With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, there is no better time to share my romantic fairytale wedding story with you…
Since our first wedding anniversary is coming up this Valentine’s day I decided to dedicate this post to all the amazing worldwide wedding parties we had during the past year and to share all the beautiful memories we made with you…
Our civil marriage took place on the beach in Hawaii, right in front of our house on the North Shore of Oahu, where one of our best friends, ‘Jesus’ (true story!) married us on Valentines Day. It was a small ceremony without any guests or much preparation in advance. We slept in and pampered ourselves with a luxurious spa day enjoying a relaxing massage along with some bubbly at the local ‘Turtle Bay Resort’. My husband built an arch made of bamboo that we set up on the beach just a few minutes before sunset and one of our friends who happens to be an amazing photographer came over to capture our special moment. My dress was simple and we both went barefoot in the sand while the sun was slowly setting into the ocean behind us – just how I always dreamed it would be. One thing that I did not dream of was the weather, as it started raining the minute we left our house. But like they say here in Hawaii, rain is a blessing and without it, there’d be no rainbows…🌈
After eloping on the beach of Hawaii, we decided that it was time to finally celebrate together with all our friends and family. Our first party was hosted here at home where we invited our friends from the Island. We ended up having visitors from the US mainland and Europe joining our party and really enjoyed having so many amazing people around us during this very special time in our lives. Together, we all went to the beach to watch the sunset in the place we got married just a few months earlier. Afterward, we all enjoyed a beautiful dinner together at our house where we continued dancing the night away.
The actual ceremony was planned in Italy in my father’s hometown where we gathered all our family members and close friends just a month later. As you can imagine, it is not so easy to plan and organize a wedding when you live in the complete opposite time zone more than 8,000 miles away from the event location. The last weeks before the wedding were especially stressful for me, as I was struggling with the fitting of my dress and felt a little alone during this time. Also, my husband was very busy and does not speak any Italian, which initially left me pretty much on my own with most of the wedding preparations. Luckily, I had some great support from my family back at home who was there to help and in the end, took over most of the organization.
My parents went location scouting in Italy and we ended up picking a venue that really sparked my attention with its pink Mexican-style decor that perfectly blended in with our Mediterranean wedding and the color of my dress. My parents also helped to organize a very talented florist and I was able to choose every little detail from the flower arrangements and decoration for the church and restaurant all the way to the head crowns my bridesmaids were wearing during the ceremony. Knowing that many people in my position might have preferred to hand everything over to a professional wedding planner, I am actually very proud for having managed everything together with my family, as I can be pretty particular about certain things (people who know me well enough would most probably agree with this statement as well) and I really wanted everything to be the way I always dreamed of.
After all, it was far beyond what I could have ever imagined. I am really not exaggerating when I say that we had an absolute fairy tale wedding. Starting with the ceremony itself and the breathtaking gospel choir, to the most beautiful bridesmaids and groomsmen, to our families coming from all parts of the world together and sharing an Italian dinner, to the band and the singers that my sister had flown in for the special occasion, to the photo booth my friend from high school crafted and brought along for the event, all the way until our delicious and beautifully decorated wedding cake: everything was simply perfect!
However, if there was one single thing that we could have done a little differently it would probably be our Bachelor and Bachelorette Party, which was scheduled the night before our big day. Knowing that this was probably not the smartest decision, we were under a little bit of a time constraint, as our priority was to ensure that all our bridesmaids and groomsmen were in town already in order to be able to attend this event. Since many of them just arrived a day ahead this was really the only date we could have chosen.
I am very tempted to say that you can probably already imagine the disaster that followed but trust me you really cannot! Don’t get me wrong, as we all had a lot of fun that night (well, some of us maybe more than others…), but the next morning turned into a little nightmare. After one of my friends had to rush to the hospital due to a broken collarbone (don’t ask), her flatmate – who also happened to be one of my bridesmaids – ended up being locked inside her own apartment (again, don’t ask). So the morning of our wedding my husband was assigned to go and free my bridesmaid and make sure everyone is ok and able to show up on time. I was so worried about my friend in hospital that I completely forgot to get ready myself.
By midday and with the arrival of a big storm followed by some of the craziest post-party messages on my phone I almost forgot that I was about to get married that day. But when my mom helped me inside my dress after everyone else had left the house I finally realized that this was actually happening. I will never forget my fathers face when he first saw me in my wedding gown and how nervous I was driving up to the church with him. Seeing my husband standing at the altar with all our bridesmaids and groomsmen by his side and friends and family around us was such a magical moment. Looking back at it, everything seems so blurry to me, as I was so overwhelmed with emotions and it went by way too fast.
It is pretty crazy how much you plan for this one single moment in your life and then suddenly everything is over so quickly. It’s also pretty ironic how all our weddings ended up in a rain shower. However, according to Italian traditions, we were actually pretty lucky with the weather, as they say, “Sposa bagnata, sposa fortunata” (A wet bride is a lucky bride…well, let’s not overanalyze it). Needless to say, we really enjoyed every single second of it and are truly grateful for having shared this very special moment of our lives together with everyone we love.
Thank you to everyone for their endless love&support, we are so very blessed and happy and look forward to creating many more great memories in our future together.
If you thought our wedding celebrations were already over at this point, I have to disappoint you, as we surely continued our party marathon. In between, we took a little break and enjoyed a beautiful Mini-Honeymoon in Sicily where we drank and ate (my daily diet consisted mainly of Arancini & Cannoli along with a Spritz) our way along the coast. We enjoyed staying at a beautiful family-run and eco-friendly hotel (Villa Schuler) right in the heart of Taormina that gave us the most amazing views of the erupting Mount Etna from our balcony and the rooftop terrace. Some of my trip highlights were getting lost in the mountains with no GPS and sneaking last minute into ‘La Traviata’, which was playing live under the stars at the ancient Greek amphitheater in Taormina.
After this little break, we continued to our next destination: Berlin, where we enjoyed another wonderful Italian dinner surrounded by loved ones at my family’s restaurant. And before returning to Hawaii we had one more stop on our list: my husbands family home in Michigan, where my mom-in-law organized another traditional country-style wedding party for us. We ate, we drank, we sang, we laughed and boy did we dance! It was a very different but super fun experience for me bringing so many different cultures together, all in the name of love 🥰