On the morning on Saturday 18th August, I woke up almost shaking with nerves and excitement as I prepared to go to work on the biggest wedding I have shot to date. As 10,30 rolled around, I was collected from Sorrento train station by the Best Man and driven up into the mountains of Massa Lubrense where I met my bride Ciara, who was eagerely preparing for her big day, along with her bridesmaids at the villa she was sharing with her family.
Ciara had asked me to shoot her big day back in September last year after her and Reg got engaged, and I couldn't have been more honoured or excited. I couldn't believe how quickly the couple had managed to pull together a wedding in a foreign setting, and with such apparent ease that I started to feel slightly inferior that it had taken me nearly a week just to pack my bag for the trip. But this was the kind of bride who could pull this off; typically on arrival at the villa she was staying at for the week, she was cool, calm and all over everything - and a glass of prosecco in hand.
My nerves quickly settled and I relaxed into the swing of shooting, switching between a standard zoom and telephoto for most of the day, and finally having some fun at the end of the evening with the wide angle. I stayed with Ciara as the cars arrived to collect the bridesmaids and the rest of the family, and hopped into the car with Ciara and her Dad for the serene drive back down the mountain into Sorrento, where Reg & Ciara tied the knot at the stunning Chiostro Di San Francesco.
This chapel, known to us Anglos as simply 'The Cloisters' is open for the public to wander around at leisure, including during wedding ceremonies, and yet I may not have even realised it was there had I not been employed to shoot a wedding there that day. From the outside, you could almost miss it and walk straight past in pursuit of the view of the marina just beyond it. But on entering from the busy, bustling and touristy noise from the streets outside, I was met with a peace and tranquility that stood in stark contrast. It was calm, and quiet, and above all, beautiful. The true beauty for me stood not in the architecture itself, but in the single tree leaning delicately over the walkway through the chapel, displaying the symbiosis between man and nature. It was under this tree the vows were exchanged, in front of an audience of thirty guests and a handful of public spectators.
The guests later departed for Castore, a contemporary and yet rustic reception venue in the mountains overlooking the Bay of Naples and Mount Vesuvius far off in the distance, and yet seeming so close in the pristine weather conditions. The guests enjoyed a delicious four course meal while the sun set and cast everyone in a warm honey coloured light before it finally set beyond the horizon turning the sky pink, and then finally gave way to starlight under which everyone danced out on the terrace until midnight when the cars arrived, and it was time to depart back into Sorrento.
My heartfelt congratulations to this truly lovely couple.