In 2012, the year of the London Olympics, Sian Fairbairn moved to London from the suburbs. She and her flatmates managed to get tickets for the beach volleyball event, and had a ticket to spare – a ticket that went to one of her flatmate’s friends, Ben Harris.
“The first time I saw Ben, I immediately thought he was handsome and exactly my type,” describes Sian. “Although, as the evening went on, I didn’t like Ben at all. He was showing off and trying too hard to impress. Over the coming days, we spoke on Facebook. The more we spoke, the more I realized he was actually very sweet. We went out on our first date the following week.”
“IT WAS THE BEST DAY OF OUR LIVES.” SIAN FARIBAIRN
A few years later, in April of 2015, Ben planned a special trip to Tokyo. While visiting Tokyo’s Imperial Palace and admiring the lush cherry blossoms, Ben insisted they hire a small row boat for a quick trip around the palace. As Ben started rowing, he made his way to a secluded bank with cherry blossoms cascading into the water.
“I turned around to take a selfie, and when I turned back he had some cherry blossoms in his hand, asked me to marry him, then took the ring out of his pocket,” says Sian. “I was so shocked and excited, we nearly fell out of the boat and into the water!”
With the couple always wanting to get married in Italy, they began planning a destination wedding in Lake Como and selected Villa del Balbianello as their venue. When the big day arrived, Sian woke up early in the bridal suite of Villa D’Este with her mother, who spent the night for some special mother-daughter time.
By 7am, the bridesmaids arrived at the room to get ready for the long day of festivities. Prior to the wedding, Sian and Ben hadn’t seen or spoken to each other for two weeks, as they wanted the day to be even more anticipatory and special.
The ceremony was a dreamlike blur for the couple, as one of their best friends translated parts of the service from Italian to English. “Seeing his face on our wedding day made the ceremony more personal for both of us,” the bride recalls. “He has a London cockney accent when he speaks English, which always makes us giggle, and broke the ice to make the whole ceremony even more enjoyable.”
While the newlyweds took their own private boat from Villa Balbianello to Villa Pizzo, their guests were being serenaded by an Italian opera singer performing “Nessun Dorma.” The reception décor fulfilled the couple’s vision of a rustic, simple, natural, and romantic atmosphere.
Not wanting anything to look too “put together,” rose petals were scattered across the tables, and candles and fairy lights provided soft lighting. As a nod to their first encounter, guests were seated at a series of ten round tables, with each table being named after a British gold medallist from the 2012 Olympics.
Guests were treated to an abundance of food, including a heart-shaped sponge cake with Chantilly cream and red berries, and proceeded to dance the night away. “At the end of the wedding, we were on a complete high,” Sian says. “We had a magical day that could not have been topped by doing anything different. It was the best day of our lives.”
Ceremony Location: Villa del Balbianello Lake Como, Italy
Reception Location: Villa Pizzo Lake Como, Italy
Event Design and Planner: Italian Wedding Company Milan, Italy
Floral Design: Figli Dei Fiori Lake Como, Italy
Wedding Dress: Ella Rosa
Bridal Salon: Olivia Rose Bridal London, England
Lighting: Blunotte Eventi Chiasso, Switzerland
Cake: AFM Banqueting Milan, Italy
Tent: Progetto Noleggio Milan, Italy
Hair: Melissa Lovell
Makeup: Laura Louise Makeup London, England