Natalie Marie Cowan, the merchandise manager for beauty at Selfridges, and Johnny Guselli, the account manager for a Scandinavian fashion brand, met through work. She interviewed him for a job, and then they were office friends for a few years, before Johnny told her how he felt. After 18 months of dating, on Natalie’s birthday before they were going to Paris, Johnny got down on one knee in a crowded restaurant. When she said, “Yes!,” everyone in the restaurant went wild. He had arranged for their friends to be in a nearby bar with champagne after dinner. The two then jetted off to the French capital and celebrated even more there.
The summer before their engagement, the couple had fallen in love with Puglia. “It’s the perfect mix of Ibizan vibes, local and rustic Italian food—and my favorite wine in the world is from Puglia,” says Natalie. When they found Masseria Potenti, they knew it was perfect for their wedding and were obsessed with the family running the venue just as much as the venue itself. “It’s a beautiful sanctuary and oasis that felt contemporary and cool, as well as traditional, and we wanted everyone we know to be able to enjoy it and live it with us for our special day.” The pair planned a three-day getaway for friends and family coming from the U.K. and Italy.
Natalie chose her dress from Australian brand Grace Loves Lace, as they had just opened their London showroom in Shoreditch. She went with an off-the-shoulder, low back, Italian lace bohemian gown with a perfect amount of stretch for dancing the night away in Aquazurra lace booties. As a beauty merchandise manager, she really knows her makeup and decided to do her own for the big day. The bride also put orchids in her hair, as a nod to her father who passed away a few years ago; they were his favorite flower. Meanwhile, the groom wore a pale blue, bespoke suit from Richard James, Saville Row with Gucci loafers and tie.
The ceremony was at the Chiese Madre church, about five minutes away in the town of Manduria. “The guests got a real feel of Italy, finding the church through cobbled streets,” says Natalie. During the Catholic ceremony, with Italian elements, emotions ran high. “Johnny cried a lot, especially when he saw me walk down the aisle. I joked that if he didn’t cry, I’d walk back and come back in again until he did!” the bride recalls. After the I dos, gelato was served to guests in the street.
The reception kicked off in the courtyard with an Italian street feast, where attendees were greeted with Peroni and Aperol spritzers, a live band, stalls of antipasti, a cold-cuts corner, and a cheese station, the guests were so happy they were dancing before dinner.
The newlyweds made an unforgettable entrance, driving into the reception in a Fiat 500, with Natalie hanging out of the roof. “The guests were so surprised! It was a really fun moment that everyone will remember,” says the bride. For dinner, seating arrangements were written on tambourines, which were hung above everyone’s seat. “These made great souvenirs, and everyone used them to toast the speeches too!” Natalie’s step-father and best man gave speeches, and so did Johnny’s best man and best woman.
Diner was served family style in big bowls and on boards for everyone to share and talk around, and dessert was buffet style. After the meal was over, guests were led into a Moroccan-inspired party area with colorful lights, a live band, and a DJ.
Natalie and Johnny got the party started with a first dance to Calvin Harris and Disciples’s “How Deep Is Your Love,” performed acoustically by one of Natalie’s ,” says Natalie. “It was so special and original, and then half way through, the beat dropped and tempo sped up, and all the guests joined the dance floor, which was a real wedding day highlight.”