Unlike so many Italian weddings that they’d been to before, Michelangelo and Francilla wanted a day that was big, ridiculous and most of all fun! They went for a vintage circus theme, and oh boy, they really did go all out on the theme! Francilla told me all about it, “In Italy it’s quite impossible to have a different wedding and not do everything traditionally. It’s so hard to get away from the ‘rules’ that everyone says you have to obey, but we worked hard to make sure we did! We would have never been happy to marry in this way, and luckily our families knew it!”
“We love vintage images of artists and we love vintage images of circuses. In fact we feel like our life is like one bit circus so this theme was perfect for us! We wanted a wedding that was like us, with our energy, with our irony and with a few little freaky things (again, just like us!) We originally thought about having the party in a circus tent but we really wanted to do something more different still. We spoke to the Casa dell’Architettura, a gorgeous historical place in Rome, but it NEVER been used as a location for a wedding. There is a historic garden there and the ruins of the ancient Roman aquarium! We told them about our ideas and what we wanted for our wedding. We told them we wanted to bring in an authentic antique carousel… and to our surprise they said yes!”
Stefano and Rossana had a purely Rock n Roll wedding at Queen Brasserie, Castelnuovo Rangone, Italy. The majority of the wedding was DIY and the whole shebang cost them less than €5000! However it wasn’t all smooth sailing…
“Initially, the ceremony was to take place in a church, followed by dinner in a restaurant, but two days before the wedding there was an earthquake and we were told that the church was not accessible any more. We had also really wanted to have our meal outside but it was due to rain so we had to make a last minute change of both venues! The alternative location we chose the Queen Brasserie was our first choice from the beginning, since it was almost a second home for us. The reason we didn’t choose it initially was because we thought we had too many guests as it’s not a huge place. However with the earthquake, a lot of people couldn’t come so we had a smaller guest list and the Queen Brasserie was now the perfect size!”
“So on Thursday morning (the wedding was on Saturday) we rushed to the restaurant and begged the owners to see if they could host our ceremony and dinner… thank God they agreed! However in Italy if you want to get married somewhere like a pub or restaurant, you have to have a legal ceremony in city hall. We did this at 8.30am the morning of the wedding wearing jeans and tee-shirts!”
The wedding has a rock music theme with the couple DIYing the paper goods, cake and centrepieces. “We love rock music”, she continued. “and so our theme was an obvious choice. Our home is full of music-themed books and biographies of the greatest rock bands and artists. Stefano plays the drums and loves to customise musical instruments, so we said from the outset that our wedding would have to reflect this.”
“A lot of weddings in Italy are boring, traditional and all the same. For us it had to be a party! In Italy it is also very rare to see a bride in black dress and a wedding menu made with gnocco and tigelle (traditional local food). We also wanted all our guests to feel comfortable so we asked the boys to wear the t-shirt of their favourite band!”
Caroline & Ben, who live in Shanghai, had a destination wedding in Verona, Italy. The bride’s father is from Northern Italy and so they wanted to have a wedding that reflected that heritage. “The idea of getting married close to my roots really appealed”, began the bride, “especially for the fact we could make a holiday out of it for our guests (and for ourselves!). Living abroad, we don’t get to see our friends and families as much as we would like, and this way we got to spend a few days with everyone. We had our ‘stag’ and ‘hen’ parties the night before for all our guests, and after the wedding a group of about 20 of us went up to the Dolomites for some skiing over New Year.”
“I originally thought that with the overseas wedding planning, I wouldn’t need to or want to worry about all the little details, but I had a very wise friend who knew I would care in the end… And I did care! The little details ended up being the things that we most enjoyed spending time over. I loved all the paper bits and pieces especially (and the aeroplanes escort cards made for good competition over dinner!)”
One of the most important thing to this couple was the photography and they booked the ever-fabulous Sassy of Assassynation Photography to shoot the day. “Photography was very important to us and Sassy’s eye and imagination really worked with what we wanted”, Caroline continued. “Her style was as far away from the soft focus and stilted shots that seemed to be preferred by the Italian photographers we could find. We’re lucky she fancied the trip over to Verona!”
Horses and weddings. Not an obvious combination of inspiration for a shoot (unless you’re thinking horse-drawn carriage) but needless to say it works really well. The Autumnal colours, the soft tones and the moody setting make this shoot beautiful and really different.
“Everything took place at the old Ippodrome of San Marone located in Civitanova Marche, Italy”, wrote wedding photographer Paolo Manzi. “It’s an amazing racecourse in the middle of the countryside. There are only a few race every year, but it’s still a lovely place and was perfect for what we had in mind for the shoot.”
In the most part Italian weddings are undeniably beautiful – the landscape, the buildings and the effortless chic of the people. Huge and family orientated traditional weddings are big business in Italy, with alternative or quirky nuptials being a rarity. So I was thrilled to receive Mariangela & Ignazio’s quirky Italian wedding recently – I love to show both sides of the story after all!
This pair wanted to fuse the traditional elements that are so important in their culture with a modern twist, and plan a wedding that really reflected them. “Unlike the most weddings in Italy, our vision of wedding was very unconventional”, explained the bride. “We imagined our wedding as not just a ceremony, but as a big party and a celebration of our love with the people we love most.”
“I was thrilled when I started to look around the internet for unique wedding ideas and found other unconventional brides on forums and on wedding blogs. Although not everything I found was really my style, they helped me to see beyond the tradition. We chose a cosy country estate as our wedding setting as it was the perfect place for an informal celebration. We didn’t care about what other the people would say or think about our choices, everything was done and led by our hearts. Basically we wanted to have fun and I think we succeeded in that!”
Italian Roberto & Chinese Cherie planned their Milan wedding from other sides of the world, “Until 2 months before the wedding, we had lived in 2 different countries (Hong Kong and UK) for 16 months, ” Cherie told me. “I had taken a sabbatical to spend time with my family in Hong Kong and the majority of our ideas exchange and planning was done on email or Skype. We found the organising super boring, couldn’t wait to party on the day!”
The couple met in London and so filmed their Save the Date video in the city, and they actually ended up having two weddings (the Italian one pictured and another in Hpng Kong) so it really was a multicultural, multinational affair!
“We decided on some values for our weddings, they were ‘simple’, ‘vintage’, ‘homely’ and most of all ‘fun’, the bride continued. “Our rule-of-thumb was, ‘if nobody would remember it in 2-3 years time, then don’t sweat over it.’ Therefore things like flowers, decorations and cake were at the bottom of our list of importance. We were so overwhelmed by the number of friends and families that flew over to Italy just for us so we wanted to make the whole weekend super fun. They were at the top of our priority list!”
“What you remember from an event is usually the atmosphere, special moments and people that you spend time with, so we made sure it was very relaxed with plenty of time and opportunity to mingle, created some crazy signature moments e.g. our pretentious celebrity red carpet type entrance to the reception in Muse’s ‘Feeling Good’ and got everyone to sing a few songs before dancing! The rock star personalities were all coming out!”
“However simplicity does take effort,” she concluded. “It is often easier to just do what the world says you should do for weddings, e.g. the bride’s name must come first, the cake must look amazing, you have to do an impeccable first dance etc. But there is no such thing as you ‘should’ or you ‘must’! If it’s not important, produces minimal impact or easily forgotten, just scrap it. That’s what we did. Traditions can be changed so focus on a few things that matter to you and make them memorable.”