An Italian Wedding


Bespoke wedding dresses, veils and capes are our speciality.  Many of the brides who come to Wilde by Design for their wedding dresses, capes and veils are travelling for their wedding abroad and want something specific that travels well and suits the climate they are going to.  I love meeting them when they come back seeing the photos and hearing all the delicious details of their wedding in warmer climes! You can see some of the photos in our gallery

One evening I got lost down the rabbit whole that is Instagram and came across a new blogger  and writer, Mundy Walsh who runs The Notion Reel,  who although Irish,  lives in Florence.  We got chatting about the romance of weddings in Italy and Italian styled wedding dresses.   She has kindly allowed me to share one of her stories about an Italian Wedding.   This is for anyone considering about a wedding in the wonderfully romantic Italiano!


An Italian Wedding 

My delightfully organised American friend Olivia was getting married to an Italian. She used to be my flatmate in Rome before she moved back to America with her fiancé, Alessandro, and she is the first of my friends to take the plunge and marry Italiano.

As she has Brazilian & Italian blood (read she’s just as dramatica as he is) she thinks the intercultural marriage won’t be too much of a shock.

The rest of us, however, know otherwise.

For starters, Olivia likes to be in control and this wedding saw the get-married-young, cleanliness-is-godliness, boot-camp-loving American marry a so very-Italian chef, food-is-king, Napoletano; in a small town called Avellino; whilst living in America; with the ‘help’ her new Italian Mother-in-Law.

She won’t see the flowers, menus, etc. until a week before the wedding.

There was only one person with control and it wasn’t Olivia.

The venue was the Galassia Park Hotel, just outside Avellino, in the hills above Naples. My friend Francesca met me in Rome and we drove down together but Sat. Nav. or no, we could not find the hotel.

We wound around hills, fought with the disembodied voice that took us up dead ends, cursed the wrong directions the locals sitting roadside gave us, and then waved at said locals as we passed them again and again.

Up and down, and round and round, we went.

Finally, we found the hotel (we’d only passed it twice). Torrential rain hopped off the ground as we ran from the car park to the hotel and wondered vaguely why there were no other cars or people around.

Inside, eerie silence prevailed.

Buona Sera” said Francesca hopefully.


Then an elderly woman shuffled slowly to the counter.

She asked who we were.

We gave our names.

Our names weren’t on the list.

We were with the bridal party, we said.

There was only one bridal party and it wouldn’t arrive until the next day, she said.

We were part of that bridal party, we said.

If we were part of that bridal party, why were we here today? She folded her arms.

It was another half an hour before we got a room.

The next day Olivia waltzed into the reception in a cloud of in-laws and family, tall and tanned and very much the bride-to-be. Her American father, an ex basket ball player, stood head and shoulders above the diminutive, chatty Italians.

That night the couple had a party in Alessandro’s family’s house in the mountains. People brought instruments to play – it’s a tradition in southern Italy for the groom to go to the bride’s house the night before the wedding, stand under her balcony, and serenade her.  True to showman form, Alessandro sang, minus balcony admittedly, and with a little help from his friends.

Later Olivia stood chatting to Alessandro’s father Ugo. They were talking bambini.

Or rather, he was talking children and Olivia was trying to change the subject.

He thought he could persuade her to call their first son Ugo in line with family tradition.

Or Ugetta for a daughter—he was reasonable after all.

“If you come to America for the Christening, I will call my bambino Ugo” she announced.

Ugo had never been on a plane.

Ugo didn’t like the idea of flying.

Olivia smiled angelically.

On the day of the wedding Francesca and I escaped early in the morning to get our hair done. We didn’t know where but we presumed that there would be a hairdresser nearby.

That was until we discovered it was a Saint’s day.

Always sneaking up on you those pesky Italian Saints’ days.

After much searching, we found a hairdresser that was open.

It had no sign outside and the windows were dark.

We couldn’t see in.

The only reason we knew it was a hairdressers was because a woman on the street told us, and when we walked closer, we could hear hairdryers.

Pulling aside the beaded curtains, we peeked in. Three men in their 40’s sat smoking and turned slowly to give us a united look of irritation.

The woman who was drying an older lady’s hair didn’t even bother to look up.

We had somehow walked through the looking glass to Corleone.

Reverse, reverse!

But than I remembered we had no hairdryer in the hotel and I had let my hair dry naturally the day before (what was I thinking?) so… Mafia cover or no they were doing my hair.

By the time we left, we had volume to rival a Dallas socialite. I’m not entirely convinced it wasn’t malicious. We tried desperately to rid ourselves of our helmet hair but we still looked like 80’s Italian showgirls in all the photos.

Back at the hotel, patience was wearing thin.

Olivia’s hairdresser was late, over half an hour to be exact.

Alessandro had enjoyed the pre-wedding party a bit too much and was nowhere to be found.

The flowers hadn’t arrived.

There was supposed to be a bottle of bubbly in the room and no one had gone to get it.

And, worst of all, Olivia was sweating; “My deodorant’s not working” she wailed, as the photographer snapped ‘getting-ready’ photos, crooning bella, bella, bella.

Downstairs it was like walking into a global summit.

There were the Americans who watched the Italians being Italian.

There were the Brazilians watching both the Americans and the Italians, not able to communicate with either.

And then there were the Swedish and the Germans who tried to avoid the Italians who were observing their every move, and that of any other blonde.

When everyone was ready (and quite frankly, afraid to bump into the by now highly strung bride), we clamoured into cars and went to the church of Santa Marie delle Grazie. Frescos covered the walls and an intricately designed gold alter decorated the interior. The heat invaded the church inch by inch through the huge open door making me wish I sat nearer the front.

Olivia glided serenely down the aisle in a beautiful lace dress, veil reaching her waist, her black hair swept back off her face.

The priest welcomed us and commenced the ceremony.

He was the family priest.

He liked to talk and as many Italians, used 50 words where five could have done perfectly.

This would have been fine had we been seated for his monologue on love, life and intercultural marriages.

I mooched from foot to foot in my pretty sandals and with every second I could feel my feet swell against the straps. I found leaning on the back of the bench in front helped (should you ever be in a similar situation). I’ve never seen so many people so eager to pray.

Once the ceremony was over the hotel buffet awaited us. The table was about 30 metres long with an array of calamari, squid, pickled vegetables, cheeses, prosciutto and water. Chefs stood to attention ready to grill thinly sliced fillets of fish and meat.

Wine arrived after a group of thirsty guests descended on the waiter.

We ate voraciously.

Ok, it might have just been me but in my defence I wasn’t the only one who thought that this was part of the main meal.

It wasn’t.

It was just the aperitivo – a snack if you will, before the main meal.

Rooky mistake.

The meal itself went on for over six hours with so many courses I lost count. Some of the dishes caught my eye:

Insalata con Gamberi, Zenzero e Pepe Rosa (Salad with Shrimps, Ginger and Pink Peppercorn Sauce)

Fusilli Sanata Caterina (Fusilli pasta with clams, rocket & capers),

Scaloppa di Spigola grigliata su letto di Zucchine (Grilled Sea Bass laid on Courgettes)

Suprema di Anatra, Salsa ai Semi di Mostarda, Purea di Sedano Rapa (Roasted Duck Breast with Mustard Seeds and puréed celeriac)

Ventaglietti di Patate (Roast Potatoes with Cheese)

How would I choose?

If I could have unbuttoned something in preparation I would have.

Evviva gli sposi! and Bacio, Bacio! (calls for the happy couple to stand and kiss) interrupted all conversation and in between courses the man beside me whispered that the fish wasn’t as fresco as he’d like – there’s a better quality of fish in Puglia, you understand.

I valiantly made my way through all the courses and small talk.

I began to feel like a bloated whale.

Strangely, this didn’t stop me eating.

The speeches, an American addition to the wedding, went on for almost as long as the meal (or at least felt like that) and while relatives were wishing the happy couple the best, the photographer, so as not to disturb the speaker, took it on himself in enact war time protocol, crouching and scuttling between tables, and hiding behind pillars, with the result that people didn’t know where he was going to pop up next and when he did, tried desperately not to make eye contact and/or busied themselves on their mobiles.

The most memorable moment of the wedding however was a speech made by the bride’s father. A gentle giant if you will, he took the mike and quietly expressed his thanks to the groom’s family and to the all those who had attended. Then in a toast to the happiness of his daughter he said;

Viva l’amore”.

Emotion clawed at his throat as amore came out in a choked whisper. He raised his glass. He wasn’t used to public speaking. The crowd clapped in support.

Viva L’amore!”

His voice wobbled but it was better this time. He smiled over at his daughter and her new husband. The crowd cheered as he cleared his throat, determination flooding his face. We all held our breath.


His voice boomed over the many Italians who were now on their feet, chanting along with him enthusiastically, like a stadium of supporters cheering on love.

There may have been some people in the room who dashed to the toilets or darkened smoking areas to hide a sneaky tear or two.

The music started soon after and, as we were in Naples, there had to be the obligatory Tarantella, a dance where everyone forms a circle and dances, the music gets faster and faster.

Easier said than done, I can assure you.

The heels came off at about 2am, just after dinner finished, and we all went out in the garden. Six varieties of dessert, including the wedding cake (which must be eaten otherwise it’s unlucky) were lined up on a long table and we milled around wondering if we really could fit another bite.

Well maybe just one small one.

Wouldn’t want to be unlucky.

by Mundy E. Walsh 


wedding dresses suitable for Italian weddings

Bespoke wedding dresses and capes for weddings abroad

The Silk Skirt

The Wedding Dress

Holly was introduced to me through a mutual friend and incredibly talented wedding photographer Martina California.  Holly  had fallen in love with the most beautiful silk skirt and instantly bought it, as I would have done too, but was now in a quandary.  She had this amazing skirt and a vision in her head of what she would like to wear on her wedding day but now where could she find the perfect bridal top to match the perfect bridal skirt.  Was this one of those whimsical purchases that my mother always gives out to me about, “I really should be more practical, “ or is it possible to create the dream dress and utilise this skirt’s full potential.  


The Design Process

I, like Holly, fell in love with this skirt, who couldn’t - the pleated silk flowed deliciously  and moved so gracefully I knew that we had to make it work and turn Holly’s bridal vision into reality.


We set about working together to create the perfect look - pouring over endless designs and styles until we came to the one.  A satin bodice hugging Holly’s body tightly covered with a silk warm ivory tulle with beautiful beaded flower lace detailing that twinkled delicately in the light.    


The design process for a bespoke wedding dress is without doubt an incredibly daunting experience for any bride and a humbling experience for the designer.  These women are placing complete trust in you to create the most important dress they will ever wear.   As the designer you can see the  vision and can share this to a small degree with sketches, fabric samples and toiles but only you know what the finished wedding dress will look like in your head.


It always helps if you develop a bond with your brides.  I have to say, as a designer,  I am extremely lucky as I always have the most beautiful of brides - they are gracious, patient and unbelievably trusting.  But for those who dare the end result is always worth it.  


The Journey’s End

I get to know my brides through our designer process and come to look forward to their appointments, our chats, shared laughter .  I love seeing them on their final wedding dress fit bubbling with excitement as their impending wedding is becoming a reality.  For me it is always tinged with a slight sadness as I know our fabulous journey together has come to an end - a beautiful ending albeit.


Click here if you would like to talk to us about any ideas you may have for your perfect wedding dress.


One Fab Day Competition

One Fab Day are running a great competition to win one of my luxurious 100% silk veils.

Check out the competition here:

WIN! A Bespoke Silk Tulle Veil From Wilde By Design

Just what you need to finish off your dream wedding look!



Good Luck!!


The Sophisticats - Jazz Wedding Band

Really looking forward to tomorrow night's event at the Tivoli Back Stage.  I styled the band for their launch photoshoot and they have kindly invited me along to hear them in action.  I heard some of their music during the photoshoot and it was brilliant. I have to admit am not a jazz fan so was surprised that I liked their style of music.

For any brides who are looking for something a little different in terms of music for your wedding these guys are definitely worth checking out tomorrow night.





Rachel's Wedding

Another stunning bride! Rachel sent me this photo of the dress we made for her for her wedding over the summer.  She looks amazing.

Was so touched by the lovely testimonial she gave as well.

"The moment I met Jill I knew I wanted her to make my dress. She not only is an excellent dress designer she is a really warm and kind lady. She is very generous with her time and her attention to detail is perfect..She guides you with material and colours and knows what will look best. She designed and made me a beautiful dress and I felt like a princess. I cannot recommend Jill enough and I am so glad I found her."


Stunning silk tulle and beaded champagne lace overlay RAchel Wedding 2