Yes, I do mean 2019. I was amazed to discover from Ash Shane-Hubbard of Barefoot Luxury, admittedly a wedding planning company of unparalleled standards, experience and expertise, that they’re fully booked for this year.
There’s always been something deeply romantic about Mallorca. Today, the island is steadily becoming a more and more upmarket destination and the demand for truly unforgettable weddings is growing.
Like so many of its haute bohème clientele, I first discovered Barefoot Luxury through its beautiful, evocative website, a work of art in itself. Recently, founder Ash Shane-Hubbard, described by British Vogue as ‘One of the world’s most creative and innovative wedding designers’, gave up his time to talk to me about planning a wedding in Mallorca.
Ash is clearly someone who adores his work and is smitten by Mallorca.
I studied fashion at Central St. Martins in London in the 1980s. After I graduated, I worked for Vivienne Westwood and then moved to Paris to work for Karl Lagerfeld at Chanel. Over the years, working at Chanel’s offices in London and the South of France, I became more and more involved with the design and decoration of the boutiques, working with a really fabulous interior designer.
Why did you come to the Balearic islands?
I wanted a more relaxed, slower pace of life – fashion is very high pressure – but I also wanted to carry on doing something creative. A special friend asked me to design a wedding in Ibiza for them, so you could say weddings found me. I immediately loved the combination of hospitality, fashion and interior design. It was a natural fit with the knowledge and experience I’ve picked up along the way.
And why Mallorca specifically?
Actually, Barefoot Luxury started in Ibiza and that island was fundamental in developing the brand. There’s that whole kind of funky bohemian vibe and true hippy authenticity there. It was so inspiring, but we just couldn’t do what we wanted to take Barefoot Luxury to the next level. Mallorca has incredible venues, professional suppliers, international clients and, of course, it has such a strong energy. Things happen here that you simply don’t expect. You make totally unexpected connections.
The kind of people we plan wedding experiences for want something that’s not religious and more of a celebration. They’ll often want a celebrant and write their vows. People feel freer here, more at one with nature. There’s that whole thing of the bride slipping off her Manolo Blahniks, walking along the beach and laughing as her wedding dress gets wet. The groom wearing shorts. They’re also delighted not to be in northern Europe, in a marquee while it pours with rain.
For me, it’s such a joy to have people come here for the first time and be blown away by how beautiful Mallorca is. They simply don’t realise. I was driving one couple around the island looking at locations – I think they’d come from Singapore – and we turned onto the road from Valldemossa. You know?
I do. The view down towards the sea is one of my favourites. There’s that little tower on a hill. It’s like going back in time. Apparently, it was actually a sacred place
Right. As we drove down that road, this couple went very quiet. They couldn’t believe the landscape. After quite a long time, the woman said, ‘We have to get married here’ and that was that.
I can believe that. What does Barefoot Luxury offer?
We specialise in a highly professional service and incredible attention to detail, especially design and decoration. The most important thing for me is that we’re providing a beautiful, sophisticated experience. We work really hard to source exactly the most appropriate, gorgeous materials – for example, exquisite, hand-embroidered napkins. To be honest, I’d say that we’re striving to do something in Mallorca that really hasn’t been done before. We’re pushing the boundaries.
Who are your clientele? You describe them as haute bohème.
The people who gravitate to us have already been attracted by the brand.
Thank you. So, they’re already inspired by the Barefoot Luxury concept. By haute bohème, I mean people who combine a certain unconventional style – and lifestyle – with a discerning taste for luxury. They can afford precisely the kind of unforgettable wedding experience they choose. We can provide it.
We also understand that this is, or should be, a once in a lifetime experience for our clientele. It can also be hugely expensive. The whole thing has to be absolutely magical for everyone involved
Could you tell me more about the vision for Barefoot Luxury?
It’s born out of my personality, I’d say. I’m obsessed with attention to detail and everything being to the highest possible standard. But I’m also half-Sicilian – passionate and hot-blooded – and very Mediterranean at heart. This allows me to appreciate what people adore about Mallorca while being able to tap into its essence. I love antique and contemporary Mediterranean design and we have fun mixing them up together. In a chic way.
Our select partners are just incredible. They’re all in love with the idea of creating unforgettable experiences. For example. we’re proud to work with the amazing Michelin-starred Mallorquin chef Andreu Genestra. He has Restaurante Andreu Genestra and Bistro Senzill in Capdepera and is celebrated for his ground to table philosophy. When he caters for us, Andreu does all the cooking himself. He meets the guests and tells them the story of the menu he’s created, which often uses traditional Mallorquin dishes and ingredients in a wonderfully contemporary style. His presentation is so distinctive. For instance, he’ll serve canapes on olive wood or even traditional Mallorquin roof tiles.
Another great example is a DJ we use. We discovered him at Beso Beach in Formentera. He knows everything about Balearic music there is to know.
It does sound crazy, I know, but it is incredible how many people are getting married in Mallorca. Everything’s been fully booked for ages. Son Marroig just outside Deia, which is very popular, is about to announce the dates it’s offering for 2019 any day now. And they’ll be snapped up right away.
From February to March, we’ll be focused on couples coming to the island planning a 2019 wedding. Weddings start again in May so it’s not possible to get into the venues. The next window to look at venues for 2019 is September to the end of October before they close for the winter. So, if you want us to plan exactly the wedding experience you dream of, and you’d like us to help you realise your dream, you need to talk to us now.
Thanks very much, Ash.
If you’re planning a wedding in Mallorca in 2019, start by visiting the beautiful Barefoot Luxury website.