Gemma Bowman established Ibiza Wedding in January 2005 when she and her husband made a lifestyle choice to relocate to Ibiza from the UK. Gemma’s inspiration to establish the business came from having meticulously planned and organised her own wedding in Ibiza only 6 months earlier and a dawning recognition that wedding design and planning was an un-filled niche on the island. Her focus is creativity and individuality with no two weddings the same. Here she tells us her story.
I had been coming to Ibiza since I was a young girl
I married my husband here in 2004 and after getting back from honeymoon, Ibiza was constantly in our minds…..I read Spanish and French at Uni, my husband is half Italian and the idea of a Mediterranean life was something that we both very much wanted to explore……so it was a no brainer really, but difficult in the sense that we were moving to the unknown, no job securities etc. and of course leaving friends and family behind.
The beauty and diversity of the island make it unique. You can be at yoga in the morning, laying on the most beautiful stretch of sand in the afternoon, dining in an amazing restaurant in the evening and partying until dawn if the mood takes you. It is accessible to everyone – the way that anything goes and the Ibicencan people are so welcoming and tolerant….for us it is just perfect. It is so much more than a party destination – it is an amazing place to bring up children and of course the weather and the beautiful fresh food are huge attractions for us. I need the sun!
I already spoke Spanish
and this helped enormously when we relocated. I think it is hugely important to learn the language despite the fact that so many speak English here. I feel you get that much more from certain people if you are conversing or trying to converse with them in the language of the country to which you have decided to live. But like any new country it is negotiating the bureaucracy, and getting into the rhythm of how things work here that is difficult. You can’t rush certain things here, so rather than fight against this and become frustrated that certain things don’t work like they would in the UK, you learn to embrace that and appreciate that it is these very idiosyncrasies that make the island what it is. You definitely become more tolerant, patient and less aggressive which can’t be a bad thing.
We live in the middle of the island, in the middle of the countryside yet I have Santa Gertrudis on my doorstep and Ibiza Town just 10 minutes away. Once at our house, you feel completely immersed in the campo, and we can also see the ocean and have wonderful sunrises…but then in minutes I can be at the beach, eating Japanese, walking in the woods, buying a copy of Elle decor…whatever!
Ibiza is a real melting pot
of different cultures, nationalities and religions. We have English friends but also Ibicencan friends, French, Dutch, German, Spanish. I feel really integrated into the local community. Much more than I ever was in the UK. I know my Bank Manager by name (not sure if this is a good thing!), the name of the couple who run our local shop and know all of my neighbours (even though we live much further apart than we would in the UK).
Having 3 children now, I get involved in things with the Nursery, the local village etc. There is a lovely sense of community here than I never felt in the UK. Being a small island with very, very low levels of crime, I feel much safer and as such find that people really do talk to each other and help each other more so than in a big city where people tend to remain more on their guard.
I really feel that the clubbing side of the island is becoming much less relevant to many people when they choose to come here on holiday and certainly when people choose to live here. Yes, we have world famous clubs and the best clubs in the world but realistically this is only the focus for 4 months of the year. However, all year round you have beautiful beaches (50 plus at the last count!), 300 plus days of sunshine, fabulous restaurants (with more and more opening every summer), retreats, yoga and every kind of alternative therapy you could imagine, as well as walking, hiking, hot air ballooning…..and for kids, it is a Mecca in its own right.
There are tons of families here
and the great thing about Ibiza is that with the exception of the clubs (gone are the days when people would rock up to Pacha and leave the kids asleep in the car outside!!) you can pretty much take them everywhere and they are really welcome, which I don’t always feel in places like London or other big cities. In the UK, it tends to be either kids activities or something for the adults without much crossover between the two.
Here, you can take the kids to the opening parties of the beach clubs, there are Halloween parties, organic farms that offer wonderful afternoons of live music, food, games for the kids etc. Of course, give most kids the beach and they are happy for hours! It is a super healthy environment to grow up in, with lots of time outside, lots of influences from different cultures and the constant flow of people that the island sees every year. Most kids growing up here will speak at least 2 languages fluently and in many cases 3.
My experience of having children
here has been really positive. I had my first child at home with an amazing doula and South American midwife who has delivered more than 400 babies on the island and my second son I had at the local hospital and this was also fine, although not quite as Zen as the home birth!
As a family we love the general outlook on life here, which is more focused on enjoying the weather, food and everything the island has to offer as opposed to working all hours, racking up a huge mortgage, debts, climbing endless ladders that seems to be the case in other countries.
I work part time due to being a hands on Mum
When we got married here I noticed a real gap in the market for a wedding planning service…hence Ibiza Wedding was born in 2005 and at the time was the first bespoke wedding planning company on the island. Work wise my day is so varied, which is one of the many reasons I love what I do.
Some of my favourite places on the island
La Paloma for lunch on a sunny day, sat in the orange grove whilst the kids play on the swings eating the most divine organic food (much of which is grown on site).
Talamanca beach in the winter; the water is beautiful there and the beach so quiet and protected, so perfect for the kids.
Walking along the front in Santa Eulalia, looking forward to the new branch of Passion opening there soon!
Pastis in Ibiza Town for intimate dinner with Jack.
Macao in Santa Gertrudis on a balmy summer evening for amazing pizza and pasta followed by a wander around the square.
Atzaro spa in the summer to escape the crowds.
Blue Marlin Cafe in Marina Botafoch for the most delicious breakfast enjoyed whilst gazing at the mutli-million pound yachts.
A day on the boat spent at Formentera, ideally with skis and giant rubber ring so we can laugh like kids.
A Dr Haushka facial with Abi once the kids have gone to bed.
Wandering round the Old Town during siesta and at shopping in Ibiza at night followed by sushi at Sushinaya in Ibiza Town.
Dirty hamburger at Hard Rock (the burger, not the place)
Lunch at El Chiringuito whilst the kids hang out in the kids club there.
Eating squid and seabass in any of the little restaurants in the North off the Portinatx road.
A couple of nights with Jack at The Giri Residence – our home away from home…oooh I could go on and on…