Real Weddings

A Poetically Minimalist Wedding in the Countryside of Puglia

Photography by Donatella Corriero.

Wed amidst a serene setting in the Puglian countryside, Sarah and Andrew said their vows beneath an ancient olive tree engulfed in warm winds and the rhythmic sound of cicadas. The intimate ceremony with 9 guests was held within the tranquil gardens of Borgo Gallana between the Adriatic and Ionian Seas.

Stripped-back and devoid of lavish grandeur, the ceremony and reception exuded elegance and authenticity. With the clean lines of the architectural villa designed by Andrew Trotter, and the rugged Sorrento terrain beyond as the backdrop, soft fabric draping and delicate florals infused the poetic wedding with minimalistic decadence.

The modern Puglia wedding was beautifully captured by photographer Donatella Corriero.

sarah & andrew wedding

sarah & andrew wedding

Our Story

Names / Sarah McCarthy & Andrew Morrison

Location / Puglia, Italy

Wedding Date / September 16th, 2023

Guest Numbers / 9

Budget / 18,000

How We Met

We met many years ago at the local football club.


Our Engagement Story

Our story is unlike most, there was no proposal or engagement party. After 14 years together and our friends and family finally no longer asking when we would get married we decided we would officially tie the knot on our own terms, that was secretly at home with our best friends there to witness. Our micro wedding with our family in Italy was also a secret to everyone back home.


What we love most about each other…

We have an innate ability to make each other laugh. Life together is seamless.

The Setting


Wedding Location

For such an intimate occasion it was important for us to find somewhere we could all be together. Also spending our days before and after the wedding together with our family was a highlight.

Aesthetically, we wanted somewhere authentic, understated and minimal yet still beautiful. Borgo Gallana was a dream. For us Borgo Gallana as it was, was already beautiful enough, we just added a few delicate details.



Pared back, minimal. We didn’t want to take away from the authentic Apulian feel.

Not surprisingly, images from The Lane featured often in our mood board of images which we drew inspiration from.
We put our trust in our planner Mara and floral wonder woman Nunzia to create something special on the day, many candles and brown accents were our only requests.



The day started slowly, Andrew and I had breakfast and coffee together. The rest of our day was incredibly relaxed albeit hot! We did not have a bridal party however the girls sipped rose together amongst hair and beauty artists, keeping cool inside and the fellas had beers by the pool as their preparation wasn’t nearly as long! Throughout the day, we all mingled, including Andrew and myself. This allowed us to feel completely at ease and minimise any nerves meanwhile experiencing more of the day together rather than just the evening.


We lucked out with photography, securing the wonderful Donatella Corriero – instantly at ease when we met her. We adored her authentic style, capturing those special natural moments in time as well as the occasional imperfect image which we love. It was important for us to simply look like ourselves in any wedding photos and we didn’t want to leave our own party for hours to have posed photos taken. Instead we felt like Dona was a guest at our wedding, her photography went almost unnoticed, she was perfect.

Style Notes


Ceremony Décor

While the weather was still so warm we had some beautiful custom handmade paper fans made by Byron Bay based The Seasalter Co. they were practical and pretty and also doubled as a little keepsake for our guests.

“Pared back and minimal. We didn’t want to take away from the authentic Apulian feel.”

puglia wedding

Wedding Planner & Stylist

Mara was a dream to work with, I’m not sure we could have pulled it off without her. Mara was able to recommend and communicate with local vendors on our behalf, she understood what we were looking for and inspected Borgo Gallana for us, confirming it would be perfect. On the day Mara did everything, orchestrating everyone so we could just enjoy the day and preparations. Along with Nunzia, she bought our vision to life.



Mara couldn’t recommend Nunzia highly enough so we were excited to confirm her to style our day. Together we created a mood board to establish the vibe we were looking for but otherwise I left it all in their capable hands and couldn’t have been happier with the outcome.


We were fortunate to stumble across Acqua & Ink on socials and fell in love with the uniqueness of Nora’s designs. We didn’t send out save the dates or invites as it was such an intimate occasion with few guests. However we did design beautiful wedding details on cards along with a delicate handmade menu and name cards to match, all of which was minimal.



We decided a cake would go to waste after such a beautiful dinner so opted for a homemade tiramisu instead.


Food & Beverages

We were treated to the most beautiful meal by our chef Luisa. Following the ceremony and champagne we gathered in the garden around the bar and joined our very own barman for an aperitif (limoncello spritz was our favourite) and enjoyed the most beautiful antipasti before we headed to the courtyard for a sit down meal. Upon confirming chef Luisa to cater for our day she provided us with a menu with some of her specialties in which we made our selections from, we wanted to keep the meal authentic Apulian.

puglia wedding

Fashion & Beauty Notes


Bride’s Dress & Shoes

I loved the simple silhouette of the Shona Joy La Lune “Lace Back Maxi”, I ordered it online and had a dressmaker alter it to fit just right. The oversized, billowing silk sleeves called the ‘Romeo’ sleeves were a lucky find by A La Robe. I wore some Zara slides which were comfortable all night.


Wedding Rings, Jewelry & Accessories

Andrew was happy with the first ring he found, a simple plain white gold band. I almost decided against a ring until I came across a bespoke jewellery designer, Lei è who specializes in unique gemstones and diamonds. Rachel’s designs were unlike anything I had seen previously and I quickly changed my mind! We began working on a bespoke design with Rachel sourcing a stunning pale yellow pear shaped sapphire which we offset with a cluster of small diamonds set on a slim white gold band.

I kept the accessories to a minimum, wearing the beautiful statement earrings ‘Vivienne’ in silver by Christie Nicolaides.


Hair & Makeup

Most importantly, I just wanted to look like myself so with that in mind my hair was out, parted in the centre with a soft wave. I don’t often wear make up so decided not to wear any foundation just concealer as needed and bronzer while we emphasized my eyes and matched the lipstick to be as close to my natural lip colour as possible. Annarita did a wonderful job of all the girls make up.


Dress Code

While there was no bridal party the dress code was anything from smart casual to black tie with a brown/neutral tone theme. We wanted our guests comfortable and happy in whatever they chose to wear especially as it was so warm.

puglia wedding

“For us Borgo Gallana as it was, was already beautiful enough, we just added a few delicate details.”

puglia wedding

puglia wedding

The Details



No transport necessary, we were staying at Borgo Gallana so everything was on site.



We wed while on a five week European adventure, so are yet to plan the honeymoon.



It was strictly no gifts! To spend the day and night with our family was all we wanted.

sarah & andrew wedding

sarah & andrew wedding

Wedding Songs

Ceremony Song: Magic by Coldplay was played as I walked through the garden and down the aisle. Here Comes the Sun by the Beatles was played once we were announced husband and wife and exited the ceremony.



We created a playlist of our own combining our favorite feel good songs.



Our friend Isabella married us legally at home in Australia before we left for Europe. On the wedding day in Puglia we were lucky enough to have Silvia Di Pasquale fly all the way from Milan to read our love story written by Izzy. We warmed up to her instantly and she did a beautiful job.



We wrote our own vows and funnily enough they both started with a cheeky joke. Our vows to one another were equal parts funny and sincere.

puglia wedding

Our Advice


One thing I wish I knew before I started my wedding plans…

We wouldn’t change it, instead we would highly recommend a sneaky secret micro wedding overseas!


If I could give other couples one piece of advice…

Stay true to you when planning your wedding and give yourself permission to do it exactly the way you want to do it. A wedding planner is a must!

Our Contacts


Wedding Venue / Borgo Gallana

Wedding Stylist & Planner / Mara D’Onghia

Photography / Donatella Corriero

Bride’s Dress / A LA ROBE by Elizabeth Soljak & Shona Joy

Makeup / Annarita

Stationery / Acqua & Ink

Florist / Nunzia Guerino

Catering / Luisa Tricca

Celebrant Wedding Ceremony In Italy


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