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Vegan Wedding Dress for a Free Spirited Secret Elopement in the Mediterranean Gem Gibraltar

Happy June! This is one of my very favorite months as it is my Birthday month long celebration, signs of summer are everywhere and the flowers are in full bloom painting colorful pictures.

I’m so excited to share today’s wedding with you as it’s something completely different from anything I’ve seen before. Given the lifestyle changes we’ve experienced in the last few months too, it’s the perfect time for some unusual wedding vibes that may become the new norm and tradition in the world of Love and Marriage.

We're all invited on a secret journey to Gibraltar, south of Spain following the elopement of Tess & Alan that happened on the 6th November 2017, where John Lennon and Yoko Ono were famously married.

Photography by Radka Horvath Photography

Alan is an English gentleman emigrated out to New Zealand when he was 16, almost just so he can meet Tess at secondary school and they quickly fell in love. They bonded over the mutual love of Monty Python Movies, spending time outdoors, road trips and camping at the beach. Their love was tested when school came to an end - they followed different paths divided by distance, but he would often drive for 5 hours to see her for a weekend.

Tess's dream was always to travel to Europe and England in particular, so after university she started saving and moved in 2011, followed by her devoted Alan. Bold move made easier by his family that live in London.

"After many years of being asked 'When are you getting married?’ he finally gave me a ring box on our 11th anniversary. And he didn’t even ask me the question, just said

'I know you’ll say yes!'

It was just a place holder ring and when we went to choose the one together, I ended up picking the same he had looked at on his own- all meant to be."

"Even though it was a simple elopement I wanted to make it special, and started organizing everything WAY in advance.

We couldn’t decide where we wanted to get married - having friends and family literally both ends of the globe made it really hard to choose. So we didn’t. I suggested we go somewhere overseas and make it just about us. We looked at Bruges, Belgium first because we loved it, but it seemed a little difficult to organize a simple elopement on our own there. I thought about Gibraltar, being a fan of John Lennon anyway, the ease of it being part of the United Kingdom while still being foreign and picturesque.

As we wanted to get married on our November anniversary, which fell on a Monday, filling the paperwork in advance on a working day would have been a weekend long mission. So we decided to have a short holiday in Gibraltar and sort that out in August instead.

I found a photographer who lived nearby in southern Spain, florist in England to make my succulent bouquet the night before we flew (driving 3 hours all up to Brighton and back- then nearly left it in the car at the airport in the morning!), and a handmade porcelain hair piece from an artist found on Instagram."

The Wedding Dress Experience

"My best friend had her dress made last minute by Margo Stankova and it was so lovely. I knew after a few little boutique try-ons that I needed my own special dress made so contacted her. I explained everything I wanted in the dress and Margo worked her artistic magic for me! We went on a material hunt together, and I was so happy she was able to make my dream come true with the fabrics we found.

I have recommended Margo to so many people since as it’s just a little bit special having a dress no one else will, even if it’s only for one day."

Tess came to me well prepared with a clear vision and direction. Her design requirements were both fascinating and challenging. The dress had to match her vegan lifestyle first and foremost. And I respect this decision - the dream dress doesn’t have to come at the cost of your admirable ethics. Quite the opposite - it should be a magnified image of your best self always. The dress we made combines traditional and practical modern design thanks to the added pockets, subtle colors and sheerness of the materials. The biggest challenge was to make the corset and a shrug using the most delicate Chantilly lace in a way so they look equally perfect separate and when layered together. For an easy transition from a formal to a more casual look.

Makes me happy and proud after all that this dress is the best representation of Tess's beauty, intelligence and eternal beliefs. And matched her wedding plans perfectly.

The Wedding Day

"On the day, I went to get my makeup and hair done on the boat we stayed on - Sunborn Gibraltar - the world's first 5 star super-yacht hotel. Alan got ready and waited at the bar for me. My photographer Radka Horvath joined me as I got ready, and then went up to the main deck to take our first look photos."

"The plan was to book a taxi to take us around different locations in Gibraltar but it ended up that Radka’s partner James volunteered to be our chauffeur. This made the whole trip really fun and saved us the hassle of trying to book one as they’re notoriously a little tricky to get on time. We went to the licensing office first for the civil marriage ceremony and it was all done so quickly!"

"We spent the rest of the day driving around Gibraltar for the wedding photoshoot. My favorite part was being able to go behind the scenes at the botanical garden, thanks to my photographer Radka's connections, and see the little baby cacti and succulents. Which was what my bouquet was made of as well."

"The weather wasn’t great, so our crew took us over the border into Spain where it was suddenly glorious, to a little local beach for our beautiful ocean shots. Then due to traffic dropped us off on the way back and we walked across the border through the airport runway in full wedding getup."

I have promised you an adventure and here it is. These two young and free spirited birds, spending the day flying around not being bothered by schedule or anyone's expectations. What more do you need really. Really!

Word of Advice to Future Brides

Tess & Alan got married on the 6th November but didn’t tell anyone until their joint 30th birthday party on December 2nd as a lovely surprise.

In their second year of marriage they bought a house, had a little baby girl Ada, and are loving their lives - with a dog to be added soon. Thank you so much for sharing your magical day with us today as well!

A little word of advice from this couple is to not feel guilty and not worry about everyone else - it’s about what YOU want, because it’s YOUR wedding day. I’m sure that these words of wisdom will be so useful for any of you who are planning a wedding in the near future.

Now get ready for the short credits below and to love your person forever!




Venue: Sunborn 5-star Yacht Hotel, Gibraltar, United Kingdom

Hair & Makeup: Stylist on the Sunborn

Bride's Dress: Margo Stankova LONDON bespoke dress

Bride's Shoes: ASOS bridal shoes

Bride's Accessories: Marie Canning hair piece and earrings

Bride's Perfume: Eden Perfumes vegan and cruelty free Rings: Ingle & Rhode ethical fine jewelry

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