Following Your Heart.
In my mind, Claire and Tom’s Cilento Coast Wedding embodies all that makes destination weddings so appealing. By following their hearts they created a unique and relaxed wedding day which they celebrated with fifty of their closest friends and family.
In the heart of Cilento nestled in the hills overlooking the coastal town of Santa Maria lies the historic medieval village of Castellabate. Declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site, it’s labyrinth of streets and alleyways add to the allure of this still largely undiscovered part of the Italian coast. Blessed with breathtaking views and within easy reach of fabulous beaches, it is easy to see why Castellabate was a favourite haunt of Hemmingway’s and it was this astonishingly beautiful location which played host to Claire and Toms wedding celebrations.
Location: Castellabate, Cilento Region, Italy
From: United Kingdom
Number of Guests: 50
Nearest Airport: Naples – 1 hour / Rome – 3 hours
Claire has kindly shared the details of their wedding day – she not only provides a great insight into the process taken when planning a wedding abroad but also helps to remind us that it’s important not to lose sight of what your wedding day is really about.
The Big Decision…
After a stressful few months of looking at wedding venues in the South West of England we asked ourselves what we would do if we could have any wedding and we both agreed that we wanted to get married in Italy. So we decided to have a look online just to see what was available. Initially we looked at a few of the major tour operator’s websites but felt that they were too limited and we wouldn’t really be able to personalise our day the way we wanted to. We then started looking at private wedding planners to see if we could afford our dream wedding within our budget and that’s when we found Michelle at Italy Bride and Groom Weddings.
We Chose our Location Because…
We exchanged a few emails to find out more information about what services Michelle could offer and the locations. Originally we were thinking of Tuscany however after Michelle described how stunning and still very unknown the region of Cilento was, we couldn’t help but fall in love with the locations of Castellabate and Santa Maria.
Planning our Wedding…
The year leading up to our wedding we were in constant contact with Michelle discussing all the big decisions right down to the finer details. Nothing was too much trouble and any ideas we had Michelle would find out if it was possible and arrange it all for us.
Get me to the Church on Time…
On the day of our wedding Tom travelled to our ceremony venue in a ‘Lo Scario Tuk Tuk’ with his two best men whilst I travelled in a Vintage Fiat 1100.
Accompanied by a guitar and mandolin player, I made my way from the car to the 11th century castle in the village of Castellabate. Our Civil Ceremony was held in the courtyard of the castle ruins which sits at the top of the village and commands panoramic views over the Cilento and Amalfi coastline.
We chose to dress the courtyard with floral arrangements and a gorgeous wedding arch whilst an aisle runner and chair bows in cobalt blue were used to add a splash of colour. The ceremony was held in Italian; however we had an interpreter present who translated it into English.
A Stroll Through the Village…
After the ceremony we had group photographs taken from the castle viewpoint overlooking the sea and then we walked through the village where we got some wonderful shots in this authentic Italian setting. We are so pleased with our wedding photographs, they are better than we imagined they ever would be and everyone comments on how amazing they are. Not only was Chantal an incredible photographer, but she is so lovely. After getting to know her before the wedding it felt like a friend was taking our photos.
Our reception was held in a fabulous restaurant which has an incomparable position on the edge of cliff, with a view to die for overlooking the village of Santa Maria, and the Gulf of Salerno.
We served Pimms and aperitifs in the bar whist every one mingled. We then moved down to the restaurants alfresco terrace where we held the speeches and had dinner. Our authentic Italian meal consisted of many different courses including hot and cold pastas, meats and salads. The food was out of this world and we couldn’t have asked for a better venue. Fiore the owner was great and made us feel so welcome. He went out of his way to make sure the day was just as we wanted.
The food was matched by one of the best views ever especially in the evening as the sun set over the ocean and the twinkling lights of Capri and the Amalfi coast came to life. This truly was the most perfect backdrop to our reception.
Dancing and Fireworks…
After dinner we had our first dance and then the party started. We danced the night away to the play list we had prepared with our favourite songs. Later in the evening we cut the cake and then had a magical fireworks display overlooking Santa Maria below. I would highly recommend incorporating fireworks into your celebration as these were absolutely spectacular.
My Advice to Other Brides…
Quite a few people thought we were mad planning a wedding at a town and venue we had never even visited in a foreign country, and of course we got a few jitters the closer we got to flying out. However the first time we met Michelle and visited the castle and reception venue we were absolutely blown away. I really could not recommend Michelle highly enough; she really did make our wedding the most fantastic day of our lives. We would do it all over again tomorrow if we could!
The Perfect Partners
Wedding Planner: Italy Bride and Groom Weddings // Photographer: Chantal Lachance-Gibson Photography // Civil Ceremony: 11th century Castellabate Castle // Reception Venue: Hill top restaurant in Castellabate // Wedding Flowers: Organised by wedding planner, sourced locally // Brides Hair & Make-up: Organised by wedding planner, sourced locally // Bridal Accommodation: www.residenzadepoca1861.it // Guest Accommodation: Selection of central boutique hotels and B&B’s