How can we Help?
When my mobile rings I never know who or what will be coming my way. One rainy Spring day I picked up to hear a very well spoken voice at the other end asking if I could help with information on a civil wedding in Italy for two – an elope wedding in Puglia. I have often written about my love of elope weddings – thank you my mystery caller it was just the thing to take my mind off the rain!
My well-spoken caller turned out to be Kabir, he and his soon to be wife were going to have a big, colourful Indian wedding in the UK and would need to complete the legalities of their marriage in a civil wedding. They were playing with the idea of doing this in Italy on their mini-moon. The accommodation had already been booked with a small boutique hotel, so they were exploring whether a civil wedding was possibility and if they could achieve the paperwork between March and their trip to Puglia in late August.
A quick calculation by me and good news, it could be done. The paperwork for an Italy wedding cannot be started more than 6 months from the date of the wedding. When planning an elope it is advisable to allow for at least three months to complete the documents required for UK citizens so we were in good place to make this happen. Read more on legal requirements
It can sometimes be overwhelming at this first point of contact by going into detail on what is involved so I gave Kabir the basics on costs and the documentation just enough information for him to discuss things with his fiancé, the details could be saved for when they had made the decision to go ahead..
Kabir called a few weeks later to say they had decided on getting married in Puglia. Fabulous news for me as their choice was a detour from the majority of weddings I do which are on the Amalfi Coast or Tuscany. I was thrilled to be doing something different.
With temperatures in August hitting the high 30s I thought a coastal location would be perfect. Otranto was a short drive from their accommodation. I called upon my friend and interpreter Ada for her local knowledge, I wanted to organise the ceremony in a romantic location to make this part of their wedding equally as memorable as their cultural wedding at home. We decided on the Castello Aragonese and one of their ceremonial rooms.
When it comes to Italy weddings and the month of August there are a couple of things to think about, sun, heat and the major Italian holiday of Ferragosto. Each on their own can play havoc with arrangements, but as a combination it can make for a very noisy and bustling wedding.
Coastal locations over the holiday season can almost double in population. We were given a time slot of midday for the ceremony so to avoid the crowds and the heat the interior option would ensure Kabir and Sonam had privacy for their intimate ceremony and save them from melting.
The ceremony was conducted by the town hall official in one of the castle’s main halls. The arched ceiling, exposed brick work and stone reliefs gave just the right amount of Italian character to the events.
As there would only be a small number of people we did not change the set up of the room. The only decoration was a floral composition which was placed on the table. At Kabir and Sonam’s requestn arrangements were to be kept authentic, simple and tasteful.
Kabir and Sonam drove themselves to Otranto, they parked their rental car and walked to the Castle where they were met by Ada and Alfredo of Studio Cromatica photography. The latter part of August is typically when businesses close down for one or two weeks and everyone heads off to their holiday home, it can be difficult to secure services during this time this is worth bearing in mind if you are planning an August wedding. We were very lucky to get Alfredo for a 2-hour time slot as the request or photography came fairly late in the wedding planning process. Phew!
Kabir looked very on point in white shirt, trousers, bowtie and braces. Sonam, who is very petite looked amazing in a simple white maxi dress with spaghetti straps, Sonam’s beautiful hair was kept loose and sleek, they made for a very striking couple.
The whole theme for this romantic getaway was to be relaxed nothing too showy or grand, more natural and go with the flow.
The civil ceremony must be witnessed – we called upon two rather dapper gentlemen, friends of Ada, who just happened to mirror the style of clothing favoured by the groom – I don’t think I can take credit for that!
The ceremony was simple, just a small amount of personalisation for vows and their ring exchange.
I often get asked how photography works for an elope wedding, couples often have a perception of unnatural posing and feeling awkward in public. With the right photographer you will look as amazing as did Kabir and Sonam and blend in with the everyday life of your chosen destination.
My role as a wedding planner is to make real the couple’s requests. For Sonam and Kabir after the formalities of the ceremony they swapped to holiday mode.
-They had brought with them a change of clothes and swimsuits, they headed down to the port where we had arranged a private boat for a tour of the coastline, stopping for a swim and celebratory lite lunch and prosecco.
To complete their Italian wedding day experience we made a dinner reservation, a romantic table for two at one of Otranto’s top restaurants. A perfect end to a second wedding celebration for Sonam and Kabir.
Are you one of those couples who really does not want the hoo hah of a big traditional style wedding but you cannot quite visualise how things would work for an elope wedding abroad. Thoughts of feeling self conscious, looking a little uncomfortable posing for photos in a strange location. Forget about those thoughts and take inspiration from Kabir and Sonam’s easy going elope wedding in Puglia.
If the notion of a romantic getaway wedding is for you and you would like to have skype call, pop over a quick email to weddinginItal@accentevents.co.uk
A big thank you to my collaborators – The A-team.
Translator: Ada Mazzotta
Photographer: Studio Cromatica
Civil Ceremony venue: Castello Aragonese
Couple’s accommodation: Don Totu
Private Boat: Tortuga Excursioni in Barca
Evening Restaurant: Locanda dei Camini
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“There is a very fine line between handing something off and losing sight of what you want, Gio ensured that this never happened and we both felt completely involved. None of that magic, as the bride, in making decisions was lost.”
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