Think, for a moment, about Ibiza. Are you imagining the place Timeout magazine described as ‘arguably the clubbing capital of the universe’, a non-stop party frequented by the 18-24 contingent? This reputation represents only the shortest chapter in the history of this stunningly beautiful Mediterranean island off the eastern coast of Spain.
To put Ibiza in a geographical context, it is ten times the size of Manhattan island, with only one-tenth of the population. It is one and a half times the size of the Isle of Wight, with 10,000 fewer inhabitants. This is not simply clubland; it’s a spacious and beautiful island with so much to discover…
An intricate heritage combining western and Arab histories forms the heart and soul of Ibiza. The island is historically lush, and as a sizable island situated between the European and African continents, Ibiza had a tumultuous past of conflict between cultures, religions, and polarising politics. But by the 20th Century Ibiza was securely Spanish territory and, even with the last years of Franco’s regime playing in the background, the 1960s and ‘70s saw a powerful counterculture mobilise on the island.
Ibiza was the Bohemia of the 20th century – artists, musicians, hippies, and free spirits gravitated toward this beautiful and wild place, creating a habitat that thrived on love, “live and let live”, and – of course – music. That lifestyle lives on in Ibiza today; the people are laid back and friendly, there is a focus on wellness – sun worshipers can be found doing elegant yoga on the beach, every morning – and the nightlife is unrivalled in its hip atmosphere.
It is also a place where increasing numbers of the rich and famous are buying second homes for the peace and privacy of an idyllic island in the Med, and where more and more holidaymakers are choosing to relax at beachside yoga retreats. The two main towns on the island, Ibiza Town and San Antonio are still clubbing hotspots with a thriving tourist industry, but the rest of the island is comparatively untouched and unspoilt.
It was to this little pocket of paradise that I was invited earlier this year, to spend almost a week as the guest of wedding planner Alexandra Sixt from Ma Cherie Weddings Ibiza, a wedding planning company permanently based on the island. In no time at all, I completely fell in love with the island and its inhabitants. If you are even thinking of planning a wedding abroad, read on to find out why you can’t beat Ibiza for weather, atmosphere, and hospitality.
I arrived in Ibiza late on a Sunday evening and was met by a limo to transport me to my home for the next four days, Can Lluc Boutique Hotel and Villas, an utterly gorgeous converted farm building in a secluded rural spot.
The old stone walls and authentic wooden beams house a stylish and sympathetic refurbishment carried out by Can Lluc’s loving owners, husband and wife team Lucas and Tina. It was 10 pm by the time I arrived at the hotel – receiving the sort of welcome one could expect from the dearest old friends, rather than people with whom I had only ever corresponded via email – and was shown to my room.
My accommodation was a superior double room on the ground floor of its own separate building, with whitewashed stone walls and bare wood ceilings, tiled floor and minimalist but rustic wooden furniture. The adjoining en-suite was more like a small spa than a bathroom and featured a Jacuzzi big enough for two.
On a table in the room was a welcome platter of Spanish food – bread, meat, wine, and fruit – so generous that the following morning I was quizzed at breakfast about why I wasn’t hungry! Glad of sleep, I retired for the night into my queen sized bed and slept like a baby in the peace of the Ibiza countryside.
Awaking the following morning, not so used to starting my Mondays in such a tranquil state, I finally realised what made my superior room quite so superior. Double wooden doors opposite my bed opened out onto a small terrace and a panoramic view of miles of sun-soaked farmland. I was in photographer’s paradise, and I started to see in my mind’s eye the beautiful weddings that could be held here.
The whole resort has the feel of a large family ranch; all rooms are different and characterful, the poolside area is a luxury but intimate in scale – there are no regimented rows of identical sun loungers, each placed 2 inches away from its neighbour. Can Lluc has always been a family farm, handed to the current owner by his grandfather, and none of the personality or quiet privacy has been lost from what is, at heart, a home.
It would have been easy to spend my entire four days simply basking in the warmth and comfort offered by Can Lluc and its relaxation and fitness areas, but the island was calling to me to be explored. As a guest of Alexandra and Marcella of Ma Cherie I was given a comprehensive itinerary of each day’s plans, but after day one I put it away in favour of letting each new thing be a pleasant surprise. I just wanted to go with whatever was passed my way, and let the ambience of the island wash over me – maybe I was a little inspired by Ibiza’s 1960s spirit.
This kind of environment is my spiritual home; the music, the people, and the atmosphere all took me back to being 20 years old. I felt nostalgic, but ultimately carefree, like I was revisiting somewhere I’d been before. Over the four days I spent on the island, I visited the most beautiful spots and met the best people, all while dining and luxuriating in style. We know that planning a wedding abroad has its tricky moments, but it’s worth it to spend the happiest day of your life in an exotic location, where the breathtaking scenery makes the whole experience for you, and your guests, utterly unforgettable. Below is 5 Star Wedding Directory’s definitive guide to coordinating the most important details of your big day in Ibiza, from the best wedding venues to the places and pastimes that will enchant your whole wedding party.
5 Star Wedding Planners & Suppliers
Ma Cherie Weddings Ibiza: Wedding Planners
Destination weddings can make for the trip of a lifetime – wedding day and honeymoon rolled into one, with glorious weather all but guaranteed, and a shot of exotic culture to make your day unforgettable. Ibiza is growing in popularity every year for destination weddings, desirable for its beautiful weather and luscious landscape, which combines wild and beautiful countryside with white sandy beaches in one sweeping vista. The growing demand for weddings in Ibiza led naturally to the formation of the brilliant international wedding planning business, Ma Cherie. With an office in the UK, and two island-based wedding professionals – Alexandra and Marcella – Ma Cherie provides seamless, flawless service to make planning a wedding abroad that little bit simpler.
Alexandra Sixt, lead wedding expert of Ma Cherie Wedding, has fast become one of my favourite expert contacts in the wedding industry. Alexandra was my golden ticket when I visited the island earlier this year – she combines her innate local knowledge with a titanic sized address book, rammed to the rafters with Ibiza’s best suppliers, to orchestrate the kind of money-can’t-buy moments usually reserved for scenes in the movies. On my first night in Ibiza, arriving at 10 pm and feeling frazzled and tired from a long day, I was able to just melt, ecstatically, into the leather seats of one of VIIP Ibiza’s limousines, dispatched by Alexandra to sweep me off my feet and into my hotel.
Then, the next day, not only did I enjoy the delicate and delicious local wine, Ibizkus, but I was also treated to a tour of the factory – with sampling privileges, of course. A while later, I was sitting at a private table for two enjoying the gorgeous food, prepared by Pura Vida Catering, which was pleasant enough in itself but Alexandra’s twist was that this private table was actually on top of a mountain overlooking the whole island. Even though I’m already married, I couldn’t help thinking it would be the most romantic proposal spot, ever. Experiencing Ibiza with Ma Cherie is like being shown the ropes by Aladdin’s genie, I couldn’t have hoped for a better host for my time in Ibiza – a highly recommended resource.
Can Lluc Resort
- For a stunning destination wedding with a family home feel, Can Lluc – with its farmland surroundings, sprawling space, and first-class hospitality – has so much to offer.
I had a chance to see the recent restorations and expansions Can Lluc’s husband and wife owners, Lucas and Tina, have made to accommodate the growing demand for weddings in Ibiza.
The venue is available for parties from 40 to 140 people, seated, or up to 150 standing. Ceremonies can be held on site, and the team at the resort are happy to aid in obtaining a registrar. There is also a beautiful Catholic church, in the classic white Spanish style, in the nearby Parish of San Rafael. Indoor events are possible but, with Ibiza’s natural beauty and reliably gorgeous weather, the real magic happens when the tables are laid, the candles are lit, and the vases are bursting with fresh flowers in the unspoilt rural paradise of the resort’s expansive grounds.
You can read more about Can Lluc Boutique Hotel and Villas here’.
Can Lluc, Camí des Tercet – 07816 Sant Rafel
VIIP Ibiza: Event Planner & Supplier
VIIP – which stands for Very Important Ibiza People – is where directory meets event planner. On their site, they promise “just one call, and we set up an unforgettable weekend for you”. Perfect for those visiting Ibiza for the first time, perhaps to scope out venues or suppliers, VIIP offers an all-round concierge service for whatever you should need on the island. Their key feature for wedding planners may well be their amazing range of luxury cars and chauffeur service. We enjoyed the services of a VIIP chauffeur during our Ibiza stay, and absolutely loved the comfort and incomparable chic of being met at the airport by a limo – there really is no other way to travel.
5 Star Wedding Directory’s Ibiza Hot Picks: Venues & Hotels
Nassau Beach Club
If you want a beach location to die for and a proper party vibe for your reception, then the live music, plush sun loungers (which come in single and double) and gourmet food of Nassau Beach Club should appeal to you. Nassau is a lifestyle as much as it is a venue; there’s an onsite boutique, regular events, and a culture of chic luxury pervading every aspect of this sprawling, sun-soaked spot. If not for a reception itself, this is the perfect place to recommend to any wedding guests looking for a night of great music and cocktails during their stay.
Nassau Beach Club, Carretera de la Platja d’En Bossa, 07817, Sant Josep de Sa Talaia
Ushuaia is the home of the seven deadly sins. No pleasure is too much in this hedonistic paradise for those who just need to escape and unwind. The modus operandi at Ushuaia is to indulge the most natural impulses, which all guests are reminded of by the huge flowers and vines climbing the exterior walls of the hotel, all the way up the tower which houses 181 luxury suites.
The decor in Ushuaia is whacky (think huge plastic ants on the ceiling – not a sight you’d usually be thrilled to see in a hotel) but it works; all the quirky elements are perfectly positioned in lots of airy open space and chic white walls. For hot evenings, there is a stunning, space-age “Up Sky” lounge on the roof, where DJs reside in curvaceous aluminium booths, and aeroplane propellers fan guests waiting at the bar. The influence of the 1960s is obvious in the interior design and ethos of Ushuaia, this dreamlike utopia has to be seen to be believed.
Playa d’En Bossa 10, 07817 Sant Jordi de Ses Salines, Ibiza
Hard Rock Hotel
Party like a superstar at Ibiza’s super cool Hard Rock Hotel, which is packed with all the awesome interactive features you’d expect from the legendary chain. Want a Fender delivered to your room? Need an intensive ‘Rhythm and Motion’ massage, where the therapist choreographs the pressure and motion in tune to a specially designed soundtrack? No problem at Hard Rock Hotel.
The hotel offers wedding packages, and there could be no cooler venue for a music lover’s nuptials than this immersive, vibrant venue in the clubbing capital of the world. The hotel’s crowning glory is Ibiza’s highest rooftop terrace, with views covering the gorgeous island from the turquoise Mediterranean to the buzzing Ibiza Town.
Carretera Playa D’en Bossa S/N, 07817 Sant Jordi De Ses Salines, Ibiza
Pura Vida offers you an adorable beachside venue for your wedding. This charming little gem directly on a beautiful beach, making it a dreamy wedding venue. At Pura Vida they have in-house wedding planning and catering teams to deliver a perfect and personal wedding or special event.
Whether you need invitations, help with accommodation, table decorations, flowers, hair and makeup, DJs, limousines, boats, pre-wedding or post-wedding parties – Pura Vida is equipped to make your wedding dreams a reality. True wedding professionals dedicated to designing an unforgettable day.
For more on Pure Vida, or to log a query about planning a Pure Vida wedding, visit the website.
Winning and Dining in Ibiza
A cool and stylish bistro bar in Ibiza town, Sa Brisa (meaning ‘breeze’) has taken tapas to a new level, by offering sweet as well as savoury versions of Spain’s signature cuisine. The restaurant is run by a Catalan couple, Esther and Pere, who is positively Mediterranean about food and hospitality. Lovely interiors and sumptuous food make this a must-visit spot for any island visitors.
Sa Brisa Gastro Bar, Passeig de Vara de Rey, 15, 07800 Ibiza.
Everywhere you go in Ibiza, you will notice one name appearing on bar menus time and time again; Ibizkus wine. Made from grapes sourced locally (Ibiza is ideal grape growing terrain and the beautiful vineyards sprawl across much of the island), Ibizkus is light and refreshing wine that goes well with the smoky flavours of the Ibizan cuisine.
While on the island we had the chance to visit the Ibizkus factory to try samples of the different wines available and learn about the burgeoning wine industry on Ibiza. Ibizkus is an up and coming brand becoming ever more popular, so should you discover a new favourite tipple you can’t live without while visiting, the good news is they ship across much of Europe.
Things you must do in Ibiza
Find Ibiza’s historic heart, in Dalt Vila
In the narrow, cobbled streets of Dalt Vila, hints at the centuries of unrest on the island can be found everywhere. Situated at a dizzying altitude on the island (Dalt Vila means ‘high town’) old battlements still stand, keeping watch over the Mediterranean sea, protecting islanders from the long since gone threat of frequent invasions. In the architecture of the narrow alleyways and sun trap piazzas, North African and western influences rest in peace side by side, like thank you notes from all the different cultures Ibiza has played host to over the years.
Put on a pair of decent walking shoes, explore the old streets and climb up the hillsides of this UNESCO World Heritage Site, then reward yourself with a beer and tapas at one of many street-side bars. Not to be missed for first-time visitors to Ibiza.
Let loose with yoga on the beach
There is no better way to feel good about yourself and your body instantly, than yoga. After even a short class you stand straighter, walk taller, and feel the firmness at your core – imagine that great feeling added to by sand underfoot and sun overhead, on one of Ibiza’s glorious beaches. Whether you’re a seasoned yoga pro or a beginner, be sure to find a class during your island stay to work out any knots in your back you may have acquired while dancing like a disco diva the night before.
Health and wellness is part of the lifestyle in Ibiza, and yoga – along with meditation – is a key part of the holistic approach to life that the laid-back islanders are known for. Whether you fancy a full-on yoga and meditation retreat break, or just a morning class, there’s plenty of schools to choose from. Try Soulshine Retreats, Ibiza Yoga or one of 5 Star Wedding’s favourite Ibiza spots, Pure Vida.
Unwind with a Massage
That one’s a no-brainer for any holiday really… Pure Vida has some of the best massage therapists available at their resort, who come highly recommended by 5 Star Wedding Directory. Whether you’re in Ibiza for a wedding, honeymoon, or holiday, be sure to set aside some time to have a message, especially if you’re also there to do yoga – although if you’re there to experience the club scene you will probably find you have a few knots in your back of a morning as well… You’ll find you feel as though you’re walking on air by the time you fly home.
Thanks again to Ma Cherie, for giving us an unforgettable Ibiza experience.
Do you know of any Ibiza hidden gems we’ve missed from our hot list? Let us know in the comments!