December 13, 2016
It was an early Friday morning in August when I boarded a plane with heavy bags full of camera equipment (not to mention a small pharmacy of sunscreen, bug spray, plasters…) and bursting with excitement for my adventure ahead- Neema and Vishal’s destination wedding in Castelmola, Sicily!
I don’t think it really hit me that I was filming a destination wedding in Italy until the plane landed and I was hit with that glorious wall of thick humidity and felt the burning hot sun on my shoulders. Only a car ride, 2 flights, 2 buses and a short walk until I arrived at the hotel.
As with all adventures, things never go to plan. My list of things that “didn’t go to plan” started at 5am at Birmingham international airport when there was a delay at check in due to computer systems crashing. This delay set me back over an hour which meant I had to run through the airport… something I had only been forced to do once before and vowed never to do again. After nearly missing my first flight, I safely arrived in Rome. In Rome I had a connecting flight but alas… there were further delays. This time at the baggage claim. I didn’t manage to get my checked bag in time for my connecting flight. I missed my connecting flight but thankfully was able to call Joel in England and find the next flight to Sicily. Long story short, I arrived in Sicily at about midnight and had 5 hours of sleep before the start of the wedding festivities the next morning! But hey. I was in Italy. My favorite place in the world. About to film an incredible wedding. No amount of blood sweat and tears could stop this excitement!
The wedding day was beautiful to say the VERY least. I felt immediately welcomed and treated just like one of the guests- which meant plenty of offers of pizza and prosecco to which I gratefully accepted! I mean… it would only be rude not to.
An outdoor ceremony at 11am sharp meant we avoided sitting outside during the hottest part of the day and we could finish lunch in the piazza before the sun really started bearing down.
The ceremony was held in Castelmola’s castle ruins, the last stop on the mountain. It was sweet, emotional and joyful all at once. Everyone cheered and whistled as Neema and Vishal were announced husband and wife in front of their closest friends and family- and even a few curious tourists!
After a colorful confetti exit, the newlyweds were paraded through the small town of Castelmola by a traditional Italian serenade band. I couldn’t help but dance along! A lunch in the square proceeded with delicious Italian nibbles, prosecco, dancing and photos in the sunshine. Rebecca Rees did a fantastic job with the photographs I must say!!
In true Italian style, we broke for a riposo after lunch. Some retreated to their rooms for a rest while some hit the pool deck for swimming and sunbathing. I re-joined the bride and groom in the evening for their bride and groom photos in a botanical garden on the mountain. After photos, we joined the guests for the evening festivities- a 5-course meal, prosecco (yes, more!), heartfelt speeches, silly stories of Neema and Vishal, a re-written version of the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air theme song (courtesy of the bridesmaids) and of course dancing and partying until dawn.
The next morning I woke early and had some time to myself by the pool reading and soaking up my last rays of sun. I don’t even think that at that moment it felt real that I was in Italy and had just filmed my first destination wedding! I felt like the luckiest girl in the world!
The travel home was similarly as lengthy as before, racking up a good 18 hours of travel, but I arrived home safe and sound and that’s all that mattered. Although it felt a bit like a dream, I had the footage to prove it and I was ready to get on editing Neema and Vishal’s highlight video.
I loved this project so much that I have decided to offer wedding highlight videos for those who book me as their wedding photographer. You can watch Neema and Vishal’s highlight video below and find out more about adding a video to your wedding collection here!
Sicily… until next time