One grey January day last year Laura and Graham cancelled their big white wedding at home in the UK. The couple decided to throw caution to the wind and shoot for a destination wedding. Since both had fallen in love with Italy’s Amalfi Coast while on holiday, they returned there to marry in Sorrento’s beautiful San Francesco Cloisters. Their decision meant forgoing the long-haul honeymoon they had hoped for, but the trade-off of having a perfect day abroad was a decision they didn’t regret. The whole beautiful celebration was captured by Purewhite Photography, and we have lots more from bride Laura below on the day’s details and planning.

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HOW THEY MET

“We met ten years ago after I had finished my A-levels and Graham was out for a casual drink with friends. After dating for 7 years (which included travelling, several career changes and buying a house) Graham proposed in Hyde Park on Valentine’s Day 2013 before taking me to my favourite little French restaurant in Mayfair, London- Le Boudin Blanc.

DECIDING ON THE DESTINATION

We wed in Sorrento on Italy’s Amalfi Coast after falling in love with the destination on holiday. We had already planned a big white wedding in the UK but on a rainy January in 2015 neither of us was that excited about the plans and it was turning in to a logistical and political nightmare. We threw caution to the wind and cancelled it all and by the following weekend and much online research, we chose our wedding planner, venue and date in August. There was never any question for us on the venue- as soon as we saw the pictures of Relais Blu and read the reviews we were determined to make it work. It matched our style completely and we couldn’t wait to share the experience with our closest family and friends.

CHALLENGES

With some careful negotiation we were able to change our plans without losing too much money, however telling our family and friends was hard as we knew not everyone would be able to make it and for those with families it meant a difficult decision for them on whether they could factor it in to their plans for the year. Graham is a teacher so we were restricted on dates to summer holidays which is the most expensive time to travel – it also meant forfeiting the long-haul honeymoon we had imagined, but to have our perfect day in the location we did was 100% worth it! Our friends and family were brilliant and whilst not everyone could make it, we were blessed that so many did at such short notice. We used Silvia Schiappa from Flowers & Confetti as our wedding planner, based in Sorrento. She was hugely helpful for local supplier knowledge and organising the fundamental components of the day. We flexed a basic package to include additional options (like a harp) but chose our own photographer due to our preference in style.

STYLE & THEME

I has originally wanted an all-white theme with a relaxed, bohemian vibe. As we got closer to the day, we were still undecided on bridesmaid dresses and eventually opted for coral, with matching ties for the groom and best man. This threw the all-white theme out to some degree but flowers, decorations and accessories were shades of white and Relais Blu reminds me more of Ibiza than Italy with white, minimal style seating- the wow factor is in the view. The wedding ended up more formal than we anticipated when we first decided to marry abroad so it lost some of the boho feel I initially imagined, but I was happy with the end result!

BEST DECISION

Marrying abroad was the best decision we could have made- without question! We are big foodies and I was terrified of this being a problem at a big wedding in the UK, plus the weather was an obvious deciding factor. The proximity to the UK also meant most of our guests chose to make it a long weekend rather than have to use a week of annual leave or have too long away from families, and we were able to celebrate over the course of a couple of days rather than have it a one day event.

MOST MEMORABLE

Our most memorable moment was arriving at our reception venue, Relais Blu and seeing the faces of all of our guests. You reach the venue by driving up through the hills of the Amalfi coastline from Sorrento to Massa Lubrense and the day we got married was simply perfect, the afternoon sun starting to go down on the bay and a clear view of Capri- we arrived just after our guests and they were all speechless. We were greeted on the roof terrace with applause and a glass of prosecco where we spent the next hour toasting and sampling the delicious canapés, whilst everyone photographed the view from every possible angle! It was a magical feeling to have brought so many of our closest family and friends together in such a beautiful place to share our moment.

ADVICE

It’s such a cliché but you really do have to do what’s right for you as a couple. Had we not chosen something that really reflected our tastes and preference, we would have ended up with (hopefully a very nice) but cookie cutter, white wedding and I know I would have always wondered ‘what if’ we’d done it differently. Instead we did what we dreamt of at the risk of upsetting the balance with family and friends.

I also had some anxiety about being labelled a bridezilla so I gave free reign to our wedding party to choose outfits and help out as they wished. With six weeks to go we still had no bridesmaid dresses or suits and I’d managed all of planning by myself. If I did it again I would have embraced being more assertive with choices and asking for help- I’d recommend this to anyone planning a wedding. If help isn’t forthcoming, ask for it! Once I did my bridesmaids were great and said they’d only left me to get on with it because they thought I wanted to! I’d advise everyone to be bold enough to follow your dreams from day one and stop trying to please everyone else- what is important is creating a day you will both remember.”

Photography: Purewhite Photography | Wedding Planner: Flowers & Confetti |  Hotel: Hotel Plaza | Ceremony: San Francesco Cloisters, Sorrento | Reception: Relais Blu | Hair & Makeup: Jimena Puy | Bride’s Dress: “Emily” by Charlotte Balbier | Bridesmaid Dresses: ASOS | Groomswear: Next | Bride’s Shoes: Kurt Geiger | Bride’s Jewellery: Liberty in Love | Bridesmaid Jewellery: Accessorize | Stationery: Ebay

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