In 2017, neither Sephora nor Dwayne would have said that they believed in love at first sight. That is, until they met, and the rest, as they say, is history.
From a love of travelling, cooking and hiking to their favourite style of décor, Sephora recalls how they “clicked” on just about everything, and within a short time, both had the distinct feeling that they had met the person that they would spend the rest of their life with.
An artist and art historian, Sephora is creative, spontaneous and outgoing, and is complemented perfectly by Dwayne who, as an engineer, has a calm demeanour and analytical mind. “I’m the creative one and Dwayne is very practical,” laughs Sephora, in what is obviously a coupling where both appreciate the qualities of the other.
Convinced that it was not a case of if but when they would get married, the couple embarked on house hunting – again, in total agreement of what it was they were looking for in their future home.
As nature lovers, Sephora secretly hoped that the proposal, when it happened, would be outdoors and in a romantic location, and Dwayne did not disappoint. In late 2019, whilst on a trip to the picturesque city of Vienna, Dwayne asked Sephora to be his wife just as snow started falling around them.
Neither wanted a long engagement and by the beginning of 2020, plans were underway for their wedding. Both recall the planning stage as a fun experience, having agreed to scale down their original plans and to opt for a wedding that would be small, intimate, and elegant.
The first decision made was the venue, with Rosselli – AX Privilege in Valletta chosen as it embodied everything they were looking for regarding the décor and menu. The couple reveal that they were particularly impressed by the tailor-made service that the establishment offered, which catered for their every need.
Undaunted by the restrictions imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic, Sephora and Dwayne were determined to go ahead with the ceremony, and as soon as seated gatherings with social distancing were permitted, the date was set for late spring 2021. Opting for a six-course meal, they envisaged the reception as a shared “culinary experience” with their guests and were even more excited as the restaurant within the Rosselli, Under Grain, had just been awarded its first Michelin star.
When it came to the wedding dress, in keeping with the understated theme of the wedding, Sephora knew that she was looking for a combination of simplicity and style. Surprisingly, her dream dress was presented to her early on in her search – as the very first gown she saw at Wedding Bells in Valletta, which offers a wide range of choices to suit all tastes.
Having described what she wanted, Sephora was amazed to be shown a dress that matched almost exactly what she had envisaged but, unable to believe it could be that easy, she still visited several other shops before returning to claim this first gown, in purest white, that had stolen her heart. It would take just a few minor alterations from an excellent seamstress to make it perfect, and Sephora completed the outfit with a long simple veil that would trail gracefully behind her as she made her way down the aisle.
The same simplicity was reflected in the choice of flowers, with Sephora opting for a demure bouquet of white peonies, a flower she has always loved for its beauty, both in bud and in bloom. For Dwayne and his two brothers, who were his best man and witness, dark blue morning suits were the order of the day, with orchids as the chosen flower for the boutonnieres.
On the day of the wedding, it was an early start for the bride, along with her mother and sister, and the first task was to have their hair styled by Justin and Mark from Hair Factory, ready for the occasion. Sephora’s hair was teased into a low bun, followed by a visit from the makeup artist as the hour quickly approached for the entourage to make the journey to the church. They did so in a white Austin Princess that, as a spacious seven-seater, was able to carry all the immediate family members.
The church chosen for the ceremony was Our Lady of Victory – Valletta’s oldest church, which marks the foundation stone of the city. Sephora describes it as “a personal choice” as it reflects her passion for historical art and architecture. Dwayne and his groomsmen had stayed at another hotel and according to tradition, waited patiently at the altar for the bride, who was given away by her father. The ensuing ceremony was both touching and joyous as, in the presence of family and friends, Sephora and Dwayne made their vows to one another in a service conducted by Father John Scicluna, who has known them for some time.
On exiting the church, the newlywed’s love of nature was once again demonstrated with gathered olive leaves thrown as an eco-friendly alternative to confetti. The olive leaf theme was also repeated in the decoration of the wedding cake.
The man in charge of capturing the memories that day was Kris Micallef, a photographer whose work Sephora had long admired after seeing an exhibition of his art several years before, deciding then that he would one day be the person to photograph her big day.
All 36 guests at the reception that followed had received a personally written invitation on handmade paper, that had been personally written by Sephora to add a further personal touch to the proceedings. Arriving at the Rosselli after the ceremony, the mood was exuberant as the champagne flowed, speeches were made, and an exquisite meal was served.
Now, as their life together proceeds and new memories are made, the events of that day remain forever with them as the day when two hearts became one and, as Sephora says, "despite the circumstances, love always wins."