31st May 2019
Against all odds – Lara & Andre’
It may have taken years for this couple to get together, but when they did, it was a match made in heaven.
Lara White and her husband, Andre, celebrated their special day on 12th May 2018 with a dream ceremony, and while there are many exceptional stories to tell from their wedding day, Lara starts by highlighting how their journey to the aisle wasn’t exactly complication-free.
“Andre’ and I met when I was just 14, and we made friends at a neighbour’s pool party,” Lara explains. “Along the years we hung out in similar places but were dating other people, including within our own group of friends, so it was a little complicated. We finally reconnected properly in 2012 and got together officially in 2014 – so it was a very long time coming!”
Even then, though, it wasn’t completely plain sailing, as Lara was studying in the UK for the first year of their relationship, which meant they had to deal with the challenges of being away from each other for long stretches. “Still, it was a fun start in some ways,” she says. “At the end of university I needed to drive my car down to Malta, so Andre’ and I planned a wonderful trip through Nice, San Tropez and Monte Carlo. It was absolutely lovely and really solidified our relationship.”
Andre’ proposed in Rome, on New Year’s Eve in 2016. “I didn’t expect it,” the bride smiles. “I was on a high already as Andre’ had gifted me a trip to New York for Christmas and I couldn’t wait. Then, on the night itself, we made friends with a couple from the UK and I invited them to join us to watch the fireworks after dinner… not realising that Andre’ had something up his sleeve and looked a little panicked! Next thing I knew he was down on one knee asking me to marry him at the stroke of midnight, and of course, I said yes. He then announced that the New York trip was all a ruse to keep me off the scent of the proposal, but I didn’t mind one bit!”
Wedding preparations started as soon as the couple returned to Malta. “I have always wanted to get married, so I was excited,” says Lara. “But I think my dad, Steve, was even more excited than I was! He had already put the guest list together by the time we touched down.”
The couple chose St Paul’s Chapel in San Pawl tat-Targa for the ceremony, a venue that Lara had long thought would be perfect for their big day. “We had spotted it a few times, and always thought it was ideal. As we were having a big reception with 550 guests, we wanted something intimate and romantic for the ceremony itself, and I also love how pretty the backdrop of the piazza is as you walk in and out. In the end it was exactly what we wanted.”
Moving onto the reception, Lara says she was quick to decide on the Villa Corinthia, in the Corinthia Palace Hotel and Spa in Attard. “The first thing that attracted me there was the fact that Johanna Ward is the wedding planner,” she says. “I have known Johanna since I was a little girl, as I was friends with her children, and I knew her to be a complete perfectionist and very experienced.”
“Of course, the Villa Corinthia was the ideal match too – bright, romantic and not overly decorated; the architecture of the space speaks for itself. We also liked how well the venue flows from inside to out, as we were slightly concerned that it might rain on the day. Thankfully it didn’t, but it was still really nice for people to be able to wander from outside to in. Johanna and her team took care of every little detail, and never once said that something I hoped for couldn’t happen.”
While the wedding didn’t have a theme as such, there were some very unique elements. Aside from a vast selection of food, Lara and Andre’ also opted to have two tables – Butcher’s Pride for the meat-lovers in their party, and a Rickshaw station for fans of Asian cuisine. They also had a special gin bar set up on a specially-made cart, and a whisky and cigar room that opened later in the evening. “Executive chef Stefan Hogan couldn’t have done a better job… honestly!” Lara enthuses. “Everything was just so tasty, and the guests are still talking about the food to this day.”
Looking back on a day packed with wonderful memories, Lara and Andre’ say that it’s difficult to pin point their favourites. Getting dressed was a highlight for Lara. Both the bridesmaids’ dresses and Lara’s own gown were bespoke, from Camilleriparismode, and absolutely beautiful. These were matched perfectly with gorgeous bouquets by Floreal.
“My own dress was quite a saga really,” says the bride. “I originally had a very set idea of what I wanted but, thankfully, was able to try on a sample that Camilleriparismode had in stock and realised it didn’t suit me at all. They then guided me on what would work, and the result was lovely, with hand-made lace that I feel added a very special touch. It also paired beautifully with our souvenirs by Alistair Floral Design; I absolutely loved them too.”
Lara says she was calm throughout the day but that the nerves did hit when she left the house. “The car wouldn’t start!” she says. “We sat there for what felt like forever until it got going, but finally were on our way. I loved the drive to the church because my dad and I had some time to reflect and chat. We’re very close, and I don’t think I have ever seen him smile as much as he did that day.”
And while the wedding may have started at 3pm, the night didn’t end young – party-goers kept dancing until the early hours, and Lara and Andre’ only went up to bed at 2am.
“We stayed in the honeymoon suite at the Corinthia, and it was absolutely lovely. Johanna took care of us till the last moment, and had even left some food in our room for us to enjoy after the party was over. To round things off we ended up having a mini after-party in the room with the bridal party and our families in our PJs! It was the perfect end to the most incredible day,” she adds with a smile.