REBECCA AND DANNY: A Real Life Fairy Tale Italian Wedding

The bride wore a princess gown with antique-like beading and rhinestones. The wedding set against the backdrop of Guardia Sanframondi, Italy with a gown fit for a princess and a groom who is so clearly in love. How could this not be a scene from a book of fairy tales? In reality, this is the real-life wedding of Rebecca Lynn Morash and Danny MacKinnon -who also happen to be high-school sweethearts. When Rebecca was just 13-years-old she agreed to a date with Danny. They met up to watch a local junior hockey game and as they say, the rest is history. They spent their formative years side-by-side and grew together as a couple. After 15 years together, Rebecca awoke on Christmas morning to an engagement ring in her stocking. After she gave a big, emphatic “yes,” the first thing they both agreed on was that they wanted a destination wedding –and they knew it had to be in Italy. The decision was easy: The pair visit Guardia Sanframondi, Italy often, so it only made sense that their dream getaway destination would serve as the backdrop for their wedding. But planning a wedding in a tiny Italian town with no official accommodation proved to be a problem. That’s when Rebecca turned to Kelly Neonakis-Morash, her step-mom and owner of Sunshine Vows, to help her with the arrangements. “I would never have taken this on by myself. If we didn’t have a Kelly in our lives it would not have been something we would have done,” Rebecca laughs, adding that Kelly pieced many of the most challenging details together, including making all the arrangements for guest accommodation. And as over 80 guests far and wide began to arrive at the small and charming town of Guardia Sanframondi, they were welcomed into the authentic Italian lifestyle. The guests quickly fell in love with the area and the graciousness of the locals. Rebecca and Danny wanted to ensure the authenticity of their guests’ experience, so with Kelly’s expert help, they arranged a tour of Italy alongside the wedding. They whisked everyone off to a fully-planned journey to Rome (where they toured the Colosseum, Trevi Fountain, Spanish Steps and the Vatican), Minori on the Amalfi Coast, and of course, to Pompeii. Back in Guardia Sanframondi, Rebecca and Danny, along with stepmother-of-the-bride and wedding specialist Kelly, set about preparing for their big day. The boys visited the local barber for a haircut and enjoyed a few beers. After grabbing coffee at Rebecca’s favourite local shop, she gathered her closest girlfriends for a hair and makeup session before enjoying a long, leisurely antipasto lunch. Afterwards, the bride slipped on her princess-style dress –sparkling in the sun from the antique-style beading –and made her way to the local medieval castle, a majestic structure built in 1139. Thanks to a recent restoration that

has made inner-access to the attraction possible, Rebecca and Danny were the first couple to marry in the ancient castle in more than 1000 years. “As I walked down the aisle I just remember breathing a sigh of relief,” says Rebecca. “People had come all this way and I was just hoping it would all come together. It was so surreal.” Standing alongside four groomsmen dressed in grey, and four bridesmaids glowing in pale pink, Rebecca and Danny joined hands in the garden terrace of the castle overlooking the valley below as they said their vows. As a memento of their special day, they each wrote a letter and placed it inside a box of local Italian wine before hammering it closed –to be opened again on their fifth wedding anniversary. Afterwards, the newlyweds joined their friends and family in the castle’s courtyard, which glittered with twinkle lights strung from olive trees while hundreds of white candles lit up the Italian landscape. “My favourite part of the evening was our first dance. It just kind of kicked off the party and we danced to an Italian band and then a DJ for about eight hours,” Rebecca recalls. The bride’s second favourite part? “We ordered too many bottles of Champagne, so we ended up spraying about 80 percent of it at our guests,” she laughs. “We were dancing, and people were ripping off their shirts and being sprayed with Moët, it was crazy.” Rebecca smiles. “But if I could,I’d go back and do it all over again.”