This week the blog takes you to the south of Italy, deep into the heart of it's rustic countryside. Endless fields of terracotta soil, peppered with ancient twisting olive trees and wild flowers. Couple that with the smell of garlic and fresh pasta wafting across your wine glass, and you might get close to the atmosphere at Stuart and Claire's wedding. I mean seriously.. this day was as authentic and stylish as they come. Plus, these two are super cool and super sweet.. Wait till you see their sunset shots at the end of this post...
Walking around the wedding reception venue, the Masseria Montenapoleone, I was overwhelmed. Ordinarily, I have to search out photo settings. Recce's are normally a time for me to frantically find any picturesque spot. And I normally find a few. But here, in the harsh heat of the sun, beads of sweat began to break out on my temples.. There's almost too much. How am I going to choose where to go, and how can I make sure I do the setting justice? And all in this harsh direct sunlight...
Every corner of the farmhouse revealed another picture-perfect moment. It looked like the pages of an Italian cookbook;
carts of fresh produce scattered throughout the grounds, with squashes, oranges and lemons spilling over olive branches;
old wooden ladders in the fruit trees, with beautiful baskets over-flowing with apples sitting beneath them;
grape vines dripping over every little pathway through the white walled villas.. I wasn't sure how to break it all down.
The insecurity was short lived. The day came and I got on with it. As always, I focussed on the people.. the characters, the friendships and the chemistries which build up around the couple at the centre of the day. The incredible setting simply worked to lift the atmosphere and the people to another level; it seemed to bring out a magic sense of occasion in everyone;
each person was humbled by the beauty of the place, and the awesomeness of the couple they were celebrating.
In this way, the setting was present in every personal moment.. I didn't need to focus on it all. It actually became a character itself, with its own presence.
All that said, there was a moment when the couple outshone the setting. The sun was getting low; it's light beginning to dapple, and it's beams beginning to stretch out across the grass. Stuart, Claire and I sneaked away from the party in the last few minutes of this golden time, to get a few photos. As always, I just asked them to stand in the failing sunlight, and forget about me. And there they shone, seamlessly moving between secret whispers and wicked banter.
Claire's red hair literally glowed in the low sun, and the diamante detailing on the back of her dress seems to dance and sparkle as she moved.
They were adorable. I became totally locked into their chemistry, and forgot where I was.
Their presence completely out did the setting. And that is high praise indeed.
You can have a wedding in an amazing place, but it can never replace (and should never distract from) the very reason you are all there. But, if you get it right, it can lift the whole thing into this other-worldly realm of memorable magic. Stuart and Claire did this with absolute style and class.
It's worth mentioning, that a local Italian gave this wedding the highest possible praise. He said, I have never seen a more relaxed and stylish wedding.. An Italian man, in a pristine suit, driving a vintage car said this. I'll leave it there.
Congrats to The Lutes.. and thanks to all the friends and family who made my stay so much fun :)