Real Weddings

A Sicilian Wedding in an Ancient Monastery

Photography by Giuseppe Marano.

Inside the timeworn walls of an ancient monastery near Messina, Saskia & Miles held their wedding in the Sicilian mountains.  The imperfect archaeological structure offered a kaleidoscope of textures for their ceremony backdrop. Crumbling facades of lavastone, limestone, and terracotta, creating an alchemy of color contrasts for their Sicilian wedding.

As the first wedding held within the deconsecrated church in forty years, Saskia & Miles let the stunning surrounds take centre stage, accented with suspended blooms and wooden chairs. 

A rose-hued Sicilian retreat inside a restored 1930s family estate set the scene for the reception. Surrounded by citrus groves and manicured gardens by the Ionian Sea, guests celebrated around a contemporary pool with views of the nearby smoldering Mount Etna. Wildly romantic and elegantly refined, Saskia & Miles brought to life their dream Italian Summer wedding.

Sicily Wedding

Sicily Wedding

Our Story

Names / Saskia & Miles Taitt

Wedding Date / September 10th, 2022

Guest Numbers / 60

 

Saskia Miles

How We Met

We were teenage lovers. We started dating after meeting “the old-school way” out partying with friends. Both on separate nights out, we were introduced to each other by a mutual friend – a chance encounter, which blossomed into a life together sharing love, adventure, and joy. In the 12 years between our meeting, and our getting married; we have traveled to some breathtaking destinations together, met countless amazing people (many of whom are now our dearest friends), and had unbelievable experiences that the 19-year-old us couldn’t have ever imagined.

 

Our Engagement Story

In 2019 we spent 9 months living apart and would alternate between weekends together in Germany and England. On one of these weekends, Miles booked a surprise ski holiday to Obergurgl, Austria – known as the Diamond of the Alps. We stayed at such a beautiful hotel with a rooftop infinity pool that overlooked the slopes. I was already so happy and excited to be there and had no idea of the excitement that would follow. On the morning of our 2nd day, with the slopes almost to ourselves, the clearest blue sky, and the most stunning mountain views, Miles got down on one knee (deceptively tricky in snowboarding gear) and asked me to marry him. It was such a beautiful and emotional moment and a total surprise. I almost forgot to say yes. We celebrated with champagne at a nearby mountain top bar, and enjoyed the rest of our day skiing with the biggest smiles, knowing that this was the beginning of our forever.

 

Marriage To Us Means…

Making the most of every moment, cherishing, and choosing to enjoy life together. Remaining the best of friends, always caring for and supporting one another no matter what life throws at us. Empowering one another to be perfectly ourselves, and be perfectly joined in a permanent commitment.

Ethereal Wedding Dress

Saskia Miles

The Setting

 

Wedding Location

Our wedding reception and subsequent pool party were at Zash Country Boutique Hotel. An ancient rose-hued building beautifully modernized with contemporary architecture which blends seamlessly into the surrounding citrus groves. We had dreamt of an Italian wedding since our early years together, so we instantly knew we wanted a destination wedding when it came to planning our celebrations.

During our early planning, we went on a venue scout trip across Italy and Sicily (a very special and exciting holiday celebrating our 10-year anniversary). Zash was the first venue we went to see, and although all of the other venues were beautiful we knew from the very first moment we visited that it was the perfect place for us. It just felt so special, and it was really quite emotional to find a place that felt like everything I’d ever dreamed of.

Like Zash, the venue we chose for our wedding ceremony was truly unique. We knew we wanted a separate private venue for our wedding ceremony, and we both had the vision of holding our service in an atmospheric timeworn facade. We viewed so many places that just didn’t fit our vision, until our amazing wedding planner, Luana found San Pietro e Paulo D’Agrò’ – a deconsecrated church in the mountains above Messina near Taormina. Before us, nobody had been married at this church for over 40 years. We felt extremely special. We kept our ceremony location as a wedding day surprise, and couldn’t wait to share the magic with our family and friends.

 

Aesthetic

We’d define our overall aesthetic as romantic, sophisticated elegance. We wanted our style to be timeless and considered whilst being complimentary to the venues’ natural beauty and surroundings. Our aim was to enhance, not impose but with an understated relaxed & cool vibe that reflected us as a couple.

 

Preparation

The day before our wedding I had a gorgeous girls’ evening at Zash with my Mum and Bridesmaids. We reserved a few hours of private time at the in-house spa to chat, chill, and have a pre-wedding massage before dinner. I felt so relaxed afterward. It was just what I needed to start the wedding weekend after the madness of pulling together the last-minute details, and it really made me feel like a bride. We had an evening meal together at Zash’s restaurant, where my favorite round table under their Luna light had been reserved. I had written the girls a card each, so dinner was a nice opportunity to give these to them. The girls also gifted me a gorgeous white Isla Risa bag made from satin ribbon – my ‘something new’ which I absolutely adore, and was touched to receive.

Our morning started early with hair & makeup. My sister opened our bedroom curtains, and we were met by a perfect sunrise. The morning was calm, we played music, and I had the best team to get me ready, which made me feel really special. The amazing staff at Zash brought us a selection of my favorite breakfast foods up to the suite where my bridesmaids, Mum, and I were getting ready, and I took some quiet time to practice my vows. I really loved my wedding morning, it’s a time with my girls I’ll always treasure.

Miles stayed the night before the wedding at Zash’s sister hotel Ramo d’Aria. There he had a chilled-out dinner with his Dad and some of our family and friends who were staying at Ramo D’Aria for the weekend. Miles and all of his groomsmen, together with his Dad and my Stepdad got ready together on the morning of the wedding.

Saskia Miles

Saskia Miles

Saskia Miles

“We viewed so many places that just didn’t fit our vision, until our amazing wedding planner found San Pietro e Paulo D’Agrò’ – a deconsecrated church in the mountains above Messina near Taormina. Before us, nobody had been married at this church for over 40 years.”

Saskia Miles

Photography

Giuseppe Marano captured our wedding day in the most beautiful way. Giuseppe has a fantastic eye and made us both feel truly comfortable throughout the entire day. In one of our pre-wedding meetings he told us that past couples have referred to him as a ninja – he was just that, unimposing, blending in with the guests whilst capturing our day in a beautiful and candid fashion. We had decided we didn’t want any posed photography, as we much prefer that our raw emotions are captured in natural ways. We are over the moon with our wedding photographs, we’re always looking at them. We particularly love the raw images from Giuseppe’s film camera, they’re such a unique treasure.

 

Videography

Alberto & Yago of A&Y Videography were our wedding videographers, and all we can say is wow! They created the perfect film for us, a momentum we’ll continue to watch for years to come. We cry, laugh, cheer, and smile every time we watch it. They have a really unique style, which takes the viewer on a journey through all of the emotions of the day. As soon as we watched their work we knew we wanted them to capture our day. They worked in harmony with Giuseppe and equally made us feel comfortable. Alberto & Yago gave us direction, but never over-directed, and this resulted in a truly wonderful film. We had a lot of fun. They have fantastic energy and interacted really well with our guests. We love them. We love our video, and we love sharing it with our family & friends.

Saskia Miles

Saskia Miles

Style Notes

 

Ceremony Décor

San Pietro e Paulo D’Agrò’ has such beautiful timeless features such as the marble altar & step that we didn’t want to impose on the natural beauty of the space. We chose rustic wooden cross chairs and dressed the altar with a suspended flower cloud hung from the timeworn beam above our heads. This was a feature I really wanted, so I was so happy when it was approved by the church.

 

Reception Décor

We loved the relaxed effortless beauty and colors of Zash, and let this be our lead on decor, picking flowers in nude blush tones that complimented the rose-tinted vestige and luscious green surroundings. We styled with a considered approach, using lighting and materials that created a romantic summer vibe. We love the romance of flickering candles and placed votives with white candles in differing sizes amongst the floral arrangements.

Saskia Miles

“I took a lot of my inspiration from The Lane – it’s such a well-curated collection of suppliers, contacts, and real wedding ideas, and was the only wedding source I could find that really captures the aesthetic we were going for.”

Wedding Planner & Stylist

Luana and Silvia from Weddings Sicily were our wedding planners, and they worked harmoniously with Roberta from Zash to help us plan our dream day. We planned our wedding for over 3 years and were in constant communication with them. We visited Sicily on 3 occasions prior to our wedding, and Luana planned our time to perfection on every occasion. Ensuring we met with suppliers, did trials, and finalized all details so that the day would run smoothly when it came. We had to postpone our wedding a year due to the pandemic, and they guided us so well through the difficult decision and process. They were also present on our wedding day so that we could enjoy ourselves and not worry about a thing. They were a dream team, and we can’t thank them enough for all that they did for us.

 

Flowers

Our florist, Francesca from Fiorelli was brilliant at bringing my vision and wedding mood boards to life. Our bouquets and arrangements were made up of Roses, Hydrangea, Amaranthus, Baby breath, Gladiolus, Calla Lilly, Orchids and Eucalyptus & Olive leaves.

Saskia Miles

Saskia Miles

Saskia Miles

Stationery

We designed and created our own wedding stationery in card and ink reflecting our chosen wedding color scheme. We were really proud of the outcome, and think the invitations gave a hint of what was to come.

 

Favors

Together with my talented Grandmas, I created Sage Green linen drawstring welcome bags with custom embroidered writing on the front. We had these put in our guests’ bedrooms at Zash, as a keepsake of the weekend. We filled them with traditional Sicilian almond treats, Limoncello, and Amaro liqueurs. As we were getting married in the Sicilian heat, we also gifted the ladies fans, placed on the chairs at San Pietro e Paulo to help keep everyone cool during our ceremony.

 

Cake

For our wedding cake we had a 3-tier vegan and gluten-free vanilla sponge cake with Pistachio cream filling. One of the many memorable parts of the day was cutting our wedding cake inside the old Palmento. Our street band, Ottoni Animati lead everyone inside after dinner. They played the tune of “Happy Birthday” whilst we cut the wedding cake, which was such an uplifting and fun vibe, and really got everyone in a happy party mood ready for our evening reception. We served Espresso Martinis with our wedding cake – a signature favorite cocktail of Miles and I.

 

Food & Beverages

We had the honor of having our wedding menu curated and prepared by Zash’s in-house Michelin Starred Chef Giuseppe Raciti. For Aperitivo, served around Zash’s gorgeous swimming pool, we offered a selection of Canapés along with sparkling wine & Aperol Spritz. A Pescatarian or Vegan 4-course tasting menu on the terrace followed, broken up by speeches between each course. The menu was an experimental take on Sicilian classics and featured some of our favorite foods. The food was mind-blowing, and all of our guests thoroughly enjoyed the flavors of Giuseppe’s thrilling plates. We kept our guest’s wine glasses filled up with Zash’s own Etna Bianco Superiore.

Saskia Miles

Fashion & Beauty Notes

 

Bride’s Dress & Shoes

I wore a custom J.Andreatta dress sourced and designed with Keep its Find Bridal. I had been looking for a stockist of J.Andreatta dresses for a while when I spoke with Liesbeth, who instantly became the kindest & helpful person to me. She ordered a J Andreatta dress directly from Australia for me to try.  On our drive back to Germany from England after Christmas with family, I stopped off in Rotterdam at the Keep Its Find boutique to try it on alone. This dress was in fact ‘The One’ – my dream dress and it gave me that feeling I’d been searching for. The La Vie En Rose dress had beautiful lace and intricate beading that I loved, but I knew I wanted custom features so that my dress was perfect for me. This resulted in a gown that I am completely obsessed with. It’s timeless, but fashionable and had every element I could ever dream my wedding gown would have. I was lucky enough to take my Sisters, Mum and Grandma to two more fitting appointments after my initial visit. These were such special moments and priceless memories I’ll always treasure. I can’t thank Liesbeth enough for making my wedding dress journey such a beautiful experience.

I wore the Belle leather sandals in white by D’Accori. Sky-high platforms are a signature shoe style of mine, and I knew I wanted this style to compliment my wedding gown.

 

Bridesmaids’ Dresses & Shoes

My bridesmaids all looked so elegant and beautiful. Maids of honour wore Bec & Bridge crest midi slip dresses in Peppermint silk. And my bridesmaids wore Sofia midi slip dresses in Gold by Rat & Boa – a reflection of the colours of our wedding theme.

 

Flower Girls & Page Boys

Our gorgeous Niece, Sienna was our Flowergirl. She wore a white dress from Zara, with Rose Gold sandals and white frilly socks – she looked absolutely adorable.

 

Wedding Rings

My engagement ring is a white brilliant cut diamond in a platinum halo setting with a diamond pavé band. The wedding ring we chose is a deep curved half-eternity ring with graduated pavé, which matches the band of my engagement ring and framed the Diamond beautifully.

Miles’ 18k yellow gold wedding band is a timeless classic. Set on the inside of both wedding rings is a matching round red ruby, a romantic detail that privately binds the two.

 

Jewelry / Accessories

I kept my jewellery and accessories minimal as my dress had so much detail. I complimented my gown with a simple long veil trimmed with freshwater pearl edging. The only jewellery I wore was my Halo diamond stud earrings that Miles gifted to me on my 30th birthday to match my engagement ring. I finished my look with an A.B.ELLIE Freshwater Pearl hair comb in gold and carried my new satin ribbon Isla Risa bag.

 

Groomsmen

Miles wore a bespoke suit by SuitSupply, constructed from a unique bamboo fabric supplied by Huddersfield Fine Worsteds. He chose the fabric as it is light & breathable, so perfect for the Sicilian summer heat. We selected the colour to compliment both Miles’ skin tone and the patina of the walls at Zash. Miles opted for a closely tailored jacket & waistcoat, with slim fitting trousers – slightly cropped to perfectly compliment the Joseph Cheaney ‘Rum Punch’ Suede loafers. I had the inside pocket of Miles’ jacket embroidered with our wedding date and a secret message embroidered to the inside fold of his jacket collar – details I kept as a romantic surprise for him to read as he got dressed on our wedding morning. Miles finished his look with some accessories particularly close to his heart; a pair of cuff links and a wristwatch from his late grandfather. The groomsmen were dressed in linen 2-piece suits from Noak, in a complementary tone to Miles’ suit.

 

Hair & Makeup

Georgia Lutton has been doing my hair for years and flew out to join us in Sicily which I’m extremely grateful for. There was nobody else I would have wanted with me for the big day – she is a dream. She knows exactly how my hair works, and always makes my colour and style dreams come true. We had been discussing ideas for some time, and once I had picked my dress we decided on a down style of soft glam curls finished with a freshwater pearl hair comb. Georgia absolutely worked her magic on my wedding hair, making me feel myself, but with an elegant bridal touch, and I loved it.

My makeup artist was Jessica Bérullier. I found Jessica via The Lane directory, and absolutely love her work, so I was really excited to have her be a part of my day. It was really important to me that I felt and looked like myself but with a bridal glow. I wanted a natural, yet flawless and dewy look that would glow in the sunlight. We all really loved our makeup, and Jessica was a really lovely – a very calming influence during our morning.

Saskia Miles

Saskia Miles

Saskia Miles

Saskia Miles

The Details

 

Honeymoon

We honeymooned in Sri Lanka and the Maldives. Starting with an adventurous tour across Sri Lanka and finishing with relaxation and reflection in our overwater Bungalow in the Maldives. It was our dream honeymoon, and honestly just kept feeling like it was getting better and better. Sri Lanka is such a beautiful and varied country with so much to give. And the Maldives really does take your breath away. It couldn’t have been more perfect.

 

Saskia Miles

Wedding Songs

Music played a massive role in the wedding day for us and was often one of our first considerations when thinking of the different elements of the day, and how we wanted ourselves and the guests to feel in each of the moments.

Bridal procession song: Chandra by Gallant

Ceremony sing-along songs: Simply the Best & We are family performed acoustically by Claudio Bertuccio

Ceremony exit song: Loud Places by Jamie XX

Bride & Groom’s entrance to reception: Glue by Bicep

First dance: Ignite by RKCB

 

Entertainment

In the church, prior to the start of the ceremony, delicate acoustic renditions were played to the arriving guests by the talented Sicilian Singer / Musician Claudio Bertuccio. We wanted our ceremony to be dynamic and engaging so included two well-known sing-a-long songs led by Claudio. This brought a really fun element to the service.

Back at Zash our traditional Sicilian Street Band, Ottoni Animati led Miles and I into the Aperitif by the pool with their explosive Nova Terra soundtrack. This was a surprise for all of our family and friends and got us all dancing straight away. After the aperitif, Ottoni Animati led us to dinner and returned again to lead us into the Palmento for Espresso Martinis and to cut the wedding cake. They added so much fun and entertainment.

Our evening party DJ was Funky Shirts – organized by my sister Xania and her boyfriend. He played a mix of upbeat funky tunes, and will forever be known as the legend that kept our party grooving into the early hours of the morning.

 

Celebrant

Pastor Lombardo, a local Pastor from a Church in Catania traveled to marry us and allowed us to tailor our ceremony.

Saskia Miles

Our Advice

 

A memorable moment…

There’s too many to choose from. The first look at the altar – I will never forget Miles’ face full of emotion. He was full of expressions I’d never seen before and this filled me with so much love, my eyes were fixed on him.

Entering the aperitif at Zash with our surprise street band will never be forgotten. It was such a fun and exciting moment, and to surprise our guests was priceless.

 

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

All stages of the planning can be fun if you let them be. Reframe your thoughts around any tasks that you’d find stressful and enjoy them instead. We wouldn’t change anything about the outcome, but I would reorganize the transportation to the Church to enable my Mum and bridesmaids to stay with me right through to the final stages of getting ready.

 

If I could give other brides to be one piece of advice…

Live in, love, and enjoy every beautiful moment of your day, because it really is the best day of your life. Forget about all the planning – enjoy, and enjoy together as a newly married couple. Spend time with your guests the following day to reflect together. We held a relaxed pool party and pizza night at Zash on Sunday, the event was the perfect opportunity to do just this, before we headed off on our Honeymoon.

 

Sources of inspiration…

I took a lot of my inspiration from The Lane – it’s such a well-curated collection of suppliers, contacts, and real wedding ideas, and was the only wedding source I could find that really captures the aesthetic we were going for. I also used Pinterest to collate all of my ideas onto separate boards for different elements of the day. Otherwise, our ideas were inspired by the mood and emotions we wanted to feel. 

Saskia Miles

Our Contacts

 

Wedding Venue / Zash Country Boutique Hotel

Wedding Planner / Wedding Sicily

Photography / Giuseppe Marano

Videography / A&Y Video

Bride’s Dress / J Andreatta

Bride’s Shoes / D’Accori

Bridesmaid’s Dresses / Bec & Bridge & Rat & Boa

Groom’s Formal Wear / SuitSupply

Hair / Georgia Lutton

Makeup / Jessica Bérullier

Florist / Fiorelli Wedding 

Cake / Zash Country Boutique Hotel

Catering / Michelin Star Chef Giuseppe RaciI at Zash Country Boutique Hotel

Celebrant / Pastor Lombardo

Honeymoon Destination / Sri Lanka & Maldives

Entertainment / Claudio Bertuccio, Ottoni Animati & Marc AKA Funkshirts

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