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One Wedding, Four Days, Five Events
Ibiza – When UAE-based movie production specialists Kenton Oxley and Hassiba Freiha decided to get married, a low-key event was unlikely. With a global network of friends and family to invite and an established creative partnership brimming with ideas, it was always on the cards that their wedding would be an unforgettable celebration that involved much more than just an exchange of rings. With the White Isle written in the stars as the perfect location, the couple set about planning four days of celebrations for 200 guests at five distinct locations on Ibiza.
It was clear from the outset that their ambitious plans would require a huge amount of technical, logistical and creative support. Each of the five events would be special in its own right and demand a wide range and variety of provision. With this in mind, events specialist The Shop Ibiza was engaged to supply and manage proceedings. The Shop is Ibiza’s premier creative events and production agency and its motto – ‘Be Spectacular. Be Inspired’ – was never brought more sharply into focus. The Shop has worked on every scale of international project, meeting the demands of a host of organisations and individuals but few events could match this all-encompassing brief. Every major project is accompanied by pressures but given that these were to be the biggest days of someone’s lives, there was absolutely no margin for error or compromise.
As well as the wedding ceremony itself, the overall brief comprised a beach-club meet and greet occasion, a Hollywood meets Bollywood style party on the eve of the wedding, a world festival themed party afterwards and a private pool party on the final day. It was soon apparent that the design detail associated with each part of the wedding would demand exhaustive planning and an acute creative edge. Before a single piece of kit was placed on the ground, The Shop’s team consulted over every aspect, to ensure that the couple’s extravagant vision would become a practical reality. By creating 3D renders of key aspects of the proposed events, the team was, to a large degree, able to demonstrate in advance how accurately the objectives could be achieved.
Having sourced venues that would perfectly suit the brief, The Shop designed and supplied staging, audio, stage-lighting, projection mapping and special effects for each site, supplemented by all the other hardware necessary to successfully deliver the planned themes. These included the world’s largest smoke bubble machine popping over the audience’s heads, lasers, CO2 jets, fibre-optics, LED site-lighting, spark machines and a host of appropriate props. The Shop deployed a dedicated, specialist team at each location, led by expert leaders with proven experience of co-ordinating high profile projects. A series of consecutive events with such widely differing scope had the potential to create logistical issues but a combination of The Shop’s extensive inventory and the know-how at its disposal meant that the infrastructure for the four days was installed seamlessly without incident.
In addition to the physical hardware required to support the series of events, there were a large number of ancillary requirements essential to plotting the absolute success of every fine detail. The Shop was responsible for the supply, co-ordination and budget management of everything from transport to catering, event licensing to booking entertainment and even the sourcing of gifts. The production of wristbands, the development, design and production of bespoke passports for each guest and even assistance with script-writing for the gala dinner, were just a few of the extra services The Shop was happy to deliver.
The meet and greet – complete with mermaids on a stunning beach – was followed on the second day by a glamorous Hollywood meets Bollywood spectacular; picture Bollywood market square and dinner accompanied by an Oscar-style performance with full live show at one of Ibiza’s foremost restaurants. For this lavish production The Shop sourced more than 100 actors and performers (including genuine Bollywood extras) to create a completely authentic feel. Fabric, materials and props were sourced and shipped in from India, Dubai and the UK, with branded gifts being designed and produced especially for the event. All the performances were carefully scripted and rehearsed in advance with special video content created to further enhance the experience.
The ceremony itself took place at another exclusive beach resort, surrounded by beautiful bespoke props, after which the reception took the form of a boho-glam festival, with huge stage, held in the grounds of a chic ‘finca’. The term ‘mind-blowing’ is over-used but on this occasion is the only realistic way to describe the sheer creative spark at work. On a stage inspired by Burning Man, UK band The Egg performed a version of the couple’s favourite song, accompanied by synchronised, dedicated video content. The bespoke stage’s LED monkey faces added to the spectacle by appearing to mime to the song. A breathtaking heliosphere performance brought this part of the event to a crescendo.
Around the site, The Shop had created seven distinct areas labelled England, The Middle East, California, South East Asia, Spain, Jungle and Cosmic Corner. Each staged its own choreographed performances and enjoyed specially crafted food and beverages. As was the case at The Hollywood meets Bollywood event, more than 100 performers took part against the backdrop of lavish sets created in their workshops by The Shop’s own team of highly-skilled set designers, builders, carpenters, scene and sign painters. The England area, for example, delivered a quintessential summer fete, with tombola stall and coconut shy accompanied by a traditional country pub (with landlady) where actors played the roles of traditional village characters. Even the waiting staff were styled to match the theme.
This cornucopia of entertainment remained in full swing until midnight, at which point the guests were invited inside a barn that The Shop had transformed into a jungle night club. The final-day pool party, as would be expected, maintained the exceptional production standards throughout.
Managing director of The Shop Ibiza, Simeon Friend reflects on the challenge: “We’re very well-accustomed to dealing with some pretty extensive wish-lists at The Shop and we tackle a very broad spectrum of events, large and small but I have to confess that when Kenton and Hassiba outlined what they had in mind, there was a bit of pause whilst we took it all in! We regularly work with big music industry names but there’s something about working with people in the film industry that sharpens you up even more, especially when it’s their wedding! A high level of creativity is central to their day to day lives, so when we took this on we knew that it had to be executed to perfection. That said, our principles are rooted in drawing on every ounce of our experience to help fulfil people’s dreams, so whilst this was always going to be a very involved project, we were confident that we could bring the whole thing to life. Our teams worked tirelessly on behalf of the clients and can be justifiably proud of their exceptional achievements.”
It is fair to say that even given its status as a magnetic destination playground for those involved in the creative arts, this was quite unlike anything Ibiza had witnessed before. The bride and groom declared themselves very happy indeed with the outcome and the event must go down as the most spectacular wedding Ibiza has ever hosted.
The final verdict on the event rests with the client. The Shop drew on all its experience and expertise to help plan and deliver a unique package. The measure of its success is summed up by the bride, Hassiba Freiha: “The Shop’s excellent reputation is well deserved. We really engaged with them as people and loved their passion and creativity. The team was open to and enhanced our ideas without ever appearing to think that anything was impossible or too much work, they seemed to love the challenge! The Shop’s team possessed every resource required to make an impact from a creative and production point of view as well as the technical know-how we could trust to bring our crazy ideas to life. We had the amazing, fulfilling experience of having a dream wedding week and it was reassuring to have such friendly and creative people professionally managing all aspects of the production at every stage of proceedings.”
28th June 2019
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