There are a select few clients that have really stood out to me in my photography journey. The first couple that trusted me to document their wedding knowing full well I had never shot a wedding before, the high school friend who trusted and referred me so often that she probably saved my business during a hard year, the two women who asked me, "Is this your first gay wedding" and then hugged me and said "awesome!" when I replied that indeed it was...okay, maybe I could go on, but I could not continue any longer without mentioning Anna and Luca.
When Anna's sister (a fellow photographer) first reached out to me about photographing Anna and Luca's wedding in Rome I thought, "No way this is going to pan out" because it felt too good to be true. I travel a lot for my weddings, but I have never traveled internationally unless you count Mexico and Canada. I had never been overseas or been on a flight longer than 5 hours. So yes, going to Rome and working with Anna and Luca was a dream come true. During a Skype consultation before their officially hired me, Anna asked, "Will this be your first time overseas?" and I said yes, only slightly worried that they would drop me like a hot potato. Instead, both of their faces lit up and they legitimately seemed excited for me and my new experience. That's just who they are, through and through.
After spending 5 glorious days sight seeing in Capri (Anna and Luca's suggestion!), Sorrento, Almalfi, Positano, and Pompeii me and my two associate photographers, Anita and Jo, headed to Rome for the biggest wedding of my career. After all, it's not every day that someone pays to fly you 6200 miles for their wedding. No pressure or anything, nope, none. (So, right now I want to keep gushing about how Anna and Luca made us feel like home at Luca's family hotel, how they got on the phone and made us dinner reservations at their favorite restaurant in Rome, and how they treated us like welcome guests instead of hired vendors but I will stop because that could get way too long).
The day started off...wet. Very wet. Rome is not known for rain in the month of May so everyone was shocked when May 14th called for downpours. We scrambled to find an alternate location for Anna's family photos before the ceremony which actually turned out beautifully against a clean white backdrop on the hotel's covered roof. Once all of the girls were ready we raced off to the Basilica of Santa Maria in Ana Coeli complete with it's HUNDREDS of steps. Right as Anna stepped out of the car the rain stopped, as if it were meant to be. Soaring ceilings, gothic windows, mosaics, dozens and dozens of massive chandeliers, and an aura of history and romanticism greeted us the moment we stepped inside. As the music began to play Anna walked down the aisle to greet Luca and very few were able to hold back tears, including Luca. Once the ceremony was complete we explored the surrounding areas taking photos in the last breaking rays of sun and made our way to Villa Miani, the reception venue. Where the basilica was ancient and historical, Villa Miani was modern and luxurious, the perfect compliment. The guests moved from the outer patios into a cocktail lounge room with live band, and then into the main dining area. The speeches were heartfelt and funny, the food was out of this world, and the crowd of guests cheered with each new course that was carried out to their tables. Next, we made our way upstairs to find the most decadent and beautiful desert bar I have ever seen. There were candies, chocolates, cakes, pies, and things that I have never seen before in my life. It literally took up an entire room. Bars (espresso and traditional) kept the guests hydrated as they began to dance.
It was nearly 3am by the time we departed and Anna told me the next day that the party didn't stop even then! That night (morning?!) I stood on our 7th story balcony with my laptop perched on a rail getting just enough of a wifi signal to send Anna and Luca a few sneak peeks. It was an exhausting but truly magical day that I am so thankful that I got to be a part of.
Shout out to some more of the amazing vendors that made this day possible:
Event Design and Planning: The Italian Wedding Company
Ceremony Location: Basilica of Santa Maria Ana Coeli
Reception Venue: Villa Miani
Ceremony Dress: Berta Bridal
Reception Dress: Cymbeline
Florals: Andrea Patrizi
Cakes and Sweets: Rose Cakes
Rings: Gioielleria Bonanno
Associate Photographers: Anita Martin and Joanna Clark
Videography: Fulvio Greco Films
Band/Music: Sombras Live Music