Alice the Bride:
After looking at numerous places online around London (where we live) and Kent (where we’re both originally from) we couldn’t find anywhere we liked that:
- Was within our budget
- We hadn’t already been to about 5 weddings there (we’re at that prime wedding guest age!)
- That we really, really, REALLY liked
So we decided to use our summer holiday in 2016 as an opportunity to look further afield. Having been to the Amalfi coast 4 years previously (in fact on my first holiday with John) which we absolutely adored - I instantly gravitated towards Italy. The food, the wine, the people, the sun...it was a no brainer. After a lot of google research and after chatting to someone who had just got married in the region I settled on Umbria as a good scouting ground for our venue search.
Rock My Wedding
was super helpful when it came to homing in on potential venues in the region. We visited 5 venues whilst on holiday, everything from villas to castles, but the venue we fell head over heels for was Abbazia San Pietro
in Valle, an old monastery in Ferentillo. It was perfect, on top of a hill in the middle of the Umbrian countryside and unbelievably it fell within our price range.
The people that own Abbazia are ridiculously helpful, kind people, which made it so much easier when it came to planning our big day. Chiara and Frederica were always very open to our weird and wonderful wedding dreams...questions like ‘can we transform the basement into a hip hop club?’, ‘can we invite a local brewery to come and serve craft beer?’, ‘can we party until 5am?’ were all met with a friendly ‘it’s your wedding...do as you wish!'...this is pretty unheard of normally! They really couldn't have done more, which was so helpful as we planned the entire wedding on our own to save on a wedding planner.
Walking down the aisle was very emotional with my dad next to me, my smiling mum at the front, my brother singing and John waiting at the end with tears in his eyes – but I somehow I made it down without losing it!
We had the lovely Sofia from Tuscan Pledges
leading our ceremony. Our sisters, Rosie & Helen both chose their own readings to read during the service and they were perfect. Helen read an extract from The Alchemist (Paulo Coelho) and Rosie read a beautiful poem called ‘The One’. We asked my best friend Hannah to ‘bring the God’ and read a verse from the bible, and she made it extra special for us by talking about mine & John’s relationship and how the bible verse corresponded.
After a lot of buying dresses and sending back I managed to find my final bridesmaid dresses on ASOS
, my bridesmaids looked stunning on the day, the red lipstick and gold accessories looked great with the nude colour dresses. My pretty little flower girl, Tiggy, wore a dress from M&S
and our handsome page boy, Freddie, wore a suit from John Lewis
. John fancied going for a ‘Godfather’ black tux and red rose look (being in Italy) but although his groomsmen and him looked super suave in their tuxes, retrospectively it may not have been the best idea for 36 degree heat! My dress was by London designer Charlotte Simpson
Abbazia San Pietro
in Valle is so incredibly beautiful we didn’t really need to do a lot to it, although I did spend quite a bit on candles and festoon lighting...everything is so much more magical in candlelight!
We hired a local florist to make the groomsmen’s buttonholes and the bridal bouquets but again, as the venue was so beautiful we didn’t need to fill the place with flowers. Instead our wonderful family and friends mucked in and helped create simple olive branch garlands for our banquet tables and a few wild flower displays for the church - all sourced from the surrounding countryside!