Sam and Johnny Hocking from Wedding Ceremonies Ibiza are not only musicians who can perform during your Ibiza wedding ceremony and at your reception, they also assist UK couples who would like to marry in a church upon the island. A Catholic Church wedding ceremony is the legally binding way for UK couples to marry in Ibiza (one or both of the couple getting married, must already be baptised Catholic).
You Mean The World To Me caught up with Sam to get her top tips for choosing your big day music and to find out a little bit more about getting married in one of the beautiful churches on the magical White Isle.
Ibiza church weddings:
YMTWTM: What assistance do you offer to UK couples looking to marry in a church in Ibiza?
- Sam: “Firstly we provisionally book the date in our diary so that our services are guaranteed on that day. We then book the church on that day when we are allowed to by the parish priest. If the church does not have an English speaking priest then we engage the services of one for the day. Once the church is booked we will send a checklist for everything that the couples need to do their end and we take care of everything this end. No translating of documents is needed as I help with this as well! During the months leading up to the big day I will guide the couples on how to put together their order of service, helping them to choose readings, psalms and music. I arrange a meeting with the priest and rehearse the whole ceremony with the couple and their wedding party before the day. On the day, my husband and I make sure everything runs smoothly and we also supply the live music in the church. The priests prefer that recorded music is not used and we have been doing the music for wedding ceremonies for over 10 years now. After the wedding I will obtain an International Marriage Certificate from the local registry office and this will be sent on to the couples in the UK. This is very important as the marriage liscence that is signed in church stays in the church!”
YMTWTM: How long before the wedding date do couples need to contact you in order to make the church booking?
- Sam: “Most couples get in contact with me a year before to reserve the date with us. Each parish has its own rules about when they will take a booking. Some of the churches will only confirm six months before the date and others can be booked at the end of the summer (September/October). This rule applies to anyone wanting a church ceremony.”
YMTWTM: How long is a typical church ceremony in Ibiza?
- Sam: “There are two types of ceremony. One is the full mass for couples who are both Catholic and this lasts 50 minutes. The other is for mixed religion couples where mass is not used and this lasts 35 minutes. The Catholic Church here prefers not to do blessings but only the full marriage ceremony.”
YMTWTM: What are the best times of the year to get married in Ibiza?
- Sam: “Anytime is great. In August it’s tricky as some priests won’t do a wedding ceremony and others won’t do one before 6pm. This is all due to the immense temperatures in this month. May, June and September are the most popular months and July is great if you like it a bit hotter! Don’t try to get married during the Holy Week (Easter).”
YMTWTM: Which is your favourite church on the island and why?
- Sam: “Wow what a difficult question! The wonder of the churches here is that they are all unique. Every one is different. I really like them all for different reasons but I will have to say San Carlos. We were married there, it has a lovely village atmosphere, kids have a lawn and small play area outside. The bars are great and happy to set up tables under the church arches and serve drinks after the wedding! The parish priest can’t speak English but he is so helpful and a real sweetie. The church is beautiful inside and out. I also like San Agustine, it’s small and intimate with lovely views.”
YMTWTM: What makes Ibiza a dream-wedding destination?
- Sam: “The climate, white beaches, amazing reception venues that would cost a fortune anywhere else, kindness of the people, spiritual depth that you feel the minute you step inside the churches (and us!!).”
YMTWTM: What do you love most about Ibiza?
- Sam: “EVERYTHING! Been here for more than 20 years.”
Ibiza wedding ceremony music:
YMTWTM: How long have you been performing for?
- Sam: “We are both professional musicians. John started out in the early days with Dire Straits and the Drifters on keyboard, and worked with many other famous musicians.I was classically trained at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London. We settled in Ibiza and among many other things, started to offer our music at weddings and private functions about 15 years ago!”
YMTWTM: Is there an entrance of the bride song that always gives you goose bumps?
- Sam: “Oh no, another impossible question! John says the piano instrumental ‘Bridal March’ by Jonathan Cain and ‘Kissing You’ by Des’ree from the movie ‘Romeo and Juliette’ on piano and sung. I think ‘Songbird’ by Fleetwood Mac and ‘She Moves Through The Fair’ – Irish traditional folk song (acapella). When choosing music you have to take into account whether the church has a great organ or whether we have to use piano. There are some amazing pieces of classical music written for organ that sound great in the church of San Carlos and Puig de Missa because the organs there are fantastic.”
YMTWTM: What are your favourite songs to perform during a church service?
- Sam: “I love doing all the traditional songs, Ave Maria etc but more and more couples like to have modern ballads and love songs performed, and this is great too. I said ‘Songbird’ by Fleetwood Mac before, but it is so simple and effective and always makes everyone cry! I like Nella Fantasia, Caruso, Pie Jesu, Bach Ave Maria and the Italian version of ‘Rule The World’ by Take That as my classical favourites. Modern songs – ‘Kissing You’, ‘Have I Told You Lately That I Love You‘, ‘First Time Ever I Saw Your Face‘ and ‘A Thousand Years‘. The most important thing is that the couple pick the songs that are important to them. It’s not our day but theirs! The only thing we guide them on is that the songs are acceptable in the church and keep the reverence of the day.”
YMTWTM: Which song is guaranteed to get the congregation to shed a tear?
YMTWTM: What’s your favourite thing about performing at wedding ceremonies?
- Sam: “The emotion. Being part of a really special day.”
Ibiza wedding reception music:
YMTWTM: What style of songs do you perform?
- Sam: “From Mowtown dance hits to present day. There are many different ages at a wedding reception so we try to cater for all. We also use software DJing in between the live music spots. Couples can then give us a song list or even make requests for anything in the moment.”
YMTWTM: Can you also be booked to DJ?
- Sam: “Yes John does software DJing.”
YMTWTM: Do you provide all the sound equipment needed?
- Sam: “The lot! We have a large sound system for larger parties and a smaller one.”
YMTWTM: Will you perform specific songs if requested by the bride and groom or guests?
- Sam: “Yes of course. The play list works well – get each guest to suggest a song and then we have them to play on the night. But like I said if the venue has Wi-fi then it’s easy to get anything.”
YMTWTM: What’s the most bizarre song request you’ve had?!
- Sam: “A song by Dido for the church ceremony about toast going cold and still being in love. Something like that! Also a song by The Smiths about being run over by a double decker bus and dying by your side (great song but maybe not for your wedding!). We have been asked to do club music, trance songs etc. If they really mean a lot to the couple John will make an arrangement that’s acceptable in church and we find a good place to do it within the service. Occasionally we have to say “No!” Anything can be done at the reception though – we are not in church!”
YMTWTM: What are popular first dance songs?
- Sam: “Every couple picks a different song. These are very personal!”
YMTWTM: How do you fill the dance floor if no one is dancing?
- Sam: “It should be understood that everyone needs time to sit, rest if they have been dancing, have a drink and talk to friends. So just because the dance floor is empty doesn’t mean a bad party! We generally feel when guests need us to slow the music down and have some slower dances. At some receptions the guests dance more when we DJ and take a rest with the live music and some receptions it’s the other way round. Some dance more with the Mowtown and 70s disco so we keep going with this and some like more up to date music! Every wedding party is different so we play it by ear. We haven’t had any problems yet!”
YMTWTM: What would be your top ‘get on the dance floor now’ songs?
- Sam: “This really depends on the guests, the age of the guests and what they have asked for up front. There are always the cheesy numbers that get everyone up dancing once they have had a drink! Love Is In The Air, Car Wash, Dancing Queen, Michael Jackson, but really it does vary from wedding to wedding! There are weddings that we would never use these songs!”
YMTWTM: Do you have any particularly memorable wedding reception moments or a favourite wedding?
- Sam: “Well I could write a book! We have done the wedding music at the wedding of the brother of Simon Cowell. That was a surprise when I saw him sitting in the front pew looking right at me as I started to sing! Once we did a wedding for a German couple and the Prince of Spain was one of the guests! The other day we organized a wedding with only the Bride and Groom who flew all the way from Chicago to get married in San Jose church all by themselves. John and I did the music, the readings, prayers and I signed the register as a witness! It was so romantic and the bride didn’t stop crying! On a funny note – we did a wedding years ago and the bride’s dress was so huge that we lost the stool she was sitting on, under the dress!!!! I really could go on for ever. But one truth is that I always have a tear in my eye when the bride walks down the aisle and sometimes I’ve only met her the day before! I suppose it reminds me each time of my own wedding.”
YMTWTM: Finally, any extra advice for a bride-to-be?
- Sam: “Stay calm, leave your nerves outside the door of the church, enjoy every moment and let us worry about everything except saying the vows!”
Wedding ceremonies Ibiza are musicians and church ceremony organisers.
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