A dream destination wedding in Sicily

This summer I was lucky enough to travel to Sicily to work on the wedding of Irene Forte. When I pivoted my business from editorial to bridal I could have never imagined I’d get to work on such an incredible job. I share details of this extra special day below. 

The pandemic meant that for many brides their plans were disrupted. Irene Forte is a skincare entrepreneur who tied the knot in a small ceremony in London in 2020. Super stylish in a bridal suit, Irene’s makeup look was created by Karina Constantine who has acted as something of a mentor to me.

Irene’s father, Sir Rocco Forte, is a hotelier, so Irene took the opportunity to have a larger celebration, nearly a year to the day after her first nuptials, at her family’s Verdura Resort, with a Catholic service beforehand. This time, Irene opted for an early evening church ceremony, followed by a huge reception at her father’s resort. Guests included VIP friends of the couple including Princess Eugenie and Cressida Bonas. 

For this lavish day, Irene wore a stunning organdy gown with puff sleeves and a floral print from designer Luisa Beccaria, who is a friend of the bride. She also wore an antique veil that was originally Irene’s great-grandmother’s and had been worn by her mother, aunt, sister, and grandmother.

Only a few weeks prior to the event, a space opened up in the hair and makeup team from the original London wedding and Karina asked me to join. I was whisked off to Sicily for a long weekend to create a natural makeup look for nine of Irene’s bridesmaids. 

The hospitality of Irene’s PA was flawless. I simply had to provide my passport details and all of my transport and accommodation was sorted. I was even lucky enough to be put up at the resort for the entire duration of my 4-day trip.

The bride changed things up from informal waves for her London ceremony to a sleek modern twist for her Italian nuptials. Both of her looks were created by Leila Karalic who switched effortlessly between the two perfect bridal looks.

The bridesmaids all wore full-length gowns which were designed by the bride’s mother. All the dresses picked up on colours from the floral decoration on the day at the reception and in the church. The pink handmade crochet dresses were made in collaboration with the bride’s mum and dressmakers in Sicily. Understandably, the wedding was running at a tight schedule. Karina and Leila were looking after the bride, mother of the bride, and sister and I had between 30-40 minutes for each bridesmaid. The day started at 11 am and the bride and her party left for the church around 4 pm. 

The original makeup plan for the bridesmaids included a lilac shadow, which we ended up changing on the day to better suit the colourings of the bridal party. Each bridesmaid had a smokey, natural eye with a slight highlight to the cheekbones using Vita Liberata Blur Luminosity Rose. The eyes were finished with Maybelline Lash Sensational Mascara and the face was kept flawless with Charlotte Tilbury Airbrush Flawless Finish Powder. To create a really natural lip, we ended up mixing two lip balms together: Dior Addict Lip Glow lip balm in 001 Pink and Glossier Generation G Sheer Matte Lipstick in Cake

All of these products created a natural look that had staying power well into the evening. I think we can all agree that the makeup used simply highlighted the natural beauty of all of the bridesmaids.

After the wedding ceremony, me, Karina and Leila were on hand to do some final touch-ups so that Irene could enjoy the rest of her evening and the fantastic fireworks display alongside all of her guests. 

On the second day, guests were treated to a beach party, and me and the team were again on hand to get Irene ready for the evening. Irene being the most welcoming host, then invited us to enjoy the party after we had got her ready. 

On the second day, Irene wore a white, flowing gown, decorated with olives and olive leaves, as dinner was to be served beneath the olive trees. The dress, designed by her mother, was paired with a beachy informal hairdo and beautiful diamond with jadeite earrings. 

Later on, Irene wore another of her mum’s designs. A mini dress that was hand-embroidered with coral and fish.

Photo: Holly Clark
Photo: Holly Clark

Although I’ve worked in fashion makeup for some time, I only started Mels Brides earlier in 2021. It was therefore such an honour to work on such a high profile event and this destination wedding was a real pinch-me moment. 

The day has already been shared by Tatler and Holly Clark’s photos are now published in Vogue.com. Working with such a professional team of hair and makeup professionals as well as the photographer, Holly, who have all worked on some high-profile weddings was a joy. 

I must extend my thanks to Irene and her team, who all made us feel so welcome and wish her and her husband, Felix, a lifetime of happiness together. 
If you’re planning a destination wedding, and are looking for a natural look for you and your bridesmaids then I’d love to talk to you.

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