continue.

These are a lot of considerations but don't worry, a good wedding planner will creating the perfect timeline for your wedding. 

Spain, and especially the Costa Blanca has the ideal climate for a destination wedding, allowing you to celebrate even your dance party into the early hours, all in the open. But at noon, it can be too warm for your ceremony.

Therefore, depending on the date and wedding couple's preferences, most ceremonies are held somewhere between 16-18 hours, when the temperature and light conditions are perfect. 

So the actual timeline depends on the wedding date, number of guests, venue(s) and preferences of the wedding couple.
But here's an example for a wedding in May for 50 people.

  • 13:30 ( 1:30 PM ) : arrival of wedding coordinator with hairstylist / make up artist
  • 16:00 ( 4:00 PM ) : photoshoot
  • 16:15 ( 4:15 PM ) : Guests arrive at meeting point
  • 16:30 ( 4:30 PM ) : welcome drink at the ceremony venue
  • 17:00 ( 5:00 PM ) : Ceremony
  • 17:45 ( 5:45 PM ) : drinks reception
  • 18:15 ( 6:15 PM ) : Photoshoot
  • 19:00 ( 7:00 PM ) : Dinner
  • 21:30 ( 9:30 PM ) : Cutting of the cake
  • 21:45 ( 9:45 PM ) : first dances, start dance party and open bar
  • Midnight : night snack  

And when it ends depends on the wishes of the wedding couple, and the maximum closing time depends on the venue.

Related topics on this site and useful links ;

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Can I bring decorations, contract suppliers, or have family or friends participate?

These are 3 different questions, and we'll answer each of them separately. As your wedding planners, we aim for your perfect dream wedding, which creates great memories for many years to come.

During the weeks and months of planning, we've created a detailed wedding plan and timeline for you, based on your wishes and preferences.
Based on that timeline, we've created detailed instructions and schedules for each venue and vendor.

A good, experienced wedding planner will include 'buffers' in the timeline so that the day is relaxed, allows for spur-of-the-moment variations without continually looking at the time.

CAN I BRING MY OWN DECORATIONS TO THE WEDDING?

In our warehouse, we have a lot of decorations, and they're included in our wedding arrangements, so there really is no need to buy or make your own, but you can if you want.

However, to avoid unnecessary costs or work, it's imperative to talk to us about your ideas and plans at the latest 6 weeks before the wedding, when we close the planning.

Not all decorations are allowed due to safety ( like candles or open fire ), available space, and some venues have restrictions.

There can be practical requirements for the decorations, such as table placeholders. We have special placeholders, which are a favour at the same time, but also show the diet requirements or food intolerances of the guest to the waiter.

Most venues will not allow guests to bring, place and certainly not fix decorations.

So we have to make sure that the required staff is present to these things for you, and at the end of the day, remove them again.

CAN I ASK A FAMILY MEMBER OF FRIEND TO PROVIDE SERVICES ON MY WEDDING DAY?

Yes, you can. Family up to the first degree ( parents and siblings ) can provide any service on your wedding day.

Other guests can read a text, play or sing a song or make some photos.
However, it must be apparent to any outsiders ( like social inspectors ) that these are not professionals, but guests who occasionally stand up and do their thing.

Any other person will be considered by an inspector, a vendor, who must comply with Spanish social security regulations.
Any professional musician, singer or photographer, in any EU member state, can also provide these services in Spain, on your wedding day.
Any other person is required to - before your wedding - register for Spanish social security.

It does not matter if the person is being paid or not, Spanish laws require them to comply with the social regulations.

Because most weddings in Spain are celebrated outdoors, a social inspector can easily watch the ceremony from afar, and they often do.
The Spanish tax authorities have even created a dedicated unit, called "BBC" ; "Bodas, Bautizos y Communiones" ( = weddings,  and christianings and communions ) to perform these inspections.
The fines are very high, and venues and organizers have a shared responsibility.
Therefore, they want to make sure that all participating comply and ask us to provide proof thereof before the wedding.

Last but certainly not least, it's imperative to coördinate everything with your wedding planner.

CAN I CONTRACT MY OWN SUPPLIERS

Years ago, when we worked for a wedding planner agency in the Netherlands, they allowed couples to contract their own vendors.

We've seen, time and time again, that these vendors arrived late, and often wedding couples later said they regretted contracting them.

So, when we established our own wedding planner agency, we decided to very carefully select the venues and vendors we work with. 
They must guarantee good quality, excellent service, flexibility and punctuality.
Our venues and vendors know that we don't tolerate failures, not even once.
So, because we want your wedding to be perfect, we do not allow external vendors. 
It's the only way to avoid delays or disappointments from our wedding couples.

Why is it so essential to avoid delays?

  • Most (townhall) officiants or priest have other matters to attend to after your wedding, so they won't wait endlessly for the ceremony to start.
  • Caterers need to begin preparing your wedding dinner well in advance so that it's ready to serve when you and your guests are seated for dinner. In case of delay, the food is spoiled or must be re-heated, with a significant loss in quality or presentation.
  • Most venues have a closing time which in the case of accumulated delays results in a shortened dance party

Related topics on this site and useful links ;
Timeline for a destination wedding ( 14.5)

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What if - for whatever reason - a change of venue or vendor is required?

A change of venue or vendor after it has been confirmed is scarce. Still, there are situations in which it can occur, either on the wedding couple's request, due to unavailability of the venue or vendor, or due to weather conditions or "Force Majeure".

There is no "one size fits all" solution.

For each case, a specific solution must be found, and possibly negotiated with the wedding couple and/or the venue or vendor.
That being said, let's look at some reasons why a change of venue or vendor could occur ;

( 1 ) The wedding couple for whatever reason wishes to change.

 In this case, our cancellation conditions, which are based on those of the venue or vendor apply.

( 2 ) Costa Blanca Events recommends a change of venue or vendor. 

Before we start working with a venue or vendor, we follow a procedure to check if they comply with our set quality standards and service levels, and respects all agreements.
A significant change in these requirements may cause us to doubt their services for future weddings.
If so, we feel it's our job to contact the wedding couple to recommend a change of venue or vendor.
Together with the wedding couple, we'll consider the options and make a decision on how to proceed.

( 3 ) Weather conditions

Even though the Costa Blanca has a very favourable climate, obviously here too, however, remote the chance, it sometimes rains, even in the summer.
Because of the proximity of mountains and sea, weather forecast are not very reliable until 48 hours before the event. Therefore, in the unlikely case of a forecast of rain, 48 hours before the event, we will contact the wedding couple, and suggest the available options. More info on our "what happens if it rains" page.

( 4 ) License issues

Most businesses require a business license, which is usually not limited in time, only subject to, for example, sanitary conditions.
However, some businesses, for example, beach venues require a temporary license, often issued for 1 or more years, and allowing the license holder to operate his company for a specific season, usually from May or June, until mid or end September.

Upon expiry, these licenses are often renewed to the previous holders. Still, the decision lies with the authorities, and the new permits are usually granted in April of the same year.

So what happens if you want to book a venue for a date after the expiration date of the venue's license?
Obviously, neither the wedding couple nor the owner of the venue can wait until April, for the new license to be issued.

Therefore, venue owners accept bookings, and confirm events, for dates even after the license has expired, but subject to the condition that the license is renewed. So what happens if the license is not renewed?
Then there are 3 options :

  • we negotiate the same deal with the new license holder because it's obviously also in their interest to start their business immediately with confirmed events.
  • We negotiate a different deal with the new license holder, which will then obviously be subject to acceptance by the wedding couple. 
  • If no agreement is reached, we'll suggest another, similar venue in the area.
    We'll try to respect the deal as much as possible, again subject to acceptance by the wedding couple.

( 5 ) Bankruptcy

This is of all above cases, which are already very unlikely, by far the most unlikely option; bankruptcy or closure of the venue or vendor, or force majeure.
In this case, we have no alternative, then to suggest another, similar venue in the area, or a comparable vendor and try to respect the deal as much as possible, again subject to acceptance by the wedding couple.

( 6 ) Force majeure

The Corona crisis of 2020 is an example of such a force majeure.
Early in the crisis, we've contacted all our venues, vendors and accommodations.
We've negotiated with them exceptional terms for postponement or cancellation of the planned weddings. 
Then we've created a special page on our website to keep our wedding couples informed.

We've asked our wedding couples to make an appointment for a video call to discuss all the options.

Either way, we prefer to anticipate and be prepared for all possible - however unlikely - situations.

Related topics on this site and useful links ;
Costa Blanca Events general conditions of use and sale

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What if it rains on the wedding day?

The chance of rain depends mainly on your chosen wedding destination.
However, even in destinations with very little chance of rain, like the Spanish Costa Blanca, the possibility of rain can never be excluded.

Therefore your wedding script should always include a 'plan B'.

This is just one of the things an experienced and professional wedding planner will do for you. He or she has the experience and contacts to activate a 'plan B' if the need arises.

At Costa Blanca Events, we start monitoring the weather forecasts days in advance. We're subscribed to a professional weather radar service, which allows us to carefully and precisely view if and where rain could fall.

As you can see on the climate and best wedding month page, the Costa Blanca has approx 300 days of sun per year.

Our most chosen venues are located in a small enclave between the sea and high mountains, which shields the area from clouds and rain.

Over the last 3 years, with an average of 40 weddings per year, we did not have any rain on any of the weddings we organised.

That being said, we don't control the weather, so there is always a remote chance of rain.

Due to the microclimate and the mountains surrounding the area, weather forecasts only become reliable about 48 hours before the wedding.

In case of a bad weather forecast we immediately contact the wedding couple to discuss the various options, which in turn depend on multiple factors ;

The number of persons attending the wedding also determines the options.
Obviously changing plans at the last minute is more difficult for large groups/weddings than for smaller ones.

So in deciding which solution is best, also the number of persons attending the wedding has to be taken into consideration.

Some venues also have indoor facilities, in which case moving the wedding indoors is a possible option.

Sometimes these indoor facilities need to be cleaned or organised, So we cannot postpone the decision until the wedding day itself, but the decision has to be taken 24-48 hours before.

If the venue has no indoor facilities, then hiring tents is often the right solution. 

The type and cost of them depend on the number of persons attending the wedding.

For smaller groups and a moderate rain forecast without strong winds, we usually rent professional Rapid Deployment Tents ( RDT's ).

These are cheap, fast to set up, and easy to move, even once installed.

If - as often is the case - contrary to the forecast, it doesn't rain, the RDT's are set up beside the setting as a precaution.

The bride can then arrive without tents, and the ceremony can start. In case of rain, our team then moves the tents rapidly above the wedding setting.

Hiring the tents, of course, imposes an extra - unforeseen cost, but this is only a small price to pay to be able to celebrate the wedding as planned.

These RDT's are often also rented to create shade in the summer. 

They're installed beside the wedding setting, and moved by our team as soon as the ceremony has started.

Changing the planning of the day :

When it rains here in the Costa Blanca, it often rains for only about 1 hour.

So, sometimes it's an option to change the timing of the day.

Obviously, this can only be done in agreement with the venue and all suppliers.

Sometimes it's even possible to change the day of the wedding. 

If all guests are there, and venues and all suppliers are available, it can even be an option to move the wedding one day forward or backwards.

And ultimately, the most extreme option is changing to another venue.

Of course, this will create a substantial cost in cancellation fees to the original venue. Still, it's an option that ultimately can also be considered.

What about the extra costs due to these changes?

We try to reduce these costs as much as possible, but sometimes they're inevitable.

Fortunately, nowadays there are wedding insurances available at a limited cost which included these costs, as well as cancellation of the wedding due to external factors.

Therefore, we always recommend contracting such insurance.

For a relatively small fee, all eventualities are then covered.

Related topics on this site and useful links ;

Climate and best month (1.2)

Chances of rain (1.4)

What if - for whatever reason - a change of venue is required (14.7)

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