A cornflower blue wedding in Sorrento, Italy
24 Feb 2020
Revisiting the locations that featured in their engagement, Megan Alexander-Weir and Adam Richardson chose the beautiful coastal town of Sorrento for their wedding day
How did you meet?
My nana moved to a small village outside of Durham when I was a teenager, where she met Adam’s mum. They got talking about us and decided to try and get Adam and I to meet as I didn’t know anyone in the village and spent most weekends there.
Adam and I met in 2007, when we were just 14 and 15-years-old. We got along really well and a few months after meeting, he asked me to be his girlfriend. We have been together ever since: through college, university and the start of our careers.
Tell us about the proposal.
Adam and I had visited Sorrento as a treat when I graduated in 2015. We enjoyed it so much that we returned two years later. This was one of many trips away for us. He went through the usual conversation in airport departures explaining that he wasn’t going to propose, even though all of our family and friends had been expecting him to.
However, as soon as we arrived in Sorrento, Adam realised that he wanted to get married there one day. He said he had been waiting for the moment to seem right to propose and realised that he needed to act fast as this holiday was the moment and he didn’t want it to pass him by.
One afternoon while I was sunbathing, after a morning exploring Amalfi, Adam went for a ‘run’, however little did I know he was off to find the perfect ring. That evening we got ready to visit our favourite restaurant, The Foreigner’s Club. Adam, secretly armed with the ring, contemplated proposing at the meal, but decided to wait as he loved the tranquility of the cloisters just around the corner. We walked to the cloisters to see it lit up beautifully for the evening, but there was an Italian band playing there along with an audience of about 200 people.
We watched from the back for a while before Adam suggested a walk in the gardens outside, which is where he finally got down on one knee and asked me to be his wife. I immediately said yes.
What was the theme for the day, and did you have a colour scheme?
With such a beautiful setting, we wanted to complement the beautiful colours and bright Mediterranean light. I chose cornflower blue bridesmaids' dresses, bouquets of sunflowers and blue irises, and designed my own stationery featuring lemons, irises and sunflowers.
We chose irises because we have both always loved the band the Goo Goo Dolls. We even chose their song, Iris, as our first dance song.
What venue did you choose and why did you choose it?
We had always said we would get married abroad and our love for Sorrento made us want to bring our closest friends and family to experience such a beautiful place. We chose the ancient cloisters of San Francesco because it is such a beautiful setting and The Foreigner’s Club (Terrazza delle Syrene) because the food is incredible and it has a fantastic view from the terrace, across the bay of Naples.
When did you know when you’d found ‘the’ dress?
I had been wedding dress shopping a couple of times with my bridesmaids, but had completely fallen out of love with wedding dresses. I knew I wanted lace but in my head I wanted something quite boho and ethereal. The day I found the dress, I was actually helping a family friend choose her prom dress.
My mum encouraged me to try a few dresses on while we were there. I instantly fell in love with the beaded back of the Ronald Joyce Erin dress, and when I tried it on, the fit was almost perfect. I felt so confident and comfortable.
I also customised a more loose fitting dress for the evening, which was a bit more forgiving on my post-pasta stomach and allowed me more movement for dancing the night away with my bridesmaids.
Who were the bridesmaids and what did they wear?
I had originally planned to have seven bridesmaids, but sadly two of my close friends could not fly out for the wedding. The remaining bridesmaids were my four closest friends: Gina, Michelle, Leah and Olivia. My maid of honour was my cousin, Maddy, who I am incredibly close to.
It was difficult to choose a style of dress that would suit all of the bridesmaids as Leah is 6ft tall and Gina and Michelle are only just over 5ft. I knew I wanted cornflower blue and couldn’t go with something floor length unless it was available in a tall version for Leah.
We came across the dresses in the Missguided sale in January 2018 and decided that they would be perfect because all of the bridesmaids liked them, they were affordable and they would travel well. The calf length with the peplum design suited all five girls and the stretch in the fabric meant that it was comfortable as well.
What did the mother of the bride wear?
My mum chose a beautiful full skirted dress with matching jacket from Norma and June in Easington. The silver and pale blue complemented the bridal party so well. She had a pair of satin court shoes and clutch bag dyed to match and her statement fascinator, which was custom-made by Hattie’s Special Headwear in Stockton. She looked and felt fabulous.
Where did you find your suits?
Adam was determined to get a dark blue tuxedo. We kept it affordable and chose the jackets and trousers from Next as the fit was perfect on Adam, my dad and our brilliant best man, Ryan. We chose shirts from Moss Bros. and simple black bowties.
Did you hire a wedding planner? How did they help?
We booked our wedding through The Wedding Travel Company who linked us up with Italian wedding planner, Rosanna Di Pastena from Orange Blossom. Rosanna was absolutely fantastic, she did all of the correspondence with the Italian companies, as well as keeping me organised with the legal paperwork. She was a godsend.
Tell us about your floral arrangements.
For the bridesmaids, we made small posies of silk flowers so that they could keep them afterwards and use them for our celebrations in the UK. We also used silk flowers for the buttonholes for my dad and Ryan. They were perfect as they obviously didn’t wilt in the Italian afternoon sun.
Adam’s buttonhole and my bouquet were made from stunning fresh flowers by a florist arranged by Rosanna. They were delivered to our hotel on the morning of the wedding.
Often the aspect that makes a wedding original to the couple is the detail – tell us about the details of the day
As an art teacher, I decided to put my skills to use and create the stationery myself. I painted some original watercolours of lemons, irises and sunflowers, which I scanned and then used in Photoshop. I created the invitations, running order, menu and place settings to match.
We decided that our guests needed to take a piece of Italy home with them so we chose small bottles of Limoncello, to which we added a label with their name so that they doubled up as place settings.
Adam, being a lover of renaissance art, wore cufflinks adorned with a small section of The Creation of Adam by Michelangelo. Our best man, Ryan, wore a replica of The Hand of the King Pin from Game of Thrones, which Adam gave to him when he asked him to be his best man.
How did you feel as you walked down the aisle?
I felt so relaxed being surrounded by our closest friends and family, it was really comforting having such an intimate ceremony. I just tried to savour and enjoy every moment, my cheeks hurt from smiling so much.
Seeing Adam at the end of the aisle, in our favourite spot, made me so happy and proud that we had managed to bring the people that mean the most to us to share such a special moment in a place that we hold so dear.
How did you make the ceremony personal to you?
I walked down the aisle to Air on the G String by Bach, played on a classical guitar. It’s a piece of music that you hear quite regularly in the restaurants and streets of Italy, so captured the atmosphere of the venue perfectly. My brother, Kai, read a quote from Einstein about love and relativity, as Adam has always been interested in science and now works in a university science lab. It’s a nice, short but sweet reading.
What was your most memorable moment?
Music is such a big thing for Adam and I, so most of our memorable moments are associated with specific songs.
The speeches were wonderful as well. My dad, Adam and Ryan all pulled off emotional and entertaining speeches that brought a lot of our friends and family to tears. Adam turned to me during his speech and just said: "Darling, you look wonderful tonight", referencing Eric Clapton, and I just welled up.
There was also a moment in the evening, where I stood towards the back of the terrace and just took in the atmosphere. My mum, nana and two aunties were dancing to Where Do You Go To My Lovely by Peter Sarstedt, Adam and Ryan were playing with our nephew, Max, and the rest of our friends and family were chatting and laughing. I knew that the day had been everything I had hoped for and more. I felt so much love and happiness.
What was the most challenging aspect of planning this wedding?
I thought that the legal paperwork was going to be the hardest part to manage, but Rosanna made all of that so simple and easy. I think that getting started and choosing the right wedding planner was quite difficult. I spent days trawling websites and forums to find out who other people recommended. It’s so difficult to trust someone with your ideas and dreams, as well as sticking to your budget.
I even thought about booking everything separately by myself at one point. I’m so pleased I didn’t though as I think I would have struggled with the language barrier and the stress.
What was the most important investment for you?
For us, the most important part of the wedding was the venue. We had always talked about getting married in Sorrento, from the first time we visited. We will always return, and hopefully retire to the Amalfi coast one day.
Did you have any evening entertainment?
As we had a private terrace in the restaurant for our reception, we made our own playlist on Spotify which we played during the meal and early evening. We got lots of compliments on the mixture of music.
The Foreigner’s Club always has a live band on, the same two men that have performed every time we have eaten in the restaurant. Even though we had to share the entertainment with the rest of the customers, we didn’t mind. It was lovely to have other holidaymakers congratulate us and join in with the dancing and celebrations.
Tell us about your wedding cake.
It’s not an Italian meal without a lemon cake so we went for a very simple semi-naked lemon cake decorated with a small posy of sunflowers and gypsophila. For our celebrations in the UK, NJL Cakes in Darlington made us a beautiful three-tier lemon cake decorated with blue tile-style icing transfers and small lemons.
If you could go back and change anything, what would it be?
Absolutely nothing, it was the perfect day from start to finish.
Did anything go wrong on the day?
On the morning of the wedding, we woke up to torrential rain. I was almost in tears at the thought of my dream outdoor ceremony being relocated into a sheltered space. I knew that the reception venue had a beautiful ballroom as an alternative indoor venue, but I had always dreamed of the stunning view from the terrace.
I got ready at the luxury hotel where my mum was staying. We had photographs taken in the stunning bar area, complete with grand piano and sheltered from the rain. About ten minutes before we were due to leave for the venue, my mum pointed out that the clouds were parting and she burst into tears. The rest of the day, the weather was so beautiful that a few of us ended up with sunburn. It’s as though someone was looking out for us.
Did you have a custom hashtag for social media? If so, what was it?
Was there anything you wish you’d known before?
I wish I had known that the weather was going to brighten up so I could have enjoyed the morning being a little less stressed.
Where did you go on honeymoon?
We weren't planning on a honeymoon as we had a destination wedding and couldn’t go away immediately as I was back to work on the Monday after the wedding. However, because of the very generous wedding gifts that we received, we were very lucky to end up booking a week all-inclusive in Marrakesh for our honeymoon which we took in August 2019, three months after the wedding. It was incredible and we thoroughly enjoyed some time alone together.
Do you have any advice for couples in the planning stages?
If you are getting married abroad, find a good wedding planner based on testimonials from existing brides. Don’t feel pressured into going with the expensive option and if you have talented friends and bridesmaids that would be willing to lend a hand with hair, make-up, helping to arrange silk flowers etc, utilise their skills.
Make sure you have a good photographer, the wedding photographs are the best way to relive your day and I am totally obsessed with ours by the very talented Darius Setsofia of Bright Lights Photography. We knew they would be perfect as he did a brilliant engagement shoot with us to get to know our style, best angles and just make us feel comfortable around the camera.
Steal their style:
Reception venue: The Foreigner's Club, Sorrento (Terrazza delle Syrene)
Photography: Darius Setsofia of Bright Lights Photography
Planning: Rosanna Di Pastena of Orange Blossom Wedding Planning
Wedding dress: Northallerton Bridal Outlet
Bridesmaids' dresses: Missguided
Mother of the bride dress: Norma & June
Mother of the bride fascinator: Hatties
UK cake: NJL Creations
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