Just Outside of Madrid, This Countryside Wedding Combined Spanish and Filipino Traditions

Just Outside of Madrid, This Countryside Wedding Combined Spanish and Filipino Traditions

Alexandra Suarez and Jaime Urquijo had several chance encounters before they officially met and he finally asked her out. As fate would have it, their first meeting was on Valentine’s Day in 2015 in Calatagan, a beach town a few hours south of Manila. “He was cooking a massive shrimp boil for a group of about 30 people,” Alexandra remembers. “I was invited by some common friends of ours last minute, and not having any Valentine’s plans, I decided to tag along. The shrimp boil was amazing, but he was too busy cooking to strike up a conversation!” 

A few months later, they were connected again through work. At the time, they were both working in similar industries and were scheduled to have a one-on-one meeting, but it eventually fell through. Finally, on St. Patrick’s Day in 2017, they were out with their separate friend groups when they happened to bump into each other at a bar called Cafe Curieux. They spoke for only two minutes, but during that short time, Jaime managed to ask Alexandra out. “He made me pinkie swear that I would show up to our date,” she says. “I thought that was really funny and sweet!” They got along so well that they went on about 10 different dates in the span of just three weeks. 

A year and a half later, Jaime had just graduated with his MBA when they both decided to take some time off from their careers and travel for two months across Europe and North/Central America. “One of the highlights of our trip was driving over 6,000 kilometers across Europe in Jaime’s father’s 30-year-old jeep,” Alexandra reminisces. “The AC was broken and so were the windows, and of course during our road trip Europe was hit by one of the worst heat waves on record! At some point, it was so hot that we had to stop at a gas station every few hours just so we could stand close to the freezer for a few minutes to recover from the heat.” The car eventually broke down, and they had to have it towed all the way from the South of France back to Jaime’s family home in Madrid. ”You learn a lot about each other while traveling, to say the least,” Alexandra says, “and those few months on the road made us realize that we wanted to be together for a really long time.”

The last leg of their trip was at Hotel San Cristobal in Baja California, Mexico. They were chatting and reflecting on all of their adventures over the past few months and their plans to return to the Philippines when it occurred to both of them that they should get married. “We’re introverts who take our time to process things, so this was honestly the perfect ‘proposal’ for us,” Alexandra says. “I wouldn’t have it any other way.”

And while they both typically take their time mulling over big decisions, they knew right away that they wanted to get married at Los Molinillos, Jaime’s family’s home just outside of Madrid. “We are quite sentimental people, and more than it being such a beautiful place, we chose it because it holds so much meaning for Jaime as some of his fondest memories growing up took place there,” Alexandra says. “It was also a way for us to pay tribute to Jaime’s father, whom he lost very early in life.” 

Knowing that it would be an outdoor wedding, they decided that we wanted to have it in the fall. The seasonal fruits and flowers of Spain during that time of year are what inspired much of the aesthetic. With the couple based in the Philippines and most of their guests flying in from other parts of the world, they decided to work with two wedding planners—A-Tipica in Madrid and The Event Architects in Manila. 

From the get-go, Alexandra was worried about being the center of attention, so she tried to focus on staying calm. “I was so nervous the entire morning of our wedding,” Alexandra admits. “I have massive stage fright and the thought of walking down the aisle with everyone looking at me made me want to faint. That lasted all the way up to the ceremony, but as soon as I saw my husband, all those nerves melted away, and it felt like we were the only two people there.”

She leaned on stylish friends to assist her with outfit planning for the three-day celebration, as well as aid in the management of nerves. Friend and stylist Pam Quiñones was a constant source of encouragement and reminded the bride to enjoy the process and soak it all in. Suyen Salazar did her hair, and Robbie Pinera her makeup. “I basically just let them run with it for all of the events,” Alexandra says. “We didn’t even do a proper trial or anything beforehand. They made me feel like myself, but as if I had gotten eight hours of sleep all my life! Having them there gave me a much needed boost of confidence during our 800-person wedding, and I’m so grateful for that.”

On October 5, 2019, the Catholic ceremony was held in the garden under a massive tent on a sunny fall day. “Even though we had a large wedding, we wanted the ceremony to feel personal and for it to have elements of our shared Filipino and Spanish heritage,” Alexandra says. They had two priests—one Filipino, one Spanish—and together the pair conducted a bilingual ceremony. “We chose to incorporate a few Filipino wedding traditions, such as a veil, cord, and candle ritual that is meant to symbolize the strength of our bond as a married couple,” Alexandra explains. They also wrote their own vows. After the ceremony, they got into their old Citroen Mehari and took a few minutes to drive around the property—just the two of them—to take it all in. 

At the reception, funny masks and hats were laid out at each table, and when the couple entered the tent to the tune of “We Like to Party” by the Vengaboys, everyone was dressed up and swinging their napkins in the air, ready to go. “I loved our reception, from the rustic flower arrangements by Aquilea, which is run by Jaime’s talented aunt, to the beautiful speeches, to the food,” Alexandra says. They decided on a homey, traditional Spanish menu by Isabel Maestre for the late lunch—just the kind of food you would serve at a big family meal.

After lunch, everyone headed to the dance floor to watch the bride and groom’s first dance to Peter Frampton’s “Baby, I Love Your Way.” Then a full night of dancing was in order—thanks to the Soul Brothers, followed by DJ Mickey Pavon. Throughout it all, guests were fed paella, churros, and ice cream. “Towards the end of the night, when most of our guests had gone home, there were only a few of us left on the dance floor and the DJ decided to replay ‘Baby I Love Your Way,’ which is the song we had danced to earlier in the evening for our first dance. We danced to it again, but this time, it was just the two of us with no one else watching,” Alexandra remembers. “During that moment, it hit us—holy cow, we’re married! It was so romantic.”

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