When your mum is a renowned bridal dress designer, you don’t have one dress, you have three! Claudia shares all…
How did Dean propose?
It was Dean’s birthday and I had planned a surprise trip to Las Vegas for him. Partly because my parents were in town and my dad wanted to check Vegas off his bucket list, and partly because Vegas is always a good idea! Anyway, we all arrived in Vegas for Dean’s big surprise and I had also arranged for our closest friends from LA to join us to celebrate Dean’s birthday.
Little did I know, Dean had a little surprise of his own and got down on one knee on a gondola in Vegas’ version of San Marco’s square! We got engaged in fake Italy and married in real Italy!
What dress did you wear and where did you buy it?
So unlike most brides, I had a slight advantage. My mother happens to be Veni Infantino; Head designer at Ronald Joyce and Veni Infantino. Ever since I was a little girl, I had always played dress up and tried on a million different gowns, so when it came to picking out my gown I was pretty decisive on what I wanted. The night of my engagement, once we had finished our celebrations and gone to sleep, my mum went up to her hotel room and designed the dress of my dreams. I woke up in the morning and over a glass of champagne she showed me the design and I was IN LOVE. I didn’t make a single change. It was perfect! She knows me so well and managed to capture everything I had envisioned. I wanted an all lace, vintage looking gown with no beading, a keyhole back, long bell sleeves and a statement train and it was exactly that.
Then dress number two, I actually picked something out of the Ronald Joyce existing collection. It was a crepe, long sleeve gown, with stunning detailing on the sleeves, a plunging neckline and a breathtaking back with a detachable train! Sexy but simple!
The final gown was all about the party. I wanted something I could easily move in and therefore we eliminated the train and long sleeves and my mum got her way with a little bit of sparkle! It also had a daring slit up the front, which I loved.
And the accessories?
My dresses were all statement pieces, so I wanted to keep it simple with the accessories.
I had bought a beautiful pair of Zimmerman white scallop shoes before I had seen my dress in person, but when I tried them on with my dress, they didn’t look quite right and honestly were not that comfortable. I searched the internet for a pointed toe bridal shoe with a block heel and ended up finding a pair on ASOS for $60! Bargain and they were so comfortable!
For the jewellery, I wore the Missoma (my favourite jewellery brand) Baroque Pearl Ovate Earrings, with no necklace and my grandma’s vintage sapphire gold ring, along with my wedding rings of course.
What did the groom wear?
Dean wore a slick Canali black tux. Everyone at the wedding was asked to wear a tuxedo, and honestly, it was the best decision ever. The guests all look incredible and the photos just look so chic!
How did you feel when you saw him up the aisle?
Honestly, the happiest moment of my life. I’ve never felt so much love in one room. Of course there were nerves and a whole lot of emotion, but I remember just feeling so excited about the journey I was about to embark upon. Seeing Dean’s reaction to my dress and a tear in his eye will remain with me as one of the best memories I have to date.
Who were your bridesmaids and where were their dresses from?
I chose my two best friends from school, my two best friends from University, my goddaughter and the first friend I made when I moved to America as my bridesmaids. Each one of them had played a huge role in my life and I wanted to commemorate that by having them stand by my side on the biggest day of my life.
Of course, their dresses were also by Ronald Joyce, designed by Veni Infantino. My mum and I designed a navy lace, halterneck, fishtail gown to mirror my first look. They all looked stunning!
What was your wedding theme?
The theme of our wedding was Sicily. We used the colour navy as our main colour with splashes of Sicilian lemons. All of our flowers were white with silvery olive green foliage, using olive leaves and eucalyptus.
What was the highlight of your day?
It has to be the procession from San Giuseppe Church to
our venue – The Grand Hotel Timeo, Belmond Hotel.
Dean and I sat in a vintage fiat cinquecento, as our guests walked/danced behind us in procession as we were serenaded by a Sicilian folk band. All of the tourists and guests were dancing in the street, declaring their congratulations and waving us off into married life. The atmosphere was just magic!
What was your best buy?
Hands down it was to be our wedding planner (Liz Gaan- Bouquets and Bows), the photographer (Daniele Torella – @danieletorella_photography) and Videographer (Lamberto Pizzutelli- @lambertopizzutellifilms).
Liz pulled every single ask of mine together, no matter how big or small. Especially when getting married in a place like Taormina you need someone who knows the town and all its quirks. Liz brought my vision to life and made sure it ran incredibly smoothly on the day.
In terms of videographer and photographer, I actually found them on Instagram. I knew they were good but these guys managed to capture the magic of the day through their lens. Something that I didn’t think was possible. Dean and I will treasure their content forever. In my opinion I would never scrimp and save on the photographer and videographer because ultimately they will be the longest lasting thing from the day, except for the marriage of course (you hope)!
Also, the female (and male) guests were incredibly grateful for the flip flops next to the dancefloor!
Liz Gaan @lizbouquetsandbows
Petali e Capricci
Belmond Grand Hotel Timeo
Villa Mon Repos
Church – Chiesa di San Giuseppe Taormina
Wedding Dresses /
Mother of the Bride/
Hair & Makeup
Bride Hair – Sue Sexton
Bridesmaids Hair –
Bride / MOB Makeup – Jessica @antheataormina
Bridesmaids Makeup – @irecaserta
Singer – @LukeBurr
Band – Samarcanda Band
Saxophone Player – @torrisifabrizio