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Ravishing Ravello Real Wedding


April 13, 2022
Words by Lauren Ertl
Photos courtesy of Studio Fotografico Righi

If you’re considering Italy for your destination wedding, today’s real wedding couple, Simone and Howard, offer a wealth of knowledge! Their Ravello nuptials are jaw-droppingly beautiful, and the bride’s insight into the planning process will have you wanting to take notes. So, grab a pen and paper and take in this stunning wedding!

Q: How did you meet?
A: Howard and I met seven years ago at a lounge in Manhattan, while we were both out on the town with our friends during the summer. As cliché as it may sound, I had accidentally tripped and spilled my drink on him that night. He was a good sport about it, and we ended up talking to each other the entire night. Even though we were strangers at the time, talking to one another felt so natural. It was almost as if we had known each other in another life, or as if we were two old friends reconnecting after a long time apart. Before the night was over we already had plans to meet again.

Q: Why did you choose to do a destination wedding?
A: Our favorite novel is “The Count of Monte Cristo” by Alexandre Dumas. It takes place in Europe and at the end of the story the Count sails away into the sunset with his lover, Haydee. We both saw pieces of ourselves in these characters, and noticed that their relationship had certain similarities to our own. So after we got engaged, we decided that we wanted to honor our shared love of this piece of literature, and mimic the story by ending our wedding the same way – sailing off into the sunset. That was why we set our sights on the Mediterranean and decided to charter a yacht in the days surrounding our wedding.

Q: Did you run into any issues specific to this destination and how did you resolve them?
A: We made the decision to have a wedding pretty last minute, although we had been engaged for years by this point. We had only about six months to prepare and many venues had already reached full capacity for wedding ceremonies, so our options were fairly limited. Fortunately, our incredible wedding planner, Cristina Verger, was able to quickly help us reserve the beautiful Palazzo Avino, in Ravello Italy. It was the perfect venue for an inmate fairytale wedding, nestled on the mountainside overlooking the Mediterranean Ocean. One difficulty was assigning rooms to ourselves and to our guests. Because we weren’t able to visit the hotel beforehand and were busy with so many other things, we had no sense of what the rooms looked like or where we should place people. As a result, my three girlfriends and I ended up having to get our hair and makeup done in a rather small space before the ceremony and it was rather chaotic, especially because I had my little one-year-old son running around at the same time as well. If I could go back in time that’s probably the one thing I would have paid more attention to during the planning process.

Q: What helped you the most in the planning process?
A: Having an incredible wedding planner with excellent taste, who was able to very quickly get a sense of the type of wedding we wanted while being extremely efficient. She was relentless in helping us find the perfect venue and making sure we had everything we wanted – everything from a fireworks show the night before the ceremony, to the romantic garden ceremony that looked like something out of a fairytale. There is no way we could have managed everything on our own, and we owe most of the credit to an amazing team of people that helped us manage the details throughout the entire planning process.

Q: What were the travel logistics like for your guests? Did you run into any issues and how did you resolve them?
A: Travel logistics came down to two major factors: the first being that we were in the midst of a global pandemic, and the second being how we would get ourselves (and our guests) to the hotel since we were staying on a yacht in the days leading up to and the days after the ceremony. We solved the pandemic issue by taking every possible precaution. Then there was the issue of logistics surrounding how to actually get ourselves and our guests to and from the hotel since it was a remote location and we were traveling by boat to get there. Some of our guests were flying in separately, and we needed to arrange a car service for them going to and from the hotel. Despite things starting out in a stressful way, everything eventually came together and my husband and I were both able to enjoy the beauty of the countryside and spend time with our guests.

Q: Do you feel you spent more or less money by choosing to do a destination wedding?
A: We definitely spent more money, for a lot of reasons. It was partly because it was an extravagantly beautiful wedding, which was what we wanted. We wanted everyone to have the best experience possible because we had collectively been through so much in the two years leading up to our wedding. And given how you only get married once, we wanted to make the most of it.

Q: How do you think your wedding would have been different had you not held it away from home?
A: There would have been far fewer details to work out. For example, our guests would be able to easily manage their own method of transportation to and from the wedding. When you have a destination wedding, I think you’re expected have to have a certain amount of responsibility for the guests even if you’re not familiar with the area yourself. People have a lot of questions and there’s a lot of uncertainty about what to expect. It also would have been less expensive. But there’s no way we could put a price on the experience itself. My husband and I love to travel and explore new places, so it didn’t seem fifing to have a wedding in a place we were so familiar with. However stressful the planning may have been at times, we loved the excitement of getting to explore somewhere new. Ourselves and everyone who attended will remember the experience for the rest of their lives and look back on it fondly. That’s priceless.

Q: Overall, do you have any special advice you would like to share with our readers to help prepare them for their day?
A: I would recommend starting the planning process much earlier than we did, just to give yourself enough time to think through all the details without being overwhelmed. I’d also recommend visiting the location before you start the planning process, just so you get a sense of the layout of the space and know what to expect. Other than that, just don’t forget that your wedding is about you and your partner – not just your guests. Remember to breathe and never feel bad about taking time for yourself in the days leading up to it. Oh, and don’t wait to write your vows until the day of your ceremony!

Vendors: Photographer: Alessandro Moggi of Studio Fotografico Righi; Wedding Planner: Cristina Verger Event Planning; Florist: Armando of Malafronte; Ceremony/Reception Site/Cake: Palazzo Avino; Hair: Maria Teresa Sansalone; Makeup: Rossano De Cesaris

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