It was on the small island Favignana in Sicily on October, 2 that we took the plunge, swore undying love and proclaimed devotion to each other in front of our friends and family. In a lush garden of a former quarry, under an evergreen tree, we became… Drumroll, please! We became husband and wife. It happened and there was no going back since our guests came to our wedding in Italy from all over the world to witness our vows. Since then, we are bound to live our happy-ever-after together!
Our wedding day was rainy and gloomy but we were determined to continue with our plans. After a few hours of rain showers in the morning, the sun came out: the land, the sea and the sky were all well balanced in one. It was the moment to walk down the aisle. The ceremony was short, with vows written by us, and so many giggles and tears. Thinking and rewatching the ‘I do’ moment on our video brings tears to my eyes every single time. It was the happiest and the most romantic day of our life.
We feel so incredibly lucky that our paths led us to find each other so early. Marriage for us is recognition of how lucky we are to continue on a path we’ve created together.
I hope this post to be a wedding inspiration for many brides-to-be.
It is no secret that trying to put together a wedding can be pretty stressful. However, I can honestly say that I loved every minute of planning this special day. Largely this is due to the efforts of Angela Giordano from Style a Wedding, my wedding planner. I believe that every savvy bride should, for her own sanity, get herself one. Angela helped me to keep everything on track and since it was a destination wedding and some arrangements were made distantly she made sure that everything looked exactly like I wanted it to. Her eye for detail is truly exceptional, and the most important thing was that I knew, Angela had my best interests at heart.
When I was a little girl, I used to dream about my wedding day – princess dress, celebration on an island near the sea with hundreds of guests. Later on, we travelled to Italy with my husband to be and we were quick to fall in love with the country, so we both intuitively knew that this is where we would marry (because a wedding in Italy is #goals, isn’t?). Moreover, it was a good midway point for our family and friends who came from all over Europe and Georgia to celebrate with us.
When we got down to searching for our venue, we decided to explore more unique and uncommon regions for wedding celebrations rather than very popular Tuscany and Amalfi coast because we were sure that we would be able to have a chic exclusive event for a rather appealing pricing point.
I spent hours looking for the right location on the Internet. I wanted to have an outdoor reception in a unique setting, so when I stumbled upon Hotel delle Cave courtyard it just fulfilled the brief perfectly. In addition to that, the property is located on a Sicilian island Favignana which completed the dream of an island wedding of the little girl inside me. Hotel delle Cave is a small charming hotel with an abandoned quarry turned into a lush garden. Favignana is famous for its fisheries, so the idea of an Italian dinner with local products and wines was more than enough to inspire to celebrate our wedding there.
An evergreen tree from the courtyard was a perfect embodiment of ever-lasting love, high brick walls sheltered us from the rest of the world so we could share this beautiful day only with our beloved people.
The special moments began a couple of months before our wedding with a few handmade cards that we sent to our family and friends. The invitations are the first impression the guests will get our special day so it was very important for me to set the right tone. Alexandra Kartamysheva created unique cards with beautiful floral aquarelle illustrations and calligraphy just perfectly matching with our venue and the main theme.
Ceremony & Reception Decor
We did not intend to throw a huge party. Instead, we preferred to have an intimate ceremony and reception to celebrate this day with the people we are closest to. Inspired by the island’s magnificent nature, to create a suitable setting, the brief was to complete the natural surroundings of the hotel courtyard. I am so grateful to Angela for finding such an incredible team of florists from Hanami Atelier to decorate our reception. It was perfection, straight out of my dream. I’m always very picky about everything but Hanami Atelier managed to mix more than 15 varaeties of flowers of different colours in a perfect way. The main theme was jewel-toned plants, fall fruit and golden details in furniture and cutlery.
The large evergreen tree was decorated with a single dusty pink sheath and wedding flowers served as somewhat of an altar. The ceremony was conducted by our close mutual friend. His heartfelt speech was very emotional and made us and the guests cry with tears of joy. After the ceremony, we proceeded to celebration showered with fresh rose petals by our guests.
After the sunset, we lighted long petal pink candles in golden holders to create an intimate, relaxing atmosphere for our guests during the dinner reception.
Our Wedding Feast
We wanted our guests to have a taste of Italian cuisine. All food was locally sourced and prepared at Hotel delle Cave. We started with light snacks in the best tradition of Italian aperitivo, we had local cheese and ham, fried seasonal vegetables and fresh fish washed down by French champagne Piper-Heidsieck and the finest Sicilian wine. At the dinner, Italian pasta, sea bass fillet, beefsteak and a whole lot of traditional Sicilian pastries were served.
I was adamant from the start that I did not want a traditional (read: boring) white cake at my wedding in Sicily! This grand 4-tier wedding cake is a creation of a talented Sicilian cake designer and dessert stylist Marco Failla from the Bakery Boutique. This is one of Marco’s signature creations that he designed from scratch. For this fabulous design, Marco was inspired by his homeland and Dolce & Gabbana fashion collections. For instance, those hand-painted white chocolate majolicas are his declaration of love to Sicily. The whole cake was covered in ganache made from exceptional Modica chocolate. It did not only look beautiful but tasted like heaven!
The cake was the centerpiece of the big-day sweet selection also catered by Marco. There were caramel cupcakes with vanilla mousseline frosting, custom chocolate bars, macaroons, and cakesicles. The color palette (mauve, dusty pink, burgundy, caramel, gold) set by Marco matched our autumnal wedding perfectly! The whole food selection was elaborately decorated by 24 thousand of leaves made with edible gold.
We invited a Swing & Jazz band ‘Rouge et Noir’ to play at our wedding in Italy. We selected songs from the proposed repertoire: for walking down the aisle it was timeless Hallelujah and Stand by Me (major inspiration from the royal wedding of Megan & Harry). At dinner, we sang and danced together with our family. After that, a DJ took the stage and gave our guests a night to remember!
A huge thank you to Yeray Cruz who saved the wedding by just being with us and doing his job by taking amazing photographs of the most important day of our life. The photographer who was initially booked for our wedding had to cancel her presence because of family reasons just two days before the wedding. You can only imagine how stressed and sad I was when I heard the news. Unfortunately, you can’t be 100% ensured even for your wedding day but everything happens for the best. We were lucky to meet Yeray and we are insanely happy and content with our photographs.
As a former bride-to-be, I know just how stressful the whole process of getting ready on the morning of your wedding can be. I was lucky to have three of my very best friends to support and help me with morning preparations. They kept me chilled out as much as possible.
We had a toast of champagne during preparations to have some fun and relax (but remember, avoid having too much, you have a long day ahead). My bridal party and I are wearing soft satin robes from Homebodii and a chiffon robe and lingerie from Olga Kiseleva.
Maryna Gulevskaya is one of few artists I can trust my hair and make-up in the whole world. She made sure to turn my bridesmaids and me into fairy ladies on my big day.
Her Majesty the Bride
When looking for a perfect wedding dress one naturally has to keep in mind the chosen venue. The lush garden of Hotel delle Cave instantly gave me the vibe of an enchanted forest and inspired me to go for a gentle dreamy look of a fairy queen. The dress I chose was designed by Rara Avis. It is an absolutely showstopping creation from the Floral Paradise collection. A gorgeous A-line silhouette wedding dress made of tulle and silk captured my heart at once. I loved how delicate it looked with all those handmade Japanese clay flowers and beads.
My fabulous gown was paired with these beautiful Dolce & Gabbana velvet pumps. Compared with these, Cinderella with her crystal shoes is fighting a losing battle, isn’t she?
With the bride being a fairy queen her bridesmaids dressed in dusty pink soft chiffon dresses from a Swedish brand ByMalina certainly looked like pretty fairies of the hotel’s lush garden. Their look was also completed with luxury headpiece accessories from Hermione Harbutt.
His Majesty the Groom
The groom looked stunning in his very classy Cacharel tuxedo and a white skirt from Alain Figaret paired with an ivory silk scarf tied as an ascot, boutonnieres in the wedding colours and Gucci loafers.
Advice for Future Brides
When your big day is here, slow down and enjoy every moment of it. Just accept and limit the stress with the understanding that everything will turn out just fine and perfect. Apart from the overwhelming happiness of getting to marry your best friend, take a moment to step back and look around to see all of our closest family and friends laughing, joking and dancing together as if they had always known each other. This is true happiness.