Well where do we start? The last month has been an absolute rollarcoaster of emotions and it is a lot harder than we thought to put into words our gratitude to My Secret Italy & to do Julie Mckenzie justice.
We met Julie shortly after stumbling across the My Secret Italy page on the internet, and being instantly wowed by the pictures of the lido and the beautiful Torre Perrotti. On first meeting Julie, we were quite surprised by her professionalism and her passion for her work as she talked to us about her brides that she has fantastic & now long lasting friendships with, and at that very first meeting we knew that this woman was so caring, so enthusiastic and had such a real drive to make weddings that extra bit special….. We just couldn’t say no.
We put 100 percent faith & trust into Julie who we basically left to organise everything. We didn’t really research the area, the wedding venue or even the bands. We just left her to it, and took trust that she would do us justice. This is a person we barely knew at the time, but that gamble was so worth it.
Arriving in Santa Maria, Julie was there to welcome us on arrival, and the Garden Riviera was just lovely. The staff of that hotel went above & beyond to be friendly and welcoming, we had the whole pool to ourselves for a week, and it was just lovely. We actually spent quite a bit of time with Julie prior to the wedding, which was lovely. I honestly feel that both myself and Ed developed a real love for her, she is just one in a million. I had wedding jitters prior to getting married and Julie was the only person I wanted to be near, and the only one who calmed me down, looked after me and became my second mum. Between her and her beautiful daughter Emillie, both were an absolute pleasure to be around and spend time with. On the wedding morning, I actually spent the first few hours with Julie. We went for a coffee and she forced me to eat a few mouthfuls of cereal, which was definitely a real struggle! It was really lovely to just be with her, she has such a calming nature about her. But what I would also say about Julie is that she is understanding, compassionate, and non judgemental. I have talked to Julie about some really personal things….that is just the relationship I came to have with her.
The wedding day itself was beautiful. The weather was perfect, the skies blue and sea crystal clear. having spent the morning getting ready in the beautiful boutique hotel 1861 with my mum and 4 bridesmaids, I felt relaxed and ready (& the copious amounts of champagne and strawberries helped!) I believe my husband spent the morning “cannon balling” in the pool at the Garden Riv, and what I would say to any couple thinking of a wedding in Santa Maria…. This is the most chilled wedding morning you will ever have! Walking down to the Torre Perrotti I had crowds gathered clapping as I walked down the cobbled streets, which was such a strange feeling, I felt like a celeb! Getting married on the beautiful tower just exceeded my expectations, it was peaceful, serene, and intimate. The flowers were beautiful, the service a perfect length of time, and then we left the tower to cut the ribbon (an Italian tradition). Shortly after Baffo, the loveable local gelato extraordinaire arrived with ice cream for everyone! Again a lovely surprise. I definitely recommend the guitar and mandolin players, they kept our guests entertained whilst me and ed went for our pictures to be taken down the beautiful cobbled streets. On our return, crowds had gathered around the party and the guitar and mandolin players put on an amazing show! Funny, cheeky and charming whilst everyone drank prosecco and cheered.
Shortly after at the Lido for the reception, the setting was just stunning. Right on the beautiful white sandy beach, we watched the sunset in style, and made a wish as the sun disappeared. So romantic. The style of our tables was vintage, pretty fairy lights and candles. The band was fab, had everyone up on the floor, and then at the end, the fireworks!! Right over the sea, which were unbelievable! I found myself several times that night telling Julie how overwhelmed I was, and how amazing it all was, and more importantly, I was so happy she was there. She was more than a wedding planner right then and there, she was a friend, and a guest that became so important to me, I couldn’t have done it all without her. I can’t stop singing her praises, because Julie is a fantastic beautiful person and her efforts to make mine and Ed’s wedding were phenomenal. I feel that she will be a friend for life, and I have no regrets about choosing Italy. The weddings Julie creates are magical, unusual, and for any bride and grooms to be….. I tell you that your decision to work with My Secret Italy won’t be a gamble, like it was for me before I arrived…. It will be a brilliant decision. I guarantee it.
Lots of love,
Fliss & Ed xxx