My husband and I are recently married, so recently married that it still sounds weird to say that! On the 22nd December 2016 we made our promises to each other in Palazzo Cavalli in Venice. We did this in a near empty room with only the registrar, translator and two witnesses that we had met only moments before! And it was truly the most magical day of our lives!
Only four months previously Lee proposed at Llangennith in Wales, a very special place for his family and us. We had previously spoken about a hassle-free wedding day that was just about us and a couple of our friends had gone abroad to tie the knot and they were totally chilled about the whole planning process as they didn’t have to please anyone expect themselves. Definitely the way to go!
Of course, we had a ‘modern’ elopement, which meant that we told our families that we were disappearing off to get married! Initially there was a little resistance to the idea, however after we explained why we were doing it they understood: 1. We wanted to actually spend time together on our wedding day, 2. We wanted to have an adventure at the same time, 3. It was our wedding day, not theirs!
We had booked our usual pre-Christmas city break earlier in the year. We love Italy (especially the food!), so this year we booked flights to a new city: Venice. After getting engaged in August Lee mentioned in passing: ‘why don’t we just get married in Venice?’, obviously, I said yes immediately which took him off guard! But we soon threw ourselves into planning our intimate Venetian adventure, especially as we only had three months in which to organise everything!!
We found an amazing wedding planner to coordinate everything in Venice: Amber who owns Angel Lion. She put us in touch with our award-winning photographer, Barbara Zanon, who was totally our style: a bit quirky and willing to try new creative ideas and alternative compositions. As it was only going to be the two of us there we wanted to capture the memories so that we could share our special day with everyone back home. (All photos in this post were taken by her, she’s totally amazing!)
The goal in marriage is not to think alike,
but to think together.
Robert C. Dodds
The Wedding Day
We had been in Venice for two days prior to the main event and we were staying at Oltre il Giardino, in a junior suite which had a spacious bedroom with an enormous bed(!), a luxurious bathroom and a relaxing living room. All were decorated in a quirky minimalistic way with eclectic antique pieces and modern comforts.
I prepared myself in the bedroom (with the en suite bathroom) and Lee got ready in the living room which was connected to the rest of the hotel so that he could amuse himself during my three-hour transformation!! I had my hair and makeup done by Letizia Cordella, I wanted a natural boho look that I wouldn’t have to keep adjusting throughout the day.
At half past one the time came for the ‘prima vista’ (the first look!), which took place in the beautiful hotel garden. Luckily the weather could not have been more perfect; clear blue sky, fresh air and sunshine! I was full of nervous excitement as I walked out to meet my husband-to-be, and he was totally gorgeous, especially in his suit! A big hug and kiss helped to relax our nerves and we walked out of the garden courtyard to the canal where our traditional speed boat awaited! In James Bond style, we were transported to the town hall for our two o’clock ceremony. When we arrived, we were greeted by our witnesses who we had never met (the wedding planner’s assistant and her husband – who coincidentally got married on exactly the same day the previous year!), the registrar and the translator.
The ceremony was over in a matter of minutes and before we knew it we were husband and wife! We exchanged rings and were presented with a gift from the City of Venice; a beautiful azure blue stem vase made from Murano glass embellished with daisies and gold leaf.
And then we were off on our first adventure as a married couple: a tour of the city and surrounding islands by speedboat with our photographer. Our first stop was the island of Burano, where winding cobbled streets and palazzos were decorated with jewel coloured houses; we had great fun finding our favourite coloured houses to strike a pose by and exploring the narrow passages between little courtyards.
The next stop was San Giorgio and we arrived here as the sun started to set. We watched the golden peach light dance off the water and as we looked back to the gorgeous views of St. Mark’s Square and Dorsoduro. I had great fun twirling my dress around here watching it catch the light!
We then re-embarked the water taxi and travelled to our final destination: Hotel Danieli. For those of you who haven’t seen the film ‘The Tourist’ with Angelina Jolie and Johnny Depp, this hotel is the most beautiful in Venice! It has the most incredibly ornate staircase you will have ever seen, vibrant stained-glass windows and chandeliers that look like lavish flower arrangements. After the long day walking around we had some hot chocolate and biscuits in the lounge to energise and warm up before heading up to the Terrazza restaurant.
When we entered the restaurant, we were greeted by ‘Here comes the Bride’; so embarrassing!! The waiter then took us to an amazing table overlooking St. Mark’s Basilica, and the food and wine was delicious! We had a three-course meal of ‘land and sea’, which drew on traditional Venetian flavours with a modern twist. So wonderful!
After bathing in the atmosphere and filling ourselves to near-bursting-point we took a water taxi back to our hotel, where we spent the next hour removing about one hundred hair grips from my head!!
It was truly a wonderful day and the best thing was we actually got to spend the whole time together, being excited and sharing every moment of the experience. I cannot recommend a modern elopement enough; and if the only reason you are being put off is because you don’t want to upset your parents, then remind yourself that it’s your day not theirs! And after we got back, our parents totally got why we had disappeared off together. Remember: people who mind don’t matter, and people who matter don’t mind!
So, here’s to a lifetime of adventures!!