When Hayley Allan and Dean Howell from Swansea first met, they knew they were meant to be together, their love was sealed on a holiday in the Maldives when Dean popped the question, so it was only fitting that the couple should head overseas again, this time to Italy, where they exchanged vows surrounded by their loved ones, with their little daughter as flower girl.
FINDING THE ONE
We met on a night out in Swansea July 2006. I think it was ‘love at first sight’ as I knew that he was the one I would marry and 10 years later we did!
Our daughter was born, and six-months later we went on a romantic holiday to the Maldives for my birthday. On my actual birthday Dean had left me on the beach for over an hour alone, so I wondered what he was up to. He had been arranging for us to go on a sunset boat trip that evening, just the two of us, to look for dolphins and have a birthday meal. It was on the boat that he got down on one knee and asked me if I would marry him. It was totally unexpected! Of course, I said: “Yes!”
We had always said that when we married we would marry abroad, we both agreed on that, so it was just deciding where to do it. We had been guests at two weddings abroad and we knew that was how we wanted our special day to be, shared with our close family and friends.
We used the services of the Bridal Consultants, our chosen Wedding Planner from day one up to, and including the wedding. We booked Villa Fraulo in Ravello and for the wedding planners, nothing was too much trouble. We planned everything before we went – the only thing I needed to do once in Italy was purchase some Limencello for part of our favours.
We had 51 wedding guests in total. The majority stayed in the same hotel as us. The hotel was in a small village, so our other guests were all within walking distance. Most people we invited accepted the invitation – we were so lucky only two couldn’t make it due to work commitments.
Getting the look
My wedding dress, by designer Maggie Sottero, was purchased from a shop called Alison Jayne. I knew I wanted something fitted, but was unsure on the material. I tried on a handful of dresses and as soon as I put this one on I knew it was ‘the one’. My hair and make-up was arranged by Lisa Burton – she arranged for me to meet with one of the local hairdressers and make-up artists prior to the day and they came to our hotel on the morning of the wedding
Something old, something new?
My Something New were my diamond earrings we purchased a few weeks before the wedding; Something Blue – my underwear had blue on the bow; Something Old/Borrowed was a gold and pearl bracelet that my dad had bought my mum for their 30th Wedding Anniversary – it meant so much to me to wear something that was one of the last things my dad bought for my mum before he was taken from us in a tragic accident before the wedding.
Groom & Bridesmaids
Dean wore a navy 3-piece suit. The bridesmaids were in long sage-coloured dresses with a sweetheart neckline by Tiffany, which I also got from Alison Jayne. Our daughter was our flower girl, we bought her dress from the same shop, and I absolutely loved her dress as much as mine!
We didn’t exactly ‘theme’ the wedding, but I knew what I did and didn’t want and what colour scheme I was going for – light pinks, champagnes and whites.
I chose roses for the flowers and for my cake – well Italians have a different style of wedding cake than the UK, I took a while to come around to the idea of this, but I did love it in the end. It was heart shaped with strawberries and cream with puff pastry and flavoured with alcohol.
The ceremony, with lasted around 30 minutes, took place in Ravello town gardens (until it started to rain half way through so we were lead to the hall to finish off the ceremony). There was no way I was going aboard to get married and having the whole ceremony inside. Everyone was fantastic and provided us all with umbrellas. One of my favourite photos is all of us overlooking the coast with our umbrellas as we were getting married! My Brother gave me away, and he did a fantastic job – I am sure my dad would have been very proud of us! He was with us in our hearts every step of the way.
The reception was held at Villa Eva. The food was outstanding and never ending – we had seven courses! I wanted big flower table decorations and they looked amazing, I had sent photos of what I wanted/imagined and in real life they were even better.
I also had pictures of my dad dotted around the venue as he was very much involved in the planning leading up to the wedding.
FIRST DANCE & ENTERTAINMENT
For our First Dance we chose Bruno Mars, ‘Just The Way You Are’. We had a Harpist for my entrance during the wedding ceremony and for an hour in Villa Eva. Then a DJ in the evening, who kindly stayed on later than scheduled as we didn’t want it to come to an end!
Mario Feliciello was our photographer, and we cannot thank him enough! We didn’t have a videographer, this isn’t something we wanted. Our group photo is my favourite as it meant so much to us to have our family and friends travel out there to share our special day.
Whilst we were having pictures at Villa Eva a Rainbow appeared. That to me was extra special as I believe it was a sign my dad was with us all!
The wedding package cost 25,000 Euros, that’s not including my dress, rings, suits etc! It was over budget but we would not have changed a thing, everything was perfect and it was exactly what we wanted. If I could go back and live the day again I would!
We spent a week at our wedding with family and friends, which was fantastic. Then we went to Dubai for our honeymoon for a six-night stay – we took our daughter along with us. We are hoping to do a weekend away just the two of us at some point.
WEDDING PLANNER UK:
Lisa Burton and Samuele from The Bridal Consultants
Villa Eva, Ravello, Italy
Tell us about your wedding
Did you marry abroad? Whether you said “I do” on a palm fringed sandy beach or in a French Chateau, or even in an Icelandic winter wonderland with the Aurora Borealis dancing in the skies above, we would love to hear from you, and feature your wedding on our website .
“Whilst we were having pictures at Villa Eva a Rainbow appeared. That to me was extra special as I believe it was a sign my dad was with us all!”
Need help planning your wedding?
Brides Abroad, in conjunction with Brilliant Honeymoons can help you every step of the way, from finding the venue, arranging the details and helping with the paperwork to organising the flights, accommodation and transfers for you and your wedding party.