Charming South Indian-Italian Wedding

Ann & Eugenio

Snapshot

We escape to a small quaint town in central Italy for a charming Indian-Italian fusion wedding of Ann and Eugenio. Set amongst the romantic, rolling hills of Eugenio’s home town of Ascoli Piceno, the couple celebrated their beautiful love story with thoughtful and intimate two-day celebrations that focused on culture, family, and minimalism.

The celebrations, of course, blended aspects of both their Italian and Indian heritage. Ann wore a simple traditional Malyalee kasavu saree for the traditional Italian wedding ceremony held at the town’s grand historical duomo. The setting was sprinkled with the colour of Indian sarees as the couple waved Indian and Italian flags to symbolize their union. The celebrations continued at a beautiful villa situated among the breathtaking hills of Marche region. Guests enjoyed traditional Italian seafood and wine was they danced the night away to some Bollywood tunes.

Brides take note, this wedding is packed with character, love and thoughtful gestures that feel real and true to who Ann and Eugenio are. Ultimately that’s what any wedding celebration should be. We speak with Ann on how she bought her vision to life, especially how to organize a European wedding while living in India.

About The Couple

How we met

Back in 2008, I was living in Bangalore and was exploring my options for further study at an overseas university. During my search, I happened to meet the representatives of the University of Macerata, a tiny university somewhere in the centre of Italy. I don’t know why I chose that university or that remote little town, but I guess it was what some would call destiny! Eugenio also happend to be studying there, and while we were classmates at first, ours was a typical college romance. From secretly exchanging notes in class, we were soon travelling all over Europe together. Eugenio moved to India with me shortly after our Masters, and today, seven years later, we are husband and wife.

How we are as a couple

Due to our different nationalities and work choices, we have had to spend a lot of time apart. While for many, long distance relationships spell doom, we were always secure and comfortable with each other even if we were apart. I think that distance has truly made our hearts grow fonder. Even though our core personalities are very similar, we are quite opposite in what we like to do, and I guess this is what keeps the companionship alive.

How he proposed

Eugenio initially planned to propose to me at a surprise party thrown by my friends for my 30th birthday. He chickened out in front of the crowd and blushingly proposed to me with the ring the next evening at a quiet, candlelit dinner for two. Cliché I know, but as Eugenio is usually not one for any kind of mush or romance, I was floored.

What marriage means to us

Marriage is sharing our joys, blessings, thoughts, fun times, boring times, life-changing decisions and some trivial ones too. Marriage is also the ability to let one’s partner cultivate, enjoy and widen their own personality and be able to complement that with your own.

The Details

Planning & Theme

We had almost a year to plan our wedding, but apart from booking the cathedral one year in advance, we did not plan anything else until six months before our wedding day. I was based in Bangalore at the time while Eugenio was in Delhi, and we had no idea how we were going to plan a wedding in Italy whilst living remotely. Fortunately, I am blessed to have the sweetest parents-in-law and sister-in-law who went out of their way to make sure we had the perfect wedding. They did all the groundwork of venue and wedding professional scouting. They also took care of all the transportation and bookings. We then made one trip to Italy six months before the wedding to finalize everything – the venue, the food, the florist, accommodation options for our guests and wedding favors.

VENUE: The duomo or cathedral is the center-point for every Italian town. The duomo of Ascoli Piceno, Cattedrale di Sant Emidio is the stunning cathedral in Eugenio’s hometown. Built-in the 8th century, not only is it a historical masterpiece, but it is also grand, regal and truly magnificent. There was not much debate on where we would get married and I could not have been happier with our choice.

Finalizing the Reception venue was more complicated. The region of Marche is known for its rolling hills and breathtaking landscape, and my heart was set on an outdoor venue in the midst of these rolling hills. It took a while to find what I was looking for, but I remember that exact moment that I saw pictures of Villa Corallo. I knew right away that we had finally found our reception venue. The villa is an old restored aristocratic Italian country home, with its sprawling grounds set in the heart of rural Abruzzo, just a short drive away from Ascoli Piceno. While the surrounding country-side was exactly how I wanted it, we could not enjoy the view once we were inside the grounds. It, however, didn’t matter anymore because the setting was perfect and I fell in love with it.

WEDDING SHOPPING: I did all my wedding shopping in Kerala and Bangalore.

PHOTOGRAPHY & CINEMATOGRAPHY: I am blessed to have family and friends who are really good at what they do. Mark Swaroop, a dear friend from school is one of Bangalore’s most sought after wedding photographers. There was never a doubt in my mind that he would be our wedding photographer. We hired a freelance cinematographer from Ascoli Piceno, arranged by my in-laws.

Wedding Events

We had the Wedding Ceremony in a cathedral followed by a Reception lunch on the same day:

  1. Wedding Ceremony – AM Cattedrale di Sant Emidio, Ascoli Piceno, 200ppl
  2. Reception – PM, Villa Corallo, Sant Omero, 160 guests.

Wedding Highlights

I think I can safely speak for both Eugenio and me when I say that our wedding day was the best day of our lives. Our closest and dearest family and friends were all together for 2 days in an amazing location. We had so much fun that we could do it all over again.

Some of the highlights and favorite moments from the celebrations:

  • Transport. Because there were 65 of us from the Bride’s side, a bus had been arranged to transport all of us to the cathedral, including myself. I simply adore the vintage Fiat 500, so imagine my glee when the bus that we were traveling in was intercepted by a tiny yellow Fiat 500 on the way to the cathedral – a wonderful surprise arranged by the husband. I still can’t believe I drove up to the cathedral in that tiny yellow car!
  • My handsome brothers walking me down the aisle. I lost my father 15 years ago, and there was no question who better to take his place than my brothers.
  • Seeing Eugenio waiting for me at the altar. I remember smiling from ear-to-ear because of how handsome I thought he looked!
  • The professional opera singer in the cathedral who blew us all away with his rendition of Ave Maria. Again, a surprise for me and my family from Eugenio’s family.
  • Waving the Indian and Italian flags outside the cathedral, after the ceremony.
  • Bollywood dancing in Italy. Eugenio’s sister arranged a very hip and happening DJ from the area. We gave him a pen drive full of Bollywood music and he was all set! He rocked the dance floor for four hours straight! My parents-in-law, Italian friends and relatives grooved away to Bollywood songs at the Wedding Reception. It was the first time they had ever heard Bollywood music.
  • The food! We had a five-course sit-down menu with an antipasto and dessert buffet with wine to pair for every course. It was probably the best meal of our lives. Catering by Villa Corallo.

Decor & Unique Details

I knew we had a winner with the cathedral and the Reception venue as they were just so stunning on their own. I decided to let everything be and just added a few Indian touches. I also told everyone from my side to wear a saree or something Indian so that there would be enough color at the wedding.

DECOR: We decorated the cathedral with fresh flowers. There were bouquets at the end of every aisle and larger flower displays at the sides of the altar. We used Mancini Francesco who is a florist from Ascoli Piceno

For the Reception, we had small flower centerpieces that were provided by Villa Corallo. I had pink silk runners from beautiful chanderi fabric made in Bangalore for the tables.

INVITATIONS & STATIONERY: I designed everything myself, with some inspiration from Pinterest and some technical help from Photoshop and Shutterstock.

Unique Details

  • Invitations & Stationery – I designed everything myself, with some inspiration from Pinterest and some technical help from Photoshop and Shutterstock!
  • Celebrant – Don Alessio, the priest from Eugenio’s parents’ parish was our lead celebrant. We also managed to find an Indian priest from a little neighboring town to come and be our second celebrant. He not only turned out to be Indian but also Malayalee, much to the delight of some of my relatives. While the mass was mostly in Italian, the Indian priest re-did the important parts in English.
  • Cake – Our cake was made by the chef and his team at Villa Corallo. Eugenio was certain of the cake he wanted: Millefoglie Con Crema Chantilly E Fragole.
  • Guestbook – Eugenio’s cousin surprised us by getting every guest to leave a fingerprint with green paint on a painting of a bare tree so that it filled up to form a healthy, green tree called Eugenio and Ann’s Tree of Life. Guests were also asked to leave their names next to their fingerprints. It was a cool alternative to a guest book. We also had a polaroid camera at the reception so everyone could take pictures of themselves to remember the day.
  • Favors – We gave hand-made ceramic plates of the cathedral that we got married into our closest family. These plates were hand-painted by a local artist in Ascoli Piceno. At the wedding, we gave each guest a bag of traditional Italian sweets and confetti that is usually given on festive occasions. We placed the confetti in small silk bags, which we got made in Bangalore.

Wedding Ceremony Look

ANN’S OUTFIT: In the months leading up to the wedding, many people asked me if I was excited to wear a white gown at my wedding. Strangely, my answer was always no as I’ve always wanted to wear an authentic kasavu saree. A kasavu saree is worn traditionally by the Keralan bride and is off-white with a broad zari border called the kasavu. My mother and I traveled to Trivandrum, where we had a customized saree made at Karalkada, a 200-year-old institution known for its kasavu heritage. I designed the other pieces, including the lace blouse for my wedding saree, and had them stitched in Bangalore by Kangan Designers Boutique on St. John’s Road.

JEWELLERY: The wedding rings were by Gioielleria Lucio Marini in Ascoli Piceno, Italy. The jewellery I wore on the wedding day was a mix and match from boutique stores Arnav Design Studio and Jevar Kothi in Bangalore.

SHOES: Charles & Keith because they had the perfect gold wedges.

HAIR & MAKEUP: Anita is a dear friend who also happens to be my cousin. She has been my hairstylist for years and I could not have been luckier when she agreed to travel to Italy to do my wedding hair and make-up. She runs her business in Bangalore, which is called Annie’s Beauty Salon

EUGENIO’S OUTFIT: Eugenio wore a black tuxedo that he got stitched at Kaiser JoshSouth Ex II, Delhi. Imagine that, an Italian who gets married in Italy, but gets his outfit stitched by suitmakers in India. India 1 Italy 0!

Reception Look

ANN’S OUTFIT: I designed my lehenga for the reception by purchasing fabrics and various elements from local stores in Bangalore. I went to Mysore Saree Udyog to purchase the main fabrics and bought the silk, crepe and dupatta fabrics were from Manoranjan Silks on Ebrahem Saheb Street. We added borders and frills that we bought from a small specialist shop on Narayana Pillai Street (behind Commercial Street in Bangalore). The outfit was stitched by Kangan Designers Boutique in Bangalore.

SHOES: I wore the same Charles & Keith wedges from the wedding.

HAIR & MAKEUP: Anita Appu from Annie’s Beauty Salon, Bangalore.

EUGENIO’S OUTFIT: Same tuxedo he wore for the Wedding Ceremony – Kaiser Josh, South Ex II, Delhi.

Tips For Brides-To-Be

  1. Keep calm. If something does not go exactly the way you wanted it to, just take a deep breath and let it go. Once it’s all over, you’ll see that it didn’t really matter.
  2. Delegate. Learn to delegate some responsibilities and not take all the stress upon yourself. It’s just not worth it!
  3. Keep it simple. Try to have fewer functions as less is truely more. Both you and your guests will be thankful.

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