A Stunning Destination Elopement in Ravello, Italy
Although there was nothing traditional about Baptiste Bidonde's proposal to Jessica Ceresino, it was a moment that was completely "them." "Baptiste and I had been talking seriously about our future starting in early 2018," says Jessica. "We didn't know what we wanted or how the wedding would happen, but we were sure we wanted to be together forever." Fast forward to May of the same year, and inspired by a song she heard on a podcast, Jessica joyfully began the process of wedding planning—without a ring or a proposal.
"I told Baptiste that night when he got home, and he was excited, so we began planning and figured we'd get a ring at some point," says Jessica. About a month into making arrangements, Jessica realized that a large wedding really wasn't for them, so she asked Baptiste if he'd like to elope and just invite their parents instead. "That day we picked the Amalfi Coast, called [our planner] Heather at Amorology, and said, 'You're going to kill us, but can you help us plan for Italy instead?'" After selecting a stone and a setting for Jessica's engagement ring together, Baptiste got down on one knee just two months before the wedding and asked Jessica to marry him. "If you know us," says Jessica, "you know there's no other way that it could have gone."
On October 10, 2018, Jessica and Baptiste married at the Belmond Hotel Caruso in the beautiful city of Ravello with only immediate family in attendance: Jessica's mother and stepfather; her father and stepmother; and Baptiste's father and stepmother. The wedding took place on the grounds of the hotel overlooking the stunning Amalfi Coast—and incorporated the beautiful lemons for which the city of Ravello is known.
The most special aspect of the wedding? The intimacy an elopement afforded the couple. "Baptiste is truly my best friend," says Jessica. "I really wanted to spend the whole day with him, and I did. We got to really enjoy each other—it was different but so perfect for us."
Textured Wedding Invitations
As a nod to the groom's father, a successful rancher, the invitations, also by Lovely Paper Things, were beautifully debossed on smooth swatches of suede. Envelope liners featured a wicker-like pattern reminiscent of the reception chairs.
The bride found and purchased her lace, drape-sleeved Reem Acra wedding dress just two weeks before departing for Europe.
Graceful Wedding Shoes
Although she originally intended to wear stilettos, Jessica found her Gucci wedding shoes the day before she left for Italy. "I am so glad I changed to a block-heel sandal because our entire wedding was on grass, and Ravello is all cobble stone streets," she says.
A Stunning Engagement Ring
A Full, Beautiful Bridal Bouquet
A Sharp-Dressed Groom
Sweet Wedding Music
Italian musicians clad in suspenders and bow ties serenaded guests during the cocktail hour.
An Amazing First Look
The couple opted to see each other before the ceremony, an experience that drove home how significant the day would be. "It hit me that it was really real," says Baptiste, "and that I was so excited that she was who I got to spend my life with."
"There was something about seeing him all dressed up, me [being] in my dress, and the weight of what we were about to commit to, that made it such a sweet moment," adds Jessica.
A Special Processional
Jessica's father walked her down the property's outdoor stairway and aisle to live music played on a mandolin and guitar.
A Breathtaking Ceremony
The couple exchanged vows in a concise ceremony beneath a beautiful floral arch, with Ravello's magnificent coastal scenery as a backdrop. The lime-colored poufs, which were used as seating for the half-dozen guests, were swathed in the same flowers that appeared in the altar structure.
A Luxurious Lounge Area
Family enjoyed cocktails and hors d'oeuvres in a lovely lounge area while the couple took wedding photos.
A Decorative Gelato Cart
Guests also indulged in gelato served in cones and espresso cups from a vintage cart.
A Gorgeous Reception Site
Dinner took place on the lawn beneath a romantic olive grove.
Creative Cloche Seating Cards
In lieu of traditional cards, each guest found a small glass cloche at their seat. They were personalized with each attendee's name and filled with lemons foraged from the property.
A Splendid Reception Table
The pair hosted their immediate family members at an intimate table for eight. A linear floral arrangement ran the length of the table and featured dahlias, mums, amaryllis, delphinium, and garden spray roses, with accents of fresh oranges and lemons. A rich, lemon-hued runner added a pop of brightness to the neutral tabletop, while hanging lanterns gave the scene depth and light.
Perfect Place Settings
White-and-gold plates and flatware added a modern edge to the whimsical tablescape; contemporary, oversized wine glasses were the perfect fit for the group's appreciation for fine wines.
A Romantic First Dance
Jessica and Baptiste danced to the song "Meet in the Middle" by Diamond Rio because they loved the message in the lyrics. "Baptiste grew up on a Ranch in Wyoming, so it was a nod to his childhood, too," says Jessica.
"It was cool to hear that song played on a guitar and mandolin in Italy," adds Baptiste.
A Delicate Wedding Cake
Amorology kept the cake simple but lovely, with white icing decorated with fall florals and matching citrus fruits that echoed the clean lines and motifs used throughout the day.
Photography, Rebecca Yale Photography
Location, Belmond Hotel Caruso
Event planning, Amorology (main); Nomad Republic (assistants)
Catering, The Belmond Hotel Caruso
Flowers, Siloh Floral
Videography, Rachel Heacox Films
Stationery and calligraphy, Lovely Paper Things
Cake, The Belmond Hotel Caruso (cake); Siloh Floral (décor)
Music, Wedding Music
Rentals, BBJ Linens (linens); Preludio Noleggio (general); Tableset (tabletop)
Bride's hair and makeup, Ashely Fierro
Bride's gown, Reem Acra
Bride's shoes, Gucci
Engagement ring, Melinda M. Wheeler Precious Jewels
Groom's suit, Uncommon Man
Groom's shoes, Gucci