A Celtic wedding in Ronda

A Celtic wedding in Ronda

Recently Paul Whitelock wrote The Story of El Rincón. He described how he was asked to arrange a marriage in Ronda for the Welsh-born daughter of his then-girlfriend and her Scottish fiancé. Here’s the story of ‘A Celtic wedding in Ronda’.

Becky and Graham loved Ronda so much that they decided they would like to get married in the town and asked me if I could organise the wedding for them. “No problem!” I said. That was my first mistake!

It turned out to be easier said than done. There appeared to be no precedent for non-resident foreigners marrying in Ronda. So we had to make it up as we went along. However, after being sent from pillar to post and back again more than once we finally managed it.

We chose the venue, booked the restaurant, ordered the flowers, hired the chairs for the ceremony and booked the officials, arranged the horse-drawn carriage and sent off the invitations.

Armed with NIEs, and other paperwork, the bride and groom were married in a civil ceremony in the beautiful setting of the Palacio de Mondragón in May 2006. The ceremony took place in one of the Moorish patios with local guitarista Vicente playing classical Spanish guitar in the background, while Ronda town councillor Daniel Harillo officiated. The wedding party was mainly from Wales and Scotland. The groom and his ushers being Scots, they of course wore their traditional kilts.

That caused a mild stir before the wedding as they walked from the Parador, where they were all staying, over the Puente Nuevo to the wedding venue in the Casco Antiguo, the Old Part. A group of Japanese tourists apparently thought these young Scots were wearing traditional local costume and insisted on photos, oblivious to their mistake!

The bride and her father arrived in a beautiful horse-drawn carriage, but, wait a minute, where were the guests who had opted for a taxi ride to the ceremony? The taxista had mistakenly taken them to another wedding taking place in Ronda’s so-called “cathedral”, La Iglesia de Santa María La Mayor. A rapid phone call and that was quickly sorted out and we got our guests back!

I later learned that the other wedding was the marriage of the soon-to-be mayoress of Ronda, María de la Paz Fernández, and Maud’s very own lawyer, Sergio Páez! ¡Qué coincidencia!

The wedding “breakfast” was a sumptuous late lunch at the charming Restaurante Casa Santa Pola in Calle Cuesta de Santo Domingo with stunning views of El Tajo, Ronda’s famous gorge. Later that night we had impromptu drinks in the bar at the Parador. The bar itself shut rather too early for our liking, but we managed to conjure up more booze from somewhere!

Until recently a picture of the bride and kilted groom graced the photographer’s shop on Carrer Espinel (Calle La Bola) in Ronda.  Juan, the owner, told me that he kept it there because it drew inquisitive people into his shop and was good for business. I suppose after a dozen or so years the picture got a bit dusty and was taken down!

Sadly Mari-Paz’s marriage to Sergio did not last long, but Becky and Graham are still going strong, 14 years later. They live with their 10-year-old son Alasdair in Lancashire and have fond memories of their Celtic wedding day in Ronda.

Paul Whitelock

About Paul Whitelock

Paul Whitelock is a retired former languages teacher, school inspector and translator, who emigrated to the Serranía de Ronda in 2008, where he lives with his second wife, Rita, and his dog, Berti. He spends his time between Montejaque and Ronda doing DIY, gardening and writing.