Every destination wedding album often showcases weddings held in places that are romantic and touristy like Bora Bora, Paris, Italy and Spain. But what about the exotic continent of Africa? A land where lions roam free living harmoniously with the aboriginal tribes that seem to know every corner of the plains. Join our couple, Luca and Antonella, as they held their special yet commemorative wedding in Southern Kenya (technically, wedding anniversary)!
The Kenyan savannah on the beautiful Chyulu Hills has the most breathtaking and astonishing view anyone can dream of! Luca and Antonella, who founded and run the wonderful eco lodge Campi ya Kanzi at the foothills of Kilimanjaro, provided safari lovers a lovely paradise that’s extremely respectful of the Maasai people and their culture. With the Maasai community actively collaborating in the structure, you can even spot some of their Masai friends present in these shots too, contributing to the atmosphere of pure happiness.
Luca and Antonella’s had a 20-year old long affection and love for the land of Kenya. Both moved here when Luca voiced his desire. He, as a child, personally lived and never forgot the dream safari with his father. Like any other person used to the city life would know, Antonella was at first terrified by this idea but she turned out to be Luca’s faithful companion.
They not only decided to move their residence to this natural paradise, but also in collaboration with several Kenyans and even with the well-known actor Edward Norton, they founded the MWCT, Maasai Wilderness Conservation Trust in 2000. It was a foundation that aims to protect the Maasai tribal territory, in the triple aspects of nature, wildlife and the local culture.
Their magnificent eco lodge Campi ya Kanzi was the setting of this incredible wedding, which saw Luca and Antonella more united thanks to the presence of their three beautiful children. They were a great and beautiful family, and with their three blond children, born and raised in Africa, they faced countless difficulties. However, imagine the undeniable human enrichment a child gets from being born and raised in the wild, out of your comfort zone! Even the whole Maasai community consider them as their own children!
Our bride and groom have three kids raised by the Maasai. Lucrezia, a wild girl with long blond hair and blue eyes, was the modern day Pocahontas! Always barefoot around the savannah, she doesn’t care about acacia thorns in her feet. Totally in love with her parents, she was that joyful, bubbly girl who was pure and beautiful, running free like a bird. The sweet pictures of Antonella and Lucrezia getting ready together, helping each other with loving care was a wonderful sight to behold of. Lorenzo and Jacopo, were equally wild. They were two crazy boys with blue eyes, tireless and very funny. They couldn’t leave their father alone even when he was shaving! Luca helped to dress the twins in their wonderful African house. Looking just as smart, the children were looking no less prepared than their parents for this lovely wedding.
The ceremony took place on the green Chyulu hills and their special friends, the Maasai, were their guests and their witnesses. Standing tall, elegant and proud in their typical red dress, the shuka, the Maasai women and warriors put on the makeup and the jewelry prepared by them to honor their friends Luca and Antonella. The rite was very intense because Luca, Antonella and the kids read very touching letters, all of them prepared for that moment. Tears streaked down from Luca’s eyes. Between the bride and the groom, between the parents and the kids, between the Maasai and the white Italian family. It really was an African dream.
Our groom and his boys were in a team, while the ladies were in another. They set aside a place to meet. Both were holding white flowers and it was just such a sweet event!
When the vows and reading were done, Luca, Antonella and the kids was given a little throw by the Masaai community. They were having some fun too, throwing the couple and the children in the air, celebrating the joyous moment.
Nicola Tonolini hopes that through these pictures, everyone gets to experience the powerful emotions he had here and the amazing journey it is to be able to shoot in Kenya. How lucky Luca and Antonella are also to have build their family there. The warm bound they have with the local population and the absolutely incredible colors of this magical land show us that another world is possible- a world where we live the moment and one that is entrenched so deeply into the Maasai culture and philosophy.
Photography: Nicola Tonolini Fotografo