Pinch me. I still can’t believe I got to photograph a wedding in Italy. It’s one place I can never stay away from for long so when Serena left a sweet comment on one of my blog posts saying how she was from Italy, getting married in September and loved my work, I contacted her straight away to ask her if she had hired a photographer yet. She happened to be getting married on one of my last dates available for the season and pretty soon I had my flights booked! I knew we were going to get along great the first time I talked to Serena and Marco on Skype and we couldn’t stop laughing. That prediction turned out to be true. Serena and Marco are literally two of the most sincerely kind and generous people I have ever met. The first night I arrived in Italy, Serena said to me, “While you are in Italy, this is your home and we are your family.” She meant it. They, along with their friends and family, embraced me as one of their own for my week in the cute little town of Spoltore in Abruzzo Italy. Serena’s parents had me over for lunch my first day (pesto made by Mimina- buonissimo!) and it didn’t stop there. Friends of Serena and Marco took me on day trips around the area and to awesome restaurants. I’ll be doing a blog post on all that sometime in the coming months, so stay tuned!
The whole wedding was so unique, heartfelt and beautiful. Serena and Marco had their wedding ceremony at an amazing old abbey built in 1007 called San Liberatore a Maiella, in Abruzzo, Italy. The first time we walked in, I was speechless. We had gotten a key, the length of my forearm, from the priest, who was partaking in a festival in a nearby town, and when we walked in, it was completely empty and silent. Amazing. It is the most beautiful setting I have ever photographed a ceremony at, hands down.
We did the wedding portraits in the incredible, magical forest behind the abbey. I have no words for that place. I wanted to stay there all day. It feels like you have stepped into a Renaissance painting when you come into the clearing where we took the photos. If fairies and elves had appeared, I wouldn’t have batted an eye. A crystal clear stream ran through the place that Marco said you can drink from. I really must return there someday and spend a whole day there.
Once our short window for portraits was finished, Serena and Marco hopped in a cute orange VW beetle they had rented, and I, with the videographer, followed behind to the Maria Donata villa where the reception was held. As they pulled up, they were blasted with confetti cannons which set the tone for the fun night ahead. ; ) A big white tent was set up on the grass, with tables underneath and blankets on the outskirts, to encourage a picnic-like atmosphere. Even the wedding favours were cute little picnic baskets with jam and confetti (an edible candy-covered almond, native to the area) inside. There was an amazing buffet lunch with several courses.
It didn’t take long before the dancing started. So fun!! Italians definitely know how to have a good time. When my time for the day had finished, I got to put my camera away and join in the fun. When it got dark, they launched about 30 floating lanterns into the sky. Definitely one of the highlights for me – I had always wanted to witness a floating lantern launch. They floated so high into the sky. One was let go a little early and started to float down towards the roof, but one of the guests saved the day with some mighty strong blowing and it soared up over the roof and into the night. ; )
I can’t thank Serena and Marco and their wonderful family and friends enough for getting to be a part of such an amazing day with such a fantastic group of people. I will never forget it and I know I will remain friends with these two for many many years to come. Serena and Marco have such a special love for each other and it was so touching to photograph them during their ceremony. The whole thing was in Italian and I still cried just because I could see how heartfelt, spiritual and full of love it was for them. Their hearts just shone on their faces. Bellissima. Grazie mille per tutti Serena e Marco!!
If you look at the bottom left photo you’ll notice that 2 of the caterers (the girl and guy wearing aprons) joined in with the dancing. haha- I love it! I put my camera down and danced as well. fun times. The guy in the maroon apron kicked butt at limbo later.
Me, feeling the love in a hug sandwich. : )
I have to include a few photos from two days before the wedding when Marco, and friends, surprised Serena at their home at 11:30pm to serenade her. It’s an old Italian tradition that not many people do anymore, but being the romantic that he is, Marco secretly planned the surprise. It was my second night in Italy and despite being jet-lagged, there was no way I was going to miss it! A mandolin player and two guitar players (one of them, Serena’s father, Giovanni) arrived at midnight to join in and take over the music. Neighbours came out of their homes to enjoy the festivities and it was a little celebration in the street. It was beautiful and I was really touched witnessing it all.
- Ceremony Venue: San Liberatore a Maiella, Abruzzo, Italy.
- Reception Venue: Maria Donata, Abruzzo, Italy
- Wedding Dress: Emé di Emé by Atelier Aimée