Paul & Laura’s Wedding in Santa Maria di Castellabate

Real Weddings


Here is a little recap on this gorgeous September wedding. 

If you would like to know more about a My Secret Italy wedding, then download the Free Planning Guide and get in touch. I would love to hear from you.  This is written by the bride herself, Laura.

THE PROPOSAL | 26th May 2017. I (Laura) had been working away overseas for 4 months so I had been separated for a fair amount of time.

Whilst I was away we were in the process of buying our first house together, Paul tells me that he originally wanted to propose the day we got the keys whilst we were eating a takeaway off the floor of an empty house. But, we were driving back up from the South after being reunited and the sun was shining, the music was blaring in the car and we were both singing at the top of our voices the whole journey. Nothing was getting us down that day, we were so happy to be back together again, Paul, myself, and our dog, Bedlam the Beagle.

When we got back Paul said that he had a surprise for me, didn’t think anything of it as Paul does surprises and buys me thoughtful gifts all the time.

I closed my eyes and had my hands out, like instructed, and then got told to open my eyes. The split second before I opened them I thought to myself “oooooh I wonder what I’ll do if Paul is down on one knee when I open then” low and behold, he was down on one knee with the dog sat down next to him. That, bar our wedding day……and us getting our dog (!) was the best day ever. The easiest question I have ever had to answer.

THE VISION | Our vision was a constantly evolving one. We wanted something classic, classy, and elegant that wouldn’t date in photos. We wanted surprises throughout the day. We wanted a wedding that no one else had had before. Part of the reason why we went with Julie and SM was that we didn’t want a carbon copy hotel package production line-type wedding.

THE PLANNING PROCESS |  I (Laura) was pretty relaxed about the planning process, mainly because Paul took the lead on a lot of things. Paul spoke to Julie the most he ran with it all really. I just chose (what I called) the “frilly bits” the fun stuff, colours, decoration, etc.

THE VENUE | Ceremony Torre Perotti by the sea followed by dinner & dancing at Il Calesse in the historic village of Castellabate.


Dress”Margot” by Enzoani was purchased from The Bridal Lounge in Harrogate

Earrings accessorize

Bangle – my something borrowed from my Mum

Shoes – ASOS (with a sixpence stuck to the bottom from a car boot sale!)


FINDING THE DRESS – This was easy! The first dress I tried on, the first shop I went to. I knew I wanted something a little different, dramatic, a bit extra (!), I knew I wanted a thigh split. I took my mum and sister with me and instantly knew it was the dress the moment I tried it on. No tears or anything, in and out, bish bash bosh


Suits – Suits direct

Shoes – Kurt Geiger


Music from local Guitar & Mandolin Players

Readings by my best friend Hannah Gapper (Union by Robert Fulgham)

A poem was written by my step-dad Steve Hamilton

1st dance – Right Here by Chris Brown

Reception band – Maieutike


Georgina Bussey, Molly Green, and Victoria Stewart-Halford

THE FLOWERS | I wanted my favorite flowers in the bouquet, white anemones but unfortunately, this flower was not in season in September, so, I ordered some silk ones online and the florist mixed them in with the real flowers. The real ones consisted of white English roses, peonies, eucalyptus, and silk anemones. A truly stunning arrangement from…… We had buttonholes made for the gentleman and corsages for the women of the bridal party. The bridesmaid had very simple bouquets of white hydrangeas.

THE CAKE | We had the dessert as our cake, basically, we had run out of money at this point and a cake wasn’t that important to us really. We felt that because we were away from home that it might get wasted. We don’t regret not getting a cake.

YOUR PHOTOGRAPHER | Andrea Ellison and her daughter Jess. We wanted a photographer who captured the day perfectly and in a natural way. Paul hates having his photo taken and he says now that he did feel self-conscious having to have them taken but, we look back on these photos and they are part of our most prized possessions. Andrea and Jess did an outstanding job of capturing what the day was really about, and that was family, happiness, fun, laughter, and love. (Paul says, they didn’t capture the love, they fabricated it!) hahaha hahaha, leave that out though!


We didn’t have much in the way of decor for the reception, the place was so beautiful as it was that we didn’t need to clutter the place with stuff. We just had a few polaroids on clips and fairy lights by the dance area and some glass baubles with tea lights in. I wanted black linen napkins instead of the usual ivory, to save on this cost I/my mum made our own. The flowers on the table were bought up from the ceremony venue and I made the place names and table names myself. I hand-painted and sewed “til death do us party” flags to go around the dance floor.

THE HONEYMOON | We spent a couple of days following the wedding with our family and friends before we then took a car across to the east coast of Italy, Bari for our Minimoon. Due to our jobs, we are still waiting to go on our proper Honeymoon. We either want to either go to the Philippines or a tour of the Deep South of America. I want to dance on a “spit and sawdust” bar in denim hot pants and cowboy boots!

MEMORABLE MOMENTS | Paul’s face as I walked down the aisle with Nessan Dorma playing from the guitar and mandolin players. The car journey going up to Il Calese in the vintage Fiat 500, just Paul and I. Paul’s memorable moment was watching the doorway moments before I walked down the aisle.


Be relaxed, let the day evolve naturally, don’t put too much pressure on things to be “perfect” because it will be perfect whether things go to plan or not.






See the beautiful wedding highlights HERE


ciao julie

1 Comment

  1. Andrea Ellison

    I flipping LOVE these two ! They were a joy to work with from the first second I was lucky enough to meet them before the wedding in Southport… I knew we were in for a special day as they are so much fun to be around and it didn’t disappoint… Laura looked utterly breathtaking … Paul mate ! You’re punching ! Hahaha he’s going to kill me for saying that but I couldn’t resist it … he’s a top bloke and even though he hates having his photo taken he was a breeze to work with … I think the photos speak for themselves… what an amazing joyous day it truly was … and that’s down to the hardest working wedding planner I know… NOTHING is too much trouble … every single wedding is unique and surprise filled and even after all these wonderful years of having the pleasure of working with her in on weddings in Italy it still blows my mind what she pulls out of her fairy bag on every one ! Julie … you lady are magical xxx


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