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Romantic Italian Cliffside Elopement

Remember how I was dreaming about an e-sesh re-do? Well, I’m about to make that wish-list a little longer because that same couple eloped in Italy with Renee Hollingshead along their side. Tucked away in the steep Amalfi Coast cliffs every moment is complete with stunning views that are guaranteed to ignite the romantic in us all.

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Summer
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Elegant

From Renee HollingsheadTucked away in the steep Amalfi Coast cliffs is the beautiful and romantic city of Ravello. Filled with charm, incredible history, winding roads, and stunning views, this destination wedding swept us off our feet and kept us begging for more. Rachael and Josh, Maryland realtors, met a few years back at work. Fast forward to a few months ago and they are planning their dream wedding– an Italian Elopement! They chose the ever-so incredible Palazzo Avino as recommended by their travel agent Jim. Known for their impeccable service, amazing views of the coast, and one of the top restaurants in the city, this resort was everything they dreamed of and more.

Josh and Rachael spent the most of the day at the beach club, relaxing and soaking up some some mediterranean rays. From there they got ready together in their suite before meeting each other down the aisle. Laid-back, care free, and fun would be the best way to describe the afternoon. With stunning paper details from Poppy & Scooter, a amazing dress, and a sharp Italian tailored suit, these two were ready to tie the knot in style! The Italian Mariachi strummed away popular loves songs, their guests held hands, and the officiant spoke the most beautiful words. I’d be lying if I didn’t say it was one of the most romantic ceremonies I have ever witnessed. After a champagne toast and cake cutting, we strolled around the five-star resort taking in all of Ravello’s old charm. Their love is so effortless and true. They ended the night with an intimate dinner for four at the resort’s five-star restaurant overlooking the cliffs and sea. I am forever grateful for this opportunity to capture such a beautiful love story in such magical place. Congratulations Rachael + Josh!

Photography: Renee Hollingshead | Coordination: Emmanuela Apicello | Wedding Dress: Jovani | Jewelry: Royale Jewelers | Calligraphy: Poppy & Scooter | Groom's Attire: Hugo Boss | Venue: Palazzo Avino | Bridal Boutique: Synchronicity Boutique | Groom's Attire Retailer: Nordstroms | Travel Agent: Perfect Honeymoons And Holidays

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Romantic Summer Ravello Engagement Session

It’s a common day occurrence that I dream about an e-sesh re-do, but can you blame me? Because after scrolling through the vibrant gallery from Renee Hollingshead I’ve got gelato and dancing on the mind. And that is just the start, because we’ve got this darling duo’s elopement up NEXT!

From Renee HollingsheadWhen Rachael first contacted me to photograph her Italian elopement, I just knew we had to do their engagement session there. Their luggage arrived to their hotel just an hour before we were scheduled to meet. They quickly got ready and we hit the quaint streets of Ravello, Italy for a romantic evening stroll. They laughed, shared gelato, danced in the streets, and held hands. With the hustle and bustle of passerbys, the romantic sound of music in the air, and the delicious scents of five-star cuisine, this was easily one of my favorite engagement sessions to date. From Rachael’s gorgeous curly locks to Josh’s dapper Italian-Cobalt blue loafers, their style is top-notch! Every street and alley we turned on was the perfect backdrop to their love story. Rachael and Josh are oozing with love for each other and I am so glad I got to celebrate their special wedding weekend.

Photography: Renee Hollingshead | Venue: Ravello

Elegant Amalfi Coast Dream Wedding in Ravello, Italy

I don’t even know where to start with this ridiculously beautiful Ravello wedding planned by Italia Celebrations, because every single moment snapped up by Alicia Swedenborg was so pretty this gallery doesn’t even look real. The entire day played out like a dream, and for this lucky duo, that dream was their beautiful reality. See more of this gorgeous day here. 

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Summer
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From Alicia SwedenborgI had the honor of photographing the wedding of Sarah & Jerome at Hotel Caruso in Ravello, Italy, planned and designed by Brenda at Italia Celebrations. These are all film images from this dream destination wedding location on the Amalfi Coast, one could not ask for a more beautiful backdrop for wedding photos!

From the beautiful Bride… We had our absolute dream wedding, it could not have been more perfect for us!

In terms of choosing a venue, I grew up by the sea in England and Jérôme is from the French Alps but is also half Sardinian. Just to confuse matters, when we got engaged, I was living in New York and Jérôme was living in London so we had a lot of options in terms of where to get married! After much deliberation, we decided to celebrate our wedding in beautiful Italy.

We knew that we wanted a stunning, classic and beautiful but modern and cool venue, somewhere that felt totally ‘us’. When we visited Belmond Hotel Caruso in Ravello for the first time, it was like the most beautiful dream and we instantly fell in love with it. It even had the combination of mountains and sea which was a nod to the marriage of our backgrounds and families too! We could not wait to share such a breathtaking venue with our closest friends and family.

We both love the Italian ‘dolce vita’ and relaxed vibe, but knew that we would need expert help to plan the wedding remotely and ensure that our local vendors understood and executed everything we envisaged perfectly. We also wanted our wonderful parents, bridesmaids and best men to be able to relax and enjoy the day as much as possible so having someone to help plan and coordinate the big day seemed a great idea. I was used to New York/ London levels of service and efficiency and am a very detail-oriented person and knew exactly what we wanted for our wedding. Brenda of Italia Celebrations has amazing knowledge of venues in Italy, a fantastic network of Italian contacts and vendors and of course, is fluent in Italian language and culture. This, combined with her previous time spent working for Vera Wang in New York mean that we got the New York ‘can-do’ attitude, impeccable attention to detail, a modern and beautiful approach to styling and design aspects of the wedding and an instinctive understanding of precisely what we wanted. We could not have had the amazing day that we had without her!

By way of example, we wanted a legal, religious and symbolic ceremony all in one and in English (not easy in Italy when you’re not an Italian or Catholic!) but Brenda worked it out for us perfectly with an Italian pastor and his English speaking son! I wanted Church of England vows and Brenda helped us incorporate those into the Italian order of service. Through Brenda, we engaged Alicia as our photographer and she was an absolute delight to work with and took the most stunning photographs of our wedding. We love reliving that day when we look at the photos. Katie did my hair and make up for me on the day and I loved it – I didn’t want anything stuffy or formal and she gave me exactly the looks I wanted and made me feel really beautiful on the day. She was so professional – discretely touching up my hair and make up as I was far too busy enjoying the day to think about it! Not only that but she was fantastic fun and we are now friends! Overall, we had an absolute dream team of vendors whose work we adored and whose company we genuinely enjoyed, which helps massively on the happiest day of your life!

Our colour scheme was inspired by the Amalfi coast and its beautiful lemon trees so the bridesmaids dresses were a crema di limoncello colour and our favours were miniature bottles of limoncello from the local Ravello ‘factory’ (the smallest, prettiest factory ever!) We didn’t want a twee or contrived colour scheme though so it was more subtely incorporating a lemon chiffon colour into the fresh, clean whites and creams used in the setting more generally. We were totally thrilled with our original and creative wedding stationery by Emily too which set the tone of the wedding in the invites perfectly: Using a map of the area as a envelope liner and the distinctive silhouette of the local cypress trees throughout. Unbeknown to Emily when designing the stationary, those were the exact trees under which our wedding ceremony took place! We also wanted to make sure that our Italian and French speaking guests were fully able to enjoy the day too so my mum’s friend prepared translations of the speeches and the amazing Dora band (who I’d seen play at another fab Italian wedding many years ago and had never forgotten!) played a fantastic mixture of music from those countries to get everyone dancing!

Everyone says something always goes wrong in relation to your wedding and sure enough, we had a couple of disasters including our flights to the wedding being cancelled which was not ideal! But the wedding itself was like a fairytale, just perfect and magical and beautiful beyond belief. We felt so blessed to have family and friends join us from all over the world including from California, New York, Dubai, Hong Kong, and Oman as well as England, Italy and France. The day for us (and hopefully for our guests too!) was absolutely magical.

I feel so lucky and grateful to have married my dream man in our dream wedding with our amazing families and friends. I only wish we could do it all over again!

Photography: Alicia Swedenborg | Videography: Evergreen | Floral Design: Malafronte Flowers | Wedding Dress: Monique Lhuillier | Stationery: Emily McCarthy | Shoes: Jimmy Choo | Bridesmaids' Dresses: Bella Bridesmaids | Makeup Artist: Katie Webster | Hair Stylist: Katie Webster | Band: Dora Live Band | Groom's Shoes: Crockett & Jones | Ceremony And Reception Venue: Belmond Hotel Caruso | Event Planning and Design: Italia Celebrations | Hair Products: Kevin Murphy | Makeup Products: Tom Ford | Photography - Assistance: Melissa Schollaert | Veil & Belt: Monique Lhuillier

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Amalfi Coast Wedding from Forever Photography Studio

Ever since my sister’s engagement in Italy, I’ve been shamelessly begging her to return to the Amalfi Coast for her Big Day.  Sure, a stateside wedding would be beautiful, but wouldn’t it be sooo much fun to say “I do” in the very spot they pledged their eternal love?  I think so.  And now, thanks to the ever-wonderful Forever Photography Studio, I have a little something special to help me in all of my persuading; a little something I like to call the world’s most perfect wedding.  It’s an Amalfi Coast masterpiece, complete with one of the most stunning bride and grooms you ever did see.  Click here for all of the pretty.

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Fall
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From the Bride… I had always dreamed of a beach wedding as my love of the sun and beach aren’t exactly hidden facts; however, as Doug and I were relaxing on a beach in Maui thinking it might just be the perfect spot, I saw something in a “Travel and Leisure” magazine that captured my attention. It was an advertisement for a Mediterranean cruise. I said to Doug, “Let’s just get married in Italy!” Doug had proposed to me on the beautiful Isle of Capri in Italy on October 6, 2009, and we both agree it was the most scenic and romantic spot… along with the wonderful memories we have of the evening we got engaged. That day, we had visited the famous La Grotta Azzurra (Blue Grotto) then headed to Piazza Vittoria where we took the Monte Solaro Chairlift, reaching 589 metres above sea level, to the highest part of the island with wonderful views of Capri and its Faraglioni up to the Gulf of Naples and the Isle of Ischia. It’s really quite breathtaking! That evening we had dinner on the beautiful terrace of the Capri Tiberio Palace Resort and Spa where we enjoyed a candlelit dinner alone as we were the only couple enjoying the beautiful fall evening, which in Italy felt more like summer. Doug asked me to marry him that evening and of course I said “Si” or yes! With all of our special memories of Italy and especially Capri, we knew that we wanted to return to the Amalfi Coast for our wedding.

We planned our wedding for the picturesque town of Positano on Italy’s beautiful Amalfi Coast. For a US citizen to have a legal wedding in Italy, one must first go through “hoops” (too detailed to explain here) and then it must be done in a “Comune or Town Hall.” The Comune di Positano is a panoramic terrace overlooking the sea, which is why we selected it over Capri or the other towns along the Amalfi Coast. We flew our photographers out from Austin, Texas, Jerry and Jona Blackwell of Forever Photography Studio, to capture every special moment of our celebration. It started with a bridal session the day prior to the wedding at Villa Rufolo in Ravello. You honestly can’t imagine how stunning this villa was– vibrant flowers, beautiful trees and did I mention outrageous views?!

Our wedding day itself was beautiful and the bright blue Mediterranean Sea sparkled behind us as we said “Si lo voglio” (I do) to each other. Linda Gatto, our wedding coordinator had truly created our dream ceremony. The floral garlands were beautiful, the music from the harpist was very elegant and I know she made a special request to “Mother Nature” for us, as the weather was divine. Rosa, our celebrant, was the “icing on the cake” as her warmth, personality and passion for her work led to the most wonderful ceremony we could have hoped for. She put so much joy and spirit into the poems I had selected for her to read in creating a personalized ceremony. She led us graciously through our vows and exchanging of the rings. It was truly the happiest day of our lives and we are so grateful to Linda and Rosa for providing exceptional service. We love you both and are so glad that we have two wonderful friends now along the Amalfi Coast!

Following the ceremony, we again headed to Ravello and made a quick stop at the historic town square with all its charm for a gelato and caffé. Then it was on to Villa Cimbrone for additional pictures. Once again, this villa will leave you speechless! Countless gardens, statues, colorful flowers and the Infinity Terrace surround you, which alone would be reason to visit. It is stunning! We ended the evening hosted by Antonio Mansi at Hotel Parsifal for an intimate candlelit dinner on a terrace with amazing views of the Amalfi Coast and sea. I have come to the definitive conclusion that the Italian translation for “hospitality” is “Antonio” as I’ve truly never witnessed a more welcoming and hospitable man. He truly made our evening special and the perfect ending to our fairytale wedding. I can’t possibly recommend Antonio enough and the next time we visit the Amalfi Coast, we plan to stay with Antonio and his brothers at Hotel Parsifal, where our beautiful centerpieces are waiting for our return.  Hopefully Antonio will be putting them to good use until then creating magical evenings for others to enjoy!  Grazie mille Antonio!  I have to say though that one of the funniest and most memorable events of the day was our car ride back to Positano. Picture an entire hour (at least) of Doug and Jona belting out the greatest hits all the way from the 70s to the 90s. It was hysterical!  Even if Jerry and I had tried to join in, we would have been no match for the combined talent of this dynamic duo! Honestly, next time we see them, I want to see Doug and Jona sing together in a Karaoke bar!  I think the driver must have thought we were all insane… but good times it was!

But wait, it wasn’t over yet! For the following day and our after session, I arranged for a private boat trip over to Capri with Michele of Amalfi Yachting Charters, who gave us the boat ride of our lives!  I highly recommend a trip with him!  After arriving to Capri, we once again took the chairlift up to Monte Solero, the highest point on Capri and Anacapri, only this time in our wedding attire! We then made our way to the town square where we were surrounded by a circle of both locals and tourists cheering “Auguri” (congratulations) as we danced and Doug serenaded me to “Your Song” by Elton John, which is our song. We then visited the exact spot where Doug had proposed a few days shy of being exactly 3 years prior. It was truly the wedding of our dreams! It was very small as not many were able to travel to Italy, but it was the most magical, memorable and beautiful experience we could have hoped for… and thanks to Jerry and Jona, we have beautiful pictures that captured every special moment to share with our family and friends. 

Photography:  Jona and Jerry Blackwell of Forever Photography Studio | Wedding Planner: Linda Gatto, La lampada di Aladino S.r.l. | Officiant:  Rosa Paola Pauli Luypen | Hair + Makeup:  Enrico Avitabile of ArtColorFashion | Wedding Dinner: Antonio Mansi, Hotel Parsifal | Silk Bridal Bouquet: Kim Terry of Alexis Grace Design | Wedding Announcements: Ginger with Serendipity Designs | Bridal Boutique:  Wedding Treasures

Amalfi Coast Wedding Film from Life Stage Films

Italy is top of so many of our travel bucket lists, so obviously we couldn’t resist sharing this sweet Ravello Destination wedding with you this Saturday morning. It’s simple – just two people professing their love to each other in the sweetest way. Amongst romance centuries old on the Amalfi Coast. Life Stage Films captured the beauty of the country, and even more important, the beauty of the love fabulously. Enjoy your Italian vacation this morning LBBers!

Ericka & K.C. (Ravello, Italy Wedding) from Life Stage Films

From the Groom … On Our Wedding Trip to Italy… Where do I begin? The idea had its genesis on the premise of ‘escape,’ ‘fairy tale,’ and ‘capturing moments.’

According to Italian Law for foreigners, many layers of bureaucratic red tape had to be navigated. For us, this was all well worth the hassle. None of which could have been as smooth and perfectly orchestrated without the help of our amazing wedding planners Jacquie & Kim at The Amalfi Experience.

The trip was quite simply put….a dream come true and beyond our wildest imagination. The town of Ravello is made up of gardens, small cobble stone alleyways, birds singing, roosters crowing in the morning, church bells in the distant hills, beautiful cliff side gardens and breathtaking views of the Mediterranean. If there is a heaven for me and Ericka, this place at that moment could very well be it.

Matt and Zach of Lifestage Films captured this for us perfectly.

Cinematography: Life Stage Films / Event Planning: Jacquie & Kim at The Amalfi Experience

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