Oh. My. word. This wedding is beautiful. It is classy. It is elegant. It is so super sleek. We’re talking the most beautiful of pastel shades for bridesmaid dresses, the most glorious backless Jenny Packham gown, stunning stationery and festoon lights. They are my very favourite kind of lights.
Photographer Lelia Scarfiotti has captured the mood perfectly with her romantic and dreamy shots. Prepare to swoon.
Amanda The Bride: Within days of Conor proposing to me, and despite knowing that we planned to be engaged for a while, I announced that we should get married in Tuscany. We had holidayed together in that part of Italy the year before and had been blown away by the beautiful countryside and we were already huge
fans of Italian food, wine and culture. My idea was quickly dismissed but after several months of travelling to English wedding venues and considering some Irish options we couldn’t find a solution that fulfilled our top priorities: somewhere beautiful where we could get our friends and family together for a whole weekend of celebrations and no one was ! going to tell us what time to go to bed.
Luckily for me, it turns out Italians share our values and in the meantime I’d (secretly) managed to find the wonderful Rossana of Weddings In Italy who assured me we could find somewhere that would fit the bill. Soon after we were in Tuscany for a full-on weekend of venue viewing and about half way through something wonderful happened… We walked into Vignamaggio. The beautiful renaissance villa and gardens took our breath away and we knew that we had found our perfect venue.
My Tuscan wedding secured, I scoured the internet for the perfect invitations and came across the very talented Claire Hawkes who makes some extremely chic travel-themed stationery. Claire customised the design so that the vintage maps focused on Italy and Tuscany. I loved the save the dates and invitations so much I kept coming back for more until Claire had done all the stationery that I didn’t make myself. It set the tone beautifully with a light vintage travel theme and the pastel colour scheme to complement the green of the olive trees and vines that surrounded us and became the theme of our decor.
The Brides Fashion
Having grown up in Surrey and wanting my Mum to be very involved in the process, I went to Miss Bush in Ripley for my first foray into wedding dress shopping. I had suspected I might be a Jenny Packham kind of girl and tried on a number of her dresses amongst other designers whilst there. I had liked some of them a lot and had left the shop to go for a debrief over lunch and decided to nip back to look at bridesmaids dresses. Gen, alterations extraordinaire and mum of Miss Bush owner Emma, insisted that I try on the Jenny Packham Daphne dress which had recently arrived before I left the shop again. I had overlooked this particular dress for being too “blingy” but it must have been fate – as soon as I put that dress on I couldn’t stop thinking about it. I tried on many more dresses and visited numerous others shops before resigning myself to being a blingy bride and going back to Miss Bush to place the order. And I’m so glad I did, the dress sparkled beautifully in the Tuscan sunshine and was
the perfect combination of bridal gown and evening-wear that worked perfectly for a late afternoon ceremony and all-night party.
A little closer to home in Islington, in fact just a 5 minute walk away, I found Emmy whose beautiful handmade shoes had the right elegant, vintage style that would perfectly suit my dress. I went for Leila in gold to which Emmy added a little bling at the front to keep up with the dress. All of Emmy’s bridal shoes have a diamante on the sole which I chose to have in blue as my something blue for the day. Despite the four inch heel required to give me a bit of height the kid suede shoes were so comfortable I didn’t take them off until we finally retired to our room at 6am. If only I could afford to have Emmy make all my shoes – I’d be strutting around in heels all the time.
After much deliberation about accessories I decided to forego the Jenny Packham hair comb I had bought for fear of taking away from the dress, which was sparkly enough already, and just stuck with the teardrop Tesoro earrings I bought from the JP accessories boutique (a must visit!).
The Groom’s Fashion
I don’t think it would be unfair of me to say that Conor rather relished the opportunity to get suited and booted for the wedding. He went to Gieves & Hawkes on Savile Row and had a bespoke navy three piece suit made to fit him perfectly. To get in the spirit of the Italian summer he wore a pair of brown Gucci loafers. I bought him the Lanvin cufflinks and tie clip as part of his wedding present to add the finishing touches. I think he had almost as many comments on his outfit on the day as I had!
Wedding Party Fashion
My colour scheme for the wedding was nude pink and pale green to complement the vivid orange of the villa and green of the vineyards. With the challenge of dressing four bridesmaids ranging from 5 foot to 6 foot tall we tried quite a few options before finding the perfect dresses in the right colours, and a selection of styles so they wouldn’t be identical, in Ghost. Perhaps the greatest find was Barbara the tailor who is very experienced at dealing with the Ghost dye to order dresses and was completely unfazed by altering the long length to fit all the girls without losing the lovely shape. They looked very beautiful and elegant on the day. As we were hoping for warm weather – and were incredibly lucky to get a beautiful, hot sunny day – we thought we’d spare the groomsmen the pain of wearing a jacket and so bought them navy waistcoats and trousers from Reiss.
Our wedding planner introduced us to Alberto of Alma Project on one of our jam-packed wedding planning weekends in Florence. I really couldn’t recommend them enough. Alma Project organised two bands and a DJ for us as well as all our sound requirements for the day. After seeing what they had on offer we decided to splash out a bit on entertainment and it was definitely worth it. We had a Dixie quartet who appeared at the end of the ceremony to play All You Need is Love as we walked back down the aisle and entertain our guests during the aperitifs. After dinner, we had the Rock & Beat band who got all our guests on the dance floor and later on in the evening the DJ kept the party in the wine cellar going way into the night.
Cocktail in the World ran an open bar for the evening that was stocked with every type of alcohol you could possibly imagine. They were a real feature of the evening creating elaborate smoking cocktails and really pulled out all the stops to ensure our guests had a great time and were fully lubricated throughout the night. They really were an excellent recommendation from Rossana.
Despite not actually needing any transport for the day – we legally got married in Islington Town Hall before going to Italy so we could host the whole day in the Vignamaggio grounds – we hired a vintage Fiat 500 from the touring club in Florence. It was my favourite frivolous splurge for the day making some fabulous photos… and comedy moments whilst Conor attempted to drive us around in it.
Vignamaggio did all the catering for our wedding meal and the food was absolutely excellent, a true Tuscan feast of aperitifs followed by five courses served with their own delicious Rosé and Chianti Classico Riserva wines (of which a fair few bottles were drunk over the weekend). For dessert we had our traditional Italian wedding cake of millefoglie with gelato served from a traditional stand at midnight.
If there’s one thing I really learned from the experience it is the importance of having a great photographer.
Our wedding planner suggested Lelia Scarfiotti and having looked at her work I completely fell in love with Lelia’s style. As is the nature of destination weddings, we were only able to have a quick skype chat before securing our booking so the day before the wedding we met up with Lelia for a pre-wedding shoot in the beautiful Tuscan countryside so that we could get to know her a little better, and we could try and be less awkward about being photographed. We really hit the jackpot with Lelia – we both warmed to her very quickly and on the day itself it was like having another friend in the room whilst I was getting ready and she was a great support throughout the day. Lots of our guests commented on how lovely she was and as for the photos themselves every single one is an absolute work of art that we will treasure for ever. We are in real danger of wallpapering our house with our own wedding pictures!