Amanda Alcalde Álvarez and Alessandro Varotto first met in Madrid, where she was studying tourism and he odontology, and got engaged in New York City at the Empire State Building. However, for their wedding, the couple knew they wanted to marry in Spain. But the question was where? "From the first moment, we shared the decision to have a Spanish wedding because of the energy you breathe in every Spanish celebration," Amanda explains. The couple ultimately decided to invite 280 loved ones to Córdoba, a city in southern Spain that is known for its historic Moorish architecture. Amanda and Alessandro didn't just choose the destination for its famous mosque and gardens, though. Amanda was once "Miss Córdoba" so she says she has a special connection to the location: "For me, Córdoba is a magic city, and I was sure that it would be special for all of our guests."
Since the couple now live in Italy, they turned to the Spanish-based planners at Petite Mafalda to coordinate the logistics and make Amanda's dreams a reality. While planning, Amanda admits that finding her inspiration was the easiest task—she settled on a romantic wedding vision complete with roses, candelabras, and chandeliers in a castle setting—while putting together the seating chart proved to be the most difficult. "I'm half Italian, half Spanish, and it was very difficult to match every single table to make all the people happy," she says. But, on September 28, 2018, all of the hard work paid off as their 280 guests met at Mezquita-Cathedral de Córdoba for the ceremony and Castillo de Almodóvar for the reception. Keep reading to see more of Amanda and Alessandro's big day, as captured by Sara Lobla. Trust us: You need to see the bride's Berta Bridal gown and the couple's (two!!) stunning venues.
The bride found her dream dress by Berta Bridal at Blanco de Novia in Madrid. The winning design featured long sleeves, a deep V-neckline, and a mermaid silhouette adorned with pearls and embellishments. The glam gown also featured a train embroidered with flowers and branches.
Amanda added more embellishments to her look in the form of a headband by Jennifer Behr and earrings by Roberto Zenara. Her final accessory was a diamond and sapphire ring that belonged to Alessandro's great-grandmother.
Alessandro's attire was just as carefully considered, with a custom blue suit by Absolute Bespoke, an Hermès tie, and Roberto Sarti dress shirt. He added his grandfather's cuff links (which he had worn on his own wedding day!), a Cartier watch, and Bowtie shoes personalized with his initials in pale pink.
The couple had an entourage of adorable attendants. The girls wore white dresses and floral crowns, while the boys wore linen short-sets and greenery crowns (sans flowers).
The kids walked down the aisle at Mezquita-Cathedral de Córdoba before the bride made a grand entrance alongside her father. Amanda counts this as a favorite moment: "We entered the mosque church, and I saw all our family and friends and the emotional face of my future husband," she recalls. "It was so, so incredible."
The couple exchanged vows inside, and then exited as “Con te Partiro” played.
Rather than toss confetti, guests showered the couple with rose petals and olive branch leaves.
The newlyweds made a memorable getaway ride in a vintage black convertible. Amanda made sure to pose with her bouquet of white roses, lisianthus, ivy, and olive leaves.
Once at the castle, at the cocktail hour the guests tasted Italian appetizers, such as mortadella and Parmiggiano cheese, as well as spritzes and gazpacho. Then the group gathered in a chandelier-lit courtyard for a seated dinner of Barbate tuna, oxtail, and milhojas (a Spanish dessert made of puff pastry). Amanda says seeing the "big reveal" of the romantic wedding space was another highlight for her. "When we arrived at the castle, we saw that everything we had spent a year planning was perfect," she says. "It was like a dream come true—the castle, the flowers, the atmosphere...everything was magic!"
A musical highlight came at the beginning of dinner: "We entered in the dark to the song 'Volare,' " says the bride. "Everybody stood up and started to dance so enthusiastically. I still can remember the adrenaline of that moment." Afterward Amanda and Alessandro danced to Bob Dylan's "Forever Young" for their first dance.
The night ended on a sweet note, with a flower-covered cake by Sugar's Nook!
Ceremony Venue: Mezquita-Cathedral de Córdoba
Reception Venue: Castillo de Almodóvar
Wedding Planner: Petite Mafalda
Jewelry: Roberto Zenara
Shoes: Saint Laurent
Hair: Maqueda Peluqueros
Makeup: Menchu Benítez
Floral Design: El Puentecillo Córdoba
Catering: Delfin Delicatessen
Cake: Sugar's Nook
Rentals: Chill Out Decoración Málaga
Beauty Corner: Oui Novias
Neon Lights: Lights & Wires
Chandeliers: Asmakcor SL
Photo Booth: Risbox
Photography: Sara Lobla