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Madrid Honeymoon Mini-Guide

First thought: These two newlyweds are beyond adorable. Second: Gallivanting around the streets of Madrid soaking up the gorgeous Spanish architecture with Jimena Roquero? Officially, my new dream honeymoon. This post-wedding prettiness intrigued me so, that I just had to steal a few bits of travel recs from Jimena and Lizzie for a mini-guide. Best idea ever.

madrid_miniguide
Where to eat?
There are some restaurants considered a MUST in the city, such as Restaurante Botin where you should try their suckling pig. Also, Casa Lucio a well-known restaurant, where their speciality “Broken Eggs” have been tested by many celebrities. If you are visiting Madrid in the fall or winter, you can try a Cocido Madrileño, in Restaurante L’hardy. For a lighter meal, I recommend Restaurante Triciclo, in the fun and cultural Barrio de las Letras. They offer a gourmet, yet affordable menu and the atmosphere is more informal and hip.

Of course, you should definitely try some “tapas” with cold “cañas” (beer) or wine in the neighborhood La Latina. Walking the Cava Baja Street stopping in the different bars and tabernas trying different and delicious Spanish dishes, such as “calamares a la romana” (fried calamari), Spanish jamón, pimientos de Padrón (sweet and hot green peppers), tortilla de patata (Spanish omelet) etc… A good place to start is Restaurante La Chata but there are more amazing bars and restaurants on that street than you can imagine!

Another special place that’s worth a visit is the taberna La Venencia, a genuine sherry house, opened more than 80 years ago. They only serve sherry and a a few small “tapas” at an incredibly low price. Finally, I would suggest to stop by the Mercado de San Miguel, a renovated old food market, now turned into a very popular gourmet tapas spot. The perfect place to get some oysters and seafood with a glass of white wine.

Where to stay?
The Westin Palace, the Ritz Hotel or the Villamagna Hotel are probably the most emblematic places to stay. Also, Me by Melia, a very centric, recently renovated hotel, is a good option, too.

What do to?
Walking around the city is the best way to explore Madrid. It’s a very vibrant city with streets full of people from early morning to late at night! Apart from visiting some Museums, maybe a Flamenco show or a soccer game, there are a few areas in the city that I would highly recommend to visit: The Barrio de las Letras or also known as Huertas, is a charming and fun neighborhood to spend an evening. You’ll find plenty of bars and cafes, like Matute or Tandem to have a coffee or a cocktail. You’ll also find a good amount of small art galleries here if you are looking for a cultural route. La Fábrica gallery is probably one of the most important ones as it also has a nice cafe and an art bookstore.

Malasaña neighborhood is a good option for people looking for a hip and young vibe. Tons of bars and cafes like La Bicicleta, or La Realidad are good to have a drink at night in one of the most popular areas to hang out until late hours.

Must see?
Prado Museum, Reina Sofia Museum, Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum, Plaza Mayor & Puerta del Sol, Puerta de Alcala, El Retiro Park, Atocha Train Station, Matadero Madrid, Santiago Bernabeu Stadium, Círculo de Bellas Artes (you can go up to the roof to see the views of the city for 1€), Mercado de San Miguel, Barrio de La Latina, Barrio de Las Letras, Barrio de Malasaña, Barrio de Chueca.

The flea market “Mercado de Motores” at the Museo del Ferrocarril (an artist flea market held in the Train Museum where you can enjoy and purchase beautiful things from local artists while you see some amazing old train wagons, enjoy some live music and you get some foodies at the backyard). It’s only once a month so you’ll have to check whether or not it is happening the days of your visit.

Matadero Madrid, a cultural and eclectic space that’s worth the visit, even just to know the original renovation of an old slaughterhouse, turned into a huge cultural center that holds a theatre, a library,  an art space, a restaurant and many other things.

If you have a car, you can visit some of the oldest cities of Spain, which you’ll find only one hour from Madrid: Toledo, Segovia or Avila are charming and interesting destinations worth to spend a day with great gastronomic and cultural offers.

What to wear?
Madrid is fun and vibrant, and maybe not as sophisticated as other European cities but it has great charm and great weather! Unless you’re visiting in the deep winter months, you’ll be able to wear light clothes and summer outfits, so take advantage of that! Get colored! July and August are VERY hot months, so be prepared for that, but the rest of the year it’s a lovely city to enjoy.

From Lizzie, the bride… wear comfy shoes! The main/touristy parts of Madrid are all walkable from one end to the other, but you want to have good shoes to do it! Madrid was the best place to shop and eye all the latest fashion. I had serious window envy walking along Gran Via.

From the beautiful Bride… A lot of people joke with us, “Don’t you have enough pictures of yourselves?” But the truth is, we don’t think you can! During our engagement and wedding, I loved working with different photographers to capture every detail of our special day. So when it came time to plan our honeymoon, I wanted to once again capture the love, happiness and memories of our time spent in Madrid, Spain. To achieve this, we called on a native to Madrid, Jimena Roquero.

Working with Jimena was not only amazing because of her breathtaking work, but we truly felt like we were gallivanting around town with an old friend – who also shared some local recommendations to ensure our honeymoon was perfect. For this shoot, didn’t want an engagement style where it’s all about us. We wanted to look back at these photos and be able to soak in the Spanish architecture and relive the afternoon spent together under the sun.

One of the favorite things we saw was a flamingo dance/dinner show at Cardamomo. We also loved visiting Plaza del Sol (city center), El Rasto (marketplace), and Museo del Prado. We took a lot of these photos in the Plaza Mayor, La Latina and walking along Gran Via. All were so romantic and beautiful! Parque del Retiro is another lovely place for honeymooners to stroll along the gardens and fountains together.

Photography: Jimena Roquero

Jimena Roquero Photography is a member of our Little Black Book. Find out how members are chosen by visiting our FAQ page.
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Two Day Wedding Extravaganza in Seville

A destination wedding in Seville sounds like a dream, no? Now how about a two day wedding extravaganza filled with faux-bull fighting, a moroccan picnic cocktail hour and beautiful al fresco dining under a Spanish moon – it’s wildly beautiful and all caught on film by Leila Brewster along with the perfect film captured by Elysium Productions. Have a look!

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Spring

This wedding in Seville, Spain had it all. Bull (toros in spanish!)? check. Gypsy wedding complete with kidnap of the bride?… check. Gorgeous Spanish/Morroccan designed reception in an old olive orchard estate? Check.

Mara & Seb couldn’t think of anywhere better to tie the knot than Seville, Spain where the bride spent many holidays growing up in their family vacation home. And if you are going to have a wedding in such a place steeped in tradition, might as well go all out!

The rehearsal dinner was not so much a dinner as a traditional outing to the local bull fight ring. However there was one major difference. The matadors featured were actually several members of the wedding party! These brave gentleman (and women) barely escaped being wounded by a (not so big) bull and all the guests had a great time cheering them on.

Later, guests watched Mara & Seb take part in a traditional gypsy wedding. (The gypsy culture is alive and well in this part of the world). Of course what would a gypsy wedding be without a kidnap and bribery?

The wedding day was another day full of tradition. Mara wore a beautiful Spanish inspired gown and was topped off by a traditional Spanish head piece. Seb wore a custom suit by Bonobos. The couple did their first look on the top of Hotel Alfonso XIII which had a gorgeous view of the city. From there, the couple rode in a vintage motorcycle (Sidecar) to the Alcazar where they got special permission to shoot some incredible portrait photos!

A bit later It was off to the Iglesia del San Jorge de La Caridad. A gorgeous 15th century church in the middle of Seville where the real ceremony took place. We loved the bridesmaids dresses. All unique and chosen by the gorgeous ladies.

Now the reception takes the cake. Have you seen a more gorgeous setting in your life? Hacienda Molinillos is an old olive mill complete with a fantastic landscape and greenery that would make any guest drop their jaw. On top of that, Mara did an incredible job planning all the details involved from the signs to the morroccan lamps and blankets adorning the cocktail area. The guests had a gourmet (and traditional of course) dinner under the stars and then moved on to another designed area for the party. We can honestly say that this is one wedding that will never be forgotten!!

Photography: Leila Brewster Photography | Videography: Elysium Productions | Hacienda Molinillos: Hacienda Molinillos

Elysium Productions is a member of our Little Black Book. Find out how members are chosen by visiting our FAQ page.
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Barcelona’s Gothic Quarter Love Shoot

If there is anything more romantic than strolling through the Gothic Quarter of Barcelona hand in hand with your love while enjoying the last sunny rays of the day, I really, really don’t know what it is. In fact, I’m absolutely convinced by these pictures from Veronica Hansen Wedding Photography, it doesn’t exist!

From the lovely couple… When people ask us how we met, they’re often surprised when I tell them that Ollie was my 8th grade crush. Being from a small town in Texas, it is not uncommon for love stories to begin in high school. I know that this is the part where most hopeful romantics are expecting that to be our story as well… however, our love story had a bit of a sense of humor and decided to make us wait nearly thirteen years to actually get passed the opening credits. After graduating high school we went separate ways for College and experienced different journeys, until one fateful day in 2011 when the magic of technology brought our worlds back together. A simple catching up message opened the door for what would become the love of our lives. By the time our paths came back as one, Ollie was stationed overseas and our relationship became rooted around traveling to see one another. Therefore it seemed only natural to have our photos, capturing our overwhelming love towards each other, taken while traveling.

For our anniversary we were delighted to take a cruise through Europe, which would land us in Barcelona, Spain for one day. I ardently admired Barcelona based wedding photographer, Veronica Hansen’s brilliantly talented work and had previously mentioned to Ollie that it would be my dream to have her as our wedding photographer and to do our engagement photos. I worried that the odds of her being available on the one quick day that we would have in Barcelona were slim, but we knew that we had to at least try. When I told Veronica our story, she went above and beyond to make our dream come true for us while we were in Barcelona. Because we were all three in different countries during the planning of our photo session, we used Skype to arrange the logistics. Veronica and I Skyped one blissful afternoon and I was blown away at how deeply she cared about not only our story but also telling it through her photos, she took every little detail to heart and what came out of that is nothing short of perfection.

The day of our photo session was nearly effortless, with the exception of my less than stellar choice of wearing very high-heeled shoes on the centuries-old cobblestoned sidewalks, in the middle of the summer at that. Ollie and I are somewhat old souls and have a great appreciation for gothic architecture, churches, and little cafés, so when we learned of the Gothic Quarter in Barcelona it could not have been more perfect. What we could not have expected was that Veronica had taken every single detail that I had mentioned in our Skype meeting and had spent many hours working to make the day truly unforgettable and to bring all of the details of our dream photo session into reality.

Our day began by meeting Veronica at pre-determined location near the docks where our cruise ship was docked; she had even taken the liberty of creating a map equipped with pictures for us to easily locate her. We spent some time in the city just enjoying the beautiful scenery. Once it was time for our photo session, Veronica led the way as we walked into the Quarter, which was set aglow by the picturesque beams of the sunset, all the while teaching us all about the city of Barcelona; it was as though we had an amazing photographer and tour guide all in one! Our photo session went seamlessly, except for us having to stop every so often for me to change shoes—ladies, bring a pair of flats when walking in Barcelona! We ended our day with a cup of gelato, a new and growing friendship with Veronica, and photos that still to this day take my breath away.

I’ve often heard that true love is like fine wine, it gets better with time…as history has shown in our story, every passing day only gets better and these pictures capture that sentiment flawlessly. I could not have asked for anything more.

Photography: Veronica Hansen Wedding Photography | Location: Gothic Quarter