Destination weddings are my favorite! With so much preparation needed to plan the theme wedding celebration that is usually a three-day grand affair, every detail makes a very lasting and memorable statement for all the chosen guests, especially to the bride and groom.
I flew to Spain for two beautiful weddings held exactly a month apart—the first was held in enchanting Malaga and the second in majestic Madrid. Adding a couple of days before the celebration, I had ample time for the all important shopping and eating adventures.
It is extra special if the destination wedding is a family affair because all the festivities and speeches are surely so heartfelt.
Last Sept. 3, my nephew Chris Imperial wed Isa Palabyab after an 11-year relationship! Festivities started with a 7-kilometer hike at El Caminito del Rey. People didn’t seem to mind the scorching heat because of the beautiful views of waterfalls and hanging bridges. The group of 60 hikers rushed back to the city center in time to get ready for the bride’s despedida de soltera at Los Patios de Beatas.
Guests were requested to come in sunset colors and were given welcome care packages filled with some of the couple’s favorite things from Spain: Heliocare sunscreen, jamon-flavored chips, a personal bottle of cava and a hangover kit.
Isa’s cousins Toby and Aaron Palabyab hosted the program for the evening and gave the funniest speeches about the couple. The groom’s closest cousin, Jay Laurel, presented a slide show of photos of the couple through the years and one of the bride’s best friends Mariel Bitanga spoke about how happy she was that Isa was ending up with her true-to-life Prince Charming! We were also treated to a fabulous flamenco performance. Toward the end, I didn’t need much convincing to show them my own flamenco skills.
Sunset dinner party
On the second day, everyone gathered at the Real Club Mediterraneo for an all-white sunset dinner party where the groom’s side of the family surprised the couple with a dance number. They were able to get the couple to join in at the end! Games were hosted by my also newly engaged niece Audrey Prieto and her fiancé Oliver Gallego.
Everyone was more than willing to participate in the games with some cash prizes and alcohol involved. We had the hilarious bato-bato-pick game and musical chairs shots. More speeches were given by ninongs Juan Miguel Laurel and Bobby Roxas.
The groom’s sisters Cristina Carl, Franchesca and Tara Imperial made almost everyone shed a tear. Chris’ best friend Carlo Malixi and one of Isa’s best friends, Ciari Luna, also gave the guests a glimpse of what they were like as individuals and how they are the perfect match as a couple.
Finally, on the day of the wedding, everyone felt so at home and comfortable with each other that you couldn’t tell whether they were guests of the bride or groom. The two sides just blended so well.
Despite some flight delays and cancellations, Isa’s brother Addie Palabyab arrived at the last minute from San Francisco to walk his baby sister down the aisle. He already wore his suit on the plane in case he needed to go straight to the church from the airport. Good thing he made it to Paroquia San Miguel Miramar just in time!
The reception at the Hotel Castilo de Santa Catalina was magical. It was atop a hill overlooking the Mediterranean sea and the city of Malaga. The evening was hosted by Bryan Prieto and Katz Salao. The most heartfelt speeches were given by the groom’s father Windy Imperial, brother and best man Dino Imperial and the bride’s sister and matron of honor Anna Rufino.
After a sumptuous meal of paella, countless tapas, steak and free-flowing wine, it was time to party! Guests were given espadrilles so they could kick off their high heels and dance the night away.
It was truly worth the travel for three days of fun, bonding and of course, shopping with family and friends old and new. Cheers to the newlyweds and bravo for pulling off such an unforgettable event!
Alex and Jaime
Flying to Europe on Turkish Airlines for the third time this quarter, I am back in Spain for another family friend’s wedding.
My hubby Dennis was once the babysitter of the beautiful bride, Alex Suarez. Her parents, Michelline and Leo Suarez, were his close friends in business school. This was in 1988 when Leo and Dennis were in Kellogg Business School in Evanston, Illinois. That was even before Dennis and I met. He was not able to join me but I am so happy to be here to represent us both.
This weekend’s three-day celebration culminates in the wedding of Alex Suarez to Jaime Urquijo at Los Molinillos, attended by family and friends who flew in for the wedding. The handsome groom is the son of Bea Zobel.
Upon arrival in Madrid, guests were welcomed with a flamenco cocktail affair at the beautiful and historic Palacio de Santona. Flamenco dances and Spanish music filled the night with revelry and joy for the happy couple. The next day, guests were transported an hour away to Finca El Feligres for an Asado party.
More about the beautiful wedding next weekend!
Editor’s Note: We misspelled the first name of Mr. Windy Imperial, and this has been corrected. Our apologies for the error.