On the streets of Sicily’s Noto, Alix and Xavier held an al fresco dinner to begin their magical two-day wedding. Draping white-cloth tables styled with candelabras and lemons lined the romantic, stone-paved laneway beneath historic building facades as day faded into night.
In the countryside at a restored 1886 estate in the Iblea Valley, the couple hosted almost one hundred of their friends and family for a dreamy ceremony and reception dinner. With the emerald Noto hillside as their backdrop, the couple wed enveloped in olive groves in the former noble estate’s tranquil garden.
Photographer NousNous masterfully captured the Sicilian destination wedding.
Names / Alix & Xavier Liechti
Location / Sicily, Italy
Wedding Date / July 15th, 2023
Guest Numbers / 94
How We Met
We both grew up in Zurich, Switzerland. I was 16 and Xavier was 20 – we met through friends of ours. Serendipitously, the universe kept us in each other’s orbit for many years. We both moved to New York City a couple years after meeting, where we connected again, followed by a similarly timed move to London for University, where we by chance became roommates and then the closest of friends. All for us to realize that we had in fact fallen for each other.
Our Engagement Story
We got engaged in April 2022, during a 3-week trip to California. We are avid travellers and love to explore new places – with a particular lust for uncovering the best restaurants along the way. This trip was very exciting for both of us, as it was our first time visiting. I tend to take charge of all of the travel plans, so Xavier did not have an exact moment in mind for when he would choose to propose, but he knew he would find the right moment.
The night he proposed we were making our way towards Big Sur, with an overnight stop in a small little town called Los Alamos. We were staying at a cute little motel for the night and right across from it I had managed to get us a dinner reservation at an amazing restaurant called Bell’s. The evening felt perfect, so Xavier decided during dinner that this was the night.
After dinner we grabbed a bottle of wine from the restaurant, dropped by a convenience store across the street to grab some red solo cups, and made our way to our motel’s fire pit. We started a fire, poured some wine and recapped our dinner experience. Two bottles of wine later, back at the room, I was sitting on the edge of the bed, ready to call it a night, when Xavier got on his knee and asked, “Will you spend the rest of your life with me?”
What we love most about each other…
In many ways, we are extremely similar.
Xavier is definitely the rational one in the relationship, while I add an optimistic perspective.
The way you navigate life continuously makes me incredibly proud. You are a man of extreme integrity, loyalty, compassion, and zest for life.
Alix has the biggest heart and the most loyal and funny partner I could have dreamed of. So many things that she does on a daily, make my every day better, may it be her facial expression in the morning, or the look she gives me when I’m trying to annoy her. Overall, she just makes every more joyful and makes me appreciate life, while having my best friend and partner in crime by my side.
Friday: We welcomed our guests at Cantina Modica di San Giovanni with a dinner hosted in the streets of Noto, a location recommended to us by our wedding planner. We immediately decided on this location because we loved the idea of a dinner outside with tables lining the side of the street. It also felt extremely authentic to the area and to us.
Saturday: We held our wedding ceremony and celebrations at the boutique hotel Dimora delle Balze, which is a short 20 minute drive outside of Noto. We found the venue on Instagram and actually confirmed it without ever having seen it. Knowing we wanted a venue that we could stay at with our closest friends and family, we loved that the venue had various areas where we could host different parts of the wedding. Our ceremony was held in the garden, overlooking lush and undisturbed nature, while our cocktail hour and dinner were held in two different courtyards, and our party continued by the hotel’s pool area.
Our overall wedding aesthetic was clean and modern, yet playful and romantic. We knew that the scenery of our event locations would act as decor for both our welcome dinner and our wedding, which is why we did not want to over do it with any unnecessary, often cheesy style elements. It was important for us to lean into the beauty of the architecture and nature surrounding us, and that everything felt effortless, yet put together and elegant.
We were staying at our wedding venue for the weekend, which allowed us to enjoy a slow morning and early afternoon with the rest of our hotel guests. We ate breakfast together and then hung out by the pool before Alix went to our room to start getting ready, together with her two maids of honor. Xavier enjoyed a couple more hours at the pool before the rest of his groomsmen arrived and they got ready at the hotel’s spa.
“It was important for us to lean into the beauty of the architecture and nature surrounding us, and that everything felt effortless, yet put together and elegant.”
Our wedding weekend was photographed by the amazing Carlos from NousNous. We discovered him and his work on Instagram and instantly fell in love with his effortless style and the fact that he shot on film. He also made us feel extremely comfortable in front of the camera and did direction when needed. We loved that he also captures moments that some might see as imperfections, such as red wine stained table cloths or blurry photographs, and that he blended into the guests.
We wanted Friday to feel a bit more relaxed and authentic to the location, compared to Saturday which would be more formal.
On Friday, each of the ten tables lining the street were decorated with white table cloths, two antique candle stick holders lent to us by the restaurant owner, and a handful of lemons. Menus and name cards in a hand written style added a playful and relaxed element.
Our ceremony was held on the grass in the garden of the hotel, overlooking the untouched hillsides of Noto. We wanted our ceremony florals to feel like an extension, pairing limelight hydrangeas, white snapdragon and roses with greenery such as eucalyptus and Italian ruscus. White wooden fans were waiting for our guests on each seat.
Our reception decor was more formal than that of our welcome dinner. We leaned into a romantic and modern aesthetic. To create this romantic, summer evening feel, we had lights strung through the courtyard, under which our two long dinner tables were covered with candles. We were inspired by the vision of a long summery dinner outside with some friends and wanted it to be about the people and the aesthetic of a beautiful summer evening in Sicily, while being dressed up and sharing a special moment.
Wedding Planner & Stylist
With a very strong vision for the wedding, we knew fairly quickly what we wanted and how things were meant to look. We had already selected our wedding venue. However, we did not have any direct ties to Sicily and knew that we would need a Sicilian partner to help us make everything come together. We worked with our amazing wedding planner Simona who introduced us to many equally amazing vendors and made our dream come true.
Compared to our ceremony flowers, Alix chose a more playful arrangement of floral for her bridal bouquet, mixing hydrangeas with soft pink carnations and hanging amaranthus. She also decided against her bridesmaids holding bouquets.
Alix designed all of our wedding stationary and our invitations, including our wedding emblem featuring a hand drawn design of the ancient columns from Dimora’s gardens, which we would walk through for the ceremony.
Our save-the-dates were simple, elegant and playful, including only our emblem and text handwritten by Alix. We elevated the design of our reception stationary by using a more traditional serif font and integrated our emblem to tie in with the architecture of the venue.
We printed out seating chart onto a a linen cloth, which we used to cover the entrance gate to the courtyard where we held our dinner.
Food & Beverages
Friday: We kicked off our welcome dinner with an open bar serving Negroni Sbagliato, Campari tonic, Aperol Spritz and Amaro with soda and fresh lemon Juice. For our sit down dinner we served traditional Sicilian food tavolata style, featuring starters such as caponata, aubergine parmigiana, and arancini, followed by home made fusillone alla norma with salted ricotta cheese and casareccia with pistachio pesto and wilted cherry tomatoes on the side. Carafes of wine were placed on the table. For dessert we enjoyed the best fresh ricotta cannoli you will ever try.
Saturday: During cocktail hour we served a selection of elevated Sicilian classics as starters. For the reception we opted for a traditional sit down dinner. Our first course included Sicilian paccheri with a zucchini pesto, basil and pine nuts. For our second course we served sea with cherry tomatoes, zucchini and olives. Dessert was served by the pool, where we cut our round sponge cake decorated with strawberry and pistachio, alongside a table of Sicilian pastries. And last but not least, we served pizza as our midnight snack.
Fashion & Beauty Notes
Our dress code for Friday was colourful cocktail attire, with a relaxed feel. For Saturday our dress code was Black Tie. We asked our friends to have fun with their outfits and provided them with Pinterest boards, curated by Alix, for reference.
Bride’s Dress & Shoes
Friday: I wore a cream slip dress from the 80s by Bob Mackie with silver lace embellishments and a low back, which I ordered on The RealReal. Metallic silver Amina Muaddi shoes topped off my look.
Saturday: I wore the Danielle Frankel Leona dress, which I paired with bright pink Amina Muaddi heels. After our first dance I switched into my black Le Sable dress by Staud, which featured hand beaded elements like a palm tree, lobster and even a leopard. And because I live in my sneakers, I went went for my dark green Adidas Gazelle sneakers.
Bridesmaid Dresses & Shoes
We did not want to add any unnecessary stress on my bridesmaids and are not fans of bridesmaids all wearing the same color or style dresses. For us, we just wanted everyone to have fun with what they are wearing and feel good in their skin. If they wanted to wear black or red, I was hear for it!
Wedding Rings, Jewelry & Accessories
His: Classic, thin gold band, custom made by our closest friend and Alix’s Maid of Honour Celine by her brand cee double-u.
Hers: Custom oval diamond eternity band in gold by BLESQ, matching her oval engagement ring
Friday: Oversized acetate white floral earrings from Zara
Saturday: Swarowski stud earrings, vintage Cartier Demi-Parure Gold Bamboo Bangel Bracelet from Alix’s grandmother
Hair & Makeup
I knew I would be wearing my hair up both nights as I have extremely thick hair which isn’t ideal in 40 degree heat. Loving a slick back look, we went for a slick high bun on Friday, which complimented the low back of my vintage slip dress, and a high ponytail on Saturday with soft waves.
I wanted my makeup to look and feel extremely natural. We went quite light on the eye makeup and made sure that I had a bronzy glow for a sun kissed effect.
Friday: Custom Pelikamo Suit inspired by Xavier’s love for a the tailoring style and fashion sense of a Rome based tailor name Giulia Heritage. Shoes by Velasca.
Saturday: Custom Pelikamo Tuxedo with a cream double-breasted Dinner jacket and midnight blue tuxedo trousers, a vintage Rolex from the 60’s from Xavier’s grandfather, gold Dupont lighter from Xavier’s father, Shoes by Velasca.
We flew from Zurich to Sicily on the Tuesday before our wedding, to give us some days to acclimate to the Sicilian heat and coordinate any last minute details with our planner and vendors. Most of our friends started arriving the following day and we enjoyed a couple days at the beach and group dinners with them leading up to the wedding events. We checked into our wedding venue on Friday and stayed there for 3-nights. The Monday after our wedding we drove to the Aeolian Islands, flying back home to Zurich a week later.
We knew we would be on such a high from the festivities, that we chose to join our celebrant and a handful of wedding guests on a week long trip to the stunning Aeolian Island of Panarea, which is a must when visiting Sicily. One of our favourite memories was our afternoon trip to the volcanic Island of Stromboli. We enjoyed aperetivo on our friends rooftop as we watched the sun go down and then walked to a secluded restaurant for a candlelit dinner. This was followed by a night time boat ride back to Panarea, where we stopped to watch the active volcano erupt as we all swam in the sea under the stars.
For our actual honeymoon we will be traveling to Japan for 2.5 weeks. We went 5 years ago and completely fell in love with the culture, the people and the food, so it was a no brainer for us to go back for our honeymoon. We will be traveling to Tokyo, Osaka, Kyoto, Kanazawa and Hakone during out time there.
If they wanted, we asked our guests to contribute to our honeymoon fund for our trip to Japan, as well as donations to a Swiss charitable foundation to support widows and orphans financially and for an education.
Our brides and groomsmen gave us individual gifts which included a special dinner reservation for a restaurant in Kyoto, Japan, and a group getaway trip with our maids of honor and best men to Sylt, Germany.
“Our save the dates were simple, elegant and playful, including only our emblem and text handwritten by Alix.”
After Ceremony Song: “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough” by Marvin Gaye
Dinner Entrance Song: “September” by Earth, Wind & Fire
Cake Cutting & First Dance Song: “What You Won’t Do For Love” by Bobby Caldwell
We created three playlists for the wedding: one for the ceremony, one for cocktail hour and one for dinner. We have a pretty eclectic music taste so it featured a mix of Funk, Disco, R&B/Soul, Bossa Nova and 90s HipHop. For the party, we chose to have a DJ who continued in a similar style.
We had a spiritual ceremony, overlooking nature. It was extremely important to us to have our celebrant be someone that knew both of us well. Knowing Alix since she is 16 and having accompanied us along the different stages of our relationship, our friend Lawrence was the perfect fit. We gave him absolute creative freedom and wanted to be surprised by what he would say. He interviewed us months before the wedding and used our answers as his foundation, adding personal anecdotes about his friendship to us and a little humor, to get us and our guests to laugh.
A memorable moment…
After the ceremony, we directly went to take photographs together. Before joining all our guests after our photo session, we quickly went back to our hotel room for Alix to touch up her makeup and enjoy some much needed AC. This allowed us to take a moment to process the ceremony and all the optional buildup, which turned out to be a beautiful, unplanned moment to share together.
Our favourite moment was the final song that we played to close out the dance floor. We played “Want You In My Soul” by Lovebirds – a song that we have been listening to for a good part of relationship. Our DJ started the song and we took his place on the decks, dancing and singing together, looking out at all our friends. It was the perfect end to the night. Dancing with our parents and closest friends on the dance floor until 4am. An unforgettable closing to an unforgettable day.
One thing I wish I knew before I started my wedding plans…
Things may or may not go wrong, so just be ready to pivot.
The first thing we did to kick off our wedding planning was put together a guest list. We assumed we would end up hosting around 120 people and signed a contract with our hotel for a 100 person dinner, for which we would just pay any additional guest on top. In the end, more guests were not able to attend or even ended up canceling last minute than we would have expected, only having 94 guests at the wedding.
Know when to stop looking at endless inspiration and for new ideas to add to your wedding.
If I could give other couples one piece of advice…
The best advice we were given was to stick to each other during the wedding events and let guests come to you. Your wedding day is charged with emotions and the need to take in every moment, be with every guest and experience every detail that you spent so long organizing. It’s your day and everyone wants to celebrate with you. This way, you don’t loose each other during the evening and can stay in the moment.
The hotel’s catering team had dedicated a waiter for us. He stood a couple of steps behind us during the entirety of our dinner. We had not planned this, but it was the best detail, as we could ask him to grab our wedding planner or take care of any requests concerning the dinner.
On Friday we chose to designate two tables to the bridal couple, where we decided on a seating arrangement for our parents and family members that we rarely see, to ensure that we got the time to talk with each of them and not feel pressured to do so on our wedding day.
On Friday, we allowed the remaining guests to sit as they pleased which added a relaxed atmosphere to the evening. On Saturday, however, we mixed up the seating arrangement and only placed engaged couples next to each other. Singles were spread across the two long dinner tables, motivating our guests to mingle with people they may not know. This quickly facilitated an open and unrestricted dynamic among everyone.
Sources of inspiration…
Alix is an art director so we had a pretty solid Pinterest board ready to go when we kicked off planning. It was filled with different aesthetics and directions, which was great because it helped us figure out what we each liked and how that could come together.
Inspiration and wedding references are great, but don’t forget to make it your own. Your wedding should feel like an extension of you and your love for one another, and resonate as such with your guests.
Wedding Stylist & Planner / Brilliant Wedding by Simona Parisi
Photography / Carlos from NousNous
Bride’s Dress / Danielle Frankel
Bride’s Shoes / Amina Muaddi
Groom’s Formal Wear / Pelikamo
Groom’s Shoes / Velasca
Hair & Makeup / Claire Boutellier
Florist / Alfio Cannavo
Cake & Catering / Dimora delle Balze
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