If you’re planning a destination wedding to Sicily then look no further. This is the second instalment of our four part pocket guide, focusing on Sicily’s western coast.
Sicily is a big island and the characters of the western coast have an even bigger personality. Complete with UNESCO World Heritage sites, other-worldly churches and outstanding street food, western Sicily is packed with grit and intensity. The Arabs, Normans, Greeks and Spanish have left a legacy on this curb of the island and what better place to celebrate the coming together of two families.
We spoke with wedding photographer Giuseppe Renda, a brilliant artist who captured the essence, textures and atmosphere of an authentic Sicilian wedding.
Can you describe exactly what you do?
I am Giuseppe Renda and I am a reportage photographer or more precisely a documentary wedding photographer. I take care of the photographic stories of splendid events such as weddings.
How long have you been in the wedding sector?
I am a child of art, I have always breathed photography and weddings. I have been dealing with this sector personally for twenty years.
Why should people choose Sicily as a destination wedding?
Sicily is a special region, its position has generated a set of cultural and artistic influences that make its landscape unique. And it really is unique. From the local foods and products, to the beaches and seascapes, to the small islands and medieval villages. It is truly magical, wild and good. If you decide to get married in Sicily, it will make any event incomparable. Here you can smell life, you are among the people or in the silence of nature. It is the right setting in terms of flavour and place for an important moment.
Can you explain what a Sicilian wedding entails?
In reality, Sicily, and the province of Trapani in particular, allows couples to design a very personal wedding. Once the desired rite has been identified (Catholic, civil or symbolic), the couple is really spoiled for choice. The Cathedral of Trapani, Erice or Mazara are excellent for Catholic events, but there are also small country churches, between streets and olive groves. Same thing for the civil or symbolic ceremony, from the ancient municipal or authorised rooms such as Torre Ligny in Trapani to the beaches of Castellammare del Golfo, not to mention Scopello or the intimacy of Levanzo and Marettimo.
Of course, there is plenty of room for creativity and the style that the couple prefer. Whatever the choice, intimate or festive wedding, Sicily offers many inimitable solutions, accompanied by good food, unique and elegant atmospheres.
What are the questions a couple should ask you?
It is important that they recognise themselves in my style, so that we can develop and not build. Elegance and sobriety is first and foremost. I will return to them a story that exactly reflects their character and balance.
So the questions can range from which salient points I look for in my work to purely technical and organisational questions.
What is the best month to get married in Sicily?
Sicily offers unique moments and days from April to October. The beautiful days are endless. April, May and September have a more delicate light and mild climate, June, July and August are safe months from a climatic point of view and allow you to have beautiful outdoor weddings, surrounded by that Sicilian atmosphere. The summer months are also interesting to allow friends and guests to organize a wonderful holiday with the excuse of marriage.
What are they key elements in making a wedding as authentically Sicilian as possible?
If we talk about Sicilian weddings I would rely on the five senses. There is no better land to explore new sensations. Sicily is a wild land and as such must be respected.
Taste and smell: We attach great importance to the quality of food and hospitality. So I would rely on typically Sicilian menus, with fresh fish at the forefront. Smells and flavours are experiences that we will always carry with us.
Sight: The contact with nature is very strong. Landscapes and historic centres are the emblem of a noble but also a peasant Sicily. Wherever you turn you will find history but also unique hilly and maritime landscapes.
Hearing: It is possible, through a typically Sicilian column, to make any moment of the event joyful. But it is easy to come across the incessant sound of the natural landscape or of people, as if immersed in a film from the past.
What should a bride consider before choosing Sicily?
Mainly we must consider the organisation of the event, a wedding planner is recommended, important for the bureaucratic phases and above all for the preparation. The attention to detail combined with the landscape will make such an important moment truly magical. It is also important to consider the date and suppliers. The summer months are really full of events, so it is good to think in advance about the choice of location and suppliers. If you prefer quieter months, May and September are excellent.
Which are the best hotels in the surrounding area for the guests to stay?
Trapani, Castellammare, Marsala, Mazara and Scopello really offer many quality options, but small structures capable of hosting guests and events together are also interesting. A point of uniqueness reflect the small islands: Pantelleria, is a unique landscape and where time has stopped, in Marettimo and Levanzo small seaside villages, but also the more famous Favignana. In reality, any place offers stylistic ideas and satisfying accommodation. There, too, it is always good to contact a wedding planner or photographer, who are able to recommend suitable solutions.