Marbella. There aren't many places offering year-round sunshine in Europe that, from beaches and golf to shopping and fine dining, tick as many of the luxury holiday boxes. Sounds tempting?…
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 an 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:
1. 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.
2. 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.
3. 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.
4. 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.
5. 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, 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 an a half of your chosen airport, as well as in 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 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 its not only about the wedding day, its 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 villa 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 an 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 when your big day comes around, all the boring stuff has been confidently dealt with.
5: The top tip would be 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 http://www.boutiqueweddingsinspain.com/ 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!
Array (  => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 78708 [post_author] => 5 [post_date] => 2019-12-02 11:31:07 [post_date_gmt] => 2019-12-02 11:31:07 [post_content] => Marbella. There aren't many places offering year-round sunshine in Europe that, from beaches and golf to shopping and fine dining, tick as many of the luxury holiday boxes. Sounds tempting? Perhaps the best part of all is just how easy it is to get to...
Where is Marbella?First things first, though. Where is it? Marbella is in southern Spain - in the province of Malaga in the Andalucia region, to be exact - on a stretch of coast called the Costa del Sol. Here's a map of Marbella to help you get your bearings:
Where Do You Fly to?It depends on from where you're flying in. The nearest international airport to Marbella is Malaga. Málaga-Costa del Sol Airport (Aena.es) is 51km away and an easy 40-minute car/taxi ride. Virtually all the major airlines fly there direct from the UK and from across northern Europe. The next closest airport to Marbella is Gibraltar (Gibraltarairport.gi), which is just over an hour's drive away. British Airways, Easyjet and Monarch all fly direct from the UK to Gibraltar.
From the USIf you’re flying into Spain from the USA you'll probably have to travel to Madrid-Barajas Adolfo Suárez Airport (Aena.es). From there you'll have to either fly, take the fast speed AVE train (Renfe.com) or drive to Malaga and transfer from there to Marbella. The most convenient way to get to Marbella from Madrid is by the fast speed train taking just 2.5hrs or by flying taking only 1 hour and 15 mins.
how to get there from malaga airport
By CarThe best way to get from Malaga to Marbella is to drive. And if you're on holiday that probably means you're going to need to hire a car. As with almost all international airports, Malaga has a frankly baffling array of different car hire options to pick through. To avoid the scrum of the departures lounge, jump on the complimentary minibus to the offices of Niza, Helle Hollis or Enterprise situated a mere minute outside of the terminal. Inside the terminal you can find Sixt, Hertz and Europcar. If you're unsure of which company to use, click the following link. For a more luxury car hire service we'd recommend Sixt (Sixt.com). They're friendly, totally professional, trustworthy and have a range of high-end rental options, from BMWs, Audis and Porsches to Mercedes and Range Rovers - and even automatics. If you're travelling in a large group, they also have 8-12 seater self-drive minibuses available for hire. Of course if you're looking for ease, our Concierge can make the reservation for you to be dropped directly off at the villa. A car of your choice can be delivered to your villa. Once you've picked up your car/minibus hire, driving from Malaga airport to Marbella could hardly be easier. Directions from Malaga-Costa del Sol airport are as follows:
- Leave the airport and head southeast onto N-348
- At the roundabout, take the 2nd exit and stay on N-348
- Take the Torremolinos ramp to N-340/Cádiz
- Merge onto Avenida de Velázquez/N-340/MA-21
- Take the ramp to E-15/A-7/Benalmadena/Algeciras. Merge onto AP-7
- Pass Torremolinos, Benalmadena, Fuengirola
- Take exit 184 towards Marbella/Casco Antiguo/Avenida del Trapiche
By TaxiFor sheer ease, you can’t beat jumping in a taxi. A taxi rank is situated outside the arrivals sidewalk of Terminal T3, level 0. It's best to ask the driver, beforehand, how much a taxi is from Malaga to Marbella to ensure they don’t overcharge you. There are two transfer prices, and these are dependent on both times of the day and the day of the week. Transfer Price Band 1 is weekdays from 06.00 to 22.00 hrs. Transfer Price Band 2 is weekdays from 22.00 to 06.00 hrs, all day Saturdays, Sundays, public holidays, the August Feria and Holy Week. Band 2 transfer time is more expensive than Band 1. Alternatively, you can pre-order a taxi at Malaga Airport Taxi (Malagaairporttaxi.net) and get a price when booking. The transfer time from Malaga Airport to Marbella takes around an hour, in a taxi.
Other Ways to Get to Marbella
- By bus: It is possible to take a bus (Alsa.com) from Malaga airport to Marbella. But it's a whole lot less convenient than driving via hire car or private transfer.
- By train: There isn’t a train connection from Malaga airport to Marbella.
Distances - how far is marbella from...
- Malaga (city): 61km away and 46 minutes' drive.
- Granada: 187km and just over 2 hours' drive.
- Seville: 258km and 2 hours 45 minutes' drive.
- Gibraltar: 78km and 1 hour 2 minutes' drive.
- Madrid: 584 km and 5 hours 45 minutes' drive.
A Bit of HistoryThe land previously belonged to the Saudi businessman Adnan Khashoggi, who it is said, used the estate as his party house and hunting grounds. The property and land went up for sale and a group of Spanish property developers bought it and put plans together to create a playground for the rich and famous in Marbella. Each villa is unique, with their own styles depending on the specifications of the owner.
Location & Getting There
So where is La Zagaleta?The large estate sits in Malaga province in the south of Andalucia. It’s in the foothills of the Ronda Mountains just 25 minutes from Marbella, 18 minutes from Nuevo Andalucia and the nearest beach. It's 20 minutes from the village of Benahavis, 40 minutes from Sotogrande port, 50 minutes from Ronda, 55 minutes from Malaga airport and just over an hour from Gibraltar airport. La Zagaleta is very easily accessed by car or helicopter. There's heavy security surrounding the estate and entrance is on prior permission only.
What Else is in La Zagaleta?It’s worth noting that all the facilities in La Zagaleta are for exclusive use to villa owners only; they pay an enormous service charge to be allowed to use the facilities.
Golf CourseLa Zagaleta golf club is only open to villa owners and their guests. They have exclusive access to two of the Costa del Sol's best private golf courses, La Zagaleta and Los Barrancos. La Zagaleta golf course - known as the Old Course - is to championship standard with 18 holes, Par 72 over a distance of 4800 - 6000 yards. Designed by renowned golf architect Brad Benz in 1991 and redesigned by Marc Westenborg in 2016, it’s a rewarding course with fantastic views to the coast and flanked by mountains. The New Course, Los Barrancos, is very different to the Old Course. It’s a challenging 18-hole, Par 70 with lots of obstacles over a distance of 4356 – 5381 yards.
The ClubhousesThe hub of the estate is the spectacular Old Clubhouse, or La Zagaleta country club. Measuring 5,100m² it has an indoor/outdoor swimming pool, billiards, bowling alley, tennis courts, gourmet food supermarket, pro-golf shop and restaurants (see below). There's also a nightclub, bars and events space where there’s a full schedule of experiences and parties planned. The New Clubhouse is a thatched lakeside venue. A lot smaller than the Old Clubhouse, it's still just as popular with La Zagaleta residents for events or having a quick drink in the bar.
Horse RidingLa Zagaleta is home to some beautiful stables with indoor and outdoor schooling arenas. Horses can either be kept on a full livery basis, or horses and ponies can be hired for lessons or hacks. ‘The Riding Club’ equestrian centre has a team of instructors and well-schooled horses for all levels of rider including Arab, PRE and, for the children, Farabella horses and Welsh ponies.
RestaurantsWhy leave the comfort of a beautiful villa when you can enjoy a top-quality meal at home? At La Zagaleta there are Michelin starred chefs available for in-house dining throughout the estate. However, for owners the clubhouse has two restaurants: the formal dining Old Course Restaurant; and a terrace bar restaurant that's ideal for light bites and brunches.
Famous ResidentsThere is private security throughout the whole of La Zagaleta - so know one really know who lives or owns houses there. It’s a place where the super-rich and famous go to be away from the limelight. However, it is said that Hugh Grant, Rod Stewart and Vladimir Putin all have house in La Zagaleta.
What to Do NearbyWhen staying in La Zagaleta, the houses are so special that it’s sometimes difficult to tear yourself away from the estate. However, if you do want to see more of the area, here's our pick of easily accessible and great day trips:
- Ronda: historic, boutique wineries and ab-so-lutely beautiful.
- Benahavis village: a great option for restaurants; have a lunch or dinner in this pretty village.
- Granada: a romantic inland city and home to the Alhambra Palace, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
- Malaga: the birthplace of Picasso with a fort, palace and Roman amphitheatre.
- Cordoba: historic city with a stunning mosque-church at its centre.
- Sevilla: one of the most beautiful cities in Europe.
- Sotogrande: a lovely port, wake boarding lake and polo hub.