Inspiration

Our stunning bride Francesca is originally from Sardinia in Italy, where the couple met, so it was only fitting that they got married at the local town hall, followed by an intimate reception on a picturesque hilltop vineyard. I love that both Italian & English traditions were embraced on their day, giving traditional English rolls to their Italian friends and vice versa. The ceremony was even carried out by their mutual friend who introduced them to one another, which must have been incredibly lovely and personal. I bet there wasn't a dry eye in the house. Not only is this destination wedding full of emotion and love, it's also bursting with inspiration and fabulous florals and frocks. There's the most stunning array of mis-match coral bridesmaid dresses, a breathtaking Charlie Brear gown and delicate pink & white blooms put together by the bride herself.

The Dress

Francesca The Bride: I wanted a minimal but romantic look. When choosing my gown, material was one of the most important factors. I wanted to wear lace to pay homage to Sardinian tradition but I wanted a modern and comfy dress that I could eat and dance in. I fell in love with my Charlie Brear gown instantly - it looked and felt perfect. To complete the look, I wore a fresh flower garland and my mum's pearl earrings. I chose not to wear a necklace as I liked the simple, minimal look. I borrowed the veil from my friend Emilia who kindly let me use it for the day (12 months later, it's still living in my wardrobe!). I did find a pair of dream shoes that would have completed the look perfectly but as soon as I found out the price (pretty much the cost of our honeymoon), I suddenly decided that a pair of Reiss I had seen in the sales were actually perfect for the occasion! Interestingly, seven months after the wedding, I got to wear my dress again to marry a clown! How I managed to squeeze myself in it, God only knows, but I did it and my dress ended up featuring in the Ash Before Oak's video for "Airborne".

The Grooms Fashion

Mark wanted a simple rustic looking style to match the concept of the wedding ceremony. As we knew the wedding was going to be in Sardinia, he thought that it would make sense to have thin material and light clothing, also light colours.

The Venue

When we visited Kent'Annos we knew straightaway that that was where we wanted to celebrate our big day with our families and friends. We found everything we were looking for in one place: a peaceful bucolic site, overlooking the sea (great for sunset) and surrounded by a beautiful vineyard, owned by a local family of wine producers who also run a little restaurant. When we met Mr Dettori, the owner, he greeted us saying: "Just to be clear - here we do regional cuisine with seasonal ingredients. If you want papaya for dessert, go elsewhere." And so we knew he was the man! The food was just delicious and the staff went above and beyond to make us happy.

Flowers

I wanted a white based bouquet with a hint of green and light pink, so we chose Chinese roses, succulents and pink astilbe. The DIY centrepieces were recycled glass jars which I used as vases for the tables. I bought fresh white lysianthus - which is one of my favourite flowers and gypsophila which I arranged in small bouquets and placed them in some of the jars. Some other jars got filled with water and floating candles.

The Wedding Party Fashion

Traditionally, you would have no bridesmaids or groomsmen in an Italian wedding, and the wedding party is normally composed by the bride, the groom, and the witnesses (two in a civil wedding and four in a Catholic wedding) . Witnesses not only have a legal function (are required to sign all the paperwork) but play an important and symbolic role in the ritual. They are, in essence, the Italian equivalent of the Best Man and the Maid of Honour. We wanted to keep both traditions alive so we decided to have a 'fusion' wedding, with bridesmaids, best man and witnesses! To make things more interesting and fun, and to confuse our family and friends a bit, we asked Mark's sister to be our witness and Francesca's Italian friends to be the bridesmaids. When the bridesmaids were asked, they all laughed and said "Bridesmaids? Really? Like in the American movies?!".

Bridesmaids

With the whole concept of bridesmaids being very foreign to them, I could possibly not ask them to wear something they didn't get to choose, so we broke the tradition and I let them pick a dress of their choice. I liked the idea of them looking different and individual. I didn't get to see their dresses until the day of the wedding as they wanted it to be a surprise, which was quite a stressful and nerve-racking experience if I'm totally honest! Our 2 yrs old nice Mia was supposed to be the flower girl but she experienced stage fright and didn't walk down the isle in the end!

Groomsmen

Mark's best friend Anto was the Best Man; Francesca's brother Gio was one of the witnesses, together with Mark's sister Steph. With the wedding being quite small in size and very informal, we thought having groomsmen would be a bit excessive. We had no dress code for the guests. We wanted our wedding to be a very relaxed and no fuss party.

Ceremony

We were lucky to be able to arrange for our friend Luigi to be the celebrant for the wedding, and he did a great job. It could have not been any other way, as Luigi is the person who introduced us. We had two readings; Steph, Mark's sister, read one of his late Grandma's love poems written during the Second World War; Alessandra, Francesca's cousin, read a poem who had composed herself for the occasion.

Entertainment

Mark composed the wedding march - Serenade and Sunburn - and we had a brass quintet performing during the ceremony. After dinner we had a 60's cover band from the local town (Sorso) where we were wed. They played a selection of golden hits. A DIY DJ session followed the live music, with a selection of songs chosen by us and our guests playing through a laptop. We also had a DIY photo booth mainly for the kids to enjoy. We left 2 cameras freely stood on tripods and it turned out the kids became keen photographers of their parents having fun in the photo booth.

Food

The food, except the cakes, was provided by Kent'Annos. We had canapés followed by a traditional Sardinian meal - a selection of antipasti, and a taste of regional pasta and meat dishes. We chose not to have a traditional wedding cake and we had a small selection of cakes instead.

Photographer

We came across Eliza's work online and instantly fell in love with her photography style. Eliza was very professional and personable amongst the guests. She made us feel at ease during the pre- wedding shoot and during our wedding day. The entire event was captured perfectly by Eliza's tasteful vision who took many superb photographs of our friends and family that we will treasure forever.

Written by Lorna Shaw

Dress Designer: Charlie Brear | Bridal Boutique: The White Closet | Bridal Shoes: Reiss | Venue: Kent Annos | Grooms Suit: Kooples | Entertainment: Sound Cloud | Transport: Matrimonio

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