Belmond Grand Hotel Timeo Taormina Wedding
Denise and Steve’s Destination wedding in Sicily at Belmond Grand Hotel Timeo, Taormina
This is the ‘fate’ wedding… I was at Julie and Richard’s wedding in London and I had a little break so I checked my emails on my phone. I had an enquiry… for a wedding in Taormina! I’ve said it before but Taormina is one of my favourite places in the whole world, so I was very excited to get this enquiry! Then I realised I was already booked the day before, so I started to feel sad that I wouldn’t be able to do it… until I realised the booking I already had was also in Taormina(Elena + Alex’s San Domenico Palace wedding)! What are the odds even?!? Denise’s message went on to say that they were a Canadian bride and a groom from London. Exactly the same as Julie and Richard whose wedding I was in the middle of shooting. I was even eating a little bowl of Canadian “Poutine” at the time (better known in Manchester as cheesy chips and gravy, but Poutine sounds better). The universe was absolutely telling me I had to shoot this wedding… (NB: I am a huge believer in fate and all that stuff, and I like to find it wherever possible, just go with it…). So I replied to Denise straight away to tell her all these crazy coincidences and how it was totally fate that I had to shoot her wedding.
Fast forward seven and a bit months and here I was in Taormina! The fact I had two weddings that weekend in Taormina plus flight timetables meant I ended up staying in Taormina for a week, so when I arrived the Wednesday before their wedding I headed up to the incredible beautiful and posh Belmond Grand Hotel Timeo to meet Denise and Steve – they showed me round, and we chatted as if we’d known each other for years. Then they took me out for dinner with their friends and family, invited me to watch world cup matches at the pubs and just generally looked after me like one of their guests – I’ve mentioned before on my blog how much this means to me when I’m travelling alone.
They had been planning their wedding at Belmond Grand Hotel Timeo on the terrace with views out to Mount Etna and the bay below, overlooked by the iconic Teatro Greco. I knew how excited Denise was about this, she’d been emailing me in the build up to get my advice on how to position things for her ceremony to capture the best of both views, and they were incredible views – an absolute fairytale of a destination wedding backdrop. The issue was that on the morning of Denise and Steve’s wedding it was raining a bit. Not much, but enough that there was a decision happening about whether the ceremony would have to take place inside… Not a disaster, because Grand Hotel Timeo is beautiful inside, but not what Denise had been picturing and planning for months. Needless to say Steve was adamant the wedding would happen outside – even AFTER the decision had been taken that they would move everything inside. Right up to the last moment Steve was absolutely stonewall certain that he would marry Denise outside as planned. And with moments to spare, the clouds cleared and Steve instructed all his groomsmen to grab as many chairs as possible and take them back up to the roof terrace! They managed it with minutes to spare – a few high fives and mopped brows, some last minute straightening of dinner jackets and Denise made her entrance with her dad – and they had the fairytale backdrops they’d been imagining all these months. Perfect.
The rest of the day ran like clockwork and the rain stayed away. They had dinner on the next terrace down, a short but beautiful tea ceremony in the hotel, we explored the gardens for some portraits (my favourite bit as they decided to make up a song about me!) and they finished with an epic first dance and one of my favourite ever first dance photos.
I love people. That’s why I do this job. I love being part of people’s lives, albeit fleetingly and connecting with them and capturing these crazy special days for them. Beautiful places like Taormina are the icing on the cake. To Denise and Steve, and their closest friends who welcomed me into their lives with such open arms and hearts, thanks a million. Here are some of my favourites from Denise and Steve’s Sicily wedding at Belmond Grand Hotel Timeo Taormina…