When Margherita Cardelli met Gerardo Cavaliere, it was amore at first sight. "Of course it was," laughs Margherita, a Rome-based fashion consultant. "Have you seen my husband? He's very handsome." Well-dressed, too. Whether in the office or on his motorcycle, Gerardo, a lawyer from Salerno, exclusively wears custom handmade attire. "He doesn't even own a pair of jeans," Margherita says. "He's obsessed with beautiful clothes." So obsessed, in fact, that in 2013 he opened his own tailoring business, Sartoria Giuliva—it was in his atelier in Rome where the couple first met in 2014. Fifteen months later, on a sunset walk in Naples, Gerardo proposed—after which, in the Italian tradition, he went in person (on motorcycle in the rain!) to ask both her father and his own mother for their permission.
Naturally, both families consented, and the couple knew exactly where to host the occasion. Not long after they started dating, Margherita took Gerardo to visit the hills near her family’s farm. As the sun set, they drank wine and decided that’s where they would marry. "I think that's where we understood that our encounter was 'the one,'" she says. The pair officially said "I do" in a religious ceremony on July 1, 2017, followed by a second outdoor celebration under the Gran Sasso mountain. Keep reading to see how this fashion-forward couple planned and coordinated their own remarkable, intimate celebrations, both captured by Alba Morassutti and Anna Szkoda.
Wearing a gown inspired by traditional Abruzzan clothes (and designed by one of her friends), Margherita got married at a monastery in L’Aquila.
The couple—who teamed up to launch a women’s ready-to-wear brand, Giuliva Heritage Collection, just three months before their nuptials—were officially wed on a Thursday in a tiny ceremony at the monastery where the bride’s aunt (and namesake) is a nun.
The couple exchanged vows in front of close friends and family. Gerardo wore a navy, double-breasted light wool suit for the church ceremony. The bride kept her ensemble completely minimal, accessorizing only with diamond studs from Gerardo's mother and opting for a natural makeup look.
Two days later, they hosted a much larger all-day celebration, kicking off with a priestly blessing in a fairy tale–perfect meadow near where Margherita grew up in the mountains of Abruzzo (about an hour east of Rome).
The bride wore a chic Derek Lam sheath dress, which she describes as, "the simplest, yet most elegant, dress I ever saw." Margherita worked closely with the designer, who remade the dress from the SS 2011 collection just for her.
The dapper groom dressed in a bespoke morning suit. (Because, of course.)
The bride carried a bouquet of wildflowers gathered by her Aunt Amalia that morning, with a few last-minute blooms gifted to her by a young wedding guest.
Guests sat on fabric-draped hay bales, and a traditional accordion trio played as the bride walked toward her groom. Margherita describes their wedding spot as "a gem in the middle of the mountains in the center of Italy."
During the ceremony, Margherita and Gerardo thanked their family and friends for being a part of their day, and she gave her father a special hug. "We hugged for five minutes on the clock," she recalls. The couple’s beloved dog, Gastone, looked on.
"The blessing was very emotional," she says. "The landscape was full of energy, and love was all around."
"Our aesthetic was all about respecting this place," she explains of the sentimental outdoor venue. "The nature is overwhelming."
Gerardo, Margherita, and their dog, Gastone, drove a vintage Land Rover between the ceremony and the reception at the bride’s family home.
Afterward, the party moved to Margherita’s family’s farm, which was decorated with off-white linens, wheat, rosemary, and wildflowers. Plenty of seating was provided underneath a long wood gazebo, topped with linen sheets.
Revelers feasted on an Abruzzo-style lunch of pasta prepared by the bride’s father, an architect turned chef and restaurateur. "It was one of the best ingredients of the whole wedding," says Margherita of the picnic. "It was a hot day, and nobody felt like they had to do anything, just rest and relax."
Friends and family ate at their own pace throughout the afternoon and, following lunch, lounged on pillows and blankets spread in the grass. Rest time, however, was short-lived, as the festivities migrated toward the property's two swimming pools for cake and dancing.
The couple cut into their enormous wedding tart (topped with fragoline di bosco), which perfectly meshed with the countryside appeal. In place of a traditional toast, the bride's father invited her 90-year-old grandmother to help Gerardo and Margherita slice into the dessert. Margherita calls this "the sweetest moment."
After cake, the happy couple kicked off an epic dance party with the help of their friend DJ Polaris, who had flown in from London. "He’s great at getting people up on their feet," she says. "We danced straight through from lunchtime until 9 p.m. It was absolutely nonstop!"
Overall, Margherita sums up their back-to-back ceremonies as "unforgettable." "We believed that our love and the love of our friends and families were the perfect ingredients for the perfect wedding," adds the bride. "And so it has been!"
Brides's Dresses: Derek Lam, Bomba
Groom's Attire: Sartoria Giuliva
Reception Music: DJ Polaris
Photography: Alba Morassutti and Anna Szkoda