It was decidedly not love at first sight for Alicia Cesaro and Kyle Henry. The couple met in 2009 at the Madrid airport at the start of a semester abroad, when he looked lost and she asked if he needed directions. “He was actually rude to me!” says Alicia, a writer and editor. But they soon found themselves seated next to each other on the same bus to the same university. And Alicia ran into him again—at a bar that very night!—and despite their earlier interactions, they started talking and totally hit it off. And so began an eight-year romance, during which they hopscotched around the world after graduation, living in five countries (he manages large engineering projects) and getting engaged in Australia in 2015.
For their July 8, 2017, wedding, Alicia and Kyle went back to where it began: “Spain is where we fell in love, and it’s still our favorite country,” she says. They invited 100 guests for a five-day celebration at Hacienda de San Rafael, a restored 18th-century property outside Seville. “We wanted it to have a feeling of laid-back luxury that was all about love, adventure, and fun,” explains the bride. In fact, she paired the rustic property with a high fashion dress code—herself, stunning in two Marchesa gowns!—to create the perfect, yet unexpected combo.
Keep reading to see more of Kyle and Alicia's destination wedding weekend, as photographed by Volvoreta!
Forty of the couple's 100 guests stayed at the hacienda, a former olive estate-turned-boutique hotel that came highly recommended from friends. “We loved that our family and friends were together in one place,” says Alicia. "It eliminated a lot of the logistics, especially with a destination wedding in a foreign country.” They used the hacienda as the venue for their rehearsal dinner, cocktail hour, and reception.
The couple's wedding celebration was an all-out affair, beginning with the Andalusian tradition of a dancing horse and flamenco show before the rehearsal dinner.
The bride dressed in a statement red dress for the rehearsal dinner.
Because of all the natural elements, including bougainvillea, orange bushes, and olive branches, the couple didn't need to bring in much. “The outdoor beauty of the hacienda really took center stage,” says Alicia.
On the wedding day, the bride woke up early and spent the entire day relaxing, lying by the pool—and eventually slipping into her beautiful wedding dress!
Alicia selected Marchesa’s “insanely comfortable” Daffodil dress, which features floral 3-D appliqués and a dipping neckline. She first spotted the gown during the designer's presentation at Bridal Market. “The entire collection was so Spanish-inspired and ethereal looking to me, basically exactly what the venue called for,” she says. “I became infatuated with three specific dresses from that collection, and as luck would have it, I was interviewing Georgina Chapman and Keren Craig, the designers behind Marchesa, not long after so I got to see their designs up close in person." She, of course, fell even more in love—in fact, her dress was the first she ever tried on! “I can’t picture myself wearing anything else,” she says.
The bride paired her statement gown with satin Manolo Blahnik pumps (from TheRealReal.com!) and a cathedral veil belonging to her mother, who had worn it on her own wedding day 32 years ago. “I felt the special significance of wearing her veil and carrying their love and legacy with me down the aisle,” she explains.
Alicia worked closely with Fin Fellowes to design a wedding emblem for the invitation suite that reflected their unique setting. The result was a design featuring orange blossoms, olive branches, and bougainvillea along with their initials in the middle. The bride also personalized her L'Afshar clutch with their wedding date in Roman numerals.
The couple did a first look before the ceremony, at which point the groom showed off his Dunhill tuxedo, black velvet Del Toro loafers, and his new wedding-day gift: a vintage Rolex Submariner.
"My father was all smiles as we walked down the aisle," Alicia says. "We were both taking everything in and reveling in the moment."
Iglesia de San Juan Bautista, in Las Cabezas de San Juan, was their ceremony venue, chosen for its stand-alone beauty. “We didn’t want to distract from the classic beauty of such an old church,” says the bride. So they added large centerpieces of white flowers on the altar and along the aisle. The local church choir performed for the ceremony, all lined up in the back. “It felt like the entire village was there,” says Alicia. “They sang such deep, traditional, handsome Spanish music with tambourines and everything.”
The couple married in a traditional Spanish Catholic mass. Adds Alicia, “Our priest didn’t speak English so the entire mass was to be in Spanish, which we knew would add an interesting element for our guests—but when in Rome, right?” However, the coordinator failed to mention that the couple’s vows would also be in Spanish. “Instead of panicking, all we could do was smile as we both began, much to the surprise of all our guests," she says.
The priest also pronounced the groom’s name as "Kike" throughout the entire ceremony. “It was hilarious—so, technically, I’m married to Kike,” says Alicia, laughing.
Alicia and Kyle exited down a grand staircase as guests showered them with flower petals.
"This was a total movie-star moment," the bride says. "It was everyone else's favorite moment too!"
Following the ceremony, Alicia added yet another statement piece (an detachable cape!) to her dress—with the help of a few friends.
The reception took place back at the hacienda, which was an inspiration for the day (along with the rest of Southern Spain). During cocktail hour, guests roamed the beautiful grounds (talk about serious photo ops!) and sipped on Aperol Spritzes.
Following cocktail time, everyone moved over to a separate garden area for a seated dinner. The newlyweds, of course, made a grand entrance!
Hacienda de San Rafael is renowned for its food, says Alicia, so they knew they were in good hands. Guests noshed on Atlantic prawns with beetroot, eggplant, pine nuts, asparagus and rocket, and then enjoyed either an Iberico pork filet or sea bass, all locally sourced. “ I was a two-entree bride,” says the bride, laughing. “And the food was so important to us that we waited until we had eaten our entire meals before getting up to greet each table!”
Their night's DJ, Alexander Wijnen, played during cocktail hour and a Spanish jazz quartet continued into dinner. At 1 p.m. the day after, the DJ returned to play at the weekend's farewell pool party. “He was definitely the MVP of the wedding,” says the bride. "He was such a sport, even when champagne bottles were being popped all around his equipment.”
Spanish weddings are notoriously long—finishing around 6 a.m.—so around midnight the bride changed into her reception dress, also by Marchesa, which she and her mom found at Saks. “It felt so festive and fun for the reception.” She paired it with a Jennifer Behr headpiece and Spanish-made white Castaner espadrilles.
After their wedding wrapped in the wee hours of the morning, the newlyweds hosted a farewell pool party before heading off to Ibiza and Formentera for laid-back beach time. And ever true to their globe-trotting form, they then made a quick stop in Naples, Italy—“for some pizza loading”—and then sailed the Greek islands on a boat with Kyle’s family for two weeks. The next destination on their list? A beach somewhere for their official winter honeymoon!
Reception Venue: Hacienda de San Rafael
Bride’s Dress: Marchesa
Bride’s Shoes: Manolo Blahnik
Groom’s Attire: Dunhill
Groom’s Shoes: Del Toro
Makeup: Cassandra Garcia
Floral Design: Flowers Búcaro Sevilla
Invitations: Fin Fellowes
Guest Book: Assouline
Videography: Marco Vlaskamp of AerialDreamz