In a celebration that spanned three days of revelry set beneath balmy Sicilian skies, Frederique and Orlando exchanged vows within the dreamy courtyard of Dimora Della Balze. Adorned in a custom-made gown and a suave black-tie ensemble, the couple emanated pure joy and sartorial elegance as they wed before friends and family.
Over the course of the weekend, guests mingled between the rambling gardens and aged stonewalls of the 19th-Century estate, as well as nearby at the medieval castle turned winery, Pupillo. Sampling local wines, feasting on delectable eats, and immersing themselves in the musical talents of their finely honed entertainment lineup, what’s undeniable was the epicurean and cultural focus of the event. The emphasis placed on the experience itself, creating sensory moments that would etch into their memories like the boldest of paints unto blank canvas.
And while the soiree was sophisticated and exquisitely styled in every respect, there was an innate sense of authenticity and relaxed insouciance to it, a down-to-earth atmosphere of effortless romance and unguarded delight.
Photography by Marry & Me.
Names / Frederique & Orlando
Wedding Date / 18th-20th September, 2020
Guest Numbers / 95
Budget / Undisclosed
How We Met
At the bar, dancing to ‘I Bet That You Look Good on the Dancefloor.’ Some weird moves later, we had a drink.
Our Engagement Story
We visited some friends in Ascona. The next morning, Orlando proposed during a hike up on the mountain, as I love hikes. On top of the mountain (Pizzo Leone), there was a huge cross with a guestbook in a metal box. I opened it to have a look, and on the inside cover I read a love story addressed to ‘Frederique’. Still not realizing it was about me, I’d said, “Damn, this is one lucky woman”. I turned around to share it with Orlando and saw him kneeling with a ring. It turned out that he secretly went up the mountain three months before to write the love story. It started raining tears from my eyes. I was so high that I couldn’t walk down. Then, two paragliders came out of the bushes. So, we jumped off the mountain with them and spent the remainder of our day and night at Isole di Brissago, a stunning private island. The next day our friends picked us up by boat to have an incredible day on Lago Maggiore.
Marriage To Us Means…
In our eyes, it is a formality of our love for each other. Love is having a deep bond based on commitment, respect, trust and acceptance. Do not try to change the other person. Be motivated to change yourself by being the best version of yourself. Always be the safe haven for your partner.
And never stop surprising. And smiling. And dancing.
South-East Sicily, Italy. We fell in love with the island a few years ago during a holiday. It is pure, raw and stunning. Besides that, the climate, people and food & wine are amazing. On day one, we chose an old winery called ‘Pupillo’ to host our celebrations. There is a medieval castle, impressive courtyard and stunning botanical garden with an enormous 250-year-old tree (imagine what she has seen). We are both great wine lovers.
On the day of the ceremony, and on the third day following the ceremony, we were hosted at Dimora Della Balze, a restored 19th-Century Masseria. It blended so perfectly into the natural surroundings, and the energy, style and service were unparalleled.
We had breakfast and a very special moment with our family. We prepared well and had a lovely team, so we wanted to start the day as relaxed as possible. We went for a run, a swim, and we chilled with the bridesmaids and groomsmen.
I started to get ready and had some pre-fun with the bridesmaids. Orlando went for a test drive with the motorcar and enjoyed a drink, speeches and time with the men. It was the perfect build-up.
Overall Aesthetic / Style
We wanted to create two different feelings for the first and second day, but both having that ‘Sicily’ feeling.
On the first day, Pupillo castle had a beautiful botanical garden, so we had a Sicilian tropical touch to the table decorations and the garden setting was done in a Sicilian market style. We chose an 80’s style theme with a South American touch.
Dimora Delle Balze already has the most beautiful interior design and overall style, so we didn’t have to add much to it. Its interiors are an absolutely beautiful mix of traditional elements and contemporary touches.
We choose the lane in front of the venue’s entrance. It had such a beautiful view of the tower and also because the guests were arriving there first, so they wouldn’t see anything of what was happening behind the closed doors until they opened after the ceremony. On the sides of the lane, there were rosemary plants coming over the walls. We wanted to create that same feeling with the flowers, wildly grown like they could have grown there already by hanging them at the door and wall, and at the beginning of the aisle coming out of the wall. We choose to have soft colors without making it too over the top with romantic feeling. It all was very dreamy.
For the first day, we held the celebration in a beautiful botanical garden underneath a huge fig tree. The inspiration was to have a Sicilian wine and food market with different market stands. The decor was baskets full of fruits, vegetables and plants around the stands. The dinner table had a tropical touch to get the same feeling as the botanical garden full of citrus fruits and tropical plants.
On the wedding day, we had the reception in the garden overlooking the valley. We continued with the same wildflowers next to the bar. For the reception table, the florist created a wall of wildflowers with colored candles in the same style as the ceremony. We choose eye-catching plates, with two different detailed porcelain plates made into one.
Wedding Planner & Stylist
We found Manuela Speroni via her Instagram account. We immediately liked her style and her response was also by far the kindest. She already worked with Dimora Delle Balze, so that was an added plus. It clicked, and while discussing our plans, we had an exact idea of what we wanted. We already made excel schedules, mood boards and were in contact with the locations. After this, Manuela took over and added value and inspirational ideas to what we needed to get our plan to that extra level and make it all work. We met three months before the wedding in Sicily to go through the plan, testing the food (the best part, yum!) and looking at what would happen where. That gave us more peace. It is hard to picture it all by email. It all worked out brilliantly, absolutely nothing went wrong over the three days. She made our dreams come true.
Charis is a close friend of ours and a great wedding photographer. We were very lucky that she wanted to not only be a guest, but also to capture our weekend. We wanted to have an overall style that was a bit of old-school and mysterious in feeling. We wanted to have movement in the photos. And I think Charis really looks to the overall style of the location and gets that feeling in the photos. Couldn’t be happier with the results.
Stefan is a friend of ours. He’s very talented and one of the best out there. We were so happy he wanted to join us. His work is really like an arthouse movie. He captured every special moment without us realizing he was there. The trailer is stunning. Realizing it is just a teaser, we are beyond happy and can’t wait for the short movie he is making for us. It will keep our memories alive forever.
Frederique designed the three dresses together with Sarah from Blanc Wear. This was such a nice process to work on the dresses from sketch to finish, Sarah is so talented and précise. We both had the same image on our mood board of a bow dress from the back. We used this one as our base for the first day.
For the actual wedding dress, we wanted it to be light in feeling with seven layers of tulle, so had that feeling of being sheer without having to worry about seeing underwear. The layer underneath the top layer was scattered with pearls (thank you Sarah for having the patience to sew all those on). For the top, we wanted to have the ballerina shape but have it more straight instead of the standard round shape. We choose a flowered embroidered fabric that she strategically sewed more pearls onto, so the two parts connected with each other and then sealed it with a band of tulle around the waist.
On the pool party day, we choose a shirt dress style that could be worn open and closed. A modern collar that felt open so the white bikini was shown, yet with a high split to show some leg, but still a train to give that dramatic effect.
I love the Dutch brand Wandler and when I saw that they did a wedding collection, I had to have the square satin and feather high heels. I wore those the first day, and underneath the party dress for the second day. My wedding shoes were from my other favorite brand, Dior. I decided to go for the iconic pointy white shoes with the J’Adoir ribbon, this time with a low heel so it would be comfortable throughout the day.
We wanted the girls to be dressed the same so they formed a team. It wasn’t easy to find the perfect dress that everybody loved, but I was determined to make everyone happy so they felt comfortable. I wanted them to wear a flowy silk dress in either champagne or sage. It turned out to be a champagne-coloured dress. Simple in design, yet elegant and comfy from the brand Dresscode.
For the first day, I wore the two rings Orlando had given me, both vintage rings; a sapphire and diamond ring, and the solitary diamond engagement ring. I also chose a vintage art deco band that I got as a present from my parents. Besides that, the Dior double pearl earrings.
On the second day, I didn’t want to wear too many items so that all the attention went to the dress. I only wore vintage diamond earrings. A clean design of three stones underneath each other. For the evening dress, I wore twisted silver earrings inspired by a shell from my favorite brand Ocean Republic.
The third day, I wore big golden 80s earrings and a diamond cross necklace, and a golden wristband with a small pearl, also from Ocean Republic.
We both designed our own ring. We wanted to each have a ring that suited us, and not necessarily have the same.
I wanted to have an art deco design. I drew this design based on a photo I’d found and then went to Lyppens jewelry store in Amsterdam. They had three baguette diamonds and one square diamond in stock and could create the perfect ring. They crafted a gold ring, and around the diamonds, they put white gold.
Orlando chose a signet ring. Gold and heliotrope.
The groomsmen all wore black-tie. On day one, Orlando wore Paul Smith. On the wedding day, he wore L’atelier Amsterdam. Orlando designed the suit together with his friend Theodoor who is a true connoisseur. They chose a loose fit 80’s style Mediterranean made-to-measure summer smoking, and used they used a lot of silk to endure the summer heat (and nerves).
For shoes, Orlando wore G.H. Bass & Co, for sunglasses, Gianfranco Ferré from the ’80s, and for the pool party wore Gkero.
During the fittings of my dress, I always pulled my hair back in a simple knot and it worked so well that I wanted to have a version on this. On the first day, I choose the most ‘classic’ look with the bow dress. I wanted it to be classic without being too formal, so it was a twisted low knot so my hat could fit over it. For the party, she pulled a bit more hair and finished it with a feather hairband.
On day two, I want to have a more romantic feeling, so we loosely braided the hair from the top and finished in the neck with a knot. Just above the knot, we placed the veil. For the party, I just literally let my hair down.
On day three for the pool party I wanted to go for a vintage pool vibe. So we brushed the hair all the way to the back with gel and hairspray and just let it hang down.
I don’t usually wear makeup at all, so we didn’t want to overdo it and be a complete other version of myself, but we did want to have different look for each day. For the first day, we choose to have a bit more make-up since the dress was a modern version of a vintage old Hollywood feeling dress. I wore a little eyeliner and a darker lip to complete the look.
The second day was all about clean and fresh make-up. So Niki did light make-up in a peachy/copper color, and added some light glow here and there.
On the pool day I was wearing mostly my sunglasses and knew I would go in the pool at some point, so I wore no mascara just to be sure. Just some glow on the cheeks and a bit of orange eyeshadow to complement the dress.
Stationery / Invitations
We’ve got engaged almost exactly a year before we got married and picked our date in February, so there wasn’t that much time. We remembered most people said that the time window is way too short. So we did an online save the date in the same style as our invitation and website, clean and modern. All were in the colors of sage and gold. We thought this suited that Sicily feeling. We added a dried bunch of Eucalyptus and made a stamp with our initials on golden wax to seal the deal.
The menu for the first day we designed together with Manuela (stationery by Minted). We wanted to have an abstract, colorful feeling. The menu for the second day that Manuela designed was more simple and clean because we had a bold table with colorful plates and lots of flowers, so we wanted to draw attention to those.
For the men, we had an encrypted Japanese cooking knife and Aqua di Parma soap. And for the ladies, custom-made pyjamas, straw hats and flip-flops with their names on it.
Flowers & Bouquets
We wanted to have two different feelings for the first and the second day. Pupillo had a botanical garden so therefore we decided to have a tropical feeling.
For the wedding day, we wanted to have a wildflower feeling and we chose florals in light colors with lots of greenery. We were very happy that at the last moment our florist surprised us, and our favorite flower (the anemone) was added. The girls all had the same bouquets – a mix of the same flowers and greenery from the ceremony.
With the tasting of the menu, Dimora had prepared a mini wedding cake for us with delicious cream, lemon and pistachio flavor. Yum! We loved it. We opted for the design to be in the naked style with little golden details. Our florist topped it off with some flowers.
Food & Beverages
We started on our first day in a beautiful botanical garden with a variation on a Sicilian Market complete with all local bites and an extensive wine tasting. After we set down at two long tables in front of the castle for a four-course dinner made by Squiseating. This dinner was a bit more formal. Afterwards, we had a Sicilian Digestive and a cigars corner next to the table. The party was in the courtyard area with a cocktail menu with six different cocktails.
On the second day, we welcomed everyone with Sicilian refreshing waters. After the ceremony, we had a Champagne celebration in the courtyard. Then the garden concert overlooking the valley with Italian bites, wine and more bubbles. We did an Italian style three-course dinner in the courtyard on three big tables. And after we moved back to the garden, we surprised our guests with cake, champagne and fireworks. Then at the dance party, cocktails came in again.
All three days we stayed with our family and bridal party at Dimora Delle Balze. The first day we arrived at the winery in an Alfa Romeo Giulietta classic car. The other two days we stayed at the party location, so only Orlando drove his Vespa around there.
Unfortunately, we haven’t done our honeymoon just jet due to Covid restrictions. But we are planning a five-week round trip through Japan this autumn. So any tips are still welcome! We’ve both wanted to go to Japan for a very long time. The combination of huge cities, nature and a really different culture attracts us.
We chose ‘When a Man Loves a Woman‘ by Percy Sledge for Orlando to come in on his Vespa. When his dad and mom got married, his dad also arrived in a car while playing this song, so this song has a very special meaning to all of us. Frederique entered together with her dad accompanied by classical live violin music.
Our kiss and walk song following the ceremony was The Source’s cover of ‘You’ve Got the Love’ because that was the song we kissed to for the first time.
Our first dance was to ‘I Want to Know What Love Is’ by Foreigner. And the fireworks were to ‘Sweet Disposition’ by The Temper Trap. All song combinations worked out perfectly, just liked we dreamed they would.
Music is very important to us. We wanted to surprise our guests with different performances. Both bands we used we had actually discovered on previous holidays in Italy. Tony was playing in a restaurant in Tropea where we had dinner around five years ago and we were very impressed because he played all the songs we liked (Libertines, Pete Doherty).
During the rehearsal dinner, we had an opera singer, Salvo, performing on one of the castle towers. It was amazing.
The second band – Il Mio Amico Rey – we saw them playing on the streets during a food festival in Tuscany. We were so impressed because of how they played with so much emotion, a bit like ‘The National’, another band we really like. We had made some videos back then, and when we were thinking about what type of music we wanted for the wedding, we thought of that band. However, we weren’t sure how to find them. In the end, we found a digital poster of that event and figured it out, so we contacted them via Facebook. They were happy to come! Having these two bands play felt so special.
Tommy Hagen was our DJ for the first evening. He is also a good friend. We knew immediately that we wanted him to play because we love his style. He plays with vinyl and always rocks. And we were so happy William Djoko could join us too. If it wasn’t for Covid, he would have been on a world tour, but now we were lucky enough to have him. He has the best energy on stage ever.
A few days before the ceremony we had the notice of marriage in the small town of Noto at the Municipality. That is when we met the lovely ladies from the Municipality of Noto. We immediately had a great connection with them which felt really good. We were so lucky because they did an amazing job.
Sources of Inspiration
We have to say, we have looked on The Lane a lot for inspiration, the weddings that are displayed there are stunning. And furthermore, we mostly used Pinterest to make a lot of mood boards.
A Memorable Moment
Too mant to mention. Some real highlights were; the moment Orlando entered on a vintage Vespa, the moment my 85-year-old father started to twist during the garden concert and I joined in so it was a spontaneous variation of the father-daughter dance. Also, when the first fireworks started because everybody thought we were going back into the garden for the cake – it was such an ecstatic moment.
For the opening dance, we didn’t practice at all but somehow (perhaps it was the champagne) we nailed it with a nice lift. And during the last song of the pool party, Orlando’s dad got thrown into the pool, and that prompted everybody else to jump in too. Orlando lifted me up in the air and everyone started splashing on the water to ‘A Whiter Shade of Pale’ by Procol Harum. Loads of people were crying and it was the best end ever to three days of pure love. Damn what an end!!!
One Thing I Wish I Knew Before I Started My Wedding Plans…
That the postcards were going to go through a stamp machine with a lot of pressure. So everything in the envelope will be smashed, goodbye pretty wax seal.
If I Could Give Brides to be One Piece of Advice…
Prepare everything to 110% and on the day itself, just be in the moment and enjoy it as much as possible. Let go. Enjoy the love. It will lift you through the day!
Photography / Marry & Me
Bridesmaids Dresses / Dresscode
Wedding Rings / Lyppens
Hair & Makeup / Niki Vos from The Set Wedding
Stationery / Minted
Wedding Stylist/Planner / Agnese Sogna Sempre
Florist / INTRECCI
Cake / Corsino Dolci Tradizioni
Celebrant / Sindaco of Noto
Videographer / Stefan Jansen
Transport / Soleintour
Custom-made Hats / Demure Amsterdam
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