Megi Mara, product manager at Christian Dior, and Edouard Gros, merchandising director at The North Face, were introduced by mutual friends in Naples. After dating for four years, and living part-time in separate cities, he proposed on a picnic in Val Verzasca, in the same Swiss Alps valley where she used to go hiking as a child, with a beautiful Repossi ring.
Since Megi works in fashion and has been exposed to some extraordinary gowns in her lifetime, she wanted something special but unique for herself. “What I had in mind was an early-century evening dress with a wedding twist,” she explains. Bill Gaytten, the art director of John Galliano, custom-made her an organza, silk, striped jacquard dress with handmade guipure embroidery and pearl and seashell embellishments.
To complete her bridal look, Megi also wore Jimmy Choo Mimi 100 heels and Christian Dior Joaillerie pearl earrings. “Knowing Megi, I knew she was preparing something spectacular. I wanted to look sharp,” Edouard says. “I chose a classic navy blue tuxedo from Dior Homme with a white wing collar shirt and Dior Derby shoes.”
Because the two met in Italy, they drove along the coast from San Remo to the south of Tuscany to find the perfect venue that would accommodate their guests coming from at least 12 different countries. When they found Castello Brown, with 365-degree views of Portofino, it immediately took their breath away. To help plan their September wedding, they hired Giovanna Damonte.
On the day-of, at the Divo Martino Church in the heart of the old town, Megi walked down the aisle with her father to Edouard and her uncle, Father Emmanuel Gros, who officiated the ceremony in French and Italian. “Megi and her father showed up 20 minutes late—apparently that’s tradition in Italy,” the groom says. “But the moment I was most nervous and excited was when Megi entered the church and slowly walked down the aisle. It seemed like eternity. Then everything went too fast!”
After the ceremony, the couple walked across town and up to Castello Brown’s garden, where an Aperitivo and live jazz were waiting. “Aperitivo is sacred in Italian tradition, and we wanted our guest to discover it,” Megi says. “Vernissage by Daö Vittorio, prepared seven different food stations all offering different traditional Italian specialties, such as Ligurian seafood, pizza, focaccia, and local cheeses—[all] paired with French champagne.”
Inside the castle, guests found their seats for dinner, which consisted of langoustine strawberries, champagne risotto, and sea bass with ratatouille. For dessert in the garden, the couple cut into an Italian Crostata with wild strawberries. “The reception was entirely decorated following the theme of flowers of the regions: chamomile, lisianthus, lemons, and olive leaves.”
Under twinkling lights, the newlyweds had their first dance to a traditional Albanian wedding folk song, as a nod to Megi’s heritage. “It was a blast, and by mid-song, everybody was already on the dance floor with us!”
“[At the end of the night,] our biggest challenge was to get everybody down from the castle,” the bride says. “We hung out on the pier with our friends for a bit and then walked home.”