Castellabate, Santa Maria, Italy Wedding photography - Neil & Lesley
Updated: May 7
~The Italian Job~
A wedding is one of the most important days of two peoples lives. It's a special occasion where people celebrate their love for one another and give loving vows in front of everyone who has ever mattered to them. Couples go to great lengths to make this one day as meaningful, perfect and as beautiful as they can. To make everything as perfect and as beautiful as possible means picking the perfect back drop for your wedding. A wedding abroad completely justifies flying your family and friends over for many reasons, the relaxed atmosphere, the climate, the cocktails the list goes on and on. Lesley and Neil hit the mark by picking Italy, one of the most romantic country's in the world. This place is the birthplace of the phrase la dolce vita (the sweet life). Italy has a well deserved reputation for being laid back. From the big cities where you can shop designer clothing to the rolling vineyards of Tuscany it really is a country filled with everything for everyone. Everywhere you look you see breathtaking landscapes, timeless art and the superb architecture. All these knot together with modern amenities and makes Italy a perfect setting to hold a wedding. Lesley and Neil chose the picturesque town of Santa Maria Di Castellabate to have their Italian wedding. Santa Maria Di Castaellabate is a small town in the province of Solerno in southern Italy. This gorgeous place isn't that far from Naples and has been awarded for the stunning Marina Piccola beach. They picked their venue with the help of the amazing Julie McKenzie, a highly respected and well-established wedding planner owner of My Secret Italy. Getting a wedding planner is highly recommended if you're hoping to celebrate your wedding abroad, they take the stress out of the day and make sure you get all the best deals possible. They are also there on the big day to make sure all runs smoothly so you can relax and enjoy the occasion. Lesley and Neil chose to hold their day in the Residenza d'epoca Olimpia, a 17th century building right in the heart of Santa Maria Di Castellabate. This ancient house with modern services is a perfect place to relax and enjoy the rich culture that Italy has to offer. This place really is off the beaten track and barely has any tourists so you really feel slightly cut off from the world but in the best way. It also overlooks one of the most famous views in Santa Maria, the Marina Piccola beach.
The night before the wedding everyone enjoyed a BBQ on the beach. This gave me the perfect opportunity to meet the wedding party. With the drinks and laughter in full swing, the excitement of the big day had well and truly set in. I had Michelle Wilson 2nd shooting photography alongside me with the "wedding Ninja" Aaron Rose shooting video.
In the morning Lesley got ready for her big day with a couple of friends, a glass of champagne in hand and the sound of the sea in the background. Her strapless lace dress had a lovely vintage feel to it and her hair in a wavy up do with flowers intertwined fitted perfectly with the theme. Her make up artist was Costabile Pascale MUA and by the time he had finished with her there was no other words to describe her but radiant. Her eyes sparkling and her smile beaming, she waited to finally marry the love of her life.
I spent a bit of time with Neil as he got ready, he sat with his son putting the final touches to his speech. He looked the part in his light grey suit and sunglasses. I got some fantastic shots of using the available light from the window to have the Italian sun illuminating his face. He too was just as excited as Lesley.
At the Residenza d'epoca Olimpia there isn't much to do in terms of dressing the venue as it is all so naturally beautiful. The ceremony area was gorgeous, bursting with colourful flowers and greenery. It made for some striking visuals against the old stone walls. With her son walking her down the aisle, Lesley looked stunning and Neil looked like he had just won the lottery. Lesley and Neil's ceremony was quaint and charming and after they had exchanged their vows under the Italian sun, the guests enjoyed some drinks whilst we took Lesley and Neil around for a few portrait images. This little town was so picturesque that even with them just walking down the street I managed to get some amazing shots. They wanted a vintage feel to their images, so we made use of the Vesper. Lesley and Neil looked like they had just walked out of an old Italian movie and this is probably one of my favourite shots of the day.
We ambled back to the guests and the entire wedding party went to Baffo to get an ice cream to cool off in the heat of the sun. Still not feeling completely cooled off, we all then made our way to the Cliff Feel Good bar to get some drinks. Everyone was entertained by the Italian band Maieutike that Lesley and Neil had hired and laughter filled the room. The wedding party then headed up back to the Residenza d'epoca Olimpia for the evening meals. There really is nothing like walking around a little Italian town capturing images of people having the best time.
Dusk was setting in, and the venue was lit up by hundreds of fairy lights. One of the main things Italy is famed for is it's food. The guests enjoyed the authentic Italian cuisine that was on offer. Delectable anti-pasti and beautiful pasta dishes, all washed down with the finest Italian wines. After everyone was more than fed and watered, we enjoyed speeches from Neil, Neil's son, Lesley's son and Neil's best man. Neil must have seen a thousand speeches in his life time as a wedding videographer himself, but his speech was well thought out, funny and managed to keep the guests engaged throughout. It was so lovely hearing how much he means to his family and friends. I got some lovely shots of the speeches, the old stone walls and dimmed lighting made for some dynamic visuals and really showed off the beauty of the venue. With the party not stopping, we moved on to Lesley and Neil's first dance. I love shooting the first dance as it's a perfect opportunity to capture some raw emotion and this always conveys well on to the images. I also used a prism during this and it made for some stunning effects.
Italy was on my bucket list of places to shoot. It really didn't disappoint. The laid back life style and the majestic scenery made this one of my favourite weddings of the year. It was an unforgettable experience and one I will treasure forever. So thank you Lesley and Neil, for giving me a taste of la dolce vita.