After COVID-19 threatened to derail Ninnia Toledo and Nicholas (Niki) Osthus’s wedding plans, the couple had a month to start afresh. But before getting to their big day, which they shared with Bliss Magazine, the couple took a trip down memory lane to where it all began.
Every love story needs a good setting, and for jewellery designer Ninnia Toledo and property manager Nicholas (Niki) Osthus, it all began at Tony’s Bar. “I had just come out of a seven-year relationship and Niki was living in London at the time,” Ninnia recalls of that first encounter. Their paths would cross again some months later by sheer coincidence, when Ninnia’s best friend began dating Niki’s best friend. Asked if it was a case of love at first sight, she smiles, “there was definitely an immediate attraction.”
Four years later, Niki decided to pop the question, but all did not quite go as planned. “It was originally supposed to be on Christmas morning,” Ninnia says, explaining that her family normally exchange gifts before the rest of the family arrives for Christmas lunch.
“Everyone knew what was happening so everyone arrived earlier than usual, not leaving him time to find the right moment. He ended up being pressured by my cousins and had to propose in front of about 30 of us,” she laughs.
With the help of their nearest and dearest
Wedding planning began soon after, and unlike most brides, Ninnia decided to leave it all in the hands of her mother – accomplished interiors and fashion designer Pippa Toledo. “My mother took care of everything, from start to finish. I wasn’t stressed at all, but she was,” Ninnia recalls.
Yet, as 2020 has shown, sometimes, even the best laid plans are subject to change, and Ninnia’s wedding, along with so many others this year, was thrown into uncertain territory by COVID-19. “The reception was originally planned for 21st June 2020 at a villa in Marsascala, with mass at the Loreto Chapel in Gudja,” Ninnia says, admitting that in truth, her initial wish was to get married at Lapsi Church and have a reception at home, but it would only have been possible with a smaller wedding. And, as it turns out, that’s exactly what she ended up with.
After rescheduling and amending their original plans due to COVID-19 limitations, the couple tied the knot a month later, on 25th July 2020, with mass celebrated at Lapsi Church and a reception at home. “It’s actually what I always wanted,” the bride reveals happily.
One of the couple’s main priorities was that their big day would represent Ninnia and Niki’s personalities, and not “a stereotypical wedding we’re all used to”. The result was a bohemian-style garden party styled by Pippa Toledo, which exceeded the bride’s expectations: “I wanted it to be a bohemian fairy tale, and thanks to my mum, that’s exactly what I had.”
After a frantic month of preparations amidst the changing realities of COVID-19, their big day finally arrived, and Ninnia awoke feeling slightly the worse for wear. “I was exhausted! I had stayed up all night with my cousin watching a movie, so I only slept about four hours, but I was very calm until I left the house,” the laidback bride recalls. And it lasted right up until their personalised ceremony, during which, she recalls, “I even got a giggling fit right before I said, ‘I do’, which lasted for a while!”
The bride said her ‘I dos’ in impeccable style, in a gown designed by none other than her mother. “I always knew what I wanted when it came to my dress,” she recalls, describing it as a mix between bohemian and gypsy. “Having the most talented designer as a mother, she put it all together, including the bridesmaids’ dresses, while I designed all the jewellery and my headband, which I loved,” Ninnia adds.
An intimate celebration
Despite cutting their guest list in half, the couple were still able to celebrate with 120 of their nearest and dearest, with Niki’s father even making the trip from overseas to join in the celebrations.
Later on, true to form, the couple continued to sway from tradition when it came to their first dance, opting for an unusual choice of song. “We danced to ‘If You Think I’m Sexy’ by Rod Stewart,” they laugh.
Still, the day wasn’t without its emotional moments, Ninnia reveals. “I was lucky enough to have my grandmother, Therese Sullivan, who is a renowned floral designer and is now retired at the age of 89, do all the flower arrangements for my wedding. She was very unwell last year, and to see her setting up the church the day before was really emotional for me,” the bride recalls.
And looking back, despite the setbacks and frantic change of plans, the pair wouldn’t change a thing about their big day, admitting that it was just perfect for them. Sharing a few words of advice to other couples whose wedding plans may have been affected by COVID-19, Ninnia says, “to anyone who might be getting married in this uncertain time, sometimes, things work out for the better. As long as you’re surrounded by the people that mean the most to you, your day is going to be perfect.”