Written by Annabel Cooper. Photography by Alexander Masters.
“There are so many gorgeous vibrant colours in Bermuda in the summer—the blues of the sky, the turquoise of the ocean and the bright green of the foliage,” says Sophia Collis. “We didn’t want to compete with what we were given naturally. Having the white made everything ‘pop’ just that much more, whilst having a very romantic feel to it.”
Sophia Stefanatto and Justin Collis were married by Bishop Nicholas Dill on August 12, 2017, at St. John’s Church, Pembroke, with the reception at Coral Beach Club in Paget. St. John’s is the Collis family church and they are the fourth generation to be married there. The theme throughout the day was effortless elegance incorporating all aspects of the bride and groom’s backgrounds.
“Justin’s only requests for the day were to have the wedding at his family church and for the men to be in white dinner jackets, like his father and grandfather, and my grandfather, were married in,” explains Sophia. “I think sometimes when too much colour is involved it can feel a little contrived—that was what I didn’t want.
“Besides the bride and groom both being in white, our tiny details were also white. All of our flowers were white, our wedding favours for the guests were white and all of our signage and ribbons were white too.” The wedding favours were sugared almonds wrapped in a tiny piece of the bride’s veil. This is an Italian tradition and a nod to that part of Sophia’s heritage.
Both Bermudian, Sophia and Justin met on a grey, rainy Bermuda Day in 2012. She had braved the weather and gone to Horseshoe Bay for the traditional first dip of the year and Justin just happened to be on lifeguard duty that very same day. They moved to London in September 2013 where Sophia is a trainee lawyer and Justin a medical student. Almost exactly four years later, in April 2016, they got engaged. “My engagement ring is a solitaire diamond ring set in platinum,” says Sophia. “Simple and classic, much like my style.”
Their Bermudian and family heritage was also very much the main focus throughout the wedding. They were whisked away from the church in a horse and carriage, the bridal party enjoyed a boat ride on the African Queen, owned by family friend James Anfossi, and they chose Coral Beach Club for its “old school vibe.” Justin also has some South African roots so the signature cocktail at the reception was the Joburg.
Dinner and dancing was held on Coral Beach’s outdoor terrace. White flowers, adorned the tables, white fairy lights hung from on high and when a sprinkling of rain made a brief appearance, the guests covered their heads with the white table napkins! “We had a very brief shower between courses at the reception but this made for hilarious photo opportunities of our guests with napkins on their heads,” says Sophia.
In the run up to their wedding day, Sophia and Justin had had a tough year. She had to have an emergency surgery in April and there was a point when they thought they might have to postpone the wedding. “I think having the wedding date really helped me with my recovery,” she says. “In light of the challenges we have faced, we are so lucky to have had such a beautiful day surrounded by our favourite people.”