This is one of those weddings that will make you rethink ALL of your own big-day plans. ‘Why oh why aren’t we having a weekend long wedding in Puglia?!‘ Cat and Eric had a pre-wedding party, which looks almost as stylish and fun as the actual wedding day. I say almost because the wedding was too incredible to top – they had a limoncello favour bar which also served as a table plan, a stunning toasted marshmallow cake on a swing and an outdoor dining table complete with cactus and succulents for decor, all beneath a canopy of festoon lights.
Right, if that hasn’t whet your whistle then I’m not sure what will – so settle down and enjoy the first of two destination wedding features coming your way today…
The Welcome Party
Cat The Bride: Neither of us are traditionalists and we always knew we were going to do things our own way. From our very first meeting with Anna, we knew she totally got our style and had immediate confidence in her delivering us our dream wedding. We knew we wanted to throw a welcome party a few days prior to the wedding to thank everybody for travelling all that way for us. It was a great way for all of our guests to meet before the main event and on the day everybody already knew each other which was exactly what we wanted.
We always knew we wanted to get married abroad and got in touch with Anna after seeing a couple of her weddings on a blog. We were drawn to her weddings not just because of their creative style but because it felt like you could feel the couple’s personalities just by looking at a few of their photos. Neither of us had ever heard of Puglia but we loved how unique and beautiful it looked once we started to do some research. We flew out there a few months after getting engaged to find a venue and fell in love with everything about it – the food, wine, scenery, quirky trulli houses and most of all, our wedding venue.
Eric struggled much more with his attire for the wedding day than I did! I didn’t have a clue what sort of wedding dress I wanted so didn’t really know what to expect when I went dress shopping. Knowing the style of our venue before dress shopping made choosing one much simpler, another dress I tried on was beautiful but knew it was too formal and rigid for our laid back yet romantic reception in the olive groves. I always liked the idea of wearing a backless dress, the dress I chose did actually have a mesh back that I chose to remove so I would advise any bride to be open to alterations if they find a dress they love but needs a bit of tweaking. I was undecided on whether to wear a veil or not until I found Lottie Da Designs on Etsy and knew instantly that her hair vine designs were much more ‘me’. Whilst you hope to look the best version of yourself on your wedding day, it was still really important that I looked and felt like me.
Eric got a made to measure suit from Suit Supply, he is super fussy so this option meant he was able to personalise every single aspect (including those giant lapels!) His low monk shoes went well with his vision of being an Italian groom. The Larson and Jennings watch he wore was a wedding present from me. The best men and ushers went for the laid back vibe of braces and bow ties.
I really wanted to support independent businesses and bought a number of things on Etsy including my hair vine, our version of a guest book where we asked everybody to include something to add to our bucket list, our invitations and bridesmaid dresses from Coralie Beatrix. As all of my bridesmaids were different shapes, sizes and colouring I knew I wanted them all in different dresses and the multiway dresses were perfect to achieve this look. I ordered loads of sample colour swatches and let the girls pick their own colour dresses. Luckily they looked amazing together and couldn’t have been more perfect against the backdrop of our venue.
Anna sent us a number of venues to choose from and we created a shortlist to view out in Puglia. Despite not knowing what sort of venue we wanted, the second we stepped foot in Anticalama we knew it was everything we had ever dreamed of. The courtyard worked perfectly for our intimate ceremony and the second we saw the garden full of olive trees we were sold! From the food and wine samples they provided on our viewing, we knew the quality of the produce was exceptional which was one of our highest priorities. A number of our guests complimented our wedding banquet as being the best food and wine they had had in Italy.
The Food & Entertainment
Freshly made mozzarella, charcuterie and vegetable tempura was provided along with Prosecco and beer after the ceremony whilst our amazing band played in the background. Finding a band that can complement your venue is vital to the success of a wedding and Spaghetti Brothers did this to perfection, playing a variety of traditional Italian music alongside songs everybody knew but in their own unique style. Limoncello favours doubled up as a seating plan, neither of us particularly like favours as they seem a bit of a waste of effort but this way they became useful and went to good use during the groom’s speech!
We had our first dance after dinner to John Legend, stay with You and after we cut the cake on our infamous cake swing the party was in full swing! It’s safe to say everybody had a great time and there were more than a few sore heads the next day.
To anybody thinking of getting married abroad I can’t recommend getting a good wedding planner enough! We planned our entire wedding with Anna via secret boards on Pinterest and I can’t imagine creating then executing all of those ideas alone let alone dealing with vendors in a different language. Anna and her team took all of the stress out of our wedding and by the time we arrived in Italy our only job was having a good time! To future brides and grooms – make sure you take 5 minutes out of the wedding to stand back together and watch everybody having a good time. It is one of our fondest memories of our special day.