An international love story
04 Sep 2020
Travel writer and blogger Hayley Lewis tells us about her wedding to Enrico Favaro in Italy – planned from their home in Sydney, Australia
How did you meet?
Enrico and I met in Bondi, Sydney in Australia in December 2017. We had both moved to Australia a few months prior to us meeting – him from Milan and me from London. After six months we moved in together and a year later we took off on a nine month trip around the world, travelling through Europe, the South Pacific, Mexico and Cuba. Early on in the trip we spent time in Enrico’s home town, Treviso and he took me to Valdobbiadene and Conegliano – the home of prosecco – an area of incredible beauty. I decided then and there that this was the place I wanted to get married.
Tell us about the proposal
At the end of our trip we flew back to Treviso to spend New Year’s Eve with Enrico’s parents and my parents flew out to join us too. On New Year’s Day, we visited the beautiful mountain town of Asolo and Enrico took me up to the castle and proposed. We decided to get married the same year and luckily for me, Enrico loved the idea of getting married in the prosecco hills.
We both wanted a relaxed, rustic wedding – nothing too fancy – and being an Italian wedding, one of the most important elements was the food and drink. We also wove our love of travel into the day, using my great grandfather's suitcase to collect cards and naming our tables after places we had been, which were illustrated with beautiful watercolour maps.
Tell us about the dress
I wanted a dress to match the relaxed style and also one that would allow me to eat to my heart’s content on the day, so I definitely wasn’t looking for a figure-hugging dress. After much searching, (which was fairly rushed as our engagement was only eight months long), I found the dress of my dreams made by a lovely Australian designer – Madi Lane. It was gorgeous flowing floral lace, that went out at the waist and had a low back. I wore it with my mum’s veil which she had kept from her wedding.
I changed into another gown later in the evening that was much lighter and easier for dancing. It's a dress by a Sydney brand called Miss Holly. My shoes were from a boutique in Mosman, Sydney and I added the flowers to them. I also wore my mother's pearl necklace that she had worn at her wedding, and South sea pearl earrings that I bought on a trip to Broome, Western Australia (Australia's pearl capital). My something blue was a ribbon on my garter. I also wore my grandmother's ring.
Making it legal
Enrico was adamant that the day of our wedding should be the ‘real’ wedding and that we wouldn’t have a legal ceremony beforehand, but we soon realised that our situation was a little complicated - an Italian and Brit, living in Australia and wanting to marry in Italy. Eventually we found the solution to have the legal wedding in Italy. Enrico was able to give his marriage notice at the Italian consulate in Australia. I had to travel to Rome, four weeks before the wedding and give my notice in person at the British Embassy – which gave us the perfect excuse for a little pre-wedding holiday and also meant we extended our trip home for the wedding to six weeks.
As we weren’t having a religious wedding, we were able to be married by the mayor of the local town and had the option of two venues for the ceremony; the town hall or in front of a 400 year-old watermill. We chose the latter which was the most incredible setting for the vows. I arrived at the ceremony in Enrico’s father’s 1977 Fiat 500 driven by my dad, with all my bridesmaids walking behind as we couldn’t all fit in the tiny car. Enrico’s sister in law kindly translated the service so the English guests (and I) could understand what was going on.
The reception was held at a beautiful winery on top of a hill with 360-degree views of the surrounding vines and valleys and the Dolomites in the distance. We had a buffet on the terrace, followed by dinner then a cake of cheese before the party and then another buffet (it really was all about the food). Except for dinner, the entire day was spent outside, which caused me a little stress leading up to the wedding as storms were forecast for the entire day. Luckily, they never materialised and everything went to plan.
Do it yourself
When we got engaged, I said I would like to find a venue that would do everything for us, so it could be as stress-free as possible. In the end our wedding was completely the opposite. We fell in love with a venue that required everything to be brought in, so we had to hire separate caterers, a florist, bring in furniture and Enrico’s lovely dad and uncle were up ladders the day before hanging sails to shelter the guests from the sun. We decided against a wedding planner and did the organising ourselves. I’m pretty organised, so ordinarily this wouldn’t have been too challenging, but I don’t speak much Italian, so it was down to Enrico to do most of the communicating with the suppliers.
The before and after party
The days before and after the wedding were spent in a nearby village at a stunning hotel – Hotel Villa Soligo – so the wedding felt like one big holiday with our closest friends and family. It certainly would have been easier to have booked a venue with a wedding team, but I wouldn’t change a thing. Both locations were magical and it really was the best day of our lives.