In November of 2013, Hillary Keeth was working as an investment banker in Milan when she headed to Florence to see Michelangelo’s David. As she was admiring the sculpture, a handsome Italian man approached her. “He told me I’d been staring a little too long,”recalls Hillary of her first conversation with Gabriele Caldara. The stranger ultimately won her over, and the couple dated for over three years, welcoming their daughter Indiana Rose in August of 2016. They both knew they wanted to get married but the bride took matters into her own hands: “We went hiking one Sunday, and I put Indi in a shirt that said, ‘Will you marry Mommy?’ under her jacket," she says. "After our hike, we stopped at a restaurant for a bite and I took off her jacket to reveal the big question. Gabriele loved the idea, but I beat him to it!”
The couple wanted a simple and family-focused wedding, and invited just 15 guests to join them in Gallipoli, Italy, for their July 7, 2017 wedding. “It is where Gabriele’s family is from and where he spent most summers growing up," Hillary explains. "It was the perfect place for my family to spend their holiday, and we all wandered the town together, enjoying long lunches and afternoons on the beach. Everyone loved it—and ate way more than they could handle!”
Photographed by Alea Lovely, this summer wedding celebration is the epitome of a relaxed, welcoming atmosphere. Keep scrolling for more!
Hillary found her off-the-shoulder dress with help…from her now-husband! “Everyone kept telling me Gabriele shouldn’t come with me, but his was the only opinion I wanted,” she explains. The Flavio Castellani dress, in fact, isn’t a wedding dress at all—it's a bohemian design with a twirling skirt and lace inserts. She completed her look with a bouquet of wildflowers.
Gabriele and Hillary exchanged vows at the town’s municipal library. “The hardest part of planning our wedding was dealing with Italian bureaucracy. We barely made the deadlines, but luckily got it all figured out,” says the bride. The couple shared personal vows—that they each made up on the spot! “His were in Italian and mine were in English," she says. "We didn’t translate the ceremony, but I think both of our families understood what was being said.”
After the intimate, personal ceremony, the couple's guests tossed rose petals as the newlyweds exited the library.
“After the ceremony, we wandered around the old town to take photos," she remembers. "Indi started to get cranky, so Gabriele–being the gentleman that he is—borrowed a chair from a woman sitting outside of her house so I could feed the baby for a few minutes. In that moment, all was right in the world!”
Guests gathered at Ristorante Il Bastione for a seafood feast just as the sun was setting. “We ordered à la carte, eating lobster ravioli, shrimp skewers, and octopus,” says the bride.
“It was the first time our families met one another," says Hillary. "Despite not speaking the same language, they all got to know one another and spend quality time together with Indi, the connection they share. It was an amazing experience.
The newlyweds ended the night by cutting into a wedding cake filled with fresh berries and Chantilly cream.
The couple continued the celebration for a few weeks, vacationing with the bride's family who traveled from the States. She says, “We spent a few weeks in Salento together, which was our honeymoon for now. But we’re planning to go backpacking in Sri Lanka next spring—with Indi, of course!”
Ceremony Venue: Biblioteca Comunale ed Archivio Storico || Reception Venue: Ristorante Il Bastione || Bride's Dress: Flavio Castellani || Groom's Attire: Roberto Leon || Floral Design: Mamanonmama Arte Floreale || Cake: Dolci e Dintorni Galantina || Photography: Alea Lovely