30th November 2017
You Had Me at Hello – Danila & Ben
Danila Buontempo and Benjamin Galea share memories from their elegant, fun-filled spring wedding last May.
“I think it was quite obvious from the outset that we were infatuated with one another,” says Danila Galea Buontempo of the moment she and her future husband, Benjamin Galea, met for the first time. “Ben was living in Scotland at the time, and came down to Malta to vote in the general elections of 2013. Through common friends, we met whilst having pre-drinks at a place ironically called Lucky Bar. We really hit it off that evening, and as you do, we added each other on Facebook. The rest is history!”
Danila, an architect working as a consultant for a sustainability firm in London, says it wasn’t long until they realised that they had found their soulmate in each other. “As clichéd as it sounds, I knew he was the one quite early on in the relationship. When he came down to Malta for a surprise weekend visit, it sealed the deal.”
After moving to the UK to be with Ben, a doctor by profession currently in his final years of specialisation in obstetrics and gynaecology in the UK, Danila says that it was no surprise they were heading towards marriage. “Despite discussing it numerous times though, I had no idea he would propose when he did – I was completely taken by surprise,” she says. “The proposal was uncomplicated, humble, corny and real – to me, it was perfect.”
It was the week between Christmas and New Year 2015, when Danila and Ben decided to head to Gozo for the day. “When in Gozo, we always enjoy driving around in search of new places. To my surprise, Ben had never been to San Blas, so I suggested we go there. We lay on the beach, and he brought out a letter and started reading it. The letter was romantic, yet it didn't cross my mind that he was proposing, since I was the one who suggested the location. When he got down on one knee, I burst out crying before eventually saying yes.”
The couple began making preparations for their big day, admitting that soon after the proposal, they booked The Big Band Brothers, even choosing a date to accommodate their busy schedule. With the band in the bag, they soon settled on the church and venue. The couple set the date for 6th May 2017, with mass celebrated at St Paul’s Cathedral in Mdina, followed by a reception at Villa Bologna in Attard. “We worked with Anna and Marvik Borg from Malta Event Design – they were extremely organised and professional, and went above and beyond to make it our dream wedding.”
Danila explains that the stunning gardens of Villa Bologna served as the perfect backdrop for their wedding reception, which helped set the tone for the rest of the wedding. “The majority of decorations were brought from the UK, due to the immense variety. Glass baubles with lit candles were hung on small trees, and we enlisted Mdina Glass to provide us with glass lanterns which were suspended over the band stage,” she explains. “The shrubs were lit with fairy lights and we had dimmed spotlights within the perimeter of the garden to provide a well-lit, yet romantic atmosphere. We were quite hands-on, and even built the initials D&B out of wood, fitted them with lights and placed them below the stage.”
On the day, Danila woke up feeling calm following a restful night’s sleep, “contrary to my usual character,” she says. “I was determined to enjoy and cherish every moment as I knew that the day would fly by. On the other hand, Ben was very nervous prior to the ceremony. To calm his nerves, he spent the better half of the morning pacing Sliema front and went for a cold swim at Ghar id-Dud.”
The ceremony, she adds, was the best part of the whole day. “Just the two of us, at the altar, becoming husband and wife in such a holy setting witnessed by people who love us. It was a truly breath-taking experience.” The celebrant, Fr Stefan Attard, played a part in making the ceremony special and personal too. “Despite not knowing him, he was highly recommended to us, and also celebrated mass in English, which was important due to the number of foreign guests who attended. In the months before the wedding, we developed a special bond with Fr Stefan. As we got to know him so well, he celebrated our wedding in a very personal manner, and tried to involve everyone during the ceremony. He even offered people of a non-Catholic denomination to attend the altar and receive a blessing during Holy Communion.”
Danila and Ben’s wedding reception flew by without a glitch. The couple shared their first dance to ‘All you need is love’ by The Beatles, made extra special by The Big Band Brothers’ live instrumental rendition. For the cake, they opted for a three-tiered traditional wedding cake, each tier a scrumptious different flavour, which, together with the rest of the catering, was expertly prepared by Island Caterers.
Asked to pick her favourite part of the whole day, Danila doesn’t hesitate to reply. “It was definitely walking down the aisle to a rendition of Ave Maria, accompanied by my dad, with an ever-sobbing and handsome future husband in front of me. Ben was so excited that he repeatedly lifted and put down my veil, unsure of how it was meant to stay for the mass. He also kissed me prior to the beginning of the ceremony – we soon realised that this wasn’t meant to happen, but thankfully the priest dismissed it jokingly. Looking back, the entire day was perfect.”