Julie, here is my testimonial, it’s a bit long, hope its ok!…..
We have just returned from our fantastic wedding in the lovely Santa Maria Di Castellabate organised by our wedding angel Julie McKenzie. It was my now husband (!) who googled ‘beach weddings in Italy’ and found My Secret Italy. He contacted Julie and they had a great chat and he explained we were looking for a casual beach wedding as we didn’t want the usual hotel wedding that always had the same formula, we wanted something a bit different and more of a party by the beach. Julie said she knew exactly what would work and to leave it with her. When he told me I must admit I was a little suspicious. You hear about wedding planners online that make promises, get paid and then don’t really do any work and you end up doing it all. Because we found her on the internet I was very cautious. Then I spoke to her. She was so full of great ideas, passion about her business, interest in us and was bubbling with romance that I couldn’t help but take to her…so we decided to go ahead. She sent us a detailed proposal with all the costs included. Again I was a little suspicious (clearly my nature!) as it seemed too good to be true. She had so many fantastic suggestions and they didn’t cost the world…could this really be the case I wondered? So we booked a weekend that Easter to check the pace out and make sure it was real! Up to then we had only seen photos and couldn’t imagine it was a beautiful and full of charm that Julie said and everyone on her facebook said. We also hadn’t met Julie…maybe she wasn’t real! But she said she would be there at Easter and we would get to meet her. Not only is Julie a real person, she is exactly the person we had spoken to on the phone, fully of bubbly enthusiasm…like a breath of fresh air!
The weather was not that great as it was the end of March and even still Santa Maria is way more beautiful than any pictures can capture. Julie had suggested we not come to keep the beauty and charm of the place a surprise and I understand that now as I feel now a bit like we had sneaked a peek at our Christmas present before the day itself. It truly is the most wonderful place, as all the brides before me will agree! We met many of the people who would be involved in putting the day together, Domenico our lovely taxi driver, the wonderful Rosanna and Franco from the Lido Azzuro and the brilliant Luigi & Pepe who would be our band.
Fast forward to our September wedding. Everything that Julie had proposed at the very beginning was all organised and cost exactly what she had quoted….no surprises… all the fantastic ideas and suggestions she had made. Julie had been in contact with all our guests…nearly 60 in total….there was a lot of organising and with Domenico making collections and drop offs and settling everyone in. Julie took it all in her stride, no stress.
We had a pizza night arranged in Castellabate which is up on the hill looking down on the town of Santa Maria with the sun going down with the hills near Salerno in the background, the sky all pinks and blues, really quite stunning. All our guest were totally amazed by the whole beauty of the place and the romantic atmosphere and surroundings … let the party start! We had a fantastic set menu arranged including the most amazing pizza anyone had tasted, then all happily headed back on the bus full and merry.
The next day was the wedding day and I will not give too much away except to say that when I thought I knew how the day would go as Julie had planned everything so well to every tiniest detail…WOW…all the lovely little surprises she had for us was quite incredible considering we had only know her such a short time. Our wedding day was so fantastic, just the outline…so I don’t give too much away for future brides! We had the ceremony in the Torre Perrottti thanks to the very beautiful and kind Baroness Julia, with lots of Italians sunning themselves on the beach below!….we laughed, we danced, we sang and I don’t think anyone will quite forget it (I think including Julie!) .. we moved from there to the square with our strumming mandolin players where everyone continued to sing along with the locals to hits like ‘Volare’. Truly everyone was having such a great time and kept saying they had never been to a wedding like it….and we hadn’t even started the party yet! Throughout this we also had the brilliant Laura Babb and her husband Pete photographing everything, not only am I delighted with her photos but you wouldn’t have even noticed they were there except to be a lovely addition to our celebration.
Off we headed to the Lido Azzuro which was done up beautifully by Rosanna her team..and no doubtedly Julie as I could see her sparkly prints all over the wonderful decorations catching the sunlight as the sun went down over the sea lapping up on the beach just in front of us. When we had hoped for a ‘beach wedding in Italy’ this surpassed all our expectations….wow, the beauty, the romance and it was a million miles from the standard hotel wedding that everyone was so bored of and that we had wanted to avoid. We had a delicious BBQ with all kinds of wonderful fish and meats & local dishes. We had veggies & ceoliacs in our group and everyone was very well catered for….and completely stuffed, they just kept serving until everyone was full and all the guests were highly impressed by the standard and quality of the food. We had the best musicians in Luigi & Pepe who allowed the more talented of our guests to get up and join them. They are such a talented pair, all the songs are the ones you know and love and we spent the evening dancing off all the lovely food we had eaten. Then the real surprise for our guests – fireworks! Some might find them a bit cheesy but these are really special, the show goes on for ages over the water just in front of everyone….everyone was stunned…it was just brilliant! The night went on until very late and was most definitely the best day of our lives.
All the brides who have come before me will completely agree, Julie puts her heart and soul into every single wedding. You are not just a number, you are one of her brides and she takes such pride in her work and does an AMAZING job. I really don’t know what we would have done without her but I am absolutely sure that we would not have had the wedding we had without her. Aunts, uncles, friends, parents and siblings have all said, and I believe very genuinely, that it was the best wedding that they have ever been to…it is because it was so totally different. To Julie, you are a wonderful, kind, beautiful person and you deserve all the happiness in the world as that is what you give to all of us. Without you these memories for all our guests, as well as us, would not be the amazing memories we have. I thank you from the bottom of my heart. Cushla (& Gavin!!)