This Couple Released Colorful Butterflies When They Were Pronounced Husband and Wife on the Amalfi Coast
For Onome and Efe Bazuaye, it wasn't quite love at first sight. When a mutual friend introduced them in 2013, they became friends—but it wasn't until a year later "that we decided to take things more seriously," says Onome, a labor relations consultant. Five years later, the two tied the knot on the picturesque Amalfi Coast. As for how Efe pulled off the proposal? The 34-year-old business analyst disguised the engagement as a birthday party for one of Onome's friends. Originally, the couple was supposed to travel to Banff in Alberta, Canada, for the "birthday party," but it snowed heavily, and they had to cancel. "I decided to pick a place where we could do something for her birthday in the city," says Onome. "I even went the extra mile to pick up a cake for her, and I didn’t know I was planning my engagement party!"
She arrived at the restaurant later that evening and noticed something strange: most of her friends weren't even there. But Efe, on the other hand, looked extra dapper for the occasion. "I didn't think too much about it but, all of a sudden, he started talking about how far we had come," she says. "Then he went on his knees to ask me to spend the rest of my life with him."
The stunning couple said "I do" on June 5, 2019, at Villa Eva in Ravello, Italy, situated beautifully along the Amalfi Coast. Of their 100 guests, several traveled from Nigeria, Canada, and the United Kingdom to join in on their celebration; some even had to request a special visa to enter Italy. But it was worth it, Onome says, since everyone had the very best of times. The family-focused event, which was planned in just 45 days, was full of intricate details, tied together with an unexpected theme: an enchanted garden. All this fairy-tale celebration's elements culminated in one very special moment during the ceremony—a butterfly release!—which is sure to land itself on your own wedding wish list.
Strategic Coastline Views
Ravello, Italy, offers 360-degree panoramic views of the Amalfi Coast—something the couple wanted to spotlight during their nuptials. "Our number one priority was to enjoy the naturally beautiful sceneries that characterizes the Amalfi Coast, and to immerse our guests in a typically Italian atmosphere," says Onome. The dreamy seascape created the perfect backdrop for the woodland-themed big day.
The invitations, crafted by the couple's wedding planner, Monica from Amalfi Soirée, were printed on custom pearly paper finished with gold leaf and purple ribbons. They included an elegant butterfly pattern and kept with the duo's springtime color palette of deep green, gold, purple, and pink.
Onome credits her planner for keeping her stress-free during the planning process. The couple went through two before they met Monica, and when she suggested themes, Onome was thrilled. It felt as though Monica could read her mind, says the bride—she ultimately translated "everything I had wished for."
The Magic of the Woods
"The two most-used words by Onome for describing her ideal event were 'fairy' and 'natural,' so I developed the idea of a romantic wedding inspired by the magic of the woods," says Monica. The inspiration for the theme came from a Paolo Sebastian fashion show and a poem by Gabriele D'Annunzio, entitled "The Rain in the Pinegrove."
It's safe to say that Monica executed the bride's vision down to the very last detail—with a little help from the weather. The late-afternoon sunlight splashed over the venue's countless centenary trees, making guests feel like they had been transported straight into a fairy tale.
Future's So Bright
…they had to wear shades! The groomsmen took pre-ceremony photos in downtown Ravello, a quaint town with a rich history and burgeoning art scene. They wore sleek suits from Kimono Kollection, matching polka-dot socks, pink rose and blackberry boutonnières, and their favorite sunglasses.
'Fit for a King
Efe wore a navy jacket with a black peak lapel and slim-fit trousers from Umberto Custom Tailor; he paired the ensemble with a classic black bow tie. He wore the same whimsical socks as his groomsmen, along with black glittery Italian loafers.
The Halo Effect
Onome looked angelic standing in the doorframe of the bridal suite. Her wedding dress, designed by Pallas Couture (which she bought from Powder Bride Calgary), featured a mermaid silhouette with a sweetheart neckline, embellished with hand-appliquéd French lace and beading.
"My dress was the first one I tried on and loved instantly, but I kept thinking it was too easy," says Onome. She tried other gowns, but she returned to her original selection. After stepping into it for the second time, she "instantly knew in that moment that was [her] wedding dress."
Onome's bridesmaids wore dresses by designer Toju Foyeh. "The harmony and delicacy of the pastel tones was the guideline for the bridesmaids' attire," she says. Most of the women by her side wore light blue, but Onome wanted her maid of honor in pink. The 'maids' bouquets were identical to Onome's—just smaller.
The bridal party's makeup, done by Bimpe Onakova, was simultaneously glamorous and natural, and picked up on the warm tones from the color palette.
A Handheld Enchanted Forest
The bride's bouquet was inspired by an enchanted forest, of course. Onome wanted a "wild look"—and for her clutch to appear as if its florals had been hand-picked from the forest and tied together. It included roses, violet clematis, pink sweet peas, blue delphinium, and plenty of greenery for an earthy touch.
A Mother's Touch
Onome shared a sweet moment with her mother before the ceremony as they finalized her veil. Her mom wore a pale pink gown with a delicate lace bodice, and a gorgeous, whimsical headpiece.
The Glass Slippers
She chose beautiful crystal heels by Bella Belle that complemented the lace pattern in her dress. She also wore a sparkly hairpiece, drop earrings, and a simple veil that cascaded down to the floor.
The rings were kept in a vintage gold box, atop a layer of moss, which nodded to the "magic of the woods" theme of the celebration. On the big day, Onome added a pavé band to her round-cut diamond engagement ring.
The First Look
Onome and Efe shared their first look in the lush gardens right before the ceremony began. "We were excited and couldn't wait to see each other," Onome says. "The first look was so special; it felt like we were in our own world. All of the sudden, we didn't see anyone else except us."
A Family Affair
As the ceremony began, Onome walked down the aisle escorted by her father—another magical moment, she says. The procession was accompanied by Pino Rispoli, a musical trio consisting of piano, violin, and cello. Their song of choice? "Nothing Else Matters" by Metallica. "But a very classic and touching version," Onome adds.
All of the fairy-like, dainty details and the butterfly symbolism seen on the invitation suite and event design culminated in this moment: The couple's officiant, Blessings From Italy, released "a cloud of white butterflies, as a symbol of purity and love," during the service.
"An enchanted garden of blue delphinium, roses, orchids, and anthuriums was the background for this modern fairy tale," says Monica. "Kuts Flowers created a magnificent asymmetrical arch with local seasonal flowers like roses, anthurium, hydrangea, astra, and different greenery."
The arch framed the couple during their vow exchange and first sweet kiss. Fresh flower petals were sprinkled over the aisle, "and each guest was equipped with biodegradable confetti and napkins for the happy tears."
Cocktails Al Fresco
To take advantage of the warm Italian sun, the couple utilized Villa Eva's gardens for an al fresco cocktail hour. Next to the belvedere terrace, where some guests chose to spend time, the gardens "offered the possibility to entertain the guests until late, with dancing and games under the stars," says Onome. The fairy lights strung around the marquée were lit as the sun began to set.
The Prosecco Wall
The couple decided to tackle a DIY project for their cocktail hour, so they created a grass and flower-covered Prosecco wall. Easy-install shelves held the glasses—already filled with bubbly—by their stems. "The design has a great visual impact, and during the cocktail hour, it became the focal point of the party," says Monica. The couple also served bellinis, rossinis, and mimosas, plus salty snacks like mini bruschetta pizzas, olives, and puff pastry appetizers.
Floral Seating Chart
Towards the end of the cocktail hour, guests found their dinner assignments on a framed visual chart—situated on an antique wooden easel stand—which illustrated the actual layout of the evening. Florals in the event's color palette completed the look.
Almost Too Pretty to Eat
The duo served a mouth-watering meal, including Italian cured meats and local pasta, sautéed pumpkin ravioli, risotto with carrot tuft and sweet cheese, crusted sea bass, mille-feuille, and more.
A Reception Surprise
Monica and her team made sure that the reception décor was a surprise for guests. She drew all of the curtains around the marquee during the wedding dinner, and afterwards they were thrown open, revealing the natural wonderland she and her team had created.
On the Tabletops
Tablescapes—topped with white linen runners that pooled on the floor—were decorated with lush floral arrangements, crystal candelabras, and votives. Their soft lights made the atmosphere very intimate. Ivy covered the beams inside the marquee, intensifying the woodland atmosphere.
Places were set with silver chargers and monogrammed emerald napkins; an elegant menu card marked each guest's spot.
Time to Party
Onome and Efe enlisted Folly Fresh and DJ Baz, the evening's tag-team entertainment. The couple and their guests had no trouble getting the party started. For their first dance, they chose "Exceptional" by Babyface, and had some fun on the dance floor. Technically, however, this wasn't their first dance—the newlyweds improvised and took a spin at the end of their ceremony as the musicians played "That's Amore," a local favorite.
Let Them Eat Cake
The three-tiered cake, provided by the caterers at Villa Eva, was red velvet with cream cheese frosting. It was decorated with sweet peas, delphinium, and clematis, which were all used throughout the ceremony and reception.
For their honeymoon, the Bazuayes traveled to Naples, Venice, and Thailand. As for the advice they have for couples currently preparing for their own weddings? Get a planner. "It is so worth it and makes such a huge difference," says Onome.
Photography, Lace & Luce Photography
Venue, Catering, and Cake, Villa Eva
Event Planning, Design, and Stationery, Amalfi Soirée
Videography, Mirco & Anisa Wedding Videographers
Flowers, Kuts Flowers
Officiant, Blessings from Italy
Bride's shoes, Bella Belle
Hair, Papa Chichi Style
Makeup, Bimpe Onakoya
Bridesmaids' dresses, Toju Foyeh
Groom's attire, Umberto Custom Tailor
Groomsmen's attire, Kimono Kollection
MC, Folly Fresh
Musical equipment and Lighting, Peppe Capone
Transportation, Rent in Costa