When Serene and Stephane contacted me to plan their dream wedding in Italy it was the end of October 2010. From the first e-mail Serene sent me I desperately wanted to plan her wedding… She was a bride full of creative ideas, very detailed oriented, precise, with clear ideas of the things she wanted, lovely and well mannered! The perfect bride every planner would love to deal with!
Serene reached me after being recommended by VILLA CIMBRONE, one of the most amazing properties of our country. A venue that has a special place in my heart because this is the place where I met my lovely husband 6 years ago!
When she called me the first time she asked me to organize an amazing experience for her and their 120 guests: 5 days of celebration in one of the most picturesque areas of Italy: The Amalfi Coast.
I was so excited, cause I had plenty of ideas since I know the area VERY well, and I have a special relationship and friendship with almost all providers, people that were able to guarantee the most perfect event.
After a couple of e-mails Serene, confirmed that she wanted me as her event planner! The challenge was organizing not only the wedding itself, but 5 days of activities to offer to their guest the most amazing holiday! And her wedding was going to be only 9 months after!
We worked together exchanging plenty of e-mails every day, designing every single detail of her event, including very meticulously planned activities and special items for their guests travelling from all over the world such as:
- Half-day excursions to Pompeii and Naples with a stop lunch in a typical pizzeria in the historical center of town
- An excursion to visit the towns of Amalfi and Positano with an informal lunch on a beach restaurant,
- Excursion to the island of Capri for about 50 guests with a stop lunch at a local restaurant
- We rented a wonderful boat to take all of them dancing in Capri in a fashionable disco! What a fun… leaving the port of Amalfi around 23:00 and coming back at 04:30 in the morning!
- 2 Full day excursions on a motor-yacht for 40 people! We organized lunch-bags for all the passengers with local products, cheeses, salami, breads, fruit, etc.etc. and of course plenty of good local wines and champagne!!! I prepared also some CDs with a finest selection of their preferred music to be played on boat!
- Welcome bags with local products: salty biscuits, a Neapolitan dessert, olives, a bottle of olive oil, a small bottle of red wine, mineral water, a bag of pasta with some fine herbs for dressing!
- Very detailed programs, personalized for each guests including the time of pick-up for each activity they were attending…
Such a hard job as you can imagine, putting together all these activities and ensuring every schedule was correct and according to plan! Me and one of my planners, Liana, prepared the programs and sent them to their hotels together with the welcome baskets, a few weeks prior their arrival…
As you may have noticed in the picture above I was pregnant! My baby was due on June 30th (on my wedding anniversary!). Serene told me not to work too much, that everything was going to be just perfect cause everything was already discussed and decided, and that she knew she was in good hands, that I needed some rest, but I couldn’t help it! I was too much into the planning of this wedding, and after all I was feeling so good… So I continued the planning until the day of the birth of my little girl Bianca, July 3rd. Guess what? Don’t call me crazy but when I came back home I continued the planning of Serene’s wedding! No one could believe I was back at work (obviously from home) so soon!
Since my baby was only 1 month old, I couldn’t coordinate in person this fabulous wedding, but my wedding planners Sara and Martina did it on my behalf! They are wonderful, I had no doubts that they were going to plan it as if it was myself! They left the office on the 2nd of August, arriving in Ravello around midday to meet Serene and Stephane and doing a run-through of the entire event… But let’s go through what happened that week…
The whole week of celebration started with a family dinner at the 5* Luxury Hotel Santa Caterina, a romantic candlelight dinner on the beach restaurant of the Hotel. Family members and closest friends were picked-up in Ravello and transferred to Amalfi (20 minutes ride) around 19.30.
Tables were decorated with a simple floral centerpiece of yellow roses, orchids and lemons, surrounded by tea-lights and flowers scattered on the table. A garland of roses and greenery was placed around the hand-rail, with lanterns hanging from the ceiling… The effect was really impressive.
They had a wonderful dinner with a lovely menu…
Aubergine Tartare with Baked Ricotta Cheese
Risotto with Shrimps and Rocket Salad
Fillet of Red Snapper au Gratin with Sun Dried Tomatoes and Capers,
Savoy Cabbage with Pine Nuts
Amalfi Puff Pastry with Citrus Fruit Sauce
Coffee or Tea, Friandises
Wines selected (served from the youngest…)
Whites: Greco di Tufo Vigna Cigogna 2006, Bernito Ferrara
Greco di Tufo Cutizzi 2007, Feudi San Gregorio
Rosè: Rosato di Aglianico Igt 2008, Feudi San Gregorio (presented throughout the meal)
The dinner was delicious, the atmosphere very pleasant. An excellent start for a full week of celebrations!
The next day (August 3rd) was the day of their civil wedding! We had planned a romantic outdoor civil ceremony in the town hall of Ravello. The ceremony took place in the Gardens of the Principessa di Piemonte overlooking the sea! A gazebo was rented to create some shade as well as 40 chairs with white chair cover and 2 wonderful floral arrangements organized by our local florist.
A wonderful relaxed wedding ceremony overlooking the sea with closest family members and friends.
After the civil ceremony the whole group walked to Villa Cimbrone where we organized a very relaxed country lunch with a special theme called: “Mamma Mia”. A large white gazebo with white tents, 2 long tables with white and green checked table cloths. Tables where decorated with wild flowers from the region, lovely pots filled with rosemary, mint, basil… special decors made with fresh fruit, pumpkin, nuts… Big plates of pasta, cold cuts, bread, cheeses, mozzarellas and salads… and of course plenty of delicious wines from Tuscany and Campania region… for a truly impressive family style lunch reception meticulously decorated! The result was SUPERB!
Many kids were attending to this special event and for them we had to think about something different. Their table was decorated with something that could keep them busy. Therefore in addition to the basic arrangement made with local flowers we added some colored Catherine wheels, wooden toys, candies and pastel colors and some books… Kids were so happy and adults didn’t have to worry about them!
The following days activities for guests started. Guests decided in advance which activities they wanted to attend. Some of them were taking an excursion to Pompeii and Naples, others were visiting Amalfi and Positano, the remaining part of the group were having fun in luxurious motor-yachts rented for the whole day and touring the coast and Capri!
On August 3rd a bachelorette party was organized for Serene in her suite. What happened there we do not know :) We only know it was lots of fun for them!
On August 4th, a group of 60 people (young and young at heart guests) was ready for their night in Capri! Shuttle buses took them down to the port of Amalfi where a wonderful boat was waiting for them at 22:30 to transfer them to the Island of Capri. They danced the whole night away in the fashionable Number One and came back at their hotel at 5 in the morning! Guess where just wondering what incredible surprise Serene and Stephane had for them after this incredible start!
The next day around 7:00 pm, the whole bridal party met our coordinators, event managers of the villa, the musicians and the DJ for a rehearsal of ceremony! A very unconventional ceremony, with the only purpose to be fun and memorable and this is exactly what they achieved!
And finally the wedding day arrived: August 6th 2011! Our florist that came on purpose from Tuscany to decorate this fabulous wedding, started to work from early in the morning. There were thousand of flowers, lanterns, candles, tea-lights… Serene wanted a very ELEGANT, LUXURIOUS and REFINED decor. In the colors of white, lilac, purple. The overall effect had to be OPULENT and GRAND!
For this special occasion we organized a green grass to be laid out in the ceremony area and asked the venue to provide white chairs for the guests. Our event designers created a new special design for the tea-room, something never seen before… A sumptuous garland hanging from the ceiling of the tea-room, ambrassetos around the columns, 4 large arrangements placed on top of the tea-room pillars, a marvellous decor for the well, and a garland to create an alley effect… We wanted to give the WOW effect that Serene wanted! The picture below shows the result!
But now it’s time to talk about the schedule of event… This is what I have organized according to the time schedule of the villa and my client…
18:00 Guests arrived at Villa Cimbrone. A jazz band played in the Tea room area.
18:30 Ceremony! Entrance of the groom and friends. An unusual entrance of the room, dancing the song “Ain’t no Mountain High Enough” by Marvin Gaye.
18:36 Entrance of flowers girls and bridesmaid with the song “Hymne à l’Amour” by Edith Piaf sung by talented Tenor of the San Carlo Theater with a string quartet and guitarist
18:39 Entrance of Serene and her father walking through the marvellous Rose garden
19:00 End of ceremony. The celebrant announces that the groom can kiss the bride. Immediately after the kiss, the DJ played “Waterloo” by Abba. The newlyweds, the bridal party and all guests started to dance!
19:10 The traditional Guitar and Mandolin accompanied the whole group to the lawn area located in front of the Villa while guests were entertained by a group of Tarantella dancers!
19:30 Walk to the Belvedere of Infinity Terrace.
While Martina was supervising the cocktail hour, Sara was checking the table decors and layout, making sure everything was PERFECT!
20:30 Bride and groom and their guests walk to the Crypt! The entrance must be impressive too! All candles are lit. We organized a special lighting to give a more impressive effect to the crypt.
20:45 Guest enter in the crypt
20:50 Entrance of bride and groom and the bridal party dancing a Lebanese Song called “Ziffu Al Arous”
A wonderful 3 course dinner was served with exceptional white and red wines… Have a look at their menu:
Sea food salad served with mashed potatoes, celery and tomatoes
Lobster and artichoke risotto
Beef fillet with Taurasi wine mushrooms and potatoes
Wedding cake served in the garden
Fruit & Dessert buffet, Crepes with dessert wine selection
Coffee & Neapolitan Pastries
22:30 Cutting of the cake – outdoor in the new lawn area of the Villa, an impressive panoramic area!
22:45 Buffet of dessert and open bar opening
23:00 First dance
01:00 End of event at Villa Cimbrone, followed by an after hour party in a nearby venue with magnificent views. Obviously Martina, Sara, the videographer (Andrea) and Elena (make-up artist) followed the entire group at the villa.
03:00 Breakfast served for all guests!
05:00 End of wedding celebration! Guests were all transferred with shuttle buses to their hotels.
The next day it was quite difficult for everybody to wake-up but they were all curious to see what we had organized to end a full week of celebration… A wonderful Dejeuner Sur L’Herbe, with a theme color of pure white and acid green, white hydrangeas and lavender floral decors, white blankets on the grass, big cushions, picnic baskets full of fruits, bread, biscuits, some chaise longues to relax and white big umbrellas to create some shade…
We organized for all guests some local hats to give as a present… guests got crazy when they saw these marvellous hats placed almost everywhere… And of course there was one also for Martina and Sara!
Image Credits: Carlo Carletti ©.