Sub-headline – Julie Bussell of My Majorca Wedding – a leading wedding planner in Majorca for 15 years, sets-out in the Bulletin the importance of this growing niche industry.
The first wedding I planned in Majorca was for my own daughter 15 years ago. I have to confess that it wasn’t the very first event I’d planned; but when it’s your own daughter – it’s more than a little scary. Since that first, very special wedding – I’ve planned and organised almost 400 weddings here in Majorca. This growing industry is extremely important to the well-being of ‘specialised’ tourism here in Majorca. Did you realise for instance, that 25% of all weddings celebrated by British couples now take place abroad, and only one in three weddings taking place in the UK are religious? At one time the favourite location of choice for a somewhere different, would have been the Caribbean, then perhaps Tuscany in romantic Italy, maybe even Las Vegas – but over the past five years or so, more and more couples have opted for Majorca. When you think about it, the fact that there has been an incredible increase in wedding in Majorca is completely logical. We are just about 2 hours flight time from all the main northern European cities and with the infrastructure to cope with almost all tastes and budgets – but it doesn’t end there – as clients from around the world want to get married here in Majorca; some couples even opting for our island without even visiting beforehand.
Naturally enough, as brides and their thoroughly impressed guests pass the word on about Majorca and weddings, other potential clients look to have the same guaranteed quality and a dream wedding at a reasonable cost to them. We have to remember that some UK wedding venues can cost a small fortune even before a bottle of wine, bread roll, or napkin has been laid on a table. However, even with couples from across Europe and the rest of the world heading to Majorca to get wed, there is little recognition within local or regional government just how important the wedding industry is to the overall tourism mix, locally or regionally. Whilst planners can organise a simple ceremony for 10 people, other weddings can be a three-day-event with up to 300 guests. Some guests make their annual family holiday around the event with others on a quick visit to enjoy the festivities. Couples looking for a ‘destination’ wedding here in Majorca can be categorised in a number of ways. The island has always been popular with German couples looking to get married, so alongside our team of four English speaking associates, we have the benefit of two German speaking associates who look after our German speaking wedding clients. We can plan with couples in their own language, a key part of our business as these weddings are also on the increase across the island. It would be wrong to set a group aside and call them British – as it is much more accurate to describe them as ‘English speaking’ – whereupon this immediately embraces Ireland, parts of Asia, the USA, Canada, Australia and perhaps a little more surprisingly, many Scandinavian and Eastern European countries.
Outside of local Majorcan weddings, there has been a steady growth in ‘visitor’ weddings and with this increase, there has been a similar growth in wedding planners of all nationalities, plus all manner of wedding celebrants to conduct non religious ceremonies. Happily, our island boasts first class specialist contractors that are essential to a successful wedding – such as transport companies, hair & make-up artists, florists, specialist caterers, musicians and DJ’s – photographers and videographers – the list goes on and on. For many years now, most Roman Catholic churches are happy for an ordained minister of the Church of England to conduct weddings in their churches – as well as, of course, the Anglican Church in Palma.
On a personal level, before moving to Majorca permanently in 2000 I owned and managed an events company that specialised in corporate events, exhibitions and conferencing – selling my business to the Trinity Mirror Group. A highlight of our companies achievement was to organise all the ancillary activity around a European Union summit – and at a completely different level, building, running and operating a Rugby World Cup supporters village. Prior to that date, members of my family have lived here in Majorca since the 1970’s, and my love of the island helped me build extensive knowledge and priceless connections here, even before I started planning weddings.
One of the wonderful gifts that Majorca enjoys as a great destination for any type of wedding is its diversity. An achingly chic hotel in the heart of Palma, will suit some clients. Whereupon a laid-back beach-club venue will be the ideal for another couple. Add to this mix – a world class 5 Star Hotel complex where everything is at hand, or perhaps a small and discreet boutique hotel in the mountains overlooking the sea? Some clients like to hold their big day in a private bespoke country Finca – “Far from the madding crowds.” One thing is for sure, whatever a bridal couple might dream about, or wish for – it is here on this beautiful island.
Nevertheless, with a rapidly changing marketplace, all that many of us in the industry hope for, is that the high standards of service for wedding clients coming to the island is maintained. We know that the ‘wedding product’ Majorca can offer is in the premier league of wedding destinations around the world – our job in the industry is to ensure that these standards are continued. For instance, all it would take is a newspaper or television expose where wedding clients are seen to be ripped-off, or badly treated to put damage the island’s reputation. This was why the Caribbean Islands 10 years ago lost their position of pre-eminence in weddings abroad. The industry there became sloppy and greedy. Horror stories of queues of wedding parties lined up along sandy beaches with a bored and indifferent celebrant performing pro forma marriage services to a disappointed wedding congregation. Majorca continues to attract many celebrities and sport stars, as well as ordinary people in love to celebrate their special day in a beautiful environment with their family and friends. When a film director from Los Angeles contacts you to plan his wedding in Deya, because they had discovered on the internet that the area was in the top most picturesque wedding locations – not just in the Mediterranean, but in the world! Majorca, – this must tell you… that perhaps, you are really onto something?