Thomas & Kerstin's Lake Garda love story captured by Gianluca Adovasio has an air of classic opulence. The traditonal Catholic ceremony was set inside a spectcular church, where flowergirls in whimsical crowns of baby's breath danced down the aisle adorned in living olive trees. Following the ceremony, the lakeside soiree was held at the grand Villa Bettoni, set beside the magical Lake Garda in Gargnano, Italy.
HOW WE MET: We met at a snowboard race when we were 16, my cousin Lukas introduced us. It was love at first sight for me, but Tom was adolescent and eager to know more than one girl at a time. By 18 I had conquered him, but it wasn’t the end/beginning of our love.. this is a short poem we posted on our homepage for the wedding:
We met at a snowboard race in 2000.
We were not friends, but Kerstin madly in love.
Only two years later we were blessed from above.
We found common grounds.
Tom wouldn’t miss a single day,
would be standing outside Kerstin's school.
with his bike, in November, April and May.
Destiny brought us to Vienna,
and split us up after four years.
At 23 we followed separate dreams
moved to Sevilla and Aarhus,
lost sight of each other, faced our fears.
Back in Vienna in 2010
our paths crossed again,
finishing our studies, packing up for new adventures.
We decided to face them together..
travel through Africa, live New York City,
ride through the Village, on sunny days and bad weather. All to get to the one decision, on a small boat in open water: We want to walk along, side by side,
every step that lies ahead, enjoying the ride.
OUR ENGAGEMENT STORY: It’s a funny story and everyone who knows us, has heard it at least once… Tom is the kind of very loveable confused type of guy. I would have never ever expected him to propose. Especially because we are Italians, from a region where marriage has become a really rare thing. But we had been living in NY for about two years and I guess the American influence “turned” him.
Anyway. We went to Capri for a two-day mini-vacation on August 20th. On August 18th we had a little party at home, at the lake Garda… when I quickly went to our room to put my passport into our luggage… and there I saw this bump on the outside pocket of our trolley (we shared!) What would you do? I took it out... I looked at the little box and I opened it. Well, here is again a reminder of how unexpected and how not Tom-style this was… I thought “He must have brought it for a friend” and then… (and here everyone always screams at me)… I tried it on! That’s when I realised, that it might really be for me. The following two days were filled with moments in which I approached the box, just to confuse him a little; he got so nervous but didn’t suspect. But then, on THE day, August 21st we were in the middle of nowhere on a boat close to the Island of Capri, when Tom said: “Come, sit next to me” And I looked at him. And I grinned. He looked back and shook his head, smiling a little questionable smile, his eyes saying: “no, you didn’t…” I looked guilty, like the punished dog, he laughed, still not believing it. We continued our eye/smile-conversation without words for a while, we laughed a lot, I cried.. and then he asked the question...
MARRIAGE TO US MEANS: Togetherness, crowning a special union, a precious bond and lying the ground for family and future. To see things together, to always be and have a helping hand.
WEDDING LOCATION: Palazzo Bettoni, Gargnano, Italy
THEME/STYLE: Our style was shabby-chic and elegant.
BRIDESMAIDS DRESSES: Bridesmaid dresses were individually selected
JEWELLERY/ACCESSORIES: The Bride wore custom made jewellery
WEDDING RINGS: Simple, golden bands
GROOMSMEN ATTIRE: Groom wore a suite from Cirillo fashion, lake Iseo (IT) & Groomsmen wore matching green ties.
STATIONERY/INVITATIONS: The bride designed the invitations.
FAVORS/BONBONNIERE: The groom’s mother made over 250 marmelades for our guest and we had a little table card with a sentence/poem for each guest, which was a much bigger work than expected, but very much appreciated; we loved the reactions to it.
FLOWERS & BOUQUETS: Our florist was Mario Woche. We tried not to use too many cut flowers, which we would just throw away the next day, so the whole church and the Palazzo were decorated with living olive trees from a nearby greenhouse. All the flowers were very simple flowers you can find on big fields, no roses or fancy greens.
PREPARATION: The moment I got up was incredibly nervous. I looked out the window and the lake was filled with sailing boats. We had chosen this day on purpose, it was Centomiglia day. I got ready at my family home, surrounded by family and my bridesmaids. I got little gifts and cards for them and my sister, who was my maid of honour. I had the most amazing, refreshing swim in the lake with my dad (my hair was pinned up and my hairdresser panicking). We had breakfast with my grandma, who’s 92 and gave me the engagement ring of her mother and the most beautiful wishes.
I felt way to calm until about one hour before leaving, when I had to cut the white dress I was wearing so I wouldn’t ruin the hair. It was quite funny. My aunt, mum and best friend Lydia ran in to help me get dressed. My husband to be was staying at Hotel Villa Giulia, we had spent the night apart from each other. He had a nice long swim and a chilled morning with his family and best friend Pino.
WEDDING SONGS: Our ceremony song was sang by my amazing Cousin Fabian, a song from “Tallest Man On Earth”, played by guitar. Our first dance was to “All I want” from “The Kodaline”, played by the incredible Mainfelt.
ENTERTAINMENT: The band Mainfelt from Bolzano was amazing, played until 1 am and came then back on stage at 3am! Our cousins all together sang Mumford’s sons “I will wait” and Tom’s boys sang their self-composed wedding blues. It was all stunning.
TRANSPORT: We arrived in an old, ’57 Mercedes from my uncle Luis and departed (our parents gift!) surprisingly on two beautiful Holland Bikes. I wrapped my long dress tail up and Voilá.
HONEYMOON: We went to Ethiopia, because we were hoping to visit a dear friend of ours in Addis Abeba. A small part of our wedding gifts were a donation to an orphanage there, which we were able to visit. After that first week we went to relax on a beautiful beach on the Seychelles. Most memorable moments were the meeting with the kids, and realising, that we should have wished only for donations, having been blessed with everything else already. The view/moments from our private pool and the moment they offered us first class, as we were newly-weds.
GIFT REGISTRY: Schönhuber, Brunico and a donation for an orphanage in Addis Abeba.
CELEBRANT: Our German speaking priest Artur Schmitt and our beloved Italian Padre Bruno. They’re both friends of the family and held beautiful sermons and guided us through the whole, complex preparation with love and patience.
A MEMORABLE MOMENT: Riding down from the church on our new bikes, a gift of our parents, with the locals waving, our friends and families in their cars behind us, honking, the fresh air flying through my hair, Tommy smiling at me, saying: “we’re married”.
ONE THING I WISH I KNEW BEFORE I STARTED MY WEDDING PLANS... Stop caring about all those little details, the moment is too short. You love them, but only few will care, and nothing is worth any fight.
IF I COULD GIVE OTHER BRIDES TO BE ONE PIECE OF ADVICE... Do what you like. This is your day, and it will be only this ONE, hopefully. Realise it the way you both want to. Always listen to other opinions and feelings, but remember, you should be able to live those moments the way you want.
And.. let it go. Don’t be fixed on dates, things, places.. The church won’t allow weddings? Who cares, it’s about you and me. She can’t come? Don’t be disappointed, it’s about you and me. So many things will interfere, all the time, I only learned about letting go 3-4 months before the wedding. And it made everything simply perfect.
THOMAS & KERSTIN'S CONTACTS:
WEDDING VENUE: Palazzo Bettoni
PHOTOGRAPHY: Gianluca Adovasio
BRIDE'S DRESS: William Calvert
BRIDE’S SHOES: Adrianna Papell
HAIR: Salone Max
MAKEUP: Salone Max
FLORIST: Mario Woche
CAKE: Padovani Catering
CATERING: Padovani Catering
WEDDING PLANNER: Casadella Pianista
HONEYMOON DESTINATION: Four Seasons
ENTERTAINMENT: Main Felt
VIDEOGRAPHER: Matteo Castelluccia
GIFT REGISTRY: Schoen Huber