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Jess & John's Amazing Almalfi Coast Wedding

Posted on 25 May, 2015
Jess & John's Amazing Almalfi Coast Wedding


How did you meet your (now) husband? Believe it or not I met him in my parents’ backyard!!

Jess' version:

A scruffy, pommie tradie with a hole in his pants appeared at mum and dad's place one afternoon during my weekly 'cuppa' visit with Philbert (my dad).  His name was Johnny.  He wanted me; I had no better offers.   That dishevelled bricklayer turned out to be a saxophone playing, love note writing, Attenborough groupie.  He hasn't stopped surprising me since.  

John's version (the real story):

I had admired Jess’ dad’s legs on the job site for two years, but never dreamed of having a girl with a set of pins like Jess.  Under the guise of a mixed netball invite, she instigated the chase.  She was tall, gorgeous, 'seemed' intelligent, but clearly had no standards if she was after me.  Let's be honest, we all know I've got no shortage when it comes to ego... the inner Johnny said, "you've got this."

How long have you been together? Just over four years.  We got married 4 years to the day that we met. 

Do you have a proposal story? Yes! One of our mottos in life is to “greet the day”.  We had planned on getting up to watch the sunrise the day before I was due to go back to work as a teacher.  John had stayed at a friend’s place the night before apparently to watch a football game.  He came home and woke me up early that Monday to take our two fur babies (labradors) and walk down to the beach to watch the sun come up.  When we neared the little lookout spot that overlooked the water, I saw the gorgeous big rug that John had set up for us to sit on.  He’s quite the romantic so I just thought it was him just being lovely!  We sat down, and he gave me a little glass jar with a tiny note inside.  It had beautiful lyrics on it from a song by his favourite band.

“The violets explode inside me

When I meet your eyes

Then I'm spinning and I'm diving

Like a cloud of starlings

Darling, this is love”

I read it and he asked me if I could see the sun.  I said “yeah, of course I can!” Then he passed me a pair of binoculars.  I looked through them and saw a big handmade banner saying “Marry Me!” down on the beach near the water’s edge.  I turned to John and he had a ring and he was asking me to marry him! Of course I said yes! We went down with the pups and swam in the water near our sign.  John had his best friend staking out in the dunes to take photos of us swimming down near our sign! It was an amazing day and I will never forget it.


The Wedding

What was your wedding date? Sunday September 7, 2014.

Location (Ceremony and Reception)

1.     Where? Ceremony was in Ravello, Italy and the reception was in Amalfi, Italy.

2.     What made you choose there? We had travelled to Europe in 2012, and had one of the most spectacular days during our stay on the Amalfi Coast.  It involved a boat trip to Capri, a swim in the blue grotto and glorious food! Once we were engaged, we were dreaming of the most epic place we could think to get married and that day came to mind.  We posed ourselves the question: “Why not!” 

3.     How did you find it? We used a wedding planning company to help us find the perfect location.  We wanted a garden wedding that wasn’t religious, and they suggested Belvedere Principessa di Piemonte (Ravello Town Hall gardens) for the ceremony.  It was perfect!  Absolutely gorgeous.  We then walked down to the Ravello town square for drinks with our guests, and then our reception was held in the outdoor restaurant at Hotel Luna Convento in Amalfi, a beautiful old tower and hotel.  Again, our wedding planners recommended this place to us.

How was the weather on the day? Perfecto!

What made you decide to get married on this particular date? We had met on this exact date four years earlier.

The Wedding Details

Theme (if any – colours, features, etc.)? Colour! And gorgeous fresh flowers!! We wanted the wedding to reflect our personalities, and we both marvel at beautiful, bright, colourful things in our world.  So we had to have lots of flowers and it had to be in a warm climate.

Where did you draw your inspiration/ideas from? Collections of images from different magazines, and the colourful nature of Italian culture.

Were any aspects of your wedding D.I.Y? If so What? The invitations were partially DIY – an ex-student of mine (I am an Art teacher) who is now a practicing artist designed the imagery for our invitations.  Her website is: http://thepaperbeast.com.au/ I designed the backside of the invites, and then designed the menus.

Bridal Party

1.     Bridesmaids – who/relationship? My sister Emilly, my best friend Anna and another of my closest friends, Amy 

2.     Groomsmen – who/relationship? John had Soren as his only groomsman.  He is one of John’s best friends.

3.     Flower girls/Page boys – who/relationship? Seth as our page boy who is our nephew. 

Wedding Gown (the most important part!)

What made you decide to come into Karen Willis Holmes? It is a gorgeous store with beautiful quality garments.  I tried many dresses on, but none would compare!

Where have you seen our gowns (if at all) before? I first found one of KAREN WILLIS HOLMES gowns in a wedding magazine.

How many gowns did you try? So many!!

Where did you purchase your gown from (which store or stockist)? Brisbane – Mary in particular was a beautiful beautiful lady, and helped at the beginning with selecting a gown.  Deb helped towards the end with my fittings etc.

What did you especially like about your gown? The sleek nature of the Kelly gown underneath, but then I just couldn’t go past the soft, feminine, romantic feel of the Paige overlay.  So dreamy!


Who is your bridesmaid dress supplier? Anna and Amy wore the ‘Delilah’ Review dress.  Emilly’s dress was made by local designer Erin Clare Couture, who used some of the material from a ‘Delilah’ Review skirt as trim for a beautiful navy gown.

Where did you get the groom and groomsmen’s suits? The boys bought the suits in Indonesia, where Soren currently lives.  Erin Clare made John’s tie/handkerchief and the page boy’s bow tie.  John and Soren bought their shirts from Country Road and their shoes were made by ‘Hobes’.

What accessories did you choose to finish your gown and also for those in your bridal party?  I wore the ‘Flower Stud’ earrings by KAREN WILLIS HOLMES, and my mum’s wedding band.  I bought the girls earrings from Diva and bags from Colette. 

Where did you get your shoes from? My shoes were from Suna.  Amy and Anna wore Corelli navy pumps, and Emilly wore some gold flats we found in Florence, Italy!

Did you wear a veil/headpiece? Where did you get this from? Floral head piece by Etsy store “K is for Kani”.



What advice would you give brides organizing their wedding? Do what is true to your heart and what really means something to you and your partner.  Too many people make excuses for why they don’t do what they’ve always wanted.  Whatever your version of ‘the ultimate’ day is, it shouldn’t matter what anyone says…. Do it!

What advice would you give brides searching for their wedding gown? Don’t stop until you’ve found the one that makes your heart sing!

Anything extra that is special or you would like to share about your big day? We are now expecting our first baby, due June 14.  That means the little one was made in Italia, on the wedding night!

We had a wedding website so that guests could easily get information about our big day: http://weduary.com/jessandjohn2014/

We honeymooned in Sicily, on the Aeolian island called Salina.  It was to die for!

Something Old? My mum’s wedding band

Something New? My dress

Something Borrowed? My mum’s wedding band

Something Blue? John and I had ribbons printed for each of our guests, and they had our four favourite sayings/mottos on them. (Greet The Day. Be Brave and Be Kind. The Good Will Out. Life’s Short Play With your Dogs). (They were also our vows) These were tied to the entrance of the garden, and each guest took one as they came into the ceremony.  I surprised John and got him and I an extra special one each for the day.  The words came from a W.B. Yeats poem John introduced me to years ago and said “I have spread my dreams under your feet”.


Florist – Franco Di Bianco (Amalfi Florist)

Photographer – A very good friend, Simon Crossley

Videographer – Luigi De Gregorio 

Music – Ipod (own mix)

First Dance – A mash up of Giselle’s ‘Silk’ and Earth, Wind and Fire’s ‘Dancing in September’

MC – Bride’s brother Ben Wall

Celebrant - Anna

Stationery – DIY and images designed by http://thepaperbeast.com.au/

Menu - DIY

Cake – Hotel Luna

Bombonieres – We didn’t have these.  We just gave everyone a ribbon, and at our pre-wedding dinner two nights earlier we had given everyone a hand written letter telling them how much it meant to us for them to be celebrating our wedding with us.

Hair – Bride’s sister (and bridesmaid) Emilly Hintz

Make up –  A friend Rachel Cairns

Wedding Bands – Bride’s: ‘To Hold and To Have Buderim’ and John bought his ‘meteorite ring’ on Etsy store “Chris Timberlake”.