As cofounders of London-based interior design firm Sella Concept, Gayle Noonan and Tatjana von Stein are known for their refined sense of style and unerring good taste. So when they heard about La Donaira, a remote eco-retreat on a beautiful farm near the village of El Gastor in Spain, the pair had an inkling it was just the inspiring setting they desired for their wedding. “Our legal ceremony took place in London at the Old Marylebone Town Hall, but our true spiritual ceremony happened under a 700-year-old tree in Andalucía, on top of a mountain,” says Gayle.
The momentous event happened less than a year after the pair got engaged in another secluded spot, this time in Wales. “We had just bought a classic BMW convertible and decided to take it on its first road trip,” says Gayle, describing the leisurely trek to a log cabin by a river. “We arrived via a hidden track through unruly fields of sheep to discover a piece of paradise run only by solar energy.” They popped on swimsuits, popped open a bottle of Barolo, and headed out for a stroll. “We both knew life couldn’t be more perfect,” says Gayle, who had been plotting a proposal when Tatjana surprised her with a “Marry me!” The answer was yes, of course: “We spent the rest of the day repeating the question and the answer to one another,” says Tatjana.
Keep reading to see Tatjana and Gayle's stunning outdoor wedding, as photographed by Thierry Joubert in the hills of southern Spain.
Tatjana and Gayle wed on June 10, 2018, in a joyful ceremony at La Donaira. “A good friend recommended this spot, which is a well-kept secret,” says Tatjana.
Both women wore dresses embellished with lace, and Tatjana worked with designer Louise Selby to create hers. "I drew my dress on a napkin in a cafe one day and was introduced to the wonderful Louise Selby to bring the dress to life," she explains. She accessorized with family heirlooms—her grandmother's ruby and her mother-in-law's pearl necklace—plus espadrilles by Castaner.
Gayle also wore a custom gown from Mirror Mirror London. "I designed the dress and loved the simplicity of the skirt and the shape of the bodice," she says. The bride added a twist to her look, thanks to the help of her friend and hairstylist Emily Crowther. "We decided to tie my hair into a ponytail with a black velvet bow that hung down my back," she says.
“We arrived in a Land Rover Defender, then walked to our ceremony,” Gayle says.
Bridesmaids and guests hitched a ride to the ceremony in cute equestrian shuttles.
All 150 guests headed up the mountain to hear the vows under an ancient oak decorated with blossoms strung together into a floral curtain that swayed in the breeze. “The sounds of the voices, alongside the wind and the trees, brought us to tears,” says Gayle.
The couple's friend Connie Alfrey, whom they call "an incredible woman, poet, and spirit," officiated the ceremony. "It was written and performed by Connie, and was one of the most beautiful gifts anyone has ever given us," they say. "It was truly breathtaking and inspiring."
Following the outdoor wedding, Tatjana and Gayle explored the property and posed for a couple of beautiful portraits.
Afterward, guests made their way down to a spot overlooking the valley to sip champagne and nibble canapés while toasting the newlyweds and listening to Spanish guitarist Paco Seco serenade the ebullient group. “We were surrounded by our friends for life,” says Tatjana, goofing with pals.
Guests found their seat assignments on a burlap-covered display accented with colorful flowers.
Later, back at the resort, everyone enjoyed a dinner of organic meats and vegetables under the stars and the celebration continued into the wee hours, with singing and dancing to French rock and roll and Irish tunes.
The couple agreed it was heaven on earth: “Our hearts were bursting watching both of our families connect.”
Venue: La Donaira || Wedding Planner: Sophie Gravier of La Donaira || Officiant: Connie Alfrey || Wedding Dresses: Louise Selby, Mirror Mirror || Rings: Margot and Mila || Makeup Artist: Linda Darragh || Hair Stylist: Emily Crowther || Bride's Shoes: Castañer || Paper Products: Sella Concept || Florals: La Donaira || Favors: Sella Concept || Catering: La Donaira || Rentals: La Donaira || Music: Paco Seco || Photography: Thierry Joubert
This story originally appeared in the April/May 2019 issue of Brides, on sale beginning February 26.