A real treat for you today, a beautiful couple, a year of planning, a rain shower (which is actually very lucky) and one incredible sunset, get ready to indulge in a beautiful real wedding at Villa Fondi & Hotel Ambasciatori in Sorrento on the Amalfi Coast….
Why did you choose to get married in Sorrento?
We got engaged in Venice 3 years ago and we’ve always loved Italian culture (and food!!) so when we went to Sorrento for a weeks holiday in 2018, it was natural that we were going to consider it as a wedding venue. How can you not fall in love with the relaxing vibe and stunning views over the Bay of Naples?! We just wanted to share it with all of our closest family and friends!!
We actually thought it might be too much to ask everyone to travel all the way to Italy so we initially returned home with the plan of creating an Italian themed wedding in the UK but this is harder than it sounds and 3 months later, after much thought and lots of discussions with family and friends, we decided to just have the wedding in Italy and truly have an Italian wedding!
How long in advance did you book your wedding?
Just over 12 months in advance!
How many guests did you invite to your wedding and how many accepted and attended?
We invited about 70 and 56 attended – we were so lucky to have so many of our closest friends and family travel with us!
We’re completely in love with your dress, who’s the deisgner and how long did it take to find?
The dress was Pronovias and actually didn’t take too long to find. I knew I didn’t want a traditional wedding dress style and with the wedding and reception being outdoors and in the sun, I knew a heavy satin dress wasn’t going to be right (much to my Mum’s dismay!) so it was quite easy to walk into a bridal store and rule out halve of the shop!
I must have tried on about 15 dresses over the course of 2 months before finally saying ‘yes to the dress’!
And your accessories?
My shoes were shipped from Australia from a company called Forever Soles who specialise in beach weddings. I wanted boho themed flats and it proved almost impossible to find so I resorted to searching through Pinterest and paying to have them shipped from the other side of the world. They were worth every penny and fitted with the theme, and dress, so perfectly!
My bridesmaids all wrote on the soles on the morning of the wedding in blue pen so I have lovely messages on them which I used as my something blue. I went really minimal with accessories as I wanted the dress to be the focal point so I just wore a bangle which I borrowed from my Maid of Honour (this doubled up as my something borrowed) and a watch (which was my wedding present from Mike).
Can you tell us about Mike’s very dapper suit?
Mike purchased his suit and wore the same as the groomsmen and the father of the groom. They decided on a more traditional full 3 piece suit with ties.
We love the different styles of bridesmaids dresses, please tell us how you found them.
I was desperate for the bridesmaid to be in olive green to fit with the Italian theme but after searching high and low (and even looking to have them all custom made) I gave up and broadened my search. I wanted something that would suit all my bridesmaids and with them ranging in age and body shape, I knew it was going to be challenging! I stumbled across multi-way dresses from Lipsy whilst out shopping with one of my bridesmaids and although it wasn’t a colour I would necessarily have chosen beforehand, it was so flattering in both shape and colour and meant everyone could wear it the way they felt comfortable.
Tell us about your bridal bouquet.
I chose a waterfall style to make sure the bouquet looked relaxed and they were predominantly white and green (the wedding decor colours) but with hints of blush pink/nude which was the colour underneath my sheer skirt on my wedding dress.
Did you have a wedding theme?
We chose to stick with everything being white and green so it felt very natural, to really embrace the Italian theme and to ensure that we didn’t take away from the amazing view at our wedding reception. We had brown/rustic table decorations to fit in with the wooden bar at the reception and used white balloons to surround the area which looked great on all the sunset pictures!
Can you tell us about the reception and the finer details, like the menu, the cake and the favours?
The wedding cake was a traditional Italian tiered cake and was absolutely huge!! It was far bigger than we expected and really stole the show as it was carried in! Not only that, it was absolutely delicious, so light with hints of lemon which was perfect after a four course dinner!
We flew out to choose our wedding menu in the September before our wedding and we couldn’t have been happier with it! The portion sizes for each course were huge and all of our guests commented on how much food they had and how delicious it was! We were really keen to avoid small portions of generic food that you sometimes get at events with large numbers being catered for. We chose melon and parma ham for our starter to offer something light and refreshing in the heat, followed by asparagus filled pasta with a basil sauce, a main course of steak with pizziola sauce, garlic mushrooms and potato croquettes (these went down a treat!) and then a dessert of strawberry cheesecake! We honestly couldn’t fault any of it! Aside from the usual wine with dinner, we also chose to put on shots of lemoncello after dinner to have as a toast during wedding speeches and then Aperol Spritz and Espresso Martini cocktails for everybody as we danced the night away!
Due to trying to restrict the amount we carried out to Italy with us, we used name places as favours and had personalised wooden wine charms for everyone. We went slightly ‘out there’ for our table settings and decided to mix the tables so our guests sat with people who they didn’t know. This worked so well and made us so happy, it was great to see everyone mixing and socialising all night with people they’d never met before. This really was a benefit to having the wedding abroad as so many people were with us in Sorrento for several days or a week so they had chance to really get to know each other!
We had a DJ after the dinner and had sparklers distributed to all the guests to start the night of dancing which made for a really special moment!
How did you find the planning experience from booking to the big day?
The planning experience was so much easier than I could have expected. Lisa made the process so simple and kept us so on track, telling us when we had to make certain decisions and what our options were. I just don’t think we could have pulled off a wedding in Sorrento without the help of an expert like Lisa. It was also so useful to have Matt available to help walk us through all of the legal side of marrying abroad too, I wouldn’t have had a clue where to start!
What’s your best memory from the day?
Sitting at the top table looking out over the Bay with my new husband, listening to a playlist we spent hours creating, watching the most perfect sunset and seeing all of our fiends and family enjoying themselves. We had a moment were we both just looked each other and smiled at how perfect the moment was!
What do you think makes a wedding abroad stand out from a wedding in the UK?
It’s not just a day, it becomes a week with your closest friends and family and you get to spend so much more time with everyone. If we’d married at home we’d have been so frantic just trying to spend time with everyone on the day itself. Instead, I didn’t have to worry about this as I’d spent several days ahead of the wedding with everyone and we’d created so many more special meaningful memories. You spend so long thinking of and planning your special day that I can’t imagine it only lasting a few hours!
What advice would you give to future brides and grooms who are getting married abroad?
Do it!! Quite simply, I couldn’t recommend it enough – go and marry your best friend in the sun, surrounded by your family and friends, you will have the BEST time!!