Real Weddings/Rustic Weddings

A Fairytale Wedding In A Surprise Sicilian Venue

Fairytale Wedding in a Sicilian Citrus Grove – Daniele and Edgard 43

In the age of Instagram geotagging, Google street-view & endless online photos and reviews, it’s pretty much impossible to keep an element of surprise to your next wedding destination, party venue or even dinner plans. Or is it?

Today we jet off with an international couple to their destination wedding at a surprise wedding venue – a gorgeous Sicilian citrus grove. The two jet-setters accomplished an incredible feat – not only was their faraway wedding lavishly perfect but they managed to keep their breathtaking wedding venue a complete secret to all of their wedding guests, making the grand entrance oh-so-special.

So how did they pull it off? While the general location on Sicily & accommodations were included in the invitation instructions, the couple had shuttles & cars pick up guests to take them to the secret wedding-day location, without ever divulging the location.

Loving the idea but worried your guests would be annoyed? Bride Victoria says, “guests were so excited not to know, which was perfect.”

Fairytale Wedding in a Sicilian Citrus Grove – Daniele and Edgard 23
Fairytale Wedding in a Sicilian Citrus Grove – Daniele and Edgard 6

Our Love Story

We met at a soukh in the Middle East. We had both just arrived for work a couple of weeks prior. Ronan from Ireland and I from New York. That night was a complete chance encounter in a hallway. Ronan was out with colleagues and I was coming back from an evening yoga session at the beach. Our love story began that night. First with a friendship, then a cross-continent long distance relationship and finally a proposal in Switzerland over Christmas.

Fairytale Wedding in a Sicilian Citrus Grove – Daniele and Edgard 17
Fairytale Wedding in a Sicilian Citrus Grove – Daniele and Edgard 38

The Destination

We knew we wanted Italy because you simply cannot go wrong with Italy, the food and wine are always amazing and people love to come for a holiday. Also, we’re a very international couple, Ronan is Irish, I’m Swiss American and we’ve lived all over, so we wanted neutral ground for the wedding that was accessible to all.

The challenge was to still pick an original place since Italy is a destination wedding favorite, so we picked Sicily. There is something just so authentic and ancient and romantic about Sicily. Also, there is a lot of Arabic influence, which underlined our meeting place and life in the Middle East. We visited venues in January and fell in love with Castello Xirumi. It is a stunning venue that seems to epitomize everything that Sicily is. For our hotel and the morning of preparations for the bride and bridesmaids, we selected Asmundo di Gisira, a funky boutique hotel in Catania.

Fairytale Wedding in a Sicilian Citrus Grove – Daniele and Edgard 3
Fairytale Wedding in a Sicilian Citrus Grove – Daniele and Edgard 2

Photography & Videography

We actually spent a lot of time selecting our photographers and videographers. Some day our children will be able to relive these moments thanks to the beautiful images and footage, so choosing someone who had our sense of esthetics, understood our chemistry and our humor was key.

What we really liked about Daniele was his talent in capturing authentic moments and emotions. Neither of us are fans of overly posed photography, we wanted photos that were beautiful but real. Daniele and his team really lived up to this.

For the wedding video, we were on the hunt for a creative and original touch and that is what we found with Marco and Claudia. They had a really fresh style and fun ideas. They took us to Mount Etna at sunrise a couple of days before the wedding, which resulted in some amazing footage to complement the wedding footage.

Both our photographers and videographers were also really discrete during the whole event, which is really important too to ensure that nothing impedes on the couple having genuine moments with each other and their loved ones.

Fairytale Wedding in a Sicilian Citrus Grove – Daniele and Edgard 7
Fairytale Wedding in a Sicilian Citrus Grove – Daniele and Edgard 45

Hair & Makeup

Brides to be, pick a hair and makeup artist you really trust and are at ease with. I cannot emphasize this enough. It’s not a worry you want to have on the day and also you’ll be spending quite a few important hours together. Harold was wonderful, not only are he and his partner extremely professional and talented, but his gentle touch and calm demeanor were so relaxing. We also had fun, which is so important.

Fairytale Wedding in a Sicilian Citrus Grove – Daniele and Edgard 9
Fairytale Wedding in a Sicilian Citrus Grove – Daniele and Edgard 10
Fairytale Wedding in a Sicilian Citrus Grove – Daniele and Edgard 39

The Surprise Venue

It was really important to both of us to take our guests on a magical journey with us. It began with keeping the wedding venue secret (that’s right we actually managed to). In today’s google & social media world, there is no more mystery and we wanted an element of magic for our big day. So everyone was picked up at their hotels via buses and driven to Castello Xirumi, which is 40 minutes inland from Catania. It is inside of a beautiful citrus farm. Guests were so excited not to know, which was perfect.

Fairytale Wedding in a Sicilian Citrus Grove – Daniele and Edgard 41

The Ceremony

The setting for the ceremony was underneath the trees outside with chandeliers hanging down. I walked down the aisle to “My Lagan Love”, to honor my husband’s heritage, but also just because the ethereal beauty of Lisa Hannigan’s voice was a perfect match for the setting and moment.

Fairytale Wedding in a Sicilian Citrus Grove – Daniele and Edgard 15
Fairytale Wedding in a Sicilian Citrus Grove – Daniele and Edgard 22
Fairytale Wedding in a Sicilian Citrus Grove – Daniele and Edgard 29

The Florals & Decor

For my decor and flowers, I wanted a palette that would frame rather than compete with the beauty of the landscape and the wedding venue. So I chose ivory, cream, beige, burnt almond and gold. I also asked all of the female guests to come dressed in those desert tones and the gentlemen in tuxedos. It was a bold ask of the ladies, but the result was simply beautiful.

Fairytale Wedding in a Sicilian Citrus Grove – Daniele and Edgard 46
Fairytale Wedding in a Sicilian Citrus Grove – Daniele and Edgard 19
Fairytale Wedding in a Sicilian Citrus Grove – Daniele and Edgard 31
Fairytale Wedding in a Sicilian Citrus Grove – Daniele and Edgard 47

The Reception

With every part of the day, we took our guests deeper into the venue. The antipasti, dinner, cake and dancing were all held in different areas, which kept the element of surprise going through the evening and early morning.

All our guests were blown away by the venue, the incredible food provided by our caterer and the music. My husband is passionate about music, so choosing the right bands was very important. We had the local band Mizzica Mizzica at the antipasti and they were incredibly entertaining for the guests and added a local flair. Then we flew in the band ‘Beat’ from London, where we live, for the dancing at night and they brought the house down!

Fairytale Wedding in a Sicilian Citrus Grove – Daniele and Edgard 32
Fairytale Wedding in a Sicilian Citrus Grove – Daniele and Edgard 16
Fairytale Wedding in a Sicilian Citrus Grove – Daniele and Edgard 30

Advice to Other Couples

Once we decided on a destination wedding, we knew we needed to find a local wedding planner. It’s simply too difficult to manage planning with two day jobs and plan a wedding from afar. Also, we wanted to get married within nine months and we knew that in wedding terms that is quite short. It was very helpful to have a professional optimize our site visits to find our venue, as well as help us find some of our key vendors.

To select the planner that is right for you, I would recommend to any bride to find someone who understands your style and sense of esthetics. I knew Angela and Style A Wedding Team understood my taste very quickly, so I trusted her blindly when it came to decor and flowers, which was a big weight off my shoulders. All the vendors she suggested were also always on point.

Fairytale Wedding in a Sicilian Citrus Grove – Daniele and Edgard 33
Fairytale Wedding in a Sicilian Citrus Grove – Daniele and Edgard 37

Paper Goods

I would recommend not sending paper invites to everyone, but reserve it for the guests you know will really cherish it. This way you can do something very special with it and stay within your budget even if you have a long wedding list. I sent origami invites to just a few that unfolded to reveal the invite. It was in line with the mysterious element of the wedding. I then did e-invites for the majority of my guests, which was appreciated by all as it is just so much more in line with how people store information today.

Fairytale Wedding in a Sicilian Citrus Grove – Daniele and Edgard 48

The Honeymoon

We just did a short three day trip to the Aeolian Islands to relax post-wedding. It was lovely and the right way to end a destination wedding because we did not have to go far. I think extensive travel would have been too tiring right after a three-day wedding bonanza. We got quality couple time and could really debrief about the wedding, which is such fun.

Share this