Kelly Goldstraw was working as a counter manager for Origins when she met Mark Hunt, a marketing intern for the same company, at an Origins-Estee Lauder work conference in July of 2005. Mark was living and working in London, while she was located in Manchester. “We both seemed to click straight away,” Kelly describes. “We couldn’t stop looking at each other–although in the back of my head, I thought there would be no way of anything developing, as we lived too far from each other.”
The two reconnected later, when a new Origins store opened in Manchester and Mark traveled over for the launch. After some flirting and a few drinks in The Living Room bar, the two spent all night talking. “Mark was the perfect gentleman, walking me home and giving me a kiss on the cheek,” says Kelly. “We arranged to see each other every other weekend for a year until he finally moved up to Manchester nine years ago.”
“WHEN YOU ARE PLANNING A WEDDING, IT ALL LOOKS BEAUTIFUL; BUT WHEN IT’S YOUR OWN DAY, IT’S ANOTHER LEVEL OF EXCITEMENT” KELLY GOLDSTRAW
For Kelly’s 30th birthday in August of 2013, Mark planned a July trip to Florence but said they needed to fly out of London–a perfect excuse for spending the night in the capital before their travels. While having drinks at the hotel bar, Mark asked if the hotel looked familiar. “Eight years ago today, I met you for the first time in this lobby for an Origins conference, and you changed my world,” he said. “Will you please marry me?” Friends showed up the following day to celebrate the engagement, and the couple took off to Italy that weekend.
Having traveled to Italy many times in the past, Kelly and Mark knew it would be the perfect place for a destination wedding. Guests arrived via boat to a church on Isola Bella, which set the tone for a spectacular series of events. For the aperitif and evening music, singer and X-Factor finalist Nikitta Angus was flown in, along with Andrea, a guitarist–both, whom Mark had met at a London bar. With guests seated on the grass next to the lake, it was like a private music festival with a relaxing and joyful ambiance.
The wedding décor was created around a magical garden theme, and everyone was treated to a delectable culinary spread. Nobody was short of a drink all night, and the wedding cake was an absolute showstopper.
When dinner was finished at 11pm, a special lantern lighting was held down by the lake. “Mark’s mother had passed away the previous August, so it was an emotional day for him and his family,” says the bride. “We wanted to remember his mum and create a moment for other guests to celebrate their close ones who could not be with us.”
The night concluded with dancing in the cellar before heading back to the boat. “When you are planning a wedding, it all looks beautiful; but when it’s your own day, it’s another level of excitement and total appreciation for all the people involved in making it happen,” Kelly says. “We know it’s cliché to say, but if we could do it all again, we would do it the exact same way. It was just perfect, and I wouldn’t have changed a thing.”
Ceremony Location: Chiesa di San Rocco, Lake Maggiore, Italy; Reception Location: Villa Rusconi Clerici, Lake Maggiore, Italy; Event Design and Planner: Italian Wedding Company, Torino, Italy; Floral Design: Stefania Weddings Forno, Canavese, Italy; Linen and Rentals: Meeting Banqueting, Milan, Italy; Lighting and DJ: AudioDress Cairo, Montenotte, Italy; Wedding Dress: Pronovias