Extending across rolling Andalucian countryside between mountains and sea, Benahavis is the lesser-known, sophisticated neighbour of Marbella; a captivating destination for golfers, foodies, luxury…
There’s no denying the increasing popularity of destination weddings, nor the recent explosion of wedding services here in Spain – why spend time worrying about the Great British weather and crazy expenses, when you can whisk yourselves off to the glorious sunshine for a wedding to remember for all the right reasons?
We recently caught up with Lucy and Jesus in Benalmadena Pueblo, who just launched the latest addition to the Spanish wedding scene, swapping their high-paced London lifestyles for the utterly gorgeous Boutique Wedding Co.
Tell us a bit about your wedding planning service
We offer couples getting married in Spain an alternative type of bespoke wedding planning service; we don’t offer packages or try to shoe-horn our clients into existing services, everything we create is unique to each couple. We want to help create the dream Spanish wedding day from start to finish, delighting our couples and their guests with a perfectly planned, organised wedding, executed with style, grace and taste!
What made you become wedding planners in Spain and not London for example?
We both love Spain so much and have a lot of history here. Jesus is from Cadiz and I have travelled here for the past 23 years as I previously lived in Southern Spain and Barcelona.
For us, it was about launching a business in the place we love the most in the world, and the fact that Andalusia is such a perfect place for a destination wedding is just the icing on the cake! My father has lived in the white hill top village of Vejer de la Frontera for 20 years, and with Jesus’s family here, it also makes great sense from a family perspective too!
Through the Boutique Wedding Co. we are getting a chance to share our love of Andalucia with our clients, make their wedding dreams come true and take them on an adventure to one of the most beautiful and culturally rich places in Europe!
What are the main challenges couples face when trying to arrange a wedding in Spain?
There can be all kinds of challenges when organising a wedding in Spain if you are not from the area, but it will be more than worth it! The key things we hear about from exasperated couples are:
- The first challenge is obviously the language barrier, even if a couple chooses a venue with an employee that speaks English, they may not speak enough to really understand their dreams and design objectives for their wedding day.
- Secondly, searching for a venue in which to hold a wedding ceremony or celebration can be a real headache, because unless you know the area really well it can be hard to shortlist different locations and types of venues, and there is just never enough time to visit them all.
- Similarly, co-ordinating with suppliers (often in Spanish) and getting everything scheduled for the correct timings is a difficult task in your own country let alone from 2,000 miles away.
- Understanding the laws of marriage in Spain and dealing with the paperwork is a huge challenge, Spain is famous for its frustrating bureaucracy so it helps to have someone to hold your hand through this bit.
- Finally, if you are getting married abroad then just co-ordinating your friends and family and actually getting them to the destination to celebrate your special day is a challenge in itself, even just for the time it takes to organise when you could be spending time trying on dresses and choosing colour palettes.
So what should couples look out for in the ideal wedding venue?
The ideal wedding venue from the perspective of The Boutique Wedding Co. should be luxurious, and spacious (enough room to allow the bride and groom some privacy from the rest of the group), preferably with great views or in an extra special location.
The best venues have at least 3 distinct entertainment areas, terraces or courtyards, like the wedding photographed here that we did at Hacienda Madronal. That way, you can celebrate the different elements of your wedding day, letting it all flow with ease. In Summer, a swimming pool is a must, and ideally, we need to be able to play music till at least midnight.
Being within an hour and a half of your chosen airport, as well as being in an area with interesting things to see and do is also a bonus, but equally, there are some more remote venues that are just like Paradise for weddings!
Finally, it doesn’t hurt to have a Plan B with a roof on it if you are getting married outside of June, July, August and September, it does sometimes rain in Spain!
And if the happy couple want more than just the wedding?
Customer service and quality should be top of the list for any wedding planner, because it’s not only about the wedding day, it’s also about creating a whole wedding experience. Most of our clients come to Spain for a week or more, to fully enjoy their time away. An extended stay on the Costa gives anxious brides time to relax and prepare for their wedding day, and a little time to explore too.
Through The Luxury Villa Collection Concierge, we can offer tours, trips, experiences and even arrange for sports activities, Yoga, Meditation or Pilates classes at the venue. We can also assist with all the little details from booking the wedding party’s travel and accommodation to arranging trips, tours, restaurant bookings and transfers.
Many of our luxury wedding venues have a strong ecological and foodie ethos, so we can also provide top class chefs and wedding feasts prepared from locally produced and organically grown food – some villas even have their own produce such as wine, cheese and Olive Oil.
To round up, here are some top tips for planning a destination wedding in Spain:
1: We would definitely recommend that you plan ahead. Getting married in Spain has become very popular and the best wedding venues get booked up 12 – 18 months in advance, especially in peak months like May and June.
2: Consider your guest list – the range of wedding and celebration villas on offer in Spain is as varied as the people who choose to visit, but it’s important to consider the mix of people you expect to join you – for example, will the children need to be entertained if you get married on a mountain hilltop, or will Grandad be able to afford the only 5 star hotel within a 20 mile radius of your luxury villa? Is there space for everyone to be comfortable under the same roof for a few days, or maybe there is an option to rent some cheaper apartments nearby?
3: Summer weddings in Spain get extremely hot! Coming along in full suit jackets and ties to a 3pm wedding in August might not be the best idea, and this is the reason why a lot of Spanish weddings take place later in the evening and celebrate into the night. You do need to think about guests being comfortable (and yourselves!) so it may be a good idea to let your guests off the “formal attire” hook slightly.
4: Know the legalities – make sure you do your research in advance to make sure you know all about the paperwork and legal requirements of getting married in Spain so that when your big day comes around, all the boring stuff has been confidently dealt with.
5: The top tip would be to hire a wedding planner to manage as much or as little as you like – many wedding planners will offer flexible packages and your sanity will thank you for it later!
Find out more about The Boutique Wedding Co. at their website and if you are looking for the perfect luxury villa for your Spanish wedding, check out our collection of wedding villas in Spain.
Have you recently got married in Spain? What was your experience like, were there any venues or suppliers you would recommend? Please leave us a comment below about your own Spanish wedding dreams and tips!