I'm beyond excited to finally be sharing this summer elopement in Sicily, Italy! Kara and Jason had a specific vision for their dream wedding celebration abroad, and they so graciously invited me to document it all!!
While they chose to first get married in the mountains of Montana, they really wanted to cultivate an elopement experience in Southern Europe. After a lot of research, dreaming, and talking with their loved ones, they picked Sicily for their August Summer elopement. I had the great honor of also photographing their winter engagement session in Washington before this, which was quite different (in weather and landscape!!) Both adventures proved to be equally as wonderful and beautiful!
Their Italy Vineyard Ceremony and Celebration
Kara and Jason, along with thirteen of their closest family members, set out to Italy for their extended elopement adventure! They rented the most romantic Italian villa and were really intentional about enjoying their time together. On the first day, they started their morning with a yoga session outside, getting in a good workout as the sun rose over the orchard. Everyone took their time getting ready, not stressing over any timelines or formalities.
They loved the fruit trees that surrounded the property, so they chose to have a small ceremony with the family there. Everyone gathered in the orchard, they said personal vows, and then the feasting began! They hired a private chef to cook for them (best idea ever!!) Champagne toasts and the cutting of the cake set off the jovial mood for the rest of the evening, and elopement day one was complete.
Their Italy adventure
The next day was for adventure. When we were first talking about the location for this, they loved how I asked them to choose. We are in this beautiful country, in a place they've never been to. I wanted them to choose their location based on what they would do for a day here if it were just them. Being the adventurous souls they are, they knew finding a castle in the mountains would most likely be it.
So that was our original plan. To drive up this terrifying road to this abandoned castle that not many people know about - even the Italians. I went to scout it just a few days before and it truly was breathtaking. However, the drive itself was quite frightening and far away from where we were.
The day of, and right after their celebration, the summer heat won its battle so we scaled down the activities to be more manageable (but still EPIC!) We drove to the active stratovolcano Mt. Etna just up the road, and found that we did not have to go too far to get to these incredible crater formations. We spent time taking portraits running around the lava fields and then headed down to the coast for location #2!
We really wanted to find an Italian castle, and this abandoned ruins on the coast of Sicily fit the vision!! After a bit of exploring and romantics, they shared a glass of wine and read the letters they wrote to each other. As dusk was settling in, this adventurous couple then decided to take the leap and go for a swim in the Mediterranean Sea. Fully dressed in their wedding attire; Kara and Jason jumped off the cliffs and had their first swim together as husband and wife! As we were heading out we came across a gelato truck, ending the elopement with delicious cones of Italian ice cream. The PERFECT end to this epic 2 Day elopement.
Tips on Eloping Abroad
This Italy elopement taught me so much, and I'm so excited to carry on what I learned into the rest of my adventure elopements abroad! Here's a few key takeaways that can help you prepare for planning an elopement abroad!
Tip 1. Map out your vision
Kara and Jason were really intentional about dreaming up the kind of wedding that fit their lifestyle. They didn't settle on the one traditional wedding day filled with unsentimental activities. But rather created an experience that filled their souls, and their bodies with delicious Italian cuisine!
Tip 2. Include your guests in the planning
I loved how the couple sent out a questionnaire to the family members they had attending their adventure abroad. This helped them to determine key factors such as the accommodation, activities, and even the country itself! I believe the central focus should always be about planning an elopement YOU love. But being considerate of everyone's needs in the process can prevent miscommunication and chaos down the line!
Tip 3. Location Scout
This is something I did for the couple, as I got to Italy a few days before the elopement. We had done a lot of research on hikes and landmarks in the area, but it was crucial that I went out to see them in person first. This made the process of choosing their ceremony vs adventure session locations much easier for the couple. Things like; the drive, the length of the trail, and the tourist play a key factor in choosing the right locations.
If you're dreaming of planning an elopement in Italy (or anywhere in the world!) contact me and let's start planning! And don't forget to follow me on Instagram for more epic elopement experience ideas and inspiration!
Kara and Jason's elopement day is now featured on Wandering Weddings.
Sicily, Italy Elopement Photography
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