Written by Laura Bell, Photography by Amanda Temple.
It was a match made in heaven thanks to a mutual friend, wedding photographer Sacha Adamson, who introduced Natalie Luthi to her husband Eugene Chiaramonte. “Gene had worked with Sacha years ago and when they reconnected at a school drop-off, Sacha asked if he was seeing anyone,” said Natalie. “When he said no, she immediately said, ‘You have to meet my friend Natalie….’ Sacha then arranged a dinner party to introduce us in late July 2013. We are both extremely grateful!”
After 15 months of dating, on October 9, 2014, Gene proposed with his grandmother’s antique ring. “Gene suggested we go out to dinner and it was the day after a blood moon,” recalled Natalie. “We ate dinner at Sea Breeze and then took a walk on the beach. It was a beautiful, clear night and we watched the full moon rise above the sea during dinner.” As fate would have it, the couple bumped into their matchmaker and her husband on the beach that same night.
“[The ring] is absolutely stunning,” said Natalie. “It was Gene’s grandmother’s and made by an Italian jeweller. Gene and his grandmother were very close, and she wanted him to have it. I feel honoured to wear it.”
“And I love seeing it every day!” added Gene.
The couple hired Jane West to help coordinate their wedding day. (“Money well spent!” said Gene.) The wedding ceremony was held at St. Anne’s Church in Southampton with 200 friends and family as guests. Gene’s two sons Ted and Max were among his groomsmen—and Ted was in charge of carrying the rings. Natalie’s party included her sister, Celia Powell, her nieces, Chloe and Abigail Powell and Maya and Saskia Luthi, and her goddaughters Mary Page, Annabelle Trowbridge and Alejandra Tafur. Her brother Christian gave her away.
To honour Natalie’s father, Rolf Luthi, who passed away seven years ago, the couple chose to start the ceremony with a Swiss wedding yodel (he was originally from Switzerland) as Natalie’s mother walked down the aisle. To honour her mother, Natalie displayed her mother’s painting of a pink rose from her garden and asked Joy Barnum to sing “The Rose” during the ceremony. “She was amazing,” the bride said.
The couple also chose John Lennon’s “Grow Old with Me” as one of their hymns—a song full of meaning for Natalie. “The song was written here in Bermuda in 1980 when he rented my childhood home for the summer,” she said. “I have always loved the lyrics and the story of how he wrote the song. And the first summer Gene and I knew each other, we went to the Peace Day Concert which was called Grow Old with Me.”
The bride wore a custom pale pink gown by Boston designer Daniel Faucher. “I had tried on a number of dresses by other designers but nothing felt right,” said the bride. “After one visit with Daniel and lots of chatter, he had sketched something that I loved that was then fine-tuned in the first fitting.” Created to be as light as possible considering the heat for a July wedding, the dress was a floor-length silk crepe gown with English net, Alencon lace and imported Venice lace over a fitted sheath dress in very pale pink. The multi-layered skirts extended to a chapel train and the bodice had hand-clipped and appliqued lace detail. The veil was a chapel-length illusion veil with Alencon and Venice appliques throughout. “Daniel also made my mother’s dress and the time we spent together for our dress fittings was very memorable,” added Natalie.
The groom and groomsmen—who are all avid fishermen—wore boutonnieres made from sprigs of Bermuda cedar and fishing flies chosen by the groom’s mother and sister.
Despite the rain—3.6 inches of it!—that threatened to dampen their day the couple left the church in a traditional Bermuda horse and carriage. “I really wanted the children in the wedding party to experience a Bermuda wedding carriage ride,” said Natalie. “So Gene and I shared the one carriage we could secure for the ride to the reception with the children, the best man and the matron of honour. It took a lot longer than anticipated due to wet roads, but the sky cleared long enough for us to enjoy it!”
The reception was held at Coral Beach Club where florist Suzan Sickling created simple, stunning centerpieces of coral and pink roses with gloriosa lilies and local greens. Suzan’s sister Judiann Smith created an arrangement for the bridal table in a family epergne. “The flowers were somewhat chosen for the time of the year and the heat,” said the bride. “I have always loved the gloriosa lily and Suzan Sickling actually managed to find some for the tables! She also used some local greens which I was thrilled to see. We wanted the tables to be simple and natural looking.”
After a memorable performance by Heather Nova and her brother, Mishka—including a song written especially for the newlyweds—the couple and their guests danced the night away to Working Title. “They were outstanding,” said Natalie. “Even people who had heard them before (including us!) thought they were on fire that night.” At the end of the night, the couple gifted their guests with facecloths stitched with Bermudian sayings. Kept cold and wet with mint essence added, the cool cloths were a huge hit as favours since everyone was so hot from dancing.
“It was just such a great day seeing everyone come together and support us,” said Gene. As for advice for other couples, the groom had the following words of wisdom: “It’s best to support the bride and let her make it her day. Oh, and be packed and ready for the honeymoon before the wedding. Getting ready Sunday night for a Monday morning flight was nuts!”