Visual artist Isabel Pearson, who is also a Health Safety Environment and Quality advisor and part-time psychology student, met seafarer Robert Huyser, when working on boats overseas.
When it came to picking the perfect location for the Aucklanders’ destination wedding, it all centred around the dress. “We have family from all over the world and knew it would be impossible to pick somewhere where everyone lives so we went for a holiday. In all honesty, I got the dress first then thought, ‘Where would this dress look good? – Italy!’” says Isabel.
Before deciding anything, Rob and I wrote our top wishes on a page and our lower priority things on the other. Rob and I wanted something relaxed yet as special as a big formal wedding. We went for a romantic mix of formal and informal. It was an intimate affair both adventurous and memorable. A holiday to celebrate our love with some of our close family and friends. The dress, good weather, good food, pretty, relaxed and comfortable = Italy.
During the wedding week, we stayed with friends at Villa Scarpariello, a medieval castle perched on a cliff with pink rooms. You can dive off to directly swim in the ocean. We were also able to catch a water taxi from our hotel to Amalfi and Positano which was pretty amazing. Post-wedding we went to Capri with friends and then met up in Greece with some family before we went on our own honeymoon together.
It was held at the old church ruins of the Basillica Sant’eustachio in Scala. We all walked to the ceremony – the pathway zigzagged through lemon groves and had spectacular views along the way. We set up refreshments of Prosecco and lemon granita to cool our guests on arrival. Our vows were so heartfelt and personal, this was the most meaningful part of the day for us.
We had our cousin in law who did an amazing job and we had readings from family. We loved having family involved it made it that much more personal and meaningful.
The gown was by Australian designer Steven Khalil – this got a bit of a laugh as it was not your typical destination wedding gown at 8kgs (all hand beaded lace applique right down the train). In fact, I walked all the way to the church ruins for the ceremony (in the highest heels may I add!) as everything is transported by donkeys and there are no roads in Scala. I don’t do simple…
I had a light For Love and Lemons dress to change into for cocktails and dancing. When I was getting ready, I embraced the girly pink rooms of Villa Scarpariello and my love of dressing up, I chose a pretty pink gown to get ready in. The morning of the wedding Rob gave me some beautiful angel earrings from Amalfi and our rings were both from Rosendorf.
My bridesmaids wore long maxi dresses by Evolution Clothing and the groom and groomsmen wore Ted Baker suits.
I came across Andrew Bayda and I fell in love with each wedding he shot. Each had a feeling that was personal to that wedding. He did an absolutely amazing job, he captured everything along with his assistant Artur Nechaev. I love seeing so many smiles in the photos, it was such a happy day and my cheeks hurt from smiling.
Our reception was in Ravello, a quaint picturesque town on the Amalfi Coast. We drove an Italian car – an Alfa Romeo 1963 – and had fun dressing up with a headscarf and Italian driving gloves for the windy, jaw-dropping roads. Our dinner was held at the beautiful Belmond Hotel Caruso in a garden under olive trees, lit up with lanterns and overlooking the sea. The stunning views were decoration enough, we kept the table simple with peonies and roses. We had 25 guests and loved the intimate celebration. Because it was a small close group we all exchanged stories and speeches over dinner, everyone was relaxed and laughing – everyone was on holiday!
Belmond Hotel Caruso made a traditional Italian cake. We topped it with flowers and an antique bride and groom topper I found on Etsy.
For cocktail hour, we had a Neapolitan quintet while we sipped on our bright coloured spritz – the girls all had a little dance. After dinner we ended up in the Piano Bar drinking cocktails, dancing and singing along with tambourines. There was an eccentric singer on a white grand piano. Other holidaymakers were there and joined in on the whole fun! I’ll never forget spinning around in my dress listening to everyone dancing and singing “I – I – I – Isabelleee” with thick Italian accents and tambourines.