A Garden Gathering at a Secret Spanish Estate
When you initially consider your long-way-off wedding day as a child, as every youngin does when they discover a crush beating within their chest like a dozen fevers gone bad, you think of it as the most isolated event in the history...
by Jake Kilroy

When you initially consider your long-way-off wedding day as a child, as every youngin does when they discover a crush beating within their chest like a dozen fevers gone bad, you think of it as the most isolated event in the history of mankind. You see the reception, filled with friends cheering and family awkwardly dancing, and it is perfect! The daydream is just that scene replayed over and over with a confetti-like frame boxing it in. But where will this daydream come to life?!



A Secret Spot in the Hills of Spain

When photographer Claire Eliza shared this fairtytale spot in Spain, we fell in love with this it's splendid secret camped out vibe in Europe, away from everything, complete with anything you need. It’s just a five-minute cruise down a country road from the Spanish village of Benahavís, nestled in the mountainous Andalusia region. 

The gorgeous drive takes you to the hidden paradise that is the idyllic Casa del Rio. Beaming with quiet, appreciative life at the bottom of a narrow valley, the getaway is a secluded gem. It’s a place where even the slow, thoughtful chirps of the birds and the gentle winding breeze make noticeable impacts of sound.



Inside Tip

"Summer produce in the south lends to many peach salads and plates of cheeses and vegetables, but do live like royalty, and let the staff on hand cook for you. Housekeeper, maid and cook service are around for anything you need, party, or casual meals." - Claire Eliza Photography

Civilization disappears as easy and entirely as stress dos at Casa del Rio. Even with a 360-degree evaluation, perched all lazy on the rooftop patio, all local evidence of mankind is not there. Only the tranquil tiny noises and visual majesty of the verdant hilly landscape remain.

With such an old-fashioned beating heart, the vibrant home-away-from-home pops and surprises with modern amenities, such as a state-of-the-art-kitchen, a stylish swimming pool, luxurious roof space. Meanwhile, in moorish fashion, upon an ornate table in the foyer of Casa del Rio, there sits a modestly framed photograph of Princess Diana, once a visitor to the tastefully furnished estate. 

A visit to Casa del Rio is a treat and staying there feels like a privilege. It makes for a royal experience that tampers with all five of your senses. And it’s the strange, wonderful balance of timeless and contemporary that makes this Spanish retreat the dream spot for a gathering—specifically, a very merry wedding.



Inside Scoop

"If you take a tour of the grounds, the owners may show you a little secret to the above property, a fabulous view of Casa del Rio from their tennis courts and gardens." - Claire Eliza Photography What possible scenery would be more sublime for a couple’s special day? Immaculate lawns surrounded by palms, grapevines, and rolling hills—it’s a wedding away from the world, like you always hoped.

And it was beyond the perfect spot for Damiana and Sinan.



It always helps to have a whiskey bar, naturally.

The day was perfect, by all accounts, thanks to both Mother Nature and the couple’s good taste. Jars holding white flowers, classic wayward traveler's luggage as decor, and a big, wild sky of smashed clouds offered a full spread of color for the afternoon. Acoustic guitars rattled off romantic musical notes that seemed to float through the foliage, filling the air with adoration, given a crowd of non-stop smiling ladies and gents.



Blues, whites, and pinks scattered about to create an atmosphere that only blended into the many greens of the land. Fine cuisine and lively drinks filled the cackling and giggling guests before they filled the dance floor with moves and nightfall with sleepy, satisfied sighs.

It was the wedding every kid dreams of having (or, in the very least, attending), out in the Spanish hills.



"Casa del Rio could likely escape the world's changes through the centuries. Thankfully, the amenities of the modern world are not so distant, the village being a hop away, and larger resort town Marbella just down the mountains on the coast."

"If you itch for a night out, a quiet stroll brings you to the steep mountain town, hosting some of the country's most beloved foodie destinations, serving fresh seafood from just a dozen or so kilometers away." - Claire Eliza Photography


Photography: Claire Eliza Photography | Venue: Casa del Rio 


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about the correspondent
Claire Eliza Tran
New York, New York, USA
American wedding & travel photographer shooting in Europe, Morocco and beyond. - Website

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