Francesca was one of our first brides who came to visit us at our Islington based bridal boutique when we opened 1.5 years ago. I completely fell in love with her bright yellow floral patterned Dolce and Gabbana sandals heels.
Definitely shoes that can live long beyond a wedding day. It was so much fun creating an elegant blush coloured Valetti wedding dress with a delicate lace trim and plunging back, and bias skirt. This is an increibly chic real bride with serious style, and she planned one of the most prettiest Italian weddings I've seen! So pretty and idyllic. Francesca loved planning her wedding so much, she's now a wedding planner! I'm sure many of our brides who have weddings in Italy would love to read about her top tips and her beautiful wedding!
Can you tell us a little bit about the day, what happened, and how you felt?
It was a real whirlwind!
Firstly, a few things happened before the wedding day.
I didn’t want a big hen do, so I did it a few days before the wedding, but broke my little toe tripping on a step (whilst sober!). I have never broken any bones before and spending hours of that day in A&E was really quite disappointing.
We had a rehearsal dinner the night before and I only managed to go to bed around 3 am. I suffer from insomnia and I was really worried about not being rested for the big day, so I took one too many sleeping pills and when the alarm went off the morning after, I was quite woozy.
I didn’t hire a wedding planner and my husband doesn’t speak Italian so he only helped where he could. Even so, I had been quite a relaxed bride until then but the combination of a broken bone, drugs and nerves really affected me on the day.
I was worried that we were already late, I was worried because the table linen which had already been laid down didn't seem right, I was worried about rain, as the sky was darkening, I was worried about the little jobs we still had to finish. In our photos, there are many of me crying desperately and people consoling me, while in the groom's room everyone is having the best time!
Luckily, I managed to relax and arrived at the aisle in one piece.
The late afternoon ceremony was beautiful, with our friends officiating and reading, half in Italian and half in English.
Everyone was in tears (happy ones!) and Nico and I were so excited. We were both so immersed that we then realised we didn't notice things happening in the background, like a party boat passing by apparently!
After the ceremony, we had some photos taken and finally joined our friends for the reception. It all happened at the venue, so it was quite easy for everyone to move around.
Food was 100% Italian style in quantity and choice, as we had a big antipasti buffet, a seated dinner and even a bigger dessert buffet.
When everyone was nice and full, we had a non-traditional wedding cake as the groom requested it to be 100% chocolate (to the utter dismay of the caterer), the first dance and the throwing of the bouquet. Finally, some drinks and dancing until morning.
I loved being able to pick and choose elements of Italian and British weddings, mixing them together with our ideas.
As we didn't have a structure to follow, the wedding was exactly what we wanted in every aspect. This is great, but also requires more work. For example, having a symbolic ceremony we had to build it from scratch and in two languages, rather than just following a vicar or public officiant.
I’d love to know how you styled your look for the day? How did you have your hair and do your make up? What did your other half wear?
We both wanted to reflect the overall wedding style, which was relaxed and simple. In fact, our dress code indications for guests was "beach formal", which for us meant roughly "still wear a shirt or a dress but you can choose to leave your tie and heels at home!"
So I had a low messy bun with some fresh flowers and a simple brightening make up.
The groom wore beige chinos, white shirt and blue blazer. The bridesmaids wore a bluebell maxi dress, while the best men and ushers' outfit was the same as the groom minus the blazer.
What are the special memories you have from that day? Can you share with us some special things that happened?
I would say, seeing our families and friends so happy and participating was incredible and it's the feeling that will always accompany my memories of that day.
My very British husband surprised me by delivering half of his speech in Italian and with a decent accent as well!
What you are the things you’re most looking forward to after lockdown?As we now live in Singapore, we are both far from our families and most friends. I certainly can't wait to jump on a plane to Europe and to start traveling again. Our honeymoon was also postponed so looking forward to that!
As a bride who has got married, do you have any helpful advice and tips for other brides in a similar position and are planning for weddings next year?
Yes a few!
Firstly, to plan as much as possible in advance...
As on that day you won't be able to do much. Even if you don't hire a wedding planner, like me, you definitely need someone taking care of things on the day, making sure everything happens following the agreed schedule, managing the vendors, etc. For us, it was the catering manager but I know there are wedding planners who offer a wedding day service as well.
Also, I would agree with the photographer on the friends and family group photos in advance.
Maybe they're not a thing anymore, but I we didn't really take any with our groups of friends and now I regret it.
Finally, to enjoy yourself during planning and on the day!
I now see how stupid it was for me to worry about anything that morning as it all went down perfectly and even if it didn't, I was too focused on having a great time to realise!
I think the right strategy is to be really detailed in the planning and to relax on the day.
What’s the best thing that brides can do with planning during lockdown? Do you have any tips?
It's a great opportunity to do things even better! You now have time to research more vendors, if one of them doesn't convince you, or to think about any detail you aren't sure about.
Anything you wish someone had told you before you started planning your wedding?
That Instragram is probably the best place to find vendors, if you follow the right hashtags and locations! Especially in places like Sicily where not everyone has a website or an updated one, generally they will take care of their social media at least.
Also, that I would have enjoyed planning it so much that I have decided to start a wedding planner on demand service for weddings in Italy. Apart from the whole package, I am offering ad hoc services, such as finding a specific vendor (e.g. you are comfortable planning the whole thing but would like some help finding the photographer) or consulting. As I am really much at the start, please reach out for tailored and economical assistance, or even just for a chat!
Photography: : Salvatore Cimino https://salvatoreciminop.myportfolio.com/wedding-1
Groom’s suit: Ralph Lauren chinos and shirt, Boggi Milano blazer
Bridemaids: ASOS Bridesmaids
Shoes: Dolce & Gabbana sandals. Groom’s loafers are from Tod’s.
Make-up and Hair: https://www.irinafarfallina.com/