Giulia and Michele hosted a romantic wedding in Sicily in this old fisherman village of Scopello, a timeless place that the couple discovered by chance during an holiday two years before the wedding. See the gorgeous photos of their special day taken by Serena Cevenini...
Wedding date: October 2nd, 2015
Wedding location: Scopello, Sicily, Italy
Number of guests: 55
Tell us about how you met and about the proposal…
We met in college. We were both enrolled in the marketing management program at a business school in Milan but in separate classes. The key to our destiny was the day I lost my early morning train and I was forced to join classes with Giulia in place of mine. That was the first time I bumped into her and the point in time when everything began.
Where was the location of your wedding ceremony and reception?
A couple of years ago we came over to Sicily for a short holiday. By chance we passed by the small town of Scopello where the wonders of an old fishermen harbour unravelled to us. It was the first time we saw the “Tonnara” (literally the “place where you fish tuna”). Once we stepped into the old fishermen village we were astonished. It was a timeless place - old boats on the water's edge, rusted anchors, a 500 year old mansion facing pristine turquoise waters - all in Sicily, the most authentic and vibrant part of Southernmost Italy narrated in the best Tornatore’s movies. The land of vivid colors, intense perfumes, passion and flavorful food. While we were walking trough the old plaza of the Tonnara, with no hesitations, we told each other that, if ever we got married, that would be our place.
The intimate and remote location, away from the hassle of the city, appeared to be perfect for our idea of a wedding: a small reception, with the fondest friends and relatives, only few of us in the stunning scenario of the gulf of Scopello. When it came the day of the proposal, we said unanimously "let's do it, let the journey to Sicily begin".
Where did the majority of your guests stay?
Most of the guests were accommodated in the nearby farmhouses and bed and breakfasts. Scopello is a small village and all the accommodation was just a sone's throw away from the old town square, a spectacular ancient plaza surrounded by traditional cafeterias and pastry shop. In the mornings before the wedding, our guests would meet there for breakfast. This was an amazing piece of our destination wedding; people felt like they were living together in a small village for a couple of days and for most of them, it was the first occasion to meet again after some years. A small group of guests were staying in the old rooms of the Tonnara, 500 years old fisherman dormitory. They had the pleasure of being woken by the sound of waves and seagulls.
What are you glad you did on your special day?
Our entertainment! There were different corners set up to interact and engage with our guests, all within the shabby chic fil rouge:
1) Photo booth: we created a small shabby corner on a pier with rusty metallic chairs, lanterns and white ballons. People were invited to take pictures and post them on Facebook with the relative #. However we didn’t want to have any modern styled pieces so we decided to handcraft multiple wooden boards with painted different hashtags.
2) Thank You Cards - Postcards: Instead of sending out a picture of us, we thought that there was no better card than an authentic postcard from Scopello. We put more than 60 postcards in a box with their stamps. We asked our guests to fill them with their addresses. During our honeymoon we wrote a personal message in each postcards and we shipped all the postcards to their places.
3) Guest Book – Travel Guides: instead of the traditional guestbook, we created a corner with multiple travel guides and we invited our guests to open them randomly and write comments for us. They could write on a map or on the sea or close to the destination they preferred most. All those travel guides were about our future planned trips. As we travel to those places we will find memories of our wedding.
4) Photo Reporter – we created hundreds of small photo suggestions for our guests inviting them to take pictures to all the details of the wedding and to post them on facebook with our wedding hashtag (#rivercatswedding)
Was it hard to plan your destination wedding?
Alessia Santa, owner of White Emotion, was our wedding planner. She helped us out with the organization of the event from the conception to the realization of the wedding. We are living far from Italy, in the United Arab Emirates, thus she become our contact point with all the local suppliers and she helped us to identify and shortlist them. She inspected the location and she made all things come together the day of the wedding.
Describe the reception space...
The aesthetic of the wedding was inspired by the shabby chic décor: delicate and pastel colors, within the white and cream palette. This style was a perfect match with the landscape of our natural amphitheater: rose and beige tuff cliffs, oleander bushes and prickly pear plants, all surrounded by a bright turquoise sea. Furniture had been predominately rented from a vintage art restorer. So we managed to found old distressed wooden pieces and nice rusted metallic accessories. In this fashion, everything was integrated with the antique existing elements of the old Tonnara.
We chose white cotton for tablecloths with a beige jute runner, cream and white linen for the pillows, hearth shaped pendants and loads of white candles and lanters. Where this natural source of light was not enough we made it up with some artificial light but it always neutral and warm. On the terrace, we also created a starry night sky with small white pendants lights. The floral note was given by a loads of Mediterranean herbs in bunches along with pots of camomile and gipsofila. The Sicilian twist was added by the use of prickly pears leaves and fruits on the table.
Did you have an itinerary or planned activities for guests on either side of the wedding?
None, we were in a beautiful aside place and we all enjoyed the beach and the sea.
What advice would you give a couple planning a destination wedding in this location?
Identify a single minded concept. This should reflect personal taste and preferences and helps to navigate through multiple options and routes.
Timeliness is fundamental. Have enough time to scrutinize suppliers, options, pictures on Pinterest, inspirational blogs, magazines. This is the only way to avoid regrets at a later stage.
Make choices based upon your desire and not to satisfy someone else expectations.
What was your favourite part of your wedding day?
When our friends surprised us with a flash mob dance. In the middle of the dinner, the DJ played “Say A Little Prayer for You” and they started to do an amazing choreography, dancing along with our parents and relatives. It was incredible because we didn’t expect this and we ended up dancing all together.
Is there anything you would have done differently?
No, I would to it again 1 million times.
Photography: Serena Cevenni
Venue: La Tonnara di Scopello
Bride’s gown: Le Spose di Milano
Groom’s Attire: Ricercato Milano
Event planner/stylist: White Emotion
Florist: Frazzitta Flori
Cinematographer: Alphetto Filmmaker
Catering and Cake: Valentino Catering