NEVER in my wildest dreams would I think I would go to Italy!
NEVER in my wildest dreams did I ever think I would be hired to shoot a wedding in Italy.
Well, here I am, officially writing a blog to tell you that 1. It happened 2. Never say never and 3. Fight for your passion!
I lived in Colorado at the time with a husband and a puppy. I had been pursuing my photography career full time for a few months at this point. What is so crazy is that I quit school to do this and right when I quit school… BOOM. I had an inquiry about a wedding in Italy. NO JOKE. It did not feel real and it did not feel real until I was actually there.
So, here I am trying to convince this bride to let me be the “chosen one” for her wedding. Well, obviously it luckily worked and oh boy did I FLIP. In a good way of course. This couple that had hired me wanted to do a small elopement with their intermediate family. They decided to get married in ROME at the Rome LDS Temple. This was going to be one of my first small weddings and first destination wedding.
Fast forward about 5 or so months and we (my husband and I) are on a 12-hour plane ride to Italy. Once we arrived, we went on a train and then another and arrived in Florence!
We looooved Florence. Like LOVE. We stayed in an Airbnb that was hand designed by the owner himself. It was also in the heart of the city so we could literally walk anywhere and everywhere perfectly. But you guys, jet lag is so real. Once we got all settled in we got a little too comfortable. Comfortable enough to take a 3-hour nap which meant we actually woke up at 1 am Italy time. Ha! Before we even got to explore, we slept (which we were told to try and avoid but oh well), and our first time to actually see the place it was DARK and EMPTY.
But, it actually turned out to be the best. We were also hungry because we hadn’t eaten in hours and the last meal we had was McDonald’s at a train station. We searched places online and we thankfully found a pizza place open and it was literally the only place open. Literally. Haha! So we walked over in awe of the beauty all around us and it was…quiet and so peaceful. It literally felt like we were in a movie. None of the buildings looked real; it was just insane.
We made it to the pizza place right next to the Duomo Di Firenze! We ordered two pizzas, one for each of us because we were starving! We waited in the restaurant until it was ready and then we ate outside on a bench right next to the Duomo. The first bite of my margherita pizza was “perfecto” (as stated in the video) and so was that moment/first night in Italy.
The next morning we went to explore all the shops that hadn’t opened the night before. It was so crowded! It was so nuts being the only ones out the night before, only to find a crowded and overcast morning a few hours later. Florence is a busy place, my friends. We had gelato multiple times a day and had the very best gnocchi of our lives. I have never and will probably never have such amazing gnocchi as I did that day. The cheese was still bubbling as it was served to us. GAH I hate writing this because it makes me miss every detail and every moment I ever had in Italy!!
We stayed a few days in Florence which was THE best but then we headed out to Rome for the wedding! Rome was a change from Florence. It was more city-like (obviously)! Which was so fun! Our first meal was horrible. Which was shocking. It was the worst pasta ever! Who would have thought we were to have the worst pasta in Rome? But that is because we were in the city and it’s a melting pot of all sorts of cultures. We had it delivered and it was not the best idea.
We stayed in another Airbnb and this time it was at the very top of a high story building. We would have to walk up about 10 flights of stairs but we had the best view of the city! We were right next to this gorgeous Catholic church building. So beautiful! We also were located in the best spot! Walking distance to everything. We basically walked everywhere we wanted to within a day. I mean it was great and all but we also only had 4 nights left in Rome!
The day to shoot bridals finally came. We decided to do the photoshoot for the first look at The Spanish Steps at sunrise! We wanted to avoid the crowd as best as we could and we did. But we also did run into other people who had the same idea for their photoshoots as well. After the “first look” photos were taken we walked over to the Fontana Di Trevi and by this time the place was crowded!! We luckily found a corner where we had some space to take some photos. It was all worth it! Everything turned out amazing and we all had such a blast!
Tip: GET THE GELATO right next to the fountain. It is one of the best that we had in Rome. We had a harder time finding really good gelato in Rome than we did in Florence.
Later that day we took a train ride with the bride and groom to an epic location called Castel Gandolfo. Look it up. It’s amazing. Worth the trip! It is a small town with a beautiful view of a lake. No one speaks English there so heads up!
The wedding day finally came and we took an expensive ride over to the temple in Rome. The temple is STUNNING! So, so pretty and so, so peaceful. When it comes to getting married in the LDS temple it is required to have a temple recommend to go inside. There are no cameras allowed in the temple as well because it is a holy and sacred place. So once the bride and groom came out of the temple, we took family photos. All of the family and I went to a gorgeous private hotel that was far from the city. It was magical. We sat at a big long table, big enough to sit all 26 people there. We were served a three-course meal and had a one-of-a-kind Italian cake (a cake I don’t know the name of, sorry.) It was a memorable luncheon.
After the luncheon, I snuck the bride and groom away for some more bridals around the hotel property. And that is where I found and took some of my favorite photos in Italy! We found a faded pink wall with a beautiful fountain built into it and the most beautiful greenery hanging all around. I’m so glad I (basically begged) the bride and groom to take some more photos. It was worth it.
And then just like that, the wedding day was over! It was so intimate, romantic, and stunning in every way. The couple and family became some of my closest friends. I love the love that they all share together.
Skip forward and we arrived in Salerno!
Salerno was such a beautiful experience. I loved Salerno. It wasn’t as touristy as other places but it still had enough tourism where people spoke English. I loooooved, loved the Airbnb that we stayed at in Salerno. It felt like I was staying the night in an Anthropologie home. It was beautifully designed and it had the prettiest view of the water. GAH! You guys this is sooo hard for me to write because I miss it sooo much!!
We went to Salerno because we wanted to go to Positano, however, Salerno is a hidden gem and that is where I had the greatest pizza of all time. I loved the pizza I had in Florence but this pizza was a pistachio meatball lamb pizza. It was PERFECTION beyond belief. My taste buds still remember every flavor (and every bite too). So you can say I will always remember this place, haha!
We took a small ferry to Positano and it was so much fun! We got to take a ride along the coast and that was one of my most memorable parts of Italy for me. Once we arrived at Positano, we were in awe! It was so so cute! We walked everywhere we could and really enjoyed the views and beautiful homes. We had the best dinner with the best view that night! We enjoyed the most gorgeous pastel sunset ever. I felt like I was a celebrity with all that I had witnessed and experienced.
Funny story, we missed the ferry that was our ticket back to Salerno. Haha! We read the times wrong! It was scary but also funny. We didn’t know that we missed it so we were just waiting and waiting for a boat to come! Once we realized what we missed, we tried our very best to find a taxi and what do you know, it was apparently too late for a taxi and nobody wanted to take us because it was about an hour and a half away. We prayed hard to find a way back to the hotel or to find a hotel to sleep at for the night. We ended up finding a taxi driver willing to take us back!! It was a miracle and we sure as heck didn’t care how much he charged us at this point. We made it safely to bed and we were soooo happy!
That basically sums up this incredible trip! We went back to Rome to fly back to LA, but we had a layover in Paris and I luckily got to see the Eiffel Tower as we took off to LA!
Overall, It was an incredible experience I will never ever forget and I told myself one day that I would live there for a short time. So we shall see if I can live up to that promise! Thanks for being here. Means a lot!