A Whimsical DIY Destination Wedding in Italy

Shelli and Christopher

W. Scott Chester Photography

The Georgia-based, travel-loving couple of Shelli and Christopher, met in high school, yet it took a road trip ten years later, for Cupid's arrow to finally hit. After reading an essay by John Steinbeck about Positano, Italy, they chose it for their intimate June 1, 2011, destination wedding, that combined their worldly style with nostalgic flair and DIY details.

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The Invitation Suite

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The couple incorporated traditional Positano elements and bright colors in their stationery suite. Jay Hornsby of the Belligerent Monkey did the illustrations and design, and Thomas Printers letterpressed the finished product. Blue-and-white baker's twine bound all the pieces together.

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Rehearsal Dinner

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A separate note invited guests to the rehearsal dinner. The illustration of the Italian town combined with typography gave guests a preview of the celebration's whimsical vibe.

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DIY Design

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Shelli and Christopher's DIY decor was inspired by the colors of a 1958 Rand McNally atlas. The bride made it a garland that combined aqua, teal, red, and yellow hues and retro gingham, and conveyed the vintage travel theme perfectly.

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The Fashions

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The bride donned a French-tulle J.Crew dress and vintage 1950s jewelry that belonged to her great aunt. Christopher sported a J.Crew suit, Kenneth Cole shoes, and a gingham shirt.

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An Unexpected Surprise

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Even a torrential downpour couldn't dampen the couple's special day. Though the ceremony was moved indoors, the weather cleared just in time for the newlyweds to pose for photos with the photographers of W. Scott Chester Photography. Shelli believes in rain on your wedding day being lucky. Nine months to the day of the wedding, her daughter, Lumen, was born.

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The Groom's Gift

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Christopher had two neckties made out of vintage Liberty of London fabrics by This Humble Abode. For a sentimental touch, Shelli had them embroidered with their wedding date and initials. He wore one for the ceremony, then changed into a different shirt and the second tie for the reception. The bride's costume change came later in the evening, when she swapped her gown for a tea-length BHLDN dress.

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The Ceremony

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The casual ceremony, held in a town hall, was presided over by the mayor of Positano. It was performed in Italian, and then translated for guests. In the days leading up to the wedding, the couple and a few of their friends drove to the U.S. consulate in Naples to complete their marriage documents. Of course, they also stopped for Margherita pizza (the best ever, according to the couple).

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A Wedding Keepsake

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The mayor presented the newlyweds with a hand-painted tile in honor of their marriage.

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The Location

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The reception, which took place in the garden of the villa the couple stayed in for the week, overlooked the cliffside town of Positano with picturesque views of the Amalfi coast.

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Pretty Picnic

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With the weather iffy, the outdoor reception picnic, complete with vintage quilts and playful melamine pieces, was moved inside. All of the fun details, like the gingham-wrapped silverware made the indoor party even cheerier.

The meal, catered by Ristorante Saraceno d'Oro, included ravioli ricotta with spinach and mushroom sauce, pasta with shellfish, and grilled chicken, swordfish, and eggplant.

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Playful Details

W. Scott Chester Photography

Shelli and Christopher decorated the reception area with a few vintage pieces they brought over from the States, including an old radio and a few antique cameras.

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Wedding Guests

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Twenty of the couple's closest friends and family members journeyed to Italy for the destination celebration.

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The Happy Couple

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The newlyweds shared a moment while looking out over their beloved city.

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Lemon Libations

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Bottles of Limoncello, made specifically for the wedding were given as favors. To create their paper tags, the couple punched letterpressed tags, embellished them with vintage stamps from a kit Shelli bought in Scotland, and strung them with baker's twine.

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The Cake

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The pair chose a traditional lemon-and-vanilla cake baked by Gambardella Pasticceria, a local bakery in nearby Minori. To crown the sweet treat, the couple had Goose Grease create an original topper fashioned in their likeness.

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W. Scott Chester Photography

Photography: W. Scott Chester Photography

Event planning: La Calla

Catering: Ristorante Saraceno d'Oro

Cake and limoncello: Gambardella Pasticceria

Engagement ring: Melanie Bilenker

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