14th November 2017
The story behind Malta’s most fashionable wedding: Philip & Roberta
When Roberta Sultana married Philip Sultana last July, social media was set ablaze. We catch up with the pair to find out what went on behind the scenes at ‘Malta’s most fashionable wedding’.
Like many couples, Roberta and Philip’s story starts a little while back, when Roberta was just 16. “We’re both from Gozo and dated for a while, until I moved to Malta to study at University,” says Philip, who is three years older. When the time came for Roberta to join him at University, it made things more convenient for the couple to rekindle their romance. “It was the typical Gozitan situation. When you move to Malta you have your own apartment, and after dating for about a year, we thought it would be easier if Roberta stayed at my flat,” Philip says. That was eight years ago.
Once the time came for Philip to propose, he decided to push the boat out. Despite being a bit of a jack of all trades, he admits being useless in the kitchen, so thought a home-cooked meal would impress Roberta. “I asked a friend of mine who’s a good cook to help me prepare a meal. Our friends were busy trying to keep her out of the house in the meantime,” he says. Philip surprised Roberta with a romantic meal on the roof, and rushed to explain all the dishes he had helped prepare, before he forgot what they were! The proposal came soon after, though Roberta admits, “I think the meal was much more of a surprise than the proposal!”
From then on, the pair set about planning their big day, with the help of their large group of friends, and family, who were all keen to get involved. The pair were intent on Palazzo Palina at Ta’ Cenc for their reception, and chose the earliest date it was available, 22nd July 2017. It was the ideal location for their theme, which was inspired by Capri, and the Italian summer. “We needed a venue with lots of trees that we could hang lights from, and it really ticked the boxes,” they say.
When the big day rolled round, Philip was up early, sorting out the last of the décor at the venue. “Everyone started panicking when they saw me, saying ‘you should be at home relaxing!’” he laughs. “I was home by about 10 and relaxed until it was time to get ready.” And while Roberta couldn’t be there to help him out, her mind certainly was. “We did a lot ourselves, so the evening before, we had gone to the venue to decorate, but we couldn’t leave the greenery in the sun or it would have dried out. In the morning I was a bit stressed as I couldn’t join them to finish setting up,” she reveals. “I had to send her lots of photos,” says Philip affectionately.
Pulling up at the Citadel, Roberta fought off the nerves before walking down the aisle, and admits to feeling emotional throughout the ceremony, during which Philip’s brother Matthew played the piano, and Roberta’s sister Stephanie, who is a soprano, sang. “I was going to start crying before I went in and managed to stop myself, but I was so emotional I couldn’t keep myself contained throughout,” she says. Philip, on the other hand, managed to hold back the tears. “When I saw her silhouette in the door of the church, it was quite emotional. I was about to cry, until I caught my brother’s eye!”
The bride’s stunning dress, along with those of her bridal party, were designed by Gozitan designer and close friend Luke Azzopardi, and as the couple recall, came together in the last few weeks before the big day. “I always knew I wanted Luke to design my dress. I trust him and he knows what I like, so I left it all in his hands. We chose fabric from Camilleriparismode which I loved, though towards the end I did start to panic a bit, as he only started putting it together about two weeks before the wedding. I knew he’d do it of course, but I really wanted to see it!” she laughs.
And while the bride’s look was certainly a show stopper, that’s not to say that the groom was left out of the spotlight. Sporting a custom embroidered suit jacket, Philip’s outfit completed the fashionable pair. Speaking of how it came about, he explains, “after seeing Italian singer Giovanotti wearing an embroidered suit at one of his concerts, I half-jokingly suggested the idea to Luke, and it went from there. We came up with some sketches and I positioned them onto a photo of the suit jacket on Photoshop before printing them to scale and handing them over to Sarah Micallef from The Secret Rose for the custom embroidery,” he says. Since then, Philip beams as he rolls up his sleeve, “I got one of the swallows from the blazer embroidery tattooed on my arm.”
Looking back on the day, the couple agree that the best part of it all was the party at the end. “From the moment we started planning, we knew we wanted it to be fun. I remember at one point someone came up to me and asked, ‘so when does the dancing start?’ I looked at my watch and said, ‘now!’” recalls Philip, as Roberta explains that there was still food to come out. “We quickly went to get the last course and cut the cake so we could start dancing. After that it was like a switch – party mode!” she laughs. “We just wanted everyone to enjoy themselves – not just our friends but even our older guests.”