Danica, 29, and Matthew Decesare, 38, first met by pure coincidence, on Danica’s 25th birthday. “Matt was watching a football match when my friends and I walked into the same bar, making lots of noise,” Danica recalls. One of her friends knew Matt and went over to say hi, and when he mentioned that they were out celebrating Danica’s birthday, Matt asked to be introduced to the birthday girl. “We started dating a couple of weeks later, and the rest is history,” she smiles.
For Danica, it became clear that Matt was the one a few short months into the relationship. “We got along very easily and both love to travel – we’re always planning our next trip together!” she says. As for Matthew, things became serious when Danica moved in with him. “Living with the person before taking the relationship to the next level was extremely important to me. That’s when I realised, I can marry this girl,” he says.
The proposal soon followed, in the couple’s favourite city: Florence. “We visited Florence together after dating for just three months and have visited every year since then. We had gone to Rome with Matt’s family for mid-term break, and before we left, Matt suggested that him and I catch a train to Florence for lunch at our favourite restaurant,” Danica recalls.
“I’m not a romantic person, so organising something extravagant was out of the question,” says Matthew, who was intent on proposing in their special city, but wanted to wait for the right moment. “Whilst at lunch, I joked about how small the ring she had on was, to which Danica replied that she was waiting for someone to upgrade it! I then asked her to get me something from her bag, whilst I put the ring on the table and said, ‘how about we upgrade it now?’”
This was in November 2017, and knowing that they didn’t want a long engagement, the wedding preparations began soon after. The date was set for seven months later, 28th June 2018, with a ceremony at St Philips Parish Church in Zebbug, a church that is close to Danica’s dad’s heart. “I had to grant him his wish of walking me down the aisle in that church.”
And while the pair agreed on most elements of their big day, there was one thing they just couldn’t agree on: the guest list. “If it were up to Matt, we would have had a much bigger wedding! In the end, the guest list was bigger than I was initially hoping, but we both compromised,” she explains. Other decisions were far easier. “We knew it had to be Villa Arrigo,” they say. The pair also chose the food menu, courtesy of Osborne Caterers, together, and Matthew took care of the drinks, while other elements like the flowers and invitations were left in Danica’s hands.
As for other details they were set on, Danica and Matthew agree that the flow of the wedding was important. “We wanted the reception to be a bit different from the ones we had been to, so we started off at Villa Arrigo’s Secret Garden with an acoustic duo, prosecco bar and cold canapés for two hours,” says Danica. “We then moved up to the gazebo for the speeches and cake. After the cake was cut, we had two buffet tables open; a chateaubriand carvery and a red prawn flambé, and then danced away!”
And with just seven months to plan it all out, the pair feel that the time constraint actually made the process less stressful. “When we started planning I said to myself that I needed to be open to other options than what I would initially want but luckily, we managed to find everything that we set out for,” says Danica, while Matthew adds, “there wasn’t much room for contemplating. We discussed, agreed and finalised immediately.”
And when the big day finally arrived, the pair were calm as cucumbers. “I was surprisingly very calm and spent most of the morning with my parents making sure we had the last-minute things sorted. Then, my bridesmaids came over and the fun began,” smiles Danica, who enjoyed getting pampered with her crew before getting her makeup done by the talented Jennifer Dimech.
Admitting that he’s quite a relaxed person, Matthew says that it felt like just another day when he first woke up, heading over to his parents’ house after getting a few last titbits out of the way. “It was only when my father said we should start getting ready that what was about to happen actually hit me. I must admit that I got anxious, but I think that’s normal,” he laughs.
Heading over to the church in their Percius cars, it was time for the most special part of the day: the ceremony. Walking down the aisle to meet her husband-to-be, Danica admits feeling emotional. “I was worried I’d ugly cry while walking down the aisle, but thankfully I put on a big grin and smiled for most of it until I looked at my dad, who got emotional, so then I shed a few tears too,” she says.
The bride wore a stunning Cymbeline gown from Camilleri Paris Mode. “I tried on another few dresses which just didn’t cut it, until finally, when I tried the one I eventually chose, I instantly knew. I could see my mother’s eyes shine as soon as they opened the curtain for her to see – she loved it just as much as I did.” The bride teamed the dress with an elegant headpiece sourced by her sister-in-law Krista, and shoes she bought in London.
The mass was celebrated by three priests, Fr Stefan Attard, who gave a sweet homily; Fr John Scicluna, who had guided the couple through the Kana course and is also a distant relative of Matthew, who gave them their vows; as well as Fr Anton D’Amato, an old friend of Danica, who assisted. “It was the most special part of the whole day,” says Danica. “When we read our vows and Fr John blessed our rings, it was such a special moment, and one that I vividly remember from the whole day.”
Looking back, the newlyweds agree that it was the ceremony which was their favourite part of the day. “With all the planning and preparations, you seem to forget that ultimately, it all boils down to that moment, and to me, it was most definitely the best part,” says Danica, to which Matthew adds, “I enjoyed the whole day, but I have to agree that the exchanging of the vows was the most special part of it all. The party was great too though!”