Italian Elopement Perfection in Portovenere

Any opportunity to combine my two greatest passions – wedding photography and travel – are a dream come true. In October, I had such an opportunity, as I joined Alix and Jean-Francois in Portovenere, Italy to capture their dreamy destination wedding. These two could not be more charming, nor their day more perfect.

When I first met with Alix and J.F. in October of 2017, I knew I was onto something special with them. I just loved their energy together, and the enthusiasm with which they spoke of their plans to elope in Portovenere. I had already planned to travel to Italy for pleasure sometime in 2018, so this was perfect! And Portevenere, which is just south of the famed villages of Cinque Terre, is the most charming little village. Arguably the most notable landmark there is the Chiesa di San Pietro, a 900-year-old church that stands tall atop the southernmost tip of the town on the edge of Ligurian Sea. And it is this landmark that was to play host to Alix and J.F.’s elopement ceremony.

The following October could not come soon enough. Fortunately, as the second-to-last wedding of my very busy 2018 wedding season, it didn’t feel like I had to wait long. The summer flew by, and soon it was October and my partner Trisha and I were packing our bags for Italy. After arriving in Pisa and spending a day there, we hopped on a train to La Spezia, and then onto a small boat for a 25-minute trip to Portovenere. On an unseasonably warm morning as the vibrant, postcard-perfect village came into view, I knew this wedding was going to be something special.

After spending that day and the next exploring the decadent sights and tastes of this little town, wedding day arrived. And, of course, despite exceptionally warm, sunny days every other day, we woke that morning to rain absolutely pouring outside! But, as if prescribed, the rain stopped just before go-time at noon, and with a fresh coat of rain and an overcast sky, the colours of Portovenere popped so perfectly. It was a photographer’s dream!

Trisha and I arrived at Alix and J.F.’ s apartment to capture them as they readied for the day ahead. With them both preparing in the same apartment, it was a challenge for Trisha and I to keep them separated, as we planned to do a first-look in the heart of the village. But we were determined, and successful! And before long, Trisha and J.F. departed for town, with Alix and I just 10 minutes behind them, all brimming with excitement for the day. After setting both Alix and J.F. up at opposite ends of a steep flight of stairs between centuries-old buildings, Trisha and I snapped away as the two of them laid eyes on each other and their stylish wedding attire for the first time. It was pure joy. After a few private moments together, we took the opportunity to snap a few photos of them before making our way to the end of the town and up the steps to the church on the cliff.

After waiting a little while for the reverend to arrive, the ceremony got underway inside of the absolutely stunning church. While snapping away, it was hard not to be in awe of this old place of worship, with its alternating white and black stone and centuries old features. Before long, it was official - Alix and J.F. were husband and wife.

After the ceremony, four of us headed outside to meander around the site near the church and into the village, stopping here and there to capture some darling formals of the two of them against this incredibly endearing village. After a lot of laughs, J.F. accidentally stepping on Alix’s toes, and a few shots in a local bar, with dusk setting, we made our way back along the sea to bid Alix and J.F. a fond farewell.

Thank you, Alix and Jean-Francois, for the honour of being included on your elopement adventure to Portovenere. And to my partner in life and photography, Trisha, for being by my side. You all made it a wedding I don’t imagine I’ll ever forget.