Kei & Marco
Chinese and Italian traditions come together for this, one of the most romantic weddings we’ve seen!
PHOTOGRAPHY BY MICHELA ZUCCHINI, MICHELA ZUCCHINI STUDIO,
They might have begun life world’s apart, but Kei and Marco were clearly fated to meet. “We must have crossed paths so many times without knowing it, living first in Dublin and then two streets apart in London before finally meeting in a Canary Wharf bar just before Christmas in 2013.” Two years later, Marco popped the question on Boxing Day over breakfast in bed, with John Legend’s ‘All of Me’ playing in the background.
“I found my dress on my first day of shopping in the second boutique I visited – Mia Sposa Central London, based in Hatton Garden. My David Tutera for Mon Cheri gown had only just arrived at the store the day before and as soon as I tried it on, I fell so in love. Wedding Ideas was a huge inspiration when I was deciding upon my dress.”
The champagne coloured dress featured a two-piece fishtail silhouette with a detachable chapel-length train and beaded bodice.
As the bride would also be celebrating the Chinese traditions, she also wore the Qwa, having the two-piece red jacket and skirt custom made in China.
Kei paired her gown with an ivory sequinned bolero and veil for the religious ceremony, both sourced from Mia Sposa, opting for statement Valentino ‘Rockstud’ shoes in off-white, found in Harrods. The bride’s mother gifted her two sets of jewellery, choosing crystal for the bridal gown and gold for the red Chinese traditional dress.
Marco also visited Mia Sposa to source his grey suit, teaming the smart three- piece with a champagne cravat and pocket square. “He looked handsome as always,” this loved-up bride smiles.
“We knew we wanted an intimate wedding in Italy, so we decided to keep our bridal party proportionate to this. My younger sister was my only bridesmaid, and we purchased her dress from J J House.” The floor-length, A-line gown featured a pleated neckline in champagne, complementing the bride and groom with its simply elegant design.
“I wanted a makeup artist who was well practised working with oriental features, but flying someone in from London would have blown my budget. Thinking outside the box, I searched instead in Venice, knowing that many Chinese couples head there for pre-wedding photographs. That’s where I found Lisa Semzato Makeup Artist – although based in Venice, she was more than happy to drive down to Bologna for the day for me. When I flew in to Italy for a wedding planning weekend, I stopped off for a hair and makeup trial with Lisa beforehand – she was so lovely!”
The couple celebrated their marriage with a Roman Catholic ceremony at the 19th-century church, Sanctuario Cliela.
“The ceremony was conducted in Italian with readings in English too, and the priest’s sermon about love being the language everyone speaks was very fitting.”
“The choir sang many times during the ceremony and even included several members of Marco’s family.” In true tradition, family and friends showered the newlyweds in rice as they exited the church. Marco and Kei also held a Chinese tea ceremony at their villa reception, during which they each made and gave tea to their parents to signify their gratitude for the lifetime of support they have received. In return, their parents gifted the newlyweds red pockets filled with money to bring luck.
If you only know one thing about Italian weddings, it will be to expect great food and wine, and lots of it! Marco and Kei didn’t disappoint, serving an unlimited apertivo buffet, which included a whole wheel of Parmesan and an entire leg of prosciutto, before a three-course banquet followed in the evening, all washed down with an open bar throughout. “Our caterers, La Casona Group, did an amazing job and even helped us with other elements of the planning too!”
Despite their florist, Scenogra e Floreali, not speaking any English, they still produced stunning floral arrangements for the big day. “I showed her pictures and she created a nosegay bouquet of champagne, pink and cream, as well as rose and baby’s breath buttonholes, roses and lisianthus on the altar and the same for the centre pieces.”
The mother of the groom was the mastermind behind their surprise three-tier strawberry ice cream wedding cake, decorated with fresh cream and roses. “The cake was delicious – my only regret is not eating more!” enthuses Kei.
The couple’s caterers helped to organise their DJ, who provided a soundtrack throughout the afternoon and evening. “As we entered the room, we chose ‘Marry You’ to play, with ‘Single Ladies’ the theme tune to my bouquet toss and ‘All of Me’ for their first dance in a nod to our engagement. We only played the first half of the song before it cut into Maroon 5’s ‘Sugar’, at which point we invited all of our guests to join us on the dance floor.”
CEREMONY Santuario Santa Clelia, Italy
RECEPTION VENUE Villa Nicolaj, Italy
DRESS David Tutera for Mon Cheri at Mia Sposa Central London
BRIDESMAID DRESS J J House
GROOM Mia Sposa Central London
CATERERS La Casona Group
FLOWERS Scenogra e Floreali