Kaitlyn & Ross

This couple from the USA has contacted me to organise their elopement in a particular place full of greenery but with an exclusive feel of the Sicilian aristocracy. In addition, this place should have a plan B option for the ceremony as the period was autumn even at the end of September. The probability of rain is medium during this period of year, but we never know and can’t predict the weather until a few days before a wedding.

 

Thus a cosy castle was selected within 20 min of drive from Taormina, where our couple planned to have a post-ceremony photoshooting. They booked also a gorgeous room inside the castle and a private dinner after the intense wedding day.

 

The wedding theme was created based on Kaitlyn preferences of deep burgundy and peach colors that mixed and matched perfectly with the unity wine ceremony. The hotel`s maitre was very gentle in suggesting the best wine for the ceremony.

 

On the wedding day a slight rain caught up with the couple, it ruined nothing, but only gave a fresh look to the flowers, enhanced a profound emerald color of the tropical garden of the castle and gave a special touch and light to all the 4 hours of wedding photoshooting.

 

 

Phothgraphy: Tatiana Costantino

 

Feedback from the couple (Wedding Wire):

My new husband and I knew we wanted a small wedding when we got engaged but when we began our search we had no idea where it would lead us. One night I started searching for elopement coordinators in Sicily, Italy as we love traveling to new places together. This is when I stumbled upon etnamare wedding. From the start Anastasia was very responsive, organized and always kept us informed. She took care of everything we needed and asked for our desires through the process. I loved how stress free it was for me! The elopement package included everything I had wanted and more. When we arrived to Castello San Marco for our wedding day we were beyond grateful for all of Anastasia’s hard work and seeing everything together was better than we could imagine. Even the unplanned rain shower during the ceremony was explained as good luck in Sicily! We cannot thank Anastasia enough for planning and coordinating our dream Sicilian wedding day

Zach&Kelly

Goals.

A couple from the USA, Zach and Kelly, turned to me for help in organizing an authentic wedding, and when I realized what they wanted, I exclaimed “Finally!” Finally, I got a brave enough and temerarious couple for a wedding adventure on the very top of the highest active volcano in Europe! The couple wanted the ceremony as close as possible to the active craters of Etna, and this was only possible with trekking.

The task was not an easy one: to organize a rather complicated and expensive decor in an absolutely wild place without the possibility of delivery and pick up by a car, to take into account the light and the possibility of a strong wind ( mt Etna was chosen by the NASA as a test site for the Mars rover precisely because of the unpredictable weather). I had to develop, together with decorators, such an arch so that it is most stable during gusts of wind and during long transportation. I developed a detailed plan for the wedding day, taking into account 1 hour of hiking and taking into account all possible details and circumstances during this trekking, since the trail was chosen semi-wild without any services along the way.

 

Implementation.

The best suppliers were found who agreed to hike the trail, some part of which was quite a steep hill, and about 7 km long. 25 decorators carried decor and flowers to the place of the ceremony. The bride chose expensive flowers, orchids, hydrangeas, and white roses, which were decorated with contrasting hazel branches in a chic open-top arch. For the stability of the arch during the wind, a special stabilizing structure was developed. The couple was traditionally filmed during preparations at a spa resort on Etna, then dressed for trekking, and drove to the start of the trail in the company of a film crew and me. The trail chosen was called Schiena dell’Asino, at the end of which there is a unique view of the main crater of the volcano and the Valle del Bove, where lava flows down during eruptions. The trail is popular with hikers, as the Etna eruption can be seen up close in relative safety. The wedding for two took place in June on a weekday, so we met very few tourists on the way, the ceremony turned out to be very intimate, as planned.

As for the details, there were many, and some of them are worth a detailed description. The couple wanted this ceremony to be very unusual but also reflect their personal love story. A personalized ring box was designed and painted by our talented artist, it featured white orchids on the top against a black background of volcanic lava, Etna erupting inside the box, and a surprise from the bride to the groom at the very bottom. Since Zach was an absolute admirer of whales, a surprise was prepared especially for him in the form of a painted whale, hidden under rose petals and rings. For the symbolic ceremony, a mix of rituals was chosen by the couple, a sand ceremony and a rose ceremony were held with the participation of the bridesmaids, and the handfasting ceremony was the final chord. For this ceremony, I carefully selected various ribbons brought from Norway, which were also decorated with a decorative volcanic stone and a silver pendant in the shape of Sicily from a well-known Italian designer (you can find the names of suppliers on social networks Instagram and Facebook).

 

Results.

Living on the volcano literally for more than 14 years, I, like all its indigenous inhabitants, am in love with this Mountain and quite reasonably consider it alive. How many times was this the case when the eruption preceded some important social events, or simply Etna greeted her admirers at “that very moment.” And this time, on the way to the ceremony site, Etna “released” a greeting in the shape of a heart!
After such a parting wish, one could not worry that something would go wrong, and it happened: there was practically no wind, Etna quietly “smoked” when necessary, and without overdoing it, the sunset was completely surreal in a matte haze overlooking the Ionian Sea from heights of almost 3000 meters. The atmosphere was so magical that the couple wanted to stay at the top almost until darkness, and I had to reschedule the wedding cake and wedding dinner organized in the same resort for a little later.

The gallery presents shootings of two wedding days:
— pre-wedding day with shooting in the castle of Aci Castello and a ride in a retro car, photographer Tatiana Costantino
– main wedding day: photographer Gianluca Sammartano, videographer Serena Catanzaro

Susie & Ben

It was one of the most interesting and unusual weddings in planning and realization. The couple and guests were from the UK, but the bride is of Chinese descent, so it was imperative to split the wedding day into 2 parts: traditional Chinese and modern European.

castle wedding sicily

A chic Sicilian castle was chosen as the venue, located on the seashore and with a breathtaking view of Mount Etna. The castle also had rooms where some of the guests were accommodated. There were several areas for the ceremony and banquet, the couple chose the Arabian Garden with a gazebo with a frontal view of the castle for the ceremony and the indoor Orangerie banquet hall for the wedding dinner, since the wedding was in early April, when the evening can be quite cool.

 

According to Chinese tradition, weddings are usually celebrated in the spring, so I designed a light spring decoration of the venue, taking into account the bride’s favorite colors – pastel beige, pink and mauve – which could be easily and quickly moved inside the castle in case of bad weather. But it was not needed, April 11, 2022 was sunny, dry and warm without a single drop of rain.

 

The bride Susie had 2 dresses, the first traditional Chinese Quipao wedding dress with gold embroidered Phoenix on red silk, and a classic lace European wedding dress for the formal ceremony. In the first part of the wedding day, the groomsmen with the groom had to woo the bride by going through a series of obstacles and pranks organized by the bridesmaids’ team. In the Chinese wedding tradition, it is called door games. The bride was “locked” in her room, and her girlfriends stood guard at her door and did not let the groom in until he had passed the whole circle of obstacles. Among the tests were songs, poems, eating sour lemons and red peppers, dried Chinese insects), push-ups and a number of other equally fun activities. By tradition, one could refuse and pay, but no one took advantage of this right, as it was a lot of fun. The bride watched it all live-streamed on her mobile phone. As a result, the groom proved that he was worthy and saw his beloved for the first time.

 

The Chinese door games were followed by a tea ceremony for the closest, a very important ritual in Chinese culture, when a couple offer tea to relatives from both sides, and in return receives heartfelt wishes for happiness and prosperity, as well as envelopes with valuable gifts.

 

The classic wedding ceremony turned out to be very intimate, despite the presence of 70-80 guests, with tears of happiness in their eyes and a lot of ​​smiles.

 

After the ceremony and a light buffet, a surprise was performed to the guests in the form of an aerial acrobatic show, in which the bride also partly participated.

 

 

The wedding day ended with a banquet with exquisite Sicilian dishes, a disco with live sax and a Sicilian ice cream stand.

 

You can read feedback from the couple HERE

 

Photography and videogrpahy: Salvo Biglio Fotografo

Yulia & Olexander

“And, when you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.” –

that was a life lesson of this, my first wedding in Sicily during the pandemic.

This beautiful and brave couple from Germany has decided to plan their elopement in September 2020 even though this particular period of time.

Preparation took approx 1 month, we carefully assisted in choosing of florists, in the elaboration of sketch design of the place for ceremony and preparation of all the details and text for Unity Candle Ceremony.

 

The couple has booked an outstanding penthouse in the centre of Palermo with a panoramic terrace overlooking the gorgeous Palermo Cathedral. It is really unique place with speechless views where you can move without a car for a wedding photoshoot after the ceremony and have maximum privacy.

 

The Cathedral of Palermo is an active Catholic church, has completely mixed different styles: here you can see both Gothic and classicism and even Arab influence.

The wedding arch was performed in Sicilian style with some autumn notes using Sicilian lemons, rosemary, roses and golden-peach dahlias.

At the end of September, the world again began to close borders and to introduce new restrictions on weddings.

However, this wedding for two survived: all the plans came true, the ceremony took place, the lovers celebrated the creation of a family in a unique atmosphere.

Perhaps the patroness of Palermo – Saint Rosalia – could help here.

According to the legend, this Catholic Saint and hermit appeared in a dream to a woman in the midst of the plague of 1624. And she asked to transfer her relics to the cathedral of Palermo. They did not disobey the saint and fulfilled her wish. By some miracle, after this act, the disease left the city.

This wedding in Palermo also took place as a little magic, despite the pandemic around the world.

 

 

Wedding Planner, Anastasia Leonova in Carastro
Photography: Gianluca Sammartano

N & S

This story is about a wonderful couple N&S, who have chosen Sicily for a symbolic wedding at the end of October 2019.

I immediately realized that this will be a special project. The bride was expecting, so long journeys and complicated logistics were immediately discarded; in the end, even the shooting in Taormina had to be excluded, although it was only 2 steps away from the wedding venue. Villa Corleone was chosen for the ceremony, where the most memorable scenes from the Godfather movie were filmed, but there was no link to the mafia theme itself: the couple really liked the villa because of its atmosphere. In addition, we needed maximum privacy during and after the ceremony, since the plans were a couple’s dance. Also, we needed protection from possible bad weather, considering the middle of autumn. Castello degli Schiavi was ideal in all respects: a private manor where only the owners live, the authenticity of the place and the picturesque arch – the “face” of the whole villa, very high and deep, which would reliably protect the couple during the ceremony in case of rain. The decor of the site was designed in a way that do not violate the authenticity of the place. A light heart-shaped gypsophila cloud 3.5 meters high was most naturally incorporated into the greenery framing of the entrance and, falling, being passed through pink-white accents of peonies and hydrangeas to the final chord of white candles and sea sand into the glass cylinders to match the colour of the villa’s terrace.

Since the ceremony was supposed to be evening, we prayed to the mt Etna to be without clouds, because it is visible from the villa, and what do you think? Etna let us have this gift, generously adding some hot touch right on the wedding day. The view was cosmic! The weather, by the way, was absolutely summer, 30 degrees in the afternoon, and it was October 21st. For the bride’s preparations, another castle was chosen, located just 10 minutes from the Villa Corleone, Castello di San Marco Charming Hotel & Spa, where also a couple’s secret interview was recorded. And finally, after the personalised ceremony with our branded Etna&Sea unity sand ritual, there was a Dance under the sunset sun setting over the erupting mountain. The video and photos accurately reflect the mood of that day, the gentle sun, exquisite scenery, Sicilian colours, and in the centre of everything – the happy family and their emotions. I would like to thank everyone who has participated in the creation of this magic day and, especially, the couple who gave me the gentle permission to publish these photos.

Ph: Tatiana Costantino;

Video: Gianmarco Vetrano;

WP, decor and celebrant: Etnamare weddings and events, Anastasia Leonova in Carastro

Venues: Castello degli Schiavi and Castello di San Marco Charming Hotel & Spa

Oleg & Liubov

Goals:

Oleg contacted me six months before the event with a request to come up with some ideas for an original surprise for his bride’s birthday, which also happened on their honeymoon in Sicily in September. It was necessary to organize something memorable, original and in absolute secret from the bride.

 

Preparations:

Discussing all the details about the event was like a journey into the world of gourmet, of the secrets of Mormons and the endless love 🙂 A few months planning, working out the menu, wine’s selection  (the newlywed turned out to be a real gourmet), working out all the most minimal details from the transfer (the bride should not have suspected anything until the very last moment!) to the timing of the day. We’ve also considered the option of an air excursion over Taormina and the volcano, but the impressive trip on a yacht outweighed many arguments. Moreover, the bride always wanted to learn how to navigate a yacht. A detailed itinerary was developed with stops at Taormina’s bays for swimming, a small grotto tour near Taormina, a light lunch onboard and a romantic dinner at the sunset that would end the day. For dinner, Giardini Naxos Bay was chosen for several reasons: firstly, with a clear sky, you can see a stunning sunset from there, and we-ve really counted on it, and secondly, the bay was well closed from strong winds, and this was important to avoid sea rolling and flying plates. The yacht was chosen THIS, its skipper was repeatedly tested for readiness for any adventures) a good mood was guaranteed. As a chef, his cousin was presented. Oh yes, as the Sicilians can cook, no one can cook.

 

Result:

What could be more romantic and touching when a loved one unexpectedly on your birthday gifts you a boat trip and dinner overlooking the sunset volcano? The dream of any girl;)
All our preparations were paid off with interest! The surprise was sustained like expensive wine, the bride’s reaction was indescribable. The weather did not disappoint, the sea was like a smooth mirror, the perky skipper has taught everyone how to navigate a yacht), the inimitable assistant chef Ines surprised as always with culinary delights, the Setteveli cake with pistachios and chocolate was magnificent, and the Etna seemed to be waiting for the right moment to give out the most colourful sunset. And the most precious thing about all this was the following review – the pure emotion. And this is the most important thing for me. The feedback of the couple can be read here.

 

Planning, coordination and photo – Etnamare weddings and events, I personally took all the photographs, it was my gift to the newlyweds.

The yacht – https://etnamare.org/properties/rent-sailing-yacht/ 

Vitaliya & Maxim

Goals:

organize a wedding photoshoot on a yacht or in Taormina.

Preparation:

Initially, the couple wanted a wedding photoset on a yacht with a romantic dinner, but since it happened in November, at the very last moment I had to change all plans because of the weather and transfer the photoshoot location to Taormina. As you know (not everyone, but this is a fact), the weather in Sicily is unstable in the autumn, although it remains warm for a long time, the newlyweds did not freeze at all, as can be seen from the photos. Nevertheless, rain drizzled periodically, replacing by a bright sun, nature was creating unrealistically beautiful effects. Double heart on the sea, juicy greens and special effects of reflection in the water. Such photos can only be obtained in such weather. When the sun is shining and there is no humidity, of course, the hairstyle lasts longer and there is no need to run with an umbrella (like me :), but you must admit that this photo session turned out to be simply enchanting not only thanks to the skill of the photographer Salvo Biglio, but also due to the capricious Sicilian weather.

Result:

Instead of the planned 3-4 hours, we filmed half a day in Taormina. We were very lucky with the weather, it was amazing, despite the wind: at the beginning of filming, a double heart formed on the sea: the island clearly hinted that we were in the right place, at the right time and with the right company! The walk around Taormina was enchanting, everyone asked me: “Is she some kind of famous actress or celebrity?” That was the reaction to our bride. At first, the bride did not want to be filmed with a purple umbrella, but it was she who later liked the photos with it the most. The walk was very atmospheric, full of romantic surprises, seasoned with jokes and congratulations from the locals. Photos turned out to be memorable and hot. You may read the review of the couple in a special section on the site.

 

Ph: Salvo Biglio
Planning: Anastasia Cucci, Etnamare weddings and events

Julia & Arthur

Goals:

The guys from Latvia has been organizing their wedding tour in Europe, with a symbolic wedding in Sicily. They were looking for a local coordinator and master of ceremonies to help them with wedding venue selection where the guests can stay and the ceremony can be held too, to organize a small banquet and host the ceremony in two languages (Italian and Russian).

 

Preparations:

Initially, the couple wanted to organize a wedding at the hotel castle in San Marco, but I found a wonderful private villa nearby with no extra eyes, means, fully exclusive, and with more favourable conditions. The villa was very beautiful, with a huge arch-arbour, which had never been used for weddings before. On the spot, we took all the exact sizes and sent them to the guys, and they brought a tailored made decor according to these sizes.
I also needed to rent a drone (in Italy, you need a license to use a drone), I found a proven team that could synchronously (through my translation) fulfil all the wishes of a videographer for wedding shooting from the air.
The couple asked if my Italian husband could also host the wedding ceremony in the Italian language for maximum immersion in Italian reality 🙂 I wrote the text of the ceremony in two languages ​​with personalization for a couple, “to stay in my heart forever.” I selected and ordered vessels for the sand ceremony. Our artists prepared a personalized certificate for the couple, painted by watercolour technique, the sand for the unity sand ritual was chosen with different energies: the volcanic one – masculine – from Etna and another one from Riga’s seaside – carrier of female energy. For the decor of the banquet table, a Sicilian rustic decor was chosen with freshly cut branches of lemons, antique candelabra and a Sicilian style painted table was used without a tablecloth. The menu was developed as mixed fish and meat with Sicilian specialities, private catering was invited, which was cooking directly inside of the villa. All technical details for the work of the film crew were agreed upon with the staff of the villa (the team had professional equipment for shooting films)

 

Results:

It is especially pleasant to participate in the organization of the wedding of business colleagues 🙂 Julia and Arthur turned out to be not only a very sincere, sparkling couple but also talented decorators. The stylists and photographers, whom they brought with them, adequately captured the most intimate moments of the personalized ceremony in two languages with a unity sand ritual. The guys crossed all of Europe from Prague to Rome, “going down” through Bari to Sicily, where a luxurious villa between the sea and the volcano was waiting for them. In Sicily, they filmed in Taormina, in the gorge of the Alcantara River, which is known for its charismatic basaltic rocks, in the Valley of the Temples in Agrigento and on the snow-white Turkish staircase called Scala dei Turchi, in the very South of the island. My eldest daughter Sofia carried the wedding gown plume of the bride. The arch, decorated with thin translucent voile with white-pink peonies and hydrangeas, was magnificent. The text of the ceremony was solemn and soulful at the same time, causing a stingy tear from the groom. The weather in early June encouraged the continuation of the banquet in the open air. The celebration ended with the cutting of a small wedding cake of the freshest cream and wild strawberries, light and delicious Sicilian speciality, which I always recommend to small groups and girls on eternal diets 🙂

 

Photo, video, muah, decor and planning – Eximia events.

Coordination and Master of ceremonies – Anastasia Leonova in Carastro with her Italian husband.

Yana & Alexander

Goals:

to organize an intimate ceremony for only two in a mix of discreet Sicilian and garden wedding style.

The guys planned to get legally married in Russia, to celebrate the event with relatives and friends, and afterwards to combine a honeymoon with an elopement in Sicily. They purchased the elopement package “Magic Sicily” (click the link to see what was included).

Preparations:

For Yana and Alexander, a symbolic ceremony was organized in a private garden on the volcano Etna slope with photo shooting in 3 locations by the sea, including the charismatic Arab-Norman castle at Aci Castello. In the decor of the venue, I used some classical elements (transparent veil of the arch, classic white roses) with Sicilian style decor: white Moors heads, lemons, yellow and white lisianthus and fragrant eucalyptus with leaves in the form of hearts. White candles and garlands created an intimate atmosphere during a personalized ceremony with my branded unity sand ritual during sunset.

The bride’s bouquet was created to suit the general decor style with the addition of delicate pale pink roses in contrast to the burgundy callas which highlighted the bride’s personality. The bride did not want to use too many strong colours, but at the same time, she wanted Sicilian particularity and a lot, a lot of greenery. Therefore, the choice of the white, more neutral, traditional Sicilian flower pots “Head of the Moor” for the decor of the site was very successful and fit perfectly into the context.

According to the concept of the wedding, the rings holder was painted by local artists in Sicilian style with stylized lemons and greens. The rings were put on olives collected in the garden, where the ceremony was held. After all, it was the beginning of September, a month before the start of the vendemmia and the collection of the first crops, before the extraction of the first olive oil from olives from the slopes of the largest active volcano in Europe!

Result:

I will not forget this couple for a long time. That sparkling energy, openness and tender soul of the bride, jokes and esprit of the groom. And when they get together, it’s just become holly “fire”, worse than the Etna’s one. Thank you for your trust and those emotions you gifted me during the planning.

P.S. During the writing of the personalised text of the ceremony, some magic happened, as a result of which not two, but three persons took part in the ceremony in Sicily :). The final chord was Alexander’s joke about the fact that they felt the fertility of Sicily and of the mt Etna particularly  already in Moscow while preparing for the wedding)

 

Planning, officiant, decor and flowers: Etnamare Wedding and events, Anastasia Leonova in Carastro
Photographer: Tatiana Costantino
Venue : Etnamare secret garden

Anastasia & Gennady

Goals:

Selection of a villa with accommodation for all guests, where it would be possible to host also a wedding dinner with a photoshoot and a disco. Developing a mixed meat and fish menu for guests. The bride did not want any roses in bouquets and compositions, we should find a worthy replacement. A bouquet should have been necessarily done with orchids. Among the guests was a DJ, so only a console rental was required. And surely Sicilian spirit as a must!

Preparations:

The villa was selected between Taormina and Catania, overlooking Mount Etna and the sea. The villa allowed both the accommodation of the whole group of 14 people and a wedding banquet both outside and in the internal hand-painted room. The table decor was dominated by Sicilian motives, blooming la zagara – flowers of lemons and oranges,   lisianthus instead of roses, and lemons. A combination of fruits and flowers was fashionable at that time. In the bride’s bouquet, a rare and complex combination of expensive flowers – orchids, orange blossom and hydrangeas – was selected. The newlyweds were greeted by the Sicilian folk quartet, who sang Sicilian folk songs throughout the evening, the celebration ended traditionally with cutting the cake and a disco in the garden.

Result:

The Sicilian folk quartet won the hearts of the couple and guests! Their soulful songs created a special atmosphere during the dinner, many guests sang along with them and recorded them as a keepsake. The day was sunny and warm, but in the evening because of the sharp temperature difference, it was decided to transfer the banquet to the inner room from the lawn, so I always advise you to hold weddings in spring in locations with the designated place for “Plan B”. The day before the event, the couple took a wedding photoshoot at the locations of the “The Godfather” film – Savoca and Forza d’Agro, and at the evening beach near Taormina. You can read the review of the couple in our special section.

Ph and video: Tatiana Costantino and some photos by Etnamare weddings and events

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