Barcelona, Spain – July 7-9, 2017
Neena Jivraj and Hamish Stevenson met in 2012 when they worked alongside each other on a major infrastructure project in London. “I found Hamish a little intimidating, but intriguing and highly intelligent,” Neena recalls. “I wanted to know more about him; so, when he asked me to dinner, I said yes, not knowing or even imagining this would be the beginning of together forever.”
In August of 2016, Hamish was working for a client in Paris. One Monday morning, he left Neena a Eurostar ticket to Paris for later that week. When she arrived, Hamish surprised her with dinner at the Mandarin Oriental in the 1st arrondissement, followed by a private carriage ride on a Ferris wheel. When they reached the top of the wheel, all of Paris was lit up with the twinkling lights of the Champs Elysees and Eiffel Tower glistening in the night. In the midst of the most romantic setting, Hamish got down on one knee and read Neena a poem he had written, in which he asked for her hand in marriage.
“Planning the wedding was a lot of fun,” Hamish recalls. “We had a project name (Project Mockingbird after a shared love of the novel To Kill a Mockingbird) and were helped through the process by our incredible wedding planners, Julia Dowling and Doug Johnson at Snapdragon.”
After much deliberation, the couple’s families concluded that the wedding would take place abroad, as they wanted guests to relax and enjoy the wedding away from the stress of London life. As such, an incredible destination wedding in Barcelona, Spain was held. “No detail was spared,” Julia adds. “We approached the wedding from the perspective of the guests. It was really important to the family that their guests had a seamless, generous, and personal experience.”
The wedding weekend kicked off on Friday night with a cocktail reception at the W Hotel, overlooking the beach. A live Spanish band created the perfect welcome to the city as guests mingled before transitioning inside for a party with a DJ – an event that continued into the wee hours of the morning.
Saturday’s wedding ceremony and reception took place just outside Barcelona’s city centre at one of Spain’s oldest family businesses, a winery called Codorniu. With the bride wearing a dress by Caroline Castigliano, a personal and moving ceremony took place with the groom’s father as the celebrant. As a surprise for the couple, Neena’s mother wrote a song that was performed by Neena’s siblings and close friends who play in a community choir and orchestra. A close family friend and professional artist, Emma Alcock, was also commissioned to create a painting inspired by the wedding celebrations.
While award-winning photographer John Nassari captured the festivities, the ceremony was followed by an outdoor cocktail hour and a formal dinner inside the venue’s stunning wine cellar. All 300 guests were seated at two long tables adorned with candles and flowers, and a delectable menu was served with specially selected wines from Codorniu’s collection.
After dinner, Leo Green and his band kept the dance floor full while late-night snacks made sure everyone was fuelled throughout the evening. Just as the newlyweds had hoped, their wedding was a beautifully personal event that stayed true to them and their families. The next day, everyone gathered together again for an informal Sunday beachside brunch – the perfect ending to a magical weekend.
>Written by: Lauren Malamala
Photography & Cinematography: John Nassari; UK & Worldwide
Reception Location: Cavas Codorniu; Barcelona, Spain
Planning & Event Design: Snapdragon Parties Ltd; London, UK
Floral Design: Tavola; Barcelona, Spain
Wedding Dress: Caroline Castigliano
Engagement Ring: Cartier
Rentals: Tot Hosteleria; Barcelona, Spain