A destination wedding of a lifetime set in the town of “Romeo and Juliet”

A destination wedding of a lifetime set in the town of “Romeo and Juliet”

Photographer:  Hanri Human.

Patrick and Lara met each other in the canteen, of all places, at the Deloitte, Johannesburg office where they both worked, whilst having lunch for friends.  After they met, Patrick moved to the US for 6 months and 40 000 WhatsApp’s later, they eventually went out on a first date and the rest they say is history.

Patrick being a man of many talents and amazing ideas, secretly planned the engagement for months, and on the 17th September 2017, they set off for the Big Apple on a dream holiday. Miraculously, the engagement remained a well-kept secret, until Patrick went down on one knee on a roof top in New York city with a photographer at hand and asked  …”Will you spend the rest of your life with me?”  Lara says “I was so overwhelmed it took a few seconds for any words to come out. In the meanwhile, Patrick was experiencing knee problems while anxiously waiting for a response. “Yes, yes, yes!” I squealed, until it echoed into the skyline.

Patrick himself had chosen, designed and secretly secured the engagement ring in his hand luggage, for the trip to New York.  Keeping this a secret was no mean feat. Lara smiles, “there had been signs, but I hadn’t joined the dots.  Patrick was panic stricken about the biltong in my bag, which should have been a big red flag. “What if we get searched,” he screeched. “We will be, if you carry on like this,” I muttered through clenched teeth, unaware of the precious little box hidden in Patrick’s hand luggage.  The engagement was a once in a lifetime experience. Patrick had set the bar so high; his friends had a zero chance of beating it. In fact, some of them are only just beginning to forgive him!!

Lara and Patrick decided on a destination wedding in Verona, Italy in the heart of the Lombardy wine fields.  Lara had attended a wedding at the villa five years prior and she remembered how lovely it was and thought it would be awesome to do something similar when her day arrived.  She managed to get in touch with the right people and, e voilà, the perfect setting for a perfect destination wedding was underway. Verona is a city in northern Italy’s Veneto region, with a medieval old town built between the meandering Adige River. It’s famous for being the setting of Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet”.

When asked about their relationship, they say that they definitely complete each other as they are different in many ways, however, they both feel they derive their personal happiness from the happiness the other person experiences.

The idea for the wedding came about as a combination of a number of fairy tales. The couple had attended 19 weddings together and wanted something completely different and unique. Their vision was a simple, yet elegant and very long celebration, and so the idea was born. They wanted their closest family and friends to gather at the villa in the small town. The wedding was reminiscent of “the good old days.” The ancient villa provided the perfect backdrop for the most romantic, once in a lifetime experience.

The theme for the guests was All Black – Black tie. The couple wanted a classic minimalistic wedding with very little tradition. So the style was relaxed and they focused on their friends and family having a great time.  The flowers for the ceremony, came from the garden at the villa, and were arranged and placed by Lara’s mother.  She included lots of candles in copper candelabra’s and fairy lights. Lara says all she really wanted was lots of greenery and for her, less is more, and the natural beauty of the ancient villa and its established gardens was perfect as is.

Lara looked breath-taking in her Pronovias gown and her hair and was make-up done to perfection.  She wore a pair of earrings from her gran and a bracelet from her mom, plain and simple, which was the vision for her day.

The wedding cake was a surprise gift to the bride and groom by an Italian catering company. It was a very traditional Italian cake which came with fireworks, their names on and his and hers little dolls. This was not according to the theme or taste of the couple, however, it was very special to see the effort that went into it and they were very grateful to have a cake. As a thought for the favours, each place setting at the reception had a Polaroid pic that was taken during the course of the week, with the bride and groom for the guests to take home as a memory and a keep sake.

We asked Lara if there were any surprises or anything that went terribly wrong or perfectly right on her wedding day? Her reply was this; “I can honestly say everything was perfect, from the weather to the food, music, speeches and the vows. A dream come true and we would not have changed a thing”.

The highlights on her list consisted of the following:

  • Small guest list
  • Five days of celebrations
  • The dress, I was absolutely in love with my Pronovias gown
  • Less is more at the end of the day
  • Deciding on a destination wedding was not only a fairy tale dream come true but an experience for everyone who managed to attend and a memory that will last a lifetime …
  • Our photographer and videographer, we knew exactly what we wanted and so did they, we had fun so much fun and the results was definitely a highlight.

Lara says she was an abnormally relaxed bride and this was all due to great planning. She had lists on lists on list and months of careful planning really did pay off. Everything happened like clockwork in a town where hardly anyone spoke English. This was due to email communication and lots of pictures. “We made sure we saw visually what everything was going to look like and planned a date and time for everything. We also then double checked our “double check” lists twice, and advise any future brides and grooms to plan, plan and plan.

Having a five day celebration is not always possible but this was the best thing we ever could have done. By the time the wedding day arrived every single guest knew each other by name, even though we had guests from all over the world. “This was so much fun and made the wedding even more special” says Lara.