Ten years after meeting in fashion school in Paris, Nicolas Michel Marceau Jacquet organized a weekend trip to Sicily for then-girlfriend Le Yen Mai's birthday. They had traveled to the island together years prior, and Nicolas knew it was just the place to propose.
"We fell in love with the countryside, the food, and the people," recalls Le Yen of their first visit to Sicily. "We imagined ourselves getting married there one day because of the authentic and magical vibe."
Once engaged, Le Yen, a professional organizer, and Nicolas, a designer, turned those dreams into a reality, inviting 85 loved ones to join them for a destination wedding weekend on the island. Their vision? "A colorful and joyful gathering with family and friends in the Sicilian countryside at the end of summer, with an almost 'laid-back' vibe," describes the bride.
In an effort to make everything as original as possible, the couple hired local planner Alessia Randazzini of My Sicilian Wedding and booked Feudi del Pisciotto Wine Relais, a boutique hotel in Niscemi, Sicily, where they felt confident they could create a bespoke experience.
"We wanted an authentic venue that isn’t pretentious and where we could personally create our dream wedding and add our own touch, because we had very clear ideas of each detail," Le Yen explains. "We loved being involved in the whole process of 'designing' our day."
Keep reading to see how the couple's magical Sicilian getaway came to life on August 31, 2019, as captured by Margherita Calati.
"We made our own wedding invitations! My husband did the graphic, and I hand-embroidered flowers on each envelope," says the bride. The creative couple also took on the wedding menu, place cards, and seating chart as DIY projects, decorating each with dried flowers.
Nicolas and Le Yen met in fashion school in Paris, so it's no surprise that their big-day looks were expertly curated. The bride accessorized with earrings that she had custom-made in India, antique rings, and heels from Jimmy Choo.
Rebecca La Sposa, an Italian designer, created the bridal gown. "I had it custom-made the way I imagined it," she says. "I wanted a fairytale dress, but with a simple, clean design. I love the layers of tulle!"
Le Yen's dress was made of lace and silk tulle—however, that is not what she told Nicolas leading up to the big day. "Since my husband is a designer and even wanted to design my wedding dress, he was really curious to know what style I chose! So I told him the wrong details about the design that I know he won’t like just to scare him!" she admits with a laugh.
Intrecci Fiori e Arte handled the floral design, creating a lush, romantic bouquet for Le Yen, who also wore flowers in her hair. The women in her bridal party also added flowers in their hair instead of carrying traditional bouquets.
Planing a wedding from afar was the couple's main challenge. "We only planned a one week trip to Sicily a few months before the wedding to meet all the vendors and do the menu tasting," she explains. "That week really reassured us and we loved meeting everyone in person."
Despite the challenges associated with planning a destination wedding, Le Yen and Nicolas say the process was surprisingly straightforward thanks to the team they entrusted on-island.
Le Yen's three bridesmaids wore long, colorful gowns. "I didn’t want them to wear the same dresses! Each of them chose their own that fits their taste," she says. "The theme was colorful and floral."
In a juxtaposition to the wedding's otherwise colorful details (such as the bridesmaid gowns, invitations, and, later, the table décor), the ceremony site was dressed in muted hues, featuring only wooden cross back chairs and a greenery-lined aisle.
Live musicians performed at the ceremony, playing Lady Gaga's "Million Reasons" for the processional and "Kiss" by Prince for the recessional.
We didn’t exchange vows but had both our fathers officiate the ceremony, which was very personal and special to us.
"We didn’t exchange vows but had both our fathers officiate the ceremony, which was very personal and special to us," says the bride.
Guests showered the newlyweds with flower petals as they danced down the aisle.
"Being a super organization freak and wanting to control everything, I was super relaxed the day of the wedding," Le Yen recalls. "I didn’t think of anything and just wanted to enjoy the moment."
The couple was surrounded by 85 of their nearest and dearest, so they made sure to get a group photo of everyone together before the reception.
Dinner was set at two long tables, which were lined with colorful flowers, cacti in ceramic pots, and eucalyptus garlands. "We also created a 'sky full of stars' made of small and bigger light bulbs," says the bride.
Place settings were complete with typical ceramics from Caltagirone that contributed to the tablescape and also doubled as favors for guests.
The couple counts selecting the wedding menu, which included the bride's favorite ravioli, as the "easiest part of planning." Naturally, each course was also paired with wines from the venue. "We love Sicilian food and knew that even if we didn’t do the tasting, we could trust the chef," she says. "It was also very important for us to eat well at our wedding."
"We didn’t want to do all the typical wedding 'stuff' that is usually expected," Le Yen says. "We both don’t like to be in the center of attention so we didn’t do the first dance or cake cutting."
After orchestrating a destination wedding from afar, Le Yen has some wisdom for couples embarking on the planning journey: "Enjoy the whole organization process, which seems to be very stressful, but in the end, it’s one of the best parts of organizing that one day!"
Venue & Catering Feudi Del Pisciotto Wine Relais
Planner Alessia Randazzini of My Sicilian Wedding
Bridal Gown Rebecca La Sposa
Shoes Jimmy Choo
Makeup Selene Sbrizza
Floral Design Intrecci Fiori e Arte by Davide e Francesca Giardinaro
Ceremony Music Alessandra Patané
Reception Music DJ Giovanni Ursoleo
Cocktail Bar Allcholica
Light Design Dibenedetto Light
Photography Margherita Calati