Happy Saturday dear readers! The first week back at work following the Christmas break has got to be one of the most challenging of the whole year. Not only are there early mornings to negotiate and routines to re-establish, there are New Year’s resolutions to contend with too! To celebrate the arrival of the weekend we have a seriously glamorous, 1920s inspired, Sicilian wedding for you to peruse at your leisure, featuring a beautiful bride wearing a handmade gown, complete with Cathedral length train, lovingly created by her mother.
Our English rose, Laura, wed her Italian beau, Joe, on the 30th of May 2015, in the seaside town of Cefalu, followed by a reception at Le Calette, a luxury hotel overlooking the azure blue, Tyrrhenian Sea. Our couple’s big day was captured in stunning detail by one of our favourite photographers, the award winning Ed Godden.
“When it came to styling, we were particularly inspired by the 1920’s – my gran was an antiques dealer and passed on her love of everything old to the whole family. Since Joe and I have spent most of our working lives travelling, we wanted to incorporate elements from our travels too.”
Photography by Ed Godden
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Laura’s crowning glory was an amazing, 1920’s inspired, embellished headpiece from Richard Designs.
“My mum noticed my headpiece during one of our buying trips – I walked right past it! Richard Designs hand make everything in England to order so we made a few changes to the original. I was worried at first that it might be a bit too big, but once I put it on with the dress, veil, hair and makeup I loved it – it really gave a twenties feel to my look.”
Our couple’s beautiful, atmospheric photos were taken by Nottingham based photographer Ed Godden and his wife Clare. You can find Ed listed in our recently launched Little Book for Brides, a carefully curated collection of wonderful, hardworking wedding suppliers.
“What can I say? Ed is a brilliant guy and extremely professional with a relaxed and fun style of photography. Ed was brilliant from the start – we couldn’t have asked for better service or photographs, plus he is very good value for money and always willing to go the extra mile to get the shot. By the end of the weekend Ed and his wife felt like part of the family. We recommend him very highly indeed”
“Neither of us particularly likes bright colours so we opted for a natural pallet of nude with a touch of lemon and peach, which worked perfectly with the Sicilian setting. My mum has her own wedding dress boutique where she designs and hand makes gowns and I spent a lot of time there dreaming about my own wedding while I was growing up, so this had a huge influence on our big day too.”
Laura, a garment technologist by trade, designed her own wedding dress, with her mum making her vision a reality. Our bride’s stunning fishtail gown was created using five layers of material and comprised of three layers of silk, Chantilly lace and tulle painstakingly embellished by the bride herself.
“I designed my dress and my mum made it by hand at her shop, Orchid Designs, in our home town of Clitheroe, Lancashire. Having grown up above my mum’s shop, it felt like an impossible task to choose just one dress and took a lot of work and research to bring all the elements together. I knew a fishtail gown would be the most flattering shape for me and I really wanted a feature back. I love silk and lace was always a must, but I also wanted there to be beading and embellishment.”
“The dress was a real labour of love – I spent four solid months (eight hours plus a day) hand embellishing the lace motifs that feature heavily on the dress and train. I wanted the dress to make an impact during the ceremony church but for it to be comfortable and easy to move in afterwards, so we created a cathedral length detachable train.”
Continuing the 1920’s theme, Laura’s glamourous ‘maids wore nude sparkly gowns by Ronald Joyce. Both her bridesmaids’ and flowergirls’ wore ballet pumps, and headpieces by Richard Designs.
“I love beading and embellishment and always knew I wanted my bridesmaids’ to look very glamorous in eveningwear style dresses. The Ronald Joyce dresses we chose were actually wedding gowns. I first spotted them in ivory in my mum’s shop, but wanted a more subtle tone that would fit with the local surroundings. I loved the way they caught the light – I just wish I had bought one for myself too!”
“My mum made my very long veil using fine silk tulle. I really like the photos where the veil is over my face – I think they look so timeless and classic.”
Our Italian groom wore a bespoke, dark blue, three piece suit by Rhodes Wood of Harrogate. Joe paired his suit with a palomino coloured tie and pocket square by Dessy, Versace shoes, a Salvatore Ferragamo belt and Gucci cufflinks.
“Joe wears suits every day for work, so he wanted something special for the wedding without it being over the top. Being Italian he loves his cloths and chose a three piece suit hand made in England using Italian fabric – a perfect combination!”
Our globetrotting couple met in Bangladesh and got engaged in Yorkshire before tying the knot in Sicily…
“Joe and I met in Dhaka, Bangladesh of all places! We both moved to Bangladesh to live and work and met for the first time two weeks later in the Westin hotel (where Joe was the food and beverage manager). I was actually complaining about the bill being late and he offered me complementary ice cream and the rest is history! Joe asked me to marry him just ten months later in the grounds of Bolton Abbey, Yorkshire on Bonfire night. We watched the fireworks and stayed at the Devonshire Arms just down the road.”
Our couple tied the knot in Cefalu’s striking Cathedral, with Laura’s dad accompanying her up the aisle.
“Our vows were spoken in Italian for Joe and English for me – apart from the readings it was the only English spoken in the ceremony. It was lovely for my family to hear the actual ‘I do’s’ in English.”
“Both readings were chosen by the readers (my close friend Anna and my auntie Elizabeth). We asked them to surprise us and the result was very emotional. It was such a lovely gift to receive on the day of our wedding.”
After enjoying a post ceremony ice cream, the couple travelled by boat from the edge of the town around the bay to their reception venue, Le Calette Hotel…
“It was so nice to take those ten minutes on the boat just to ourselves reflect on the ceremony.”
Laura and Joe held their delicious looking wedding breakfast outside on the patio, in glorious sunshine…
“All decisions about our wedding breakfast were made by Joe, who is a food and beverage director. The menu was mostly seafood with a beef fillet alternative for the main; and consisted of an antipasti buffet, a five course sit down meal followed by a dessert buffet and wedding cake. The prosecco was free flowing during the whole of the reception which resulted in lots of dancing later on.
The flowers on the tables were small and simple but perfectly matched the bouquets – we love fresh flowers but knew big arrangements would only perish in the heat.”
“The venue provided the Italian wedding cake which was a sponge cake filled with Chantilly cream, wild strawberries and white chocolate. My nanna made the English wedding cake which was shipped in advance. My mum and I iced it during the week before and decorated it with sugar flowers my auntie had created.
Both tasted amazing and it was so nice to have the two traditions on the day. We also had a traditional sweet table using a mix or old glass dishes and my favourite childhood sweets.”
For their evening entertainment, our couple opted for a swing band which they hired through local agency, Scarlett Entertainment. I love the image below – never too old to dance!
“The band was fantastic and play from the arrival of the guests at the venue right through ‘till late, covering a range of music in both English and Italian. The band even learnt two songs for us; ‘All of Me’ by John Legend which they played during aperitif and ‘Bonfire Heart’ By James Blunt for our first dance. We also combined the Italian tradition of playing games at weddings with that of favours, by hiding bottles of prosecco, spirits and gifts in locked suitcases which were part of the decoration. One guest from each table was given a key and a clue to help them find their table’s prize.”
Words of Wedded Wisdom:
“Enjoy the planning process and don’t let it get on top of you. Looking at that long list of jobs can seem overwhelming at the beginning, so just do one job at time. If you can, allow yourself plenty of time to plan – eighteen months worked well for us.
I would also advise all brides to leave the day before the wedding as free as possible – we were run off our feet and panic began to set in towards the end.
Finally, If you are thinking of getting married abroad, do as much as you can in advance and get a wedding planner to help with the legal side of things as this became very time consuming and stressful for Joe.”
A huge thank you to our happy couple and to Ed Godden for sharing these wonderful images. If you’d like to peruse other stylish destination weddings on the blog, please follow this link. If you’d like to see more beautiful Italian weddings you can find them here.
Wishing you a great weekend!
Photographer – Ed Godden
Venue + Catering – Cefalu Cathedral + Le Calette Hotel, Sicily
Wedding Dress – Designed by the bride, made by mother of Orchid Designs
Veil – Orchid Designs
Headpiece – Richard Designs
Shoes – Pink by Paradox
Bride’s Scent/perfume – Flowerbomb by Viktor & Rolf
Groom – Bespoke suit by Rhodes Wood of Harrogate + Versace shoes + Salvatore Ferragamo belt + Gucci Cufflinks + a Tag Heuer watch + a Dessy tie & Pocket square + Ray Ban sunglasses.
Bridesmaids – ‘Pila’ gowns by Ronald Joyce + earrings & hair comb by Richard Designs + pashminas by Dessy
Flowergirls – Created by the bride & Orchid Designs + headband by Richard Designs
Cake – Italian cake made by the venue and the English cake was crafted by the bride’s grandma.
Entertainment – A swing band booked through Scarlett Entertainment.
Rings – Ernest Jones
Stationery – Created by the bride
4 thoughts on “A Glamorous 1920’s and Vintage Inspired Italian Seaside Wedding”
Great sense of colours here, amazing photos!
I’m so in awe of Laura making her own dress and with so much detail as well. It’s of course stunning but all the more special too. Italian weddings always seem to nail that Mediterranean laid back feel don’t they?! Xx
Caoimhe, you only have to say Italian wedding and I’m there!! Don’t think there’s been one yet that I haven’t wanted to be at 😉 I love the way Laura and Joe have mixed the wedding traditions from the two countries together. What a dream to have a mum who’s a wedding dress maker and together you make your dream dress! Tanta felicità agli sposi xx
Really outstanding collection of some glorious image and also now I have some good concept about the wedding planning.