What’s It All About, Amalfi?
If you’ve been to the Amalfi Coast you’ll know it’s no exaggeration to say that it’s one of the most beautiful corners of this sweet earth.
If you’ve never been, imagine lemon groves, brightly coloured houses, the high-pitched buzz of Vespas snaking down cobbled streets filled with tiny shops, and cool Italians lazily calling “ciao” to each other across lively squares.
Imagine a place rising from clear turquoise sea on craggy volcanic cliffs, the towns and villages so much a part of their environment that you can’t tell where the rocks end and the hotels built into the very cliff-faces begin. Imagine watching the sun go down behind Vesuvius across the calm, rippling bay, while the warm sea breeze gently brushes across your face.
From: Cambridge, UK
Nearest Airport: Naples International
Take me Back to Sorrento
Having always loved the Amalfi Coast and Sorrento in particular, it didn’t take long for Caroline & James to settle on Southern Italy for their Sorrento wedding. Being an easily accessible European destination, they knew that their families would be able to attend, and would be guaranteed a beautifully memorable holiday. Also, being so familiar with the town, the couple could easily envisage the wedding and had agreed upon its overall concept before they had even booked their venues.
In Black & White
“I was keen to retain a Mediterranean feel and avoid any of the ‘Brits Abroad’ syndrome”, explained Caroline. “With that in mind I chose a lace column dress which I felt was in keeping with the location, and wore white orchids in my hair. Similarly the men avoided light-coloured outfits, opting instead for the dark suits more usual at Italian weddings”. The orchids formed a theme that ran throughout the day, appearing in the bouquets, button holes, and on the reception tables. Mindful of the town’s popularity as a 1950s holiday resort for stars such as Sophia Lauren and Dean Martin, Caroline chose monochrome colours, at all times setting blacks against pure whites to reflect the dazzling Sorrento sunlight.
Hand in Hand through the Streets
When planning the wedding, the couple were keen to incorporate as many local traditions as possible, rather than simply exporting a UK wedding along with all its associated etiquette and formalities. Caroline & James upheld the tradition where the groom meets the bride at her residence, and they walk to the ceremony venue together. “This meant we had a comparatively private moment in the lounge of our hotel before walking to the venue with our wedding party, hand in hand through Sorrento as people stopped to watch us pass”.
A Short but Sweet Ceremony
The ceremony was held at 3pm in the 13th century monastery cloisters next to the Church of St Francis near the main square. Caroline explains, “I wasn’t nervous as I walked down the aisle, and I don’t even remember looking at James as I walked towards him – the DVD shows me craning round my dad to point and wave at my guests while grinning like a buffoon instead. In fact the emotion didn’t get the better of me until my friend stepped up to do the reading, which she did so expressively that my eyes filled with tears.”
After the twenty minute ceremony, the guests were ushered to the reception while the photographers took the newly-weds up and down the narrow, cobbled streets of Sorrento, past the tiny shops, the rows of mopeds, the washing lines, snapping all the way as people congratulated them.
A View of Vesuvius
The reception was held on the Villa Pompiana terrace of the Bellevue Syrene – a Romanesque hotel built on the foundations of an ancient Villa, complete with frescos and mosaics. The scene that was laid out before them all was incomparable; the town and the bay bathed in the pinky orange light of the setting sun, and the dark, looming beauty of Vesuvius across the bay. The wedding party had private use of the terrace for the entire evening, so speeches were held before dinner to enable everyone to relax and enjoy the five-course meal, which included the traditional Sorrentine lemon cream wedding cake, Limone Delize.
Let’s Face the Music
The music for the evening reception had been carefully chosen to reflect the theme and create the right ambience – a collection of up-beat 50s swing and jazz songs had been compiled, which provided excellent background music and at the same time managed to get even the oldest of the guests up and dancing!
Although the couple put a lot of time, thought and hard work into planning the wedding, after enrolling the help of a wonderful co-ordinator (which is an absolute must in Italy because of the complex legal requirements), they found it very enjoyable and easy to arrange. It also left a fabulous impression on their guests. “When I announced that I was getting married abroad there were a lot of cynics”, Caroline concluded, “but the biggest cynics of them all were the ones who, on the day and ever since, have raved on the most about how wonderful it was”.
Story: Callie Copeman-Bryant
The Perfect Partners
Wedding Planner: The Book of Dreams – Alessandra Volino // Ceremony: Il Chistro di San Francesco // Reception: Hotel Bellevue Syrene // Wedding Photographer: JoAnne Dunn Photographer // Hair & Make-up: Beauty Line Salon, Sorrento // Wedding Dress: Benjamin Roberts // Wedding Shoes: Rainbow Club // Groom’s Attire: Suits You (youngs-hire) // Bridal Accommodation: Hotel Bellevue Syrene // Guest Accommodation: Hotel Excelsior Vittoria, Hotel Tramontano, Hotel Michelangelo, Hotel Mignon, Mami Camilla