As of Friday evening, the heiress to the Zara empire and rider Sergio Álvarez have something more in common than just horse-jumping competitions. Marta Ortega and her fiancé were wed at one of her father's Galician estates, Pazo do Drozo, in a relatively low-key ceremony with 200 guests that included very few family members, fewer representatives of the Inditex business empire, and lots of friends of the bride and groom. Among these, the only celebrities were Athina Onassis, herself heiress to a global fortune, and the Basque soprano Ainhoa Arteta, both of whose partners are also riders.
Amancio Ortega, the wealthiest man in Spain and the seventh wealthiest in the world according to Forbes magazine, declared himself "happy" and "not at all nervous" hours before the ceremony. It was a rare public statement by a man who has made discretion a way of life.
Marta, aged 27, is Ortega's youngest daughter; he has an older daughter and son from a previous marriage, but is estranged from that side of the family.
Around 7pm, traffic officers had to be called in to direct the flow of cars heading toward the estate - some of which belonged to guests and others to onlookers attracted by the event. Three women from Santiago de Compostela, who declined to give their names, admitted they had been there since 5pm because of "the whole glamour thing," while another group claimed to be standing around because they had "a second residence around here." Next to them, a growing number of reporters wielding cameras and microphones braved the cold to catch the couple as they entered the premises.
Sergio Álvarez crossed the threshold and the swarm of camera flashes at 7.50pm, and 20 minutes later, the car with a smiling Amancio and Marta Ortega inside followed. The bride was wearing a dress made at Zara (but not part of the retail collection), while the groom wore a suit from Massimo Dutti, another one of the Inditex clothing brands. The bride's bouquet was made by the French florist Thierry Boutemy, known for his work with Hollywood celebrities such as Sofia Coppola, whose wedding bouquet he also designed.
The traditional ceremony was held inside a small chapel that only had room for the closest relatives and friends, while the other guests had to follow it on screens outside. Afterwards, the soprano Ainhoa Arteta sang Charles Gounod's Ave Maria for the couple. The marquee was covered with an imitation stone wall, and connected to the chapel via an aisle flanked by pews imitating a church nave.
Following the religious ceremony, the guests retired to a 1,000-square-meter dining hall decorated with paintings by Fernando Sotomayor, known for his depictions of the Galician bourgeoisie and popular scenes from the early 20th century. The walls also featured photographs of the happy couple and a few of their equestrian trophies. The main dinner menu was thought up by Marcelo Tejedor, chef at the Michelin-starred Casa Marcelo restaurant in Santiago, while the hors-d'oeuvre and desserts were the work of Nacho Manzano, chef at Casa Marcial (two Michelin stars). The tablecloths were made of fine linen, but the cutlery was from Zara Home, yet another Inditex branch.
The honeymoon destination remained a mystery, but the couple was expected to travel in Mr Ortega's private jet.