It’s September 2013. We’re at one of the most passionate places in the world, the beautiful Villa Eva in ridiculously romantic Ravello on the Italian Amalfi coast. The village itself is tiny and has the most jaw-dropping views – rolling hills, endless sea panoramas, charming country villages, and of course the beautiful Italian sunshine!
One hundred of Mishie and Misha’s friends and family have traveled from all over the world to join them and celebrate their wedding holiday.
The bride has sensational style (not to mention two awesome dresses!), there’s lots of personal input from friends and family, an Argentinian tango first dance, stunning picturesque Amalfi backdrops…. Interested? Of course you are!
Here’s lovely Mishie, the Bride, with all the delicious detail.
PICKING A DESTINATION FOR GUESTS FROM ALL OVER THE WORLD
Mishie, the Bride: Our wedding was in Ravello, on the Amalfi Coast in Italy. Since Misha is American and I am Australian, we wanted somewhere that was neutral territory but also somewhere that guests would want to come to and where they could make a holiday out of it, since a lot of people would be travelling a long way! Italy is our favourite country to visit and Misha actually suggested the Amalfi Coast since it is one of the most beautiful and romantic parts of the country.
We were then recommended some wedding planners based in Ravello by a friend of a friend. We went out there in March to meet them and they took us to see various venues in Ravello, Sorrento and Positano. When we went to visit Villa Eva in Ravello, we just knew it was the spot where we wanted to get married. The view is spectacular and the villa itself is gorgeous and has a really relaxed and authentic Italian vibe to it. Ravello is the most stunning town and really small which meant that everyone could stay in different hotels but still be able to walk to the wedding venue and around town. And although Ravello is slightly more difficult to get to than other places on the Amalfi Coast, this has allowed it to stay less touristy and keep more of its original character, which we love!
A WEEKEND OF ITALIAN FUN
Our wedding was made really special by the fact that one hundred of our nearest family and friends all travelled thousands of miles to celebrate with us in this beautiful tiny town on the Amalfi Coast. We literally took over the whole town (in a nice way!) and at any one point there were groups of our family and friends dotted around all of the cafes and restaurants in the main square and beyond.
We organised a pizza party on the Friday night before the wedding for everyone to meet and get to know each other. Then on the Saturday we chartered two boats for a trip to Positano. Without sounding corny, it was really magical – everyone spent the day enjoying the sunshine and sea, drinking, swimming, exploring one of the most beautiful towns in the world, eating gelato and making friends. Sunday, the day of the wedding, was then the culmination of a beautiful weekend.
A COLOUR PALETTE OF SORTS
I didn’t have a theme or colour scheme as such, I just wanted the wedding and the decor to be elegant but relaxed. Peach/salmon/coral are some of my favourite summer colours so I asked the bridesmaids to find dresses in this palette (challenging but they did it and looked stunning!) and I then complemented this with peach roses mixed with ivory roses in our bouquets.
We were not really interested in fussy invitation stationery, especially as there was a lot of information that we had to send to our guests, so email seemed the most sensible way. I designed the Save the Date card online using one of our favourite photos from Venice, which is where we fell in love (aww..!). I then designed the wedding invitation (also online) using a photo from our trip to South Africa earlier this year, which is where Misha proposed.
I thought I wanted classic ivory bridal shoes but again I found it really hard to find ones I liked! They all just seemed too clunky or tacky. So I went with a more glam party style – silvery/gold sparkly stillettos from from Karen Millen. We did a tango as our first dance so I was very lucky to find gorgeous (and comfortable!) silver tango shoes by Madam Pivot.
THE DRESS (PLUS ANOTHER FOR AFTER-DINNER DANCING!)
I found it really difficult to find a dress. This wasn’t helped by the fact that our wedding was only 7 months after we got engaged and the bridal dress shops seemed to enjoy putting the pressure on me to make a decision as soon as possible (threatening ‘rush fees’ of 15% for orders under 5 months!). Plus I wanted something strapless and lightweight since our wedding was in Italy and it would hopefully still be end of summer weather, whereas the majority of dresses in the London shops were big and heavy with straps/sleeves.
I must have gone to at least 15 shops around London in the space of 6 weeks… it was pretty stressful! Luckily a friend of mine recommended me to JS Couture in Marylebone where I found a stunning dress by Benjamin Roberts. It was most of the things I wanted: beautiful lace, strapless, hour-glass/fishtail shape and not too heavy. It wasn’t perfect but I realised that it was unlikely such a thing existed (or perhaps that such a thing existed in my budget).
I personalised it by adding a gorgeous diamante/pearl belt. I still wanted to move more freely during the after-dinner dancing so I found a second, short, dress (by Jill Stuart, online from Nordstrom) which had a similar neckline and I had the hemline altered to suit what I wanted. It was funny because everyone at the wedding thought that my long dress had somehow converted into my short dress… I wish! (designers, take note – there is definitely a gap in the market!) – but it worked out really well in the end.
My sister-in-law kindly lent me some gorgeous diamond earrings which suited my look perfectly – elegant with a touch of vintage. I also wore a beautiful pearl brooch that some of my best friends gave me about 10 years ago in my hair. It went beautifully with the dress and was extra special to me because two of those friends couldn’t be at the wedding.
BRIDESMAIDS IN MY FAVOURITE SUMMER COLOURS
Peach, salmon and coral are some of my favourite summer colours so I asked the bridesmaids to find dresses in this palette (challenging but they did it and looked stunning!) and I then complemented this with peach roses mixed with ivory roses in our bouquets.
THE HANDSOME GROOM
Misha wore a beautiful navy wool suit from Massimo Dutti which he had tailored to fit. Misha and his groomsmen wore lovely light blue silk ties from Austin Reed.
SOFT HOLLYWOOD CURLS
One of my bridesmaids, Ondine Cowley, is an amazing wedding hairstylist so I didn’t have to think too hard about who I wanted to do my hair! I have curly hair and I wanted to keep some of my curl (in a more defined way) on the day, especially as I know that Misha loves this. I also wanted my hair down as it just felt much more natural and fun, in keeping with my personality! Ondine created the look I was dreaming of – soft curls reminiscent of vintage Hollywood elegance but also relaxed and feminine.
LAST MINUTE MAKE-UP
My first make-up trial with an Italian make-up artist in Ravello was a disaster so I was having a bit of a panic in London and went to the Bobbi Brown counter at Selfridges to have a lesson and buy some products in case the second trial (only 3 days before the wedding) didn’t go well. Thankfully though it did, Nicole Storey did a great job of making me glow and feel beautiful.
We decided to do the Badeken at the Chuppah so that Misha’s first sighting of me would be when I walked down the aisle. That first look was one of my favourite moments. The other special moment we had under the chuppah was when we both looked at each other and then looked at the view behind us and it was just the most surreal, amazing feeling.
We didn’t want to go too over the top with the chuppah since the view from the villa is spectacular by itself! I found an amazing florist, Francesco Di Bianco, who created a sublime and elegant chuppah with bamboo, veils and ivory roses.
MUSIC FOR THE CEREMONY
We are very lucky to have some very musically talented family and friends: during the ceremony my sister-in-law Fiona played the viola, accompanied by my cousin Ruthie on the grand piano and our good family friend Paul on the violin. They played Air on the G String by Bach which is one of our favourite classical pieces and I think they brought tears to many eyes!
FLOWERS BY OUR FABULOUS FLORIST
I chose peach roses, white hydrangea and fushia/purple orchids as the table decorations and just peach and ivory roses for the bouquets and buttonholes. Our florist Francesco Di Bianco was just amazing. I was so impressed with his creations.
We went with Gianni Di Natale who was recommended to us by our wedding planners and whose portfolio I fell in love with. As you can see from these photos he has certainly captured the spirit of the event. My advice for other brides-to-be to talk to the photographer about what kind of vibe you want captured in their photos – no point having lots of formal stiff photos if it is just not you!
MUSIC AND DANCING ALL NIGHT LONG… AND A FIRST DANCE TANGO
Finding a band that could play the Jewish Hora music on the Amalfi Coast was quite the challenge! Luckily our wedding planners found us a band who did a great instrumental hora and our talented friend Peter Collins did a super job on the vocals! The band’s cocktail repertoire was lovely but their party music needed a bit of updating so we had them for an hour after dinner and then switched to our own playlist since Misha used to be a DJ. The dancefloor went off! We couldn’t believe it people were dancing on the furniture and on the piano until two in the morning, it was amazing!
Another of my talented family members, Laoise Rosswick, is a professional jazz singer and she sung a personalised version of At Last by Etta James as our first dance. It was sublime. We then danced our first proper dance, an Argentinian tango to Por Una Cabeza, by Carlos Gardel, which is my favourite tango piece.
Misha’s family is originally Russian so it was important to us to do some traditional vodka toasts. So I made 100 personalised mini vodka bottles (bottles and labels designed on Miniature Glass Bottles) which we took with us to Ravello. They were a hit (obviously)!
At the wedding there were impromptu speeches, a surprise video from Misha’s grandmother, lots of tears and a bit of debaucherous dancing to cap it all off. Every single one of our guests has told us how much fun they had and how touched they were emotionally. For us, this is more than we could have ever dreamed of and completely priceless.
ADVICE TO OTHER BRIDES
My advice is that whilst the details are important, the husbands are right in saying that what people remember at the end of the day is whether they had a good time, not the table decorations!
MISHIE + MISHA’S LITTLE WHITE BOOK
Venue – Villa Eva, Ravello, Amalfi Coast, Italy
Bride’s dress – Benjamin Roberts from JS Couture
Bride’s evening dress – Jill Stuart
Bride’s shoes – Karen Millen
Groom’s attire – Massimo Dutti and Austin Reed
Hair – Ondine Cowley
Make-up – Nicole Storey
Wedding Planners – Ravello Events
Florals – Francesco Di Bianco
Photography – Gianni Di Natale
Vodka favours – Miniature Glass Bottles
If you do have your heart set on an outdoor ceremony then you may well want to consider a destination wedding just to have that extra bit of weather based luck on your side. I for one, having seen Mishie and Misha’s big day, am completely in love with the Amalfi coast as a wedding destination.
Thank you to the beautiful ‘Mishkas’ for sharing their incredibly special wedding weekend with us!