Reading this wedding announcement is like plopping your brain and the obnoxious Vogue article into a Vitamix together, switching it on high, and when done, staring at the result to see what you have. “What is that?” someone would ask. Who knows, but I can’t stop looking at it.
In other words, what is this?
In true Vogue style, no mere mortal’s wedding announcement will do, so writer Hamish Bowles found these two with difficult to pronounce Italian names and quickly got to work explaining that the two tied the knot. Not to worry, we’ll help you along.
“When Lucilla Bonaccorsi—the daughter of Don Lucio Bonaccorsi dei Principi di Reburdone and his wife, the flamboyant Milan-based fashion designer Luisa Beccaria—was ten years old or so, she sat on the belvedere of Castelluccio, the family’s almond farm in the beauteous wilds of southern Sicily, listening to a fairy tale,” says the announcement.
So there is a little Italian girl, daughter of some fancy Italian guy with three names and a title, who was blessed enough to be raised on an almond farm (who even thinks of where almonds come from, really?) and a “flamboyant,” meaning difficult and probably kooky AF lady as a mom, who liked fairy tales. Not so unusual, but she was living one as well, you see.
“It was the time of the almond harvest, which had brought the family to this remote spot, a bumpy three-and-a-half hours’ drive from their former home near Taormina. The property itself was a beautiful ruin that had been uninhabited for more than half a century, its courtyards buried under cement, and not a cultivated flower or tree in sight. But when Luisa first set eyes on it, she was smitten by its unrivaled setting, with views over rolling hills to the distant sea, and by the pomegranate-ripe potential of its echoing, spacious enfilades of rooms and extensive outbuildings.”
Um, where’s the wedding announcement? Also, poor Lucilla had no flowers on her property, and had no trees to climb. But her moms the potential in the place, to like, grow pomegranates or something, and “enfilades” of rooms, which in infancy terms in New York City is considered a railroad apartment. Anyway, her witch of a mother made Lucilla move there, even though there were not yet almond trees to be picked.
“The Bonaccorsis were enchanted by the property’s possibilities but daunted by the prospect of taking on this crumbling behemoth. Luisa invited her great coconspirator, the late taste guru Teddy Millington-Drake, to join her for a visit, and he, too, fell in love with its rare magic and insisted that she follow her dreams. In the Bonaccorsi family tradition, the buildings were ringed with a protective barrier of slender cypress trees against the powerful winds, and Millington-Drake helped Luisa to lay out the gardens using the vocabulary of the Hispano-Mauresque flora and trees she and Lucio encountered on their travels—cypress, citrus trees, myrtle, roses.
Once mom forced the family to move to the crumbling estate where the almonds would soon grow, she called her “late taste guru Teddy Millington-Drake” who somehow causes us to summon up a picture of André Leon Talley in all his pope-robed glory, and Teddy proceeded on building a moat made of “slender cypress trees” around the house to keep out the plebeians. Also, “Millington-Drake helped Luisa to lay out the gardens using the vocabulary of the Hispano-Mauresque flora,” whatever the hell that means.
Even back when mom and Teddy were busy with their moats and tree vocabulary, they still had little Lucilla on the mind.
“We were making a fairy tale—like a dream—about how Lucilla’s coming-out ball in Castelluccio might be,” the mom says. At this time, in a parallel life, my mom was deciding between a pink or gray Huffy bike for me.
“It was a tale of blossoming jacaranda and bougainvillea, oranges and lemons to be plucked from the trees, roses cascading over the walls—and Lucilla in a tulle dress with jewels in her hair. At the time, the family was still mired in restorations, and the plantings were in their infancy…Lucilla loved fairy tales, but at a certain point she started crying…’It’s a disaster here,’ Lucilla told her mother. ‘My ball will be at the Ritz!’”
The HORROR!!!! Lucille’s ball at…The Ritz!!!! Banned from society she will be!
But eventually, Lucilla was talked off the ledge of the moat, where the almond trees eventually bloomed, and “Her mother had recently shown her couture collection at the Paris Ritz, and when Lucilla saw the bridal dress, she told her mother that she wanted it for her own when the time came. Luisa dutifully stored it away and forgot all about it—until Lucilla came to her earlier this year to announce her engagement to the engaging Filippo Richeri Vivaldi Pasqua, a cofounder of Fasten Seat Belt, a luxury event-planning agency, and partner at the tastemaking Cabana magazine.”
Really? Fasten Seat Belt? That’s what Filippo came up with? It sounds like a free energy drink being given away at a NASCAR event. But what do I know, the guy’s probably rolling in more dough than I’ll ever see in my life.
Now, to the wedding.
The couple had first planned to wed in 2018, but Luisa threw a fit. Kidding, she “soon felt that she was up to the challenge of arranging everything for this June.” Following this piece of information, she’s described as about as laid-back as a jack-in-a-box.” Sounds pleasant. Not wound tight at all.
Plus, the almond trees had finally grown, along with “a riot of plumbago, jasmine, bougainvillea, and old-fashioned roses,” so mom was ready to go go go!
T”hough Lucilla says she always wanted ‘a natural, bucolic wedding,’ with delicious local recipes prepared by the family’s cooks rather than formal caterers and served on thick ceramic plates on crochet tablecloths, as the RSVPs flooded in, Lucilla’s plans grew more elaborate. The festivities eventually kicked off with a welcome party in a tonnara—a seventeenth-century tuna fisherman’s warehouse in the pretty seaside village of Marzamemi, where guests were serenaded by musicians playing ancient Sicilian instruments. The ceremony itself the following day was ‘in the arcadian tradition of Magna Graecia,’ as Luisa noted, with an old-fashioned marching band and local farm girls bearing sheaves of good-luck wheat.”
Not sure what any of that above is, but I do know you need a GPS, some major cleaner to get the tuna smell out of clothes, patience for blaring drums and tubas in enclosed spaces, and a tolerance for gluten.
“That stowed-away lace dress had to be laundered four times, but when Lucilla tried it on, it fit like a glove.”
Of course it did, because by this point Lucilla has only been eating seven almonds a day carefully curated by hand from the family’s almond trees.
“Lucilla and her mother sourced the dress’s original lacemakers to create the veil, which was anchored with nineteenth-century diamond flower brooches to complement the bride’s features, which are as lovely as a belle in a Victorian valentine.”
OK, so she’s pretty and innocent looking.
“Farmyard carts were heaped with parasols and straw hats to protect the guests from the unrelenting sun, and a baldachin was hastily created for the bride the day before and held aloft on bamboo poles by the adorable flower girls and pages.”
FYI baldachin: a cloth canopy fixed or carried over an important person or a sacred object. So, young girls with barely any core body strength basically played umbrella holders to the bride while they were exposed to the scorching sun, keeping her covered under a heavy canopy while she stayed nice and cool under there in her diamond veil and glove-fitting dress. Child labor laws anyone?
Uh, oh, here comes mom again.
“Luisa was inspired by the Infiorata festival in the glorious Baroque city of nearby Noto, where the streets are paved in flowers laid to create elaborate pictures, and she brought the city’s specialized florists in to carpet the church’s floor with the petals from carnations and scabious, painstakingly strewn in a swirling abstract pastel design. The rest of the delightfully rustic flowers and the romantic mise en scene for the ceremony and festivities were set by Alessandra Rovati Vitali and florist Maria Weber, both of Milan’s Tearose who proved, in Luisa’s words ‘an incredible help to realize and share our visions and aesthetic.’”
They lost me at scabious, and I read a ton, but had to look it up anyway. It’s a Honeysuckle plant. We can just say Honeysuckle. This isn’t a botany magazine.
“Lucilla, who works alongside her mother, designed her dress for the fairy-tale ball the following day—all blossoming white embroidery with drifting ties at the shoulders—and this time the tables were laid with Impressionist tulle over silk printed with watercolors of the local flora that had been a house gift from family friend Cathy Graham (whose book, Second Bloom, is being published by Vendome Press).”
Sweet plug for Cathy!
“Back at the house, florists wove crowns of fresh blooms into the guests’ hair, so that the gardens were soon filled with an army of Titanias.”
So the guests had to stop in the dreadful heat to get flowers weaved into their hair so they could contribute to the pleasant smell of the gardens? Um, where’s my cocktail. Get off my hair, thanks.
“During the candlelit dinner, ballet dancers from Catania’s Teatro Massimo Bellini appeared like dryads pirouetting through the olive grove to the waltz and gavottes from the sound track of Luchino Visconti’s legendary adaptation of The Leopard, Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa’s elegiac novel of nineteenth-century Sicilian life—after which guests spun to the music of the marching band and onto the dance floor, which mirrored a flotilla of the prettiest girls in Italy in the prettiest dresses.”
Wrong! The prettiest girls in Italy are Alessandra Mastronardi, Sophia Loren, and Isabella Rossellini. Everyone knows that.
“Luisa Beccaria’s delicate, romantic clothes were made for this moment. When the happy couple left the church after their ceremony, showered in petals and love, a flock of white doves were released above them. ‘They stayed and are now part of Castelluccio,’ says Luisa. And who, indeed, can blame them?”
It took getting married there for Lucilla tp become part of her family home? Also, showered in petals and love? Looks like the dress will need a fifth dry cleaning.
And how come no one mentions Filippo ever again? Was he even there? (He’s the groom.) And blame them for what? Settling to have their wedding t a gorgeous estate with some kind of exotic flowers moat and the smell of toasted almonds in the air?
As for the doves, you thoughtless almond farmers…this is from PETA:
“White doves, for example, are specifically bred for release and used by thoughtless event planners. Because doves are flock animals, they have very little chance of surviving on their own when they are released at events. Sending white doves into the air after having kept them confined for their entire lives is tantamount to abandoning a household companion animal in the woods 10 miles from home and should be as illegal. The initial release confuses doves, especially if it’s done at night (when many celebrations take place). Doves are diurnal, so being exposed at night already puts them at a disadvantage. In the confusion of the moment, the birds dissipate and flounder into the night. Come morning, these doves are on their own. Unless they are lucky enough to find a flock of pigeons or other doves to join up with, they won’t survive. However, even if they do find other birds to hang out with, the disoriented doves will remain an easy target for hawks and other predators.”
Anyway, Mazel! Here's the gift bag everyone got.
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