An Interview with an International Wedding Planner in Seville

Photo by: Rosa Fernández Leal

Meet Gretel. With her shiny blonde locks and blue-gray eyes, you’d never in a million years expect a perfect andalú accent to fall effortlessly out of her mouth. But that’s what 11 years in Seville and being married to a sevillano will do to you.

I was lucky enough to first meet her when my husband and I were planning our own wedding in 2019. In my search for the perfect wedding decorator, I came upon her wedding decorating business and team, Decosureventos, and fell instantly in love. I was convinced with the Instagram account alone, but my husband, ever the skeptic, needed more. Thankfully all it took was one meeting at the top of Corte Inglés and we were hooked. She emitted confidence, experience, style, and absolute attention to detail. She was open to every request and made sure everything went off without a hitch. In my own husband’s words, “our wedding would not have been the same without her,”–and I couldn’t agree more.

international couple in seville with floral decorations and wooden altar
Photo by: Lele Pastor

Flash forward a few years and a pandemic later, and Gretel, ever the visionary, is expanding beyond just decoration and has taken on a new project as an international wedding planner with her company Julieta in Love. She’s taking her love for decoration and organization, her unparalleled passion for weddings, (she’s absolutely obsessed), and her personal experience with international couples and combining them in an all-encompassing wedding planning service. Let me assure you, if you’re planning an international wedding, this is who you want on your big day.

Gretel and I have stayed in touch over the years and have bonded over everything from the never ending pains of being “guiris” in Spain, to having pandemic babies, and even the terrible disappointment of polvorones. So we sat down to have a chat about all things wedding and all things Julieta in Love. Here’s what she had to say.

What made you want to start a wedding decoration service and posteriorly wedding planning service in Seville?

We created Decosureventos, almost by chance, in 2017. When my now husband, Arturo, popped the big question after being together for more than six years, I couldn’t have been happier, not just because we were getting married, but also because I would finally get to organize the most important day in my life. I was thrilled to find out that weddings are such a big thing in Spain, because it meant more details to bring together. When we started organizing our big day, we soon realized that what was available locally in the way of wedding decorations and furniture was quite poor and didn’t really match what we were looking for. And here is where Arturo plays a fundamental role, because it was he who came up with the idea of designing all of the decoration of our wedding ourselves, starting off with a vintage staircase, followed by a rustic table for our wedding ceremony, a lemonade bar, a chill-out area for 40 people, etc. My organizational and decorative skills and Arturo’s technical knowledge were like a match made in heaven et voila: Decosureventos was made.

Julieta in Love was the natural progression from there. My love for all things related to organizing weddings and celebrations definitely stems from watching my mother prepare our family birthday and Christmas parties to the very last detail growing up. My friends describe me as the most thoughtful, romantic and affectionate person they know, so it comes as no surprise that working as a wedding planner and designer is truly a dream come true. I studied translation and marketing and I have worked for an international communications and event agency in Brussels where I obtained invaluable knowledge and experience about event organizing and how important it is to have everything meticulously planned whilst still having a plan B. With the success of Decosureventos over the last five years, I was encouraged by couples who told me how good I was at decorating and planning things from A to Z, so I decided to give it a shot and that is how Julieta in Love was created.

Romantic details and lighting for night wedding in Seville.
Photo by: Rosa Fernández Leal

What sets you apart from other wedding planning services in Seville?

What makes me different from other local wedding planners is that I am a foreigner myself and know how difficult it can be to organize an international wedding that embraces local culture, while also being true to the couple themselves. I was born and raised in Gent, Belgium and moved to Seville in 2010 to join my Sevillian boyfriend and now husband. We got married in 2017. Needless to say that I know as well as anyone that organizing a wedding in a country that is not yours or when you are living abroad may be quite challenging and overwhelming, even more so when you do not master the language or hardly know anything about the local wedding customs and traditions.

Photo by: Mithos Photography

Why do you think a wedding planner is necessary? Why do you think it is especially necessary for an international couple?

Getting married is a once-in-a lifetime experience. Planning a wedding requires experience, comprehensive knowledge of the wedding industry and trends as well as tremendous dedication. Relying on a person who knows how to plan, coordinate and manage every aspect of a wedding and who is also in charge of designing and styling it to your needs, advising you at all times, is priceless! A professional wedding planner choreographs every element of your wedding so that everything goes according to plan and flows effortlessly on your big day. They are your confidants from the get-go, drawing out the aspects that are special to you, designing and planning your wedding from scratch so that it’s totally unique to you and that you can enjoy your big day to the fullest. Destination wedding planners help you to ease the tremendous stress of organizing a wedding abroad and overcome any hurdles and challenges that may arise. Counting on a professional who resides in the city or region where you are getting married, who masters both your native language and the local language and who is familiar with the location, local traditions and knows the best vendors to work with, will help you smooth the process and grant you a perfect wedding day.

Intimate elopement wedding in Andalucia.
Photo by: Ivo Sousa

What languages does your team speak?

All the professionals on our team speak English and Spanish, and some master Dutch, French or even German or Italian. We know how important it is to be able to communicate and express yourself and your ideas in your mother tongue, so we try to compose our team according to the native language(s) and/or cultures of the couple so that we can assist them in their own language and they feel comfortable at all times.

Couple on the beach for international wedding and minimalist decorations.
Photo by: Ivo Sousa

What do you think the biggest hurdles are right now for couples looking to get married?

Probably insecurity with respect to the pandemic and its evolution. Couples have been worrying about this for two years now, but experience has taught us that in order to minimize the risk of having to postpone your wedding or any other celebration, getting married during the spring and summer months is a good option since this is the period when the virus is most likely to be less virulent. That being said, when you hire a wedding planner, you’re guaranteeing yourself someone who will always have a plan b, c, or d in mind no matter what happens!

Photo call with velour sofa and personalized lighting at international beach wedding in Andalucia.
Photo by: Ivo Sousa

What kinds of international couples have you planned weddings for?

People from all over Europe and the US, both couples residing permanently in Spain, Andalusia or Seville and couples living abroad that have a special bond with Spain and Andalusia, for example because the bride or groom is originally from here or because they studied or lived here at some point in their lives or simple because they fell in love with the country/region during one of their abroad trips.

International couple with incredible floral decoration at hacienda in Seville.
Photo by: Rosse Blanc

Themed weddings 

It feels like clients want an entire concept from start to finish, executed in a way that feels modern and fun. We’ve seen numerous requests coming in for “themed” weddings, rehearsal dinners or welcome parties, think of Bridgerton or The Great Gatsby to name just a few. 

Open-air tents and hanging florals

Due to the pandemic, people have become less comfortable crowding together in tiny and enclosed spaces. An open-air environment allows wedding guests to feel at ease while still feeling protected. We’ve also seen an increased demand for hanging florals and large floral installations that are suspended above tables or that move from floor to ceiling along the full length of the tables. Needless to say that, as a true flower lover, this is my favourite trend. 

Long weddings celebrations

Loads of our couples want to stretch their wedding out with different kinds of events throughout two up to four days, going from a large welcome party, a rehearsal dinner, some day activity, or even a goodbye party to send their guests off.

What is the price range for your services? Where do you travel?

We create truly unique wedding concepts with compelling decoration. Whether couples have already booked part of their vendors or they are scratching their head wondering where to start, we are there to guide them through the process. We personalize all our services and it really depends on the concept couples have in mind and at which stage of the wedding organization process they are. Our prices start at let’s say 1500$ for on the day wedding coordination and 3000$ for full wedding planning services. Decoration is charged separately.

We will travel anywhere our couples need us. That being said, when travel is involved we charge a price per kilometer and depending on the number of team members necessary for travel.

International wedding couple with chandelier lighting details in Spain.
Photo by: Ivo Sousa

What is your availability like for the coming year?

With Decosureventos we are almost fully booked, particularly for spring and summer 2022, but Julieta in Love still has some availability since we opened our agenda only quite recently.

What are three pieces of advice you would give to couples looking to get married this year?

  1. Book a wedding planner and do it at least 1 year before your big day. It will save you a lot of stress should your wedding plans be modified or rescheduled due to the pandemic or any other reason. 
  2. Look for a date in spring, this is when Andalusian nature is at its best, when the most beautiful flowers are available and when the weather is not too hot. 
  3. Always have a plan B and make sure you also like the plan B the venue of your choice offers you. Not only in case of weather conditions, but also should the pandemic force you to change certain aspects of your big day.
Beautiful floral details for international wedding in Andalucia.
Photo by: Rosa Fernández Leal

You heard it, ladies and gentlemen. If you’re inspired by any of these looks, you should start booking those wedding dates well ahead of time–Gretel and Arturo’s team is in high demand. And as a thank you for being such loyal readers, Gretel is offering an incredible 100 euro discount to anyone who contracts her services and mentions the discount code THEMILK100. So, honestly…what are you waiting for?! Go get wedding planning and be sure to check out the Julieta In Love editorial session recently published with Lucía Se Casa for some serious wedding inspo. I’ll leave the behind the scenes video below!

Whatever, wherever, and whenever you decide to do your international/bilingual/bicultural wedding, just make sure that looking back it feels like you and your partner were a part of the process every step of the way. If you can do that, you won’t have any regrets.

Happy planning!

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