Joe & Joe
Every picture tells a story…for the two Joes (for ease of reference we have Joe S and Joe M) it was a gift of a painting that is the opening chapter for the Joes destination wedding in Italy, this and the Italian ancestry of one of the Joes. These two things go towards making this a very personal journey on many different levels.
From: San Francisco, USA
Nearest Airport: Naples International Airport
From Jo Day Accent Events
Throughout my relationship with the Joes what came across is the family bond, connections to people we hold dear – this resonated with me because of my Italian heritage and my memories of my grandmother and spending extended holidays in Italy. Flavours and tastes from our childhood immediately conjure up a time and place and a particular period in our lives. More of this later.
Joe S reached out to Accent Events at the time Italy was moving forward with the passing the same-sex civil union law through the judicial system and government. We had been monitoring progress as we knew this would make Italy an attractive option for same-sex couples. Along with the inquiry came the image of the painting showing a quaint harbour, and the request to find this location in Italy.
It turned out that not only did the painting have sentimental significance to the Joes it also had its own story! My research led me to an art contact in the USA, I discovered that the scene in the painting is called “Greek Port” and the artist of this painting is in fact Tony Bennett, the famous Italian-American singer. My challenge was now to find somewhere that resembled the picturesque scene but in Italy.
The small port town of Portofino, Liguria immediately came to mind.
Portofino is famed for its seasonal celebrity visitors, Hollywood stars and power couples – as Queen Bea (Beyonce) and Jay-Z, the odd Russian oligarch may also make an appearance. Do not be fooled this miniature fishing port dotted with little boutique shops packs a punch with the price tags.
Portofino is also the haven for super-yachts cruising down from Cannes, colossal three tier structures with a team of private staff to cater for every whim.
For those wedding planners with the insider knowledge and the help of on-line cruise ship itineraries – selecting the perfect date and time will go a long way to ensuring Portofino is the quaint fishing port, unassuming, enchanting and personal for the Joes ceremony.
The Joes would be joining the the jet-set life hosting events for their family and friends in some of the well known clubs, beach clubs in Portofino and Santa Margherita culminating in the main purpose of their visit – their personalised ceremony in the iconic Castello Brown overlooking the port.
Destination weddings work very well over a three day period.
Benvenuti – Welcome
Le Carillon Club is located in Paraggi on an even smaller bay to that of Portofino. At the end of May this venue is a dream, the sound of the waves lapping the shore is a soundtrack only the sea can compose so lyrically.
We arranged for a private area on the jetty which was decorated with candles and lanterns as the natural light changed from pink to blue the Joes and their guests began to relax into their surroundings.
The fabulous and charismatic photographer, David Bastianoni and his super assistant Alessia joined us for the evening taking some creative and fun shots of the Joes – it was a great opportunity for the Joes to get to know David ready for their big day.
And to top it all Le Carillon Club featured for one night and one song only an impromptu rendition of Alicia Keys “If I Ain’t Got You Baby” by one of the Joes long time friends.
The personal stuff
A destination wedding is an opportunity to make your personal requests for those things that have sentimental value – for Joe M it was to experience the tastes and texture of Italy through a typical Sicilian cookie that used to be made by his Sicilian grandmother. This had to be on the dessert table.
Leading on to the cuisine it was important for both Joes that the menu would reflect the cuisine of the region and the presentation would wow their guests, each course was carefully selected to compliment the course that followed.
Joe S had taken the lead on the actual wedding planning, I personally loved his choices, arriving into Portofino port to the theme of 007 – James Bond.
This sounded so good played on trumpet and bass guitar – this has become my all time favourite wedding moment. The tone of these two instruments drew visitors and locals to watch the Joes arrival.
They were dressed to thrill in midnight blue and black tuxedo style suits. It made me smile to hear one onlooker squeal “they are wearing bow ties” this has to be one of my favourite lines!
The temperature at the end of May was around 27 degrees – to help guests ascend the steep steps up to the castle each guest was given a fan and the promise of ice-cold water waiting at the top.
The Wedding Day was styled to be a masculine and elegant occasion. Modern-style minimalist flower arrangements paired with silver candelabra, lanterns and a blue and white colour theme.
Prior to the start of the commitment ceremony, each paired couple was allocated a song chosen by Joe S to accompany their entrance down the aisle – freedom of expression encouraged and live streamed to friends in the USA.
The ceremony took place on the open air terrace of Castello Brown. Elevated with spectacular views down to the port. A rustic style wedding arch provided the picture frame for their ceremony.
The emotional script was co-written by the Joes. It was an inclusive ceremony involving family members who placed symbolic ribbons across the Joes joined hands – 6 ribbons for 6 vow commitments and also representing those who could not be present – this element of the ceremony was based on the “Celtic Knot” symbolism. The ceremony was conducted in both Italian and English.
Kings of the Castle
The Joes chose a long table perfect for the dimensions of the interior room. Two tables split across a two tier floor plan in a “statesman-style” banquet format was such a great choice for the masculine and elegant brief. The Joes were seated strategically in front of heavy tapestry panel – this gave them kings of the castle status.
The Joes and their guests were treated to a ground firework display set to music, followed by an especially choreographed dance and cutting of the wedding cake.
As Joe S is a fan of electronic dance music each guest was given an electronic wrist band which pulsed different colour lights to the beat of the music. Who would have thought Castello Brown would be used for a mini wedding rave!
This has been Accent Events first same sex wedding in Italy. We have learned much from the experience. The international and geographical aspects allowed us to provide a comprehensive consultancy service to our client. The Joes put a high level of trust in our ability to communicate and convey their vision and requests to local suppliers.
I have given an example of the fun stuff but there were some very personal requests and considerations which had very personal motivations – where possible we delivered, if it was not possible then it was accepted with the knowledge we did our best.
We are now going to spend time finessing our approach and service to meet a slightly different set of expectations. We are very happy to have been given the opportunity to grow and improve the client experience with Accent Events. The wedding day event is very important – now that the civil union ceremony is available in so many countries same sex couples have a choice as to where and how they wish to celebrate their legal union – this is something that we can celebrate and fully appreciate.
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