Real Weddings

24th January 2018

“Friday the 13th is a lucky date!” - Alison and Franco

How do you have a stress-free wedding and simply “enjoy the moment”? Alison Lowell and Franco Amato tell us how they did it!

Alison Lowell and Franco Amato met while clubbing at a lido with friends in the summer of 2013 – but it was social media which sealed the deal. “Franco caught a glimpse of me and he made sure to remember my name, so he can do some research on Facebook! We started chatting some weeks later and the rest is history!” says Alison. Two years later, on a day which is traditionally dreaded, everything changed. “It was Friday the 13th, November 2015, and Franco suggested going out for dinner and spending some quality time together after a busy week. He planned a romantic night out with some fine wine and dining at a restaurant in Rabat. In between meals he got out the ring and asked THE question! It was a very emotional night and obviously I was over the moon! I was never superstitious about Friday the 13th but now I believe it is a lucky date!” Alison enthuses.

They planned the big day together – and knowing what they wanted made things much easier. They decided to have an autumn wedding, and set it for the 20th October 2017. The ceremony was held at St Publius Parish church in Floriana, followed by a reception at Villa Arrigo in Naxxar.

“We had no particular theme,” Alison states, “but I made sure to highlight the autumn aspect of the wedding, it being in October. I wanted particular flowers, berries, pines, cones and autumn leaves. As for my bridal bouquet, I opted for a green bouquet and not the usual white roses. Our floral designer knew immediately what we had in mind and he made our request possible,” she continues.

Indeed, choosing the right suppliers was instrumental in making sure the wedding catered to the couple’s needs, allowing them to get hitched, without a hitch. “I’ve always dreamed of having a traditional intimate fairytale wedding. When I was young, I had always imagined myself in a beautiful ball gown and tiara in a garden setting. Our team of photographers – Citigraphica - came all the way from Sydney. The fact that it was their first Maltese wedding on their portfolio made it even more exciting,” Alison describes.

Deciding to have her ball-gown wedding dress custom-made – by the talented designer Ernest Camilleri - was also key to the fairytale look and feel of the big day. “My ball gown was tailor-made with detailed handwork of 3D flowers and a big tulle skirt. I’ve always had a picture in my mind of how I wanted my dress, and after scouting almost all the shops on the island, I decided to entrust the job to the talented Ernest Camilleri, a local designer with over 30 years of experience,” she says.

Initially, she was hesitant to choose to have one made for her, instead of simply buying an off-the-rack, due to the prospect of “a million fitting appointments”. But, Ernest’s easy, fun manner and professional attitude soon put those reservations to rest. “When I met the humble Ernest, I knew he was going to create what I had always imagined! The way he explained everything and the way he spoke – it was always fun having meetings with him. I miss going to fittings nowadays!” In terms of the design, Alison wanted a dress inspired by the Elie Saab 2017 Bridal collection, a dress full of femininity, which was achieved through a floral-embroidered bodice, sheer sleeves and tulle. “When it was all done, I was in awe!” she says. Alison’s shoes also highlighted her femininity. “My shoes were dusted with rhinestone accents and were from the collection of the New York designer Betsey Johnson. Although they had a 4-inch stiletto heel, I found them pretty comfortable to dance in,” she adds.

These touches of class even extended to the wedding invites and their choice of that eternal debate – wedding souvenirs. “Franco and I believe that simplicity is the ultimate sophistication, so we wanted the invitations to be classic and clean. As for souvenirs, we decided to make a contribution to Inspire Foundation, which is an organization close to my heart,” she says.

Everything went perfectly, and they were able to celebrate with those who mean the most to them, in an intimate wedding of 270 people. “Thank God everything went well and that’s a miracle when you think of all the things that could go wrong on the day! I was worried about the weather, someone falling sick or there being some misunderstanding with one of the vendors. But, it turned out to be an amazing day! There was a bit of a breeze, but it was comfortable enough for the guests to enjoy the gardens, the substantial amount of delicious food and all the dancing!”

Looking back on the day, the wedding ceremony sticks out as being the most special moment, Alison says. “It was the most emotional part of the day, and the moment we had been dreaming of. The church was packed with family and friends, although it was a Friday night. It was a blessing to be in that moment with the people we loved.”

So, what advice would Alison and Franco have for those couples seeking to organise their big day without succumbing to panic and worry? “If you’re frowning or stressing about the amount of appointments you have and things to do, breathe in and out. Enjoy the moment because it will be over before you know it!”

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