Luke and I got married on the 28th June, 2012 in Taormina in Sicily and it was truly one of the best days of my life. I always dreamt of getting married in Taormina as I’ve been going there with my family since I was a little girl, not to mention the fact I’ve holidayed there a few times with Luke over the years so it holds a special place in my heart.
We invited 80 of our close family and friends and everyone flew out a few days beforehand for pre-wedding festivities. This gave everyone the opportunity to get to know one another plus it meant that we had the chance to spend time with people before our wedding day.
The highlight of the day was definitely exchanging vows with Luke in front of our family and friends. It’s a lifelong promise and saying it in front of your loved ones is just a really special moment.
Planning a wedding (especially one in another country!) had its ups and downs and I definitely picked up a lesson or two along the way. Here are a few tips I’ve passed on to friends who are walking down the aisle plus some of my favourite snaps from my wedding album…
We wanted quite a traditional wedding so we decided to get married in a church. There are so many beautiful churches in Taormina, and we looked at all the ones in town and decided on San Giuseppe church. It was just gorgeous plus it was the place where my brother and his wife got married so we wanted to keep up the tradition. During the ceremony we had a harp playing in the church and a singer called Alfio who sang Ave Maria. He was amazing and really added to the atmosphere.
The Grand Hotel Timeo is one of my favourite hotels in the world. It’s got a beautiful outdoor area (which also looks out onto a volcano!) and it provided the perfect picturesque location for our reception.
We made up our own dinner menu by mixing and matching different things from the restaurant menu and also going with local Italian wines. We wanted it to be a really traditional Italian menu.
My dress and shoes
I knew I wanted something really simple and classic that would last the test of time. I didn’t really know whether I was going to buy something or get it made but I was over in New York and I started shopping with my mum and dad and I went into Vera Wang just for the whole experience of trying on a dress. I knew it was going to be very hot when we were getting married so I wanted something really light so I tried on a slinky silk and tulle dress which I loved. I kept on shopping for five more days but ended up going with the first dress I tried on. Funny how that happens!
I was searching high and low for shoes until I saw a pair of Alexander McQueen heels on Net-a-Porter. My dress was simple so I wanted a bit of sparkle on my shoes and the nude bejewelled McQueen heels were perfect.
I kept it simple and opted for a white colour palette and all my favourite flowers. We had a mixture of orchids, white roses, peonies and calla lilies for my bouquet, the bridesmaid’s bouquets and the centrepieces at the reception.
My top wedding tips
Have visual references for everything (especially for a destination wedding)
I had a wedding planner in Italy who was amazing at organising everything but there was a language barrier so I tried to make everything really simple to execute by having visual references.
For example I figured out what flowers I wanted on the table setting so I had them made up by a local florist and did a mock-up of how I wanted them arranged on the table runner for the reception, took a photo and just had it copied. Same with my bouquet and the bridesmaid’s bouquets.
I had a Kikki-K wedding book that I stuck in every picture that I liked so it was great because my wedding planner could see exactly what I wanted.
Pick a spot that’s used to hosting weddings
Getting married overseas has its logistical difficulties so we wanted to keep it quite simple. Getting married in a church and having a reception at a hotel just eliminated having to organise things like caterers and all those logistical details. Unless you’re going there on multiple trips the easiest thing to do is get married in a venue that has done many weddings before.
Don’t sweat the small stuff
I told myself that people have different aesthetics so if I saw something on the day that wasn’t quite what I’d asked for, to not worry about it. For example my wedding planner and I had slightly different interpretations of the “smallest wedding cake possible”! There’s no point stressing out about it; you just gotta go with it.
Make sure your bridesmaids are comfortable
I had some bridesmaids who wanted to wear towering high heels and others that can’t even walk in high heels so I had them all in the same peep toe heels for the photos but I gave them some fold-up nude ballet flats that they could choose to change into after walking down the aisle. If your bridesmaids are comfortable then they’re going to have a really great time.
Have a list of photos you want taken
Make a checklist of all the photos you want on the day and meet up with your photographer beforehand to talk through it. They don’t necessarily know what particular pics you want so talking through the photos you need is a good way to ensure you’re not missing anything when you get your albums back.
Find the comfiest wedding shoes possible
You’ll be in your shoes the entire day so make sure you go for something that’s comfy and make sure you’ve worn them in beforehand. There’s nothing worse than hobbling around in pain on your wedding day when you’re supposed to be mingling, dancing and having fun.
Get a wedding video if you can
I nearly didn’t get a wedding video and I’m so glad I did because I probably look at it more than my album of photos. We have an edited video of about 15 minutes and it was really nice to see what people were doing on the day. If the budget allows, definitely try and get some video on your day to remember it all. For me it’s even more special than my photos.
Have a special outfit for when you’re getting ready
I wish someone had told me this! I regret not having something nice to wear when I was getting my hair and makeup done. I look back on the photos and think why am I not wearing a nice gown or a dress? I was literally in an American Apparel shorts and singlet and thongs because that’s what I would normally wear getting ready for the races or something!
Take a moment with your partner
After the ceremony we took a moment just to take in the day. It’s such a big milestone in your life so it’s important to have some time together because the day does go so quickly.
Photography: Morlotti Studio