Graziano Di Prima’s Sicilian wedding to Giada Lini was as authentic as they come – and a true privilege to witness.
On the steadily scorching morning of their special day on July 9, the Strictly Come Dancing pro opened up his heart and the door to his childhood home to welcome OK! inside his inner circle.
If he’s nervous, it doesn’t show as the 28-year-old appeared from his balcony to greet us, wearing only a navy blue satin robe and Nike sliders, his hair immaculate. “My mum has been up since 5am cleaning because he knew you were coming,” he laughs.
His front door is decorated with white ribbons and flowers, signalling to his neighbours that it it’s his special day. Locals who have known Graziano from childhood through to when he left his small town of Riesi to follow his dancing dreams aged 17 drive past the narrow, challenging streets to beep and declare their warmest wishes.
Inside, his home is humble and immaculate with marble floors and tasteful decor. A selection of OK! magazines are stacked underneath a glass table laid out with Champagne flutes. “My mother loves OK!,” he confesses.
Downstairs, the garage has been converted into a dance studio by his father for his son. Graziano’s trophies and certificates still adorn the wall.
“I knew by ten years old dancing was the only way for me,” says Graziano as he changes into a jet black three piece suit with diamante detail on the tie. “When my dad used to see me watching dance shows on TV, at first he was like, ‘There’s something wrong with you’, because everyone else was out playing football. But he worked 15 hour days to support my dream, and mum would drive me 1hr and 40 minutes to classes in Catania.”
The memory triggers Graziano’s first tears of the day as he embraces his mum Giovanna tightly on the balcony. It releases a wave of emotion throughout the family, as his dad Pietro Filippo breaks down, and then his brother Pietro. “They’ve just been there for me so much,” he says.
His mother Giovanna is pristinely dressed and looks as glamorous as a dancer, while his father Pietro Filippo is shorter than Graziano, handsomely grey-haired with a kind smile. Their hospitality is unsparing, and it becomes obvious where Graziano gets his genuine charm from.
Amidst the hustle and bustle of his family getting ready, Graziano unprompted shares stories of his humble beginnings and his dreams of making it big, and how Giada has been part of that journey since the very beginning.
“I met Giada when I was 19, on the first dance program I worked on in Italy and fell in love instantly,” he says. “It was instant – but not for her. Giada was very professional. She’s from the north of Italy where people are more reserved. Where I’m from, people touch and say ‘I love you’.
“After the season finished, I was calling her all the time – I just wanted to speak to her and spend time with her. Slowly, with my persistence, something started to develop and we had a kiss. That’s all! Then we had to spend five months apart working on different shows but became really close. I bought two rings, but I wasn’t sure if she would stay with me.
“I said, if she doesn’t want it I’ll give one to my mum. So I rang her up and told her I was back in Italy and that I missed her so much – and when I turned around, she was there in the airport. She had called my mum and found out where I was. From there, we started to be together.”
Read more on Graziano’s stunning Sicilian wedding below.