Wayne and I didn’t have a traditional engagement….. we woke up one Saturday morning and after talking about getting married we decided it was a good day to go shopping for an engagement ring! We’ve always been quite a laid back couple but we seem to know when something just feels right. That day I found the perfect ring, so after a few champagne cocktails to celebrate and some tipsy discussions on wedding venues we headed to the travel agents to pick up brochures on destination weddings. I sat for hours trawling through brochures but nothing felt right – so I’m looked on-line. I can’t remember exactly how I stumbled across My Secret Italy, but when I did, I knew I’d found our dream wedding location, I showed Wayne and he was happy so I emailed Julie, her prompt response and a phone call soon after got the wheels in motion. We knew we wouldn’t be able to visit Italy before our wedding, so we looked at lots of photographs from Julie’s previous weddings to decide on our style of wedding and the venues for our ceremony and reception.
We didn’t have the smoothest of journey to start, as some family wanted us to get married in the UK, at times it felt selfish to go abroad and after an email to Julie to say we were going to cancel our booking, I was so upset that I knew we needed to do this for us, SO we re-booked, and we never looked back, it was the best decision we ever made and Julie was on hand straight away to confirm our booking
Not only was it fantastic to work with Julie, who made the time to meet with us and plenty of phonecalls/texts and skype sessions, she also introduced us to the amazing Andrea Ellison, who was our dream wedding photographer – in fact together they really were a dream team, and I can truly say that every positive thing we were told about Santa Maria is so true. It’s difficult to put into words just what a truly amazing and magical place it is. We feel honoured to have been able to hold our wedding there. We were made to feel so special every step on the way and everyone took so much time to make us feel welcome. Dominico who was always on hand to taxi our guests around. Veronica worked to our budget to produce the most amazing flowers, Anna did our hair and Costabile was our make up artist, they both worked their magic on us. The Baroness welcomed us with open arms each time she saw us and allowed our ceremony to be held at the breath taking Torre Perrotti, even the men had tears in their eyes when they saw the venue. Bar Oliver who provided a wonderful space with snacks and drinks for our guests while we went for some photos and….. to make us feel even more special, Julie and Andrea organised a surprise and we were taken to the palace for some of our photographs. The staff at the Lido, created the most wonderful atmosphere for after our ceremony. It was amazing to hear all our guests being in awe of each and every part of the day and the band were just fantastic and kept us dancing till the early hours and once it got dark the amazing fireworks display started and just blew everyone away…. Even us and we were expecting it.
I was so happy that we were in Santa Maria for our wedding, as if I’d been a guest for someone else, I would have been really jealous!!!
We stayed at the Garden Riviera, which was just the most welcoming place. Nothing was too much trouble for the staff, even taking Wayne to the Doctors when he fell unwell. We loved it so much that we returned there for the last few days of our stay. After the wedding we spend a few nights at 1861 and again we were made to feel so welcome, with nothing being too much trouble for Carlo, whether it was lending us beach towels or offering us the use of his canoe.
Each and every day in Santa Maria was so special and our wedding was everything we had ever dreamed of and more. It really was the most perfect day. Working with Julie meant that we didn’t have to worry about a thing, everything was perfectly organised and our time spent with Julie was so enjoyable. Our journey started off with a wedding planner and ended with a friend. We have so many happy memories of Santa Maria and the most amazing wedding day ever – Thank you Julie, you’re the best. If I had to give future brides one bit of advice, I would say….. “relax and trust in Julie – she does a fantastic job” xxx
Mr & Mrs Hopkins