Bride-to-be Kiki Deere charts planning her destination wedding celebration...
All manner of questions raced through my mind from the moment I said “yes” to my boyfriend, as I gaped at him wide-eyed with a smile stamped across my face (and my heart fluttering).
I immediately knew I wanted a wedding abroad. I was brought up in Turin in northern Italy, and spent my childhood weekends running around the countryside of Piedmont amidst rolling hills and vineyards. My sister and I would spend autumn afternoons chestnut picking and learning about truffles (local to the region) and fine Barolo and Barbaresco wines made from Nebbiolo grapes.
Wine has always been central to family meals – my Italian grandfather even made his own at home. Long family lunches lovingly prepared by my nonna (grandmother), an exceptional cook, instilled in me a lifelong love for fine Mediterranean cuisine. For these reasons, an Italian wedding with its traditional meal consisting of at least six-courses and fine wines seemed the perfect fit.
Having decided on the country, I now had to find the perfect venue. Piedmont seemed like the most obvious choice (I found a lovely hotel set amidst wineries called La Villa), but I had my mind set on the stunning Belmond Grand Hotel Timeo in Sicily, which I visited a couple of years ago.
I had found the perfect venue without even looking for one! The idea of having a wedding by the Mediterranean Sea with rumbling Mount Etna as a backdrop, warmer temperatures and more affordable prices than the north could not have been more appealing.
The hotel’s lush gardens spill down the hillside of Taormina, a bustling resort town, with Mount Etna looming in the distance and the Mediterranean Sea lapping the shores below. Located by the ruins of the 3rd century Greek Theatre, the hotel provides everything from catering to ceremonies, assists with the planning process and arranges every detail. Bingo...
Kiki Deere is a travel writer raised bilingually in London and Turin who writes regularly about all things Italy for a number of travel publications including the Rough Guides and UK broadsheets. Follow Kiki on Twitter here.