With four languages between them (Italian, German, French, English), Gianni, an Italian born in Germany, and Rachel, born in France, are what Rachel calls "a beautiful mess". A shared passion for travel and running global businesses meant they had the whole world open to them, and they chose the Florida Keys for their intimate and elegant beach wedding. Our Fave Bob Care Photography captured all the lovely toes-in-the-sand shots at Islamorada's Cheeca Lodge & Spa that we're sharing with you today.
Gianni and Rachel first met in 2009, at a sales meeting between the companies each worked for. Rachel tells us that they immediately had a "professional click", but they were both married at the time, and that was all... until two years later, when they met again at a conference. Timing was key: they were both separated from their previous relationships, and the initial meeting turned into a drink, then a coffee, then dinner, until they realized they couldn't just go their separate ways after the conference ended. From there, their relationship blossomed; half a year later, they moved to Düsseldorf together. In 2013, at the top of John Hancock tower in Chicago, Gianni asked Rachel to be his wife.
The two love the US and have traveled here often. Their first trip together was to Key West in 2011, and as Rachel tells us, the Florida Keys are significant in their relationship: "This is where we made to each other the promise that we were really going to make this happen, no matter how difficult it would be with our families, ex partners, with the financial side, the emotional side, we would be there to support each other and we would do it and quick. So the Keys meant a lot for us. We both already had the big wedding with 200 people, where you only run from one side to the other, enjoy nothing, are surrounded by people you do not even know well so we both wanted something else. Something personal, for us, something deep with our closest family and friends."
After some online research, Rachel discovered and clicked with Peggy of Destination Wedding Studio, and the plans flowed from there: they decided on Islamorada, and Cheeca Lodge & Spa, to host their loved ones for the week, and chose an elegant black and white theme to keep it classy and create a beautiful contrast with a laid-back beach wedding.
The couple's favorite moments of the day were during the ceremony and their portrait session, afterwards. From the bride: "The ceremony because it was so real, so intense, we felt as if we were alone on some parts of the world, being able to tell each other for real how we feel and sharing this with our close family and friends. And the picture time because it was wonderful to enjoy this moment between just the two of us."
“The sand under my naked feet, the colors in the sky, Gianni's hand in mine, the feeling that 'Yes, after all we have gone through this is it, we made it, we both have arrived where we wanted to be', this was wonderful.”
One of the sweetest bits of the couple's story: In the midst of the wedding planning, on Valentine's Day of last year, the two made a trip to Rachel's hometown of Lyon. They planned to see Rachel's family, enjoy a show with their favorite band (30 Seconds to Mars), and Rachel would try on gowns from her favorite designer, Pronovias. What they didn't plan on was a huge surprise: Rachel got the call from her doctor that she was pregnant! It was just in time to plan for the right dress - and enjoy sharing the news in person with her family.
A passion for music is one of the things Gianni and Rachel love most about each other. Says Rachel, "We both go crazy for all kinds of music; there is always music in our house!"
Gorgeous, right? These are the moments you hold onto forever. Congratulations, Gianni, Rachel... and sweet little baby Mayla!