Marco & I. Our romantic, unconventional wedding
Everything started with a proposal during a trip to Mexico. A journey that ended with “La dolce vita!” in the beautiful Roman countryside. It was definitely a stylish, unconventional, moveable wedding, a journey for everyone involved. Now I’m hoping to inspire you and help you plan your big day!
— February 3rd, 2018
Here’s our story, our vision of what a wedding could be. For new brides to be, we add a wedding plan checklist to stay organized—and sane!—during your planning phase.

Our real -life inspiration for a real- life wedding proposal

Everything started with a trip to Mexico with Levente, our favorite Hungarian-living-in-Miami friend who, after this journey, literally became my hero.

I had no idea Marco was going to propose. I’d thought up this perfect itinerary, planned experiences on an exact timetable that would (ideally) allow us to optimize our Mexican adventure. But my schedule spelled disaster for Marco’s proposal plan and Levente was the one in charge of dealing with me and my perfect well-organized program. My no showing gratitude to this unlucky guy, reached critical mass the day before our 10th couple anniversary, when we arrived in the perfect, luxurious, mind blowing, paradisiac eco resort in Tulum that he selected for us. Picture wood-hewn villas between the Mayan jungle and the Caribbean Sea. No electric lights, lots of candles. In Lak’ech, Hala Ken, the Mayan greeting, bringing pure love and unity. “I am another you. You are another me.”

Definitely the perfect setting—below the photos ;-)—for what was about to happen, but instead our first night ended with me having a panic attack over a tiny lizard that unexpectedly entered our room. The next morning, the weather didn’t cooperate with Marco’s master plan. Lightning and thunder crashed down in place of a perfect sunny day. Marco planned to make the proposal on top of one of the highest Mayan pyramids. Imagine a place where you feel you can touch the sky while jumping into the green forest that surrounds you—as far as the eyes can see…very romantic, yet dangerous on a rainy day.

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This is the place, in a sunny day :)

I saw Levente alone on the beach, almost defeated, and Marco as well started to crumple under the weight of the demoralized mood. Still guilty from my performance the night before, I didn’t argue for even a moment when Marco took me on a walk into the wet jungle, looking for a Mayan pyramid to climb. I thought it was an outrageously crazy thing to do, but I expected nothing less from him.

We went alone, though I was conflicted about leaving Levente by himself on the beach. Of course there would be no pyramid-climbing under these rainy skies, but our slip-sliding feet brought us to the shelter of a big tree laced with lots of aerial roots and very soft green moss. We stopped there for a while, listening to the silence of the jungle under a slight rain. We examined our big tree and talked about how old it could be, how many things it could ever have seen. After hours in the jungle, our senses were amplified and able to capture the beauty we hadn’t seen at first. In front of us, a path made of a gallery of trees connected at the top, like a tunnel. Soft white light filtered from above. The smell of the water touching soil, delivering robust life to the tropical vegetation. In that moment of silence and wonder, the entire place seemed a magical bubble where we were in harmony with all of Nature. 

Marco finally made his shy move with the white gold, round cut diamond ring that I’ve always dreamed about. Conflicted emotions exuded from his big brown eyes. I felt his fragility in that moment where he opened himself up, waiting for my answer. Too moved to be able to repeat the speech he’d prepared, he put the decision on my hands with:

“I’m not sure of what my life will be but I want you to be part of it. I can’t promise you a life full of certainties but a life together”. 

And of course it was definitely a big yes!

So, even if it did not go exactly as planned, when that moment arrived it was perfect, our lives transforming under an ancient tree, a silent witness to the start of our next chapter. But why am I writing all this? The message for all the guys waiting to propose would be just this: don’t worry about the details, just seize the moment and no matter what, everything will turn out magical!

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photo credits:  Azulik 

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The ultimate Wedding Plan Checklist

After planning everything by myself, I highly suggest you hire a wedding planner. No matter what your job is, even if, like me, you’ve organized big events, that day you need someone to take control of the situation so you’re free to live your wedding day to its fullest. I thought, “I don’t need a wedding planner, I have girlfriends who will help me that day”…but when the day arrived, the location was so cool and the pool was so tempting that all my girlfriends were having fun—they did right! :D—working only when I was checking up on them, assigning tasks.

So, step #1: find your wedding planner! :)

Then, the basic checklist:
1. Start thinking of overall design, the leitmotif of your wedding
2. Select the venue—thinking also about hotels and places where the guest could stay
3. Check with the venue if you need to order rental items—chairs, special lounge furniture, linens, draping and most important lighting (candles or lots of little lights!)
4. Select the caterer, if the venue doesn’t provide food
5. If you’re marrying in a house of worship, you need to choose this place as well. If you’re not, you need to hire an officiant
6. Photographer, ceremony musicians, DJ
7. Wedding dress—don’t forget the shoes!—bridesmaids’ dresses, and of course groom suit coordinated with the bride dress
8. Make a guest list and choose your invitations
9. Register for gifts
10. Florists
11. If needed, don’t forget about bride and groom’s transportation
12. If needed, you must organize also the transportation for guests
13. Buy or make your own wedding bands
14. Choose your cake
15. Choose your hair stylist and your hairstyle
16. Choose your wedding favors and gift bags
17. Check for marriage license and all the bureaucracy
18. Write your vows if your going to do a personalized one
19. Plan your honeymoon. If you need a travel advisor we’re here to help you creating the perfect plan, just write me
20. If you want to engage with the guests even before the big day, create your wedding website. 

For all the things you see on the list, there will be a million different options to choose. This was our unconventional wedding but, before showing you how our big day unfolded, I want to share what one of my best friends said about it. She summarized the exact leitmotif and feelings we wanted everyone to have.

Saturday, June 27th, 2015, 6pm.

It couldn’t have been any other way: a psychedelic mayor-priest, a blend of families, irrepressible friends, both the chef and roosters singing in the virtual and real countryside, four days that we experienced more like a journey than a wedding. Good vibes and widespread love. #Chiara&Marco moved us and made us feel like part of a big, fabulous family. #unconventionalwedding

The location.

How to pick the best wedding venue

Choose a place that you love, don’t limit yourself a wedding venue. What do you like? What does he like? Where those two things intersect you’ll find your place! I was looking for a Michelin star Chef and a place that spoke about design. Marco craved nature. Here’s how I found our venue, while above, you can see our invitations and description. Those are our digital invitations—instead of the classic wedding invitation, we did a newsletter.

We’re Getting Married!
A summer evening.
A gypsy-chic experience.
Amidst anarchic-architecture, fields of grain
and orchards, a kitchen in harmony
with earth and tradition, an equinox
of years both past & future — a moment
to share with you all!

Antonello Colonna Resort & Spa
Via Valle Fredda 52,
00030 Labico – Roma

An anarchist-revolutionary at the stove. A Michelin starred restaurant. A spa. An art gallery. Fifty acres of land in the Vallefredda Park.

A magical place completely removed from the world, just a few steps from the Colosseum, where the search for perfection and harmony is discovered not only in the dishes, not just in the dining room.

 

Antonello Colonna reinterprets time-honored tradition, starting with the history behind the ingredients
native to the farms and orchards of the adjacent park. Every dish is the result of continuous research
and experimentation yet always maintains strong ties to the land.

The Resort is in one sense, the evolution of the orchard and the farm, where everything revolves around wellness and the cuisine.The architecture, achieved by subtraction and rationality, the design pieces, the garden-orchards… everything is cared for down to the tiniest detail.

This is where you’ll find Antonello Colonna directing his team, exactly like an orchestra conductor directs his musicians.

How to choose your dream wedding dress

I decided to think outside the box. I had a style in mind and I started looking for the perfect wedding dress literally everywhere: pinterest, blogs, magazines, fashion weeks. I looked for haute couture brands before the typical bridal labels, and only after I found what I loved, did I start looking for the boutique where I should buy it. I had a clear vision of how I wanted it to be, but if this isn’t your situation the perfect starting point is the best boutique you can find in your city … or, make a trip out of it!

Here’s a secret I want to share:

“it’s actually possible to find certain haute couture dresses that are cheaper than classical wedding dresses.” 

I had a fairy tale experience. It all started with a journey through a forest, passing by a kaleidoscope of fabrics, colors and glitter, ending with the dress that I love so much. I found my boutique, Le Spose DI, at Olevano Romano. It’s an ancient village close to Rome, located on a hill and surrounded by the green woods of the Roman countryside where Morena Mampieri runs the family business. This beautiful woman, with sophisticated taste and a cosmopolitan mindset, possesses not just sensitivity and listening skills, but divergent thinking, and will deliver the perfect dreamy dress to you. She inspired me so much. Passionate about haute couture, every year she selects the best brands from the international bridal market. Check the website for the big names you’ll find in her boutique. It’s really impressive, as impressive as her personal bridal collection Note di me. If you can make the trip, this is the place.

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Why we define our wedding as unconventional

Nothing extremely extravagant happened, but we rewrote the rules and planned our personal event so that everyone was deeply involved. We had guests from all over the world: Miami, UK, Israel, Spain, Argentina + different parts of Italy. The first thing we worked on was to make this event a journey for everyone, and the Roman countryside was the protagonist. We organized activities for 3 days.

DAY 1 — La dolce vita
Location: Frascati, one of several charming historic hilltowns to the south-east of Rome. It’s part of the area known collectively as Castelli Romani.

We enjoyed an aperitif at sunset in the main square of the town, waiting for our guests to arrive. Then the place became our private restaurant for a dinner made of Roman specialties, al fresco. Big table with white & red checkered paper tablecloths, and a special old man who was walking around, singing, and made a stop for us.

DAY 2 — What was unconventional about this?
Location: virtual countryside

We kept the people who had known us from the beginning close, living our special moment with us. That meant eight witnesses and we asked them to talk about us… the lucky Levente surprised everyone by making his first perfect Italian speech. We wanted to be married by a special person and we choose Marco’s younger brother. He definitely took the role seriously, adding his peculiar touch. We had a psychedelic mayor-priest! I had the most beautiful and sweet bridesmaids ever, walking with me to the altar. Then dinner, surrounded by the seminal works of photographer David LaChapelle.

Beauty and love were all around. The families gathered around us in one perfect little moment. I have nothing more to add, just my vow again and again to my unique life partner:

One hug, one heartfelt thanks for always being there—even when we were apart. For surprising me every day, for truly making me push myself out of predictable definitions, out of all my preconceived notions. Thank you for making me embrace happiness before following rules.
You are my life partner, my inspiration.

photo credits: JCriss

DAY 3 — Let’s get the party started in the real countryside
Location: Merumalia Wine Resort – website

Another location in the Roman countryside. A great DJ, never-ending finger food and drinks. Sunset and irrepressible friends for a big ending. 

An heartfelt thanks to everyone who participated in this beautiful journey with us.

A suggestion to every new bride in the world:
don’t listen to any “it’s not possible” talk you’ll find in your way—also in your mind sometimes!—and make that day your day no matter what!

 

Makeup and hair by Vicky. He’s an incredibly talented guy, always travelling around making Italian and international actresses look stunning. If you want to feel glamorous, all you have to do is find Vicky at Vicky Hair Fusion in Rome.

A special thanks to Gerardo Mazza, our long-time Italian friend from Miami that made my incredible engagement ring, as well as our unconventional wedding bands. You’ll find him in Miami but he can make your jewelry from a distance and deliver it internationally.

Dress by Jenny Packham

video credits: Rocio Morera

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