Chiara the Bride:
Porana is a lilliputian village, made of few scattered houses and a long history. Here we decided to give birth to our story as well. Not “in a land far, far away”, but in a little village, in the quiet Oltrepo Pavese countryside.
Here Aldo has a home he loves. Surrounded by a park with centuries-old oaks and chestnut trees and adorned with an Italian garden, the villa has the structure of an old eighteenth-century mansion.
Severino Grattoni – an engineer that designed and supervised the Frejus Tunnel construction- built it between 1850 and 1860. For the gossipers: among distinguished guests – before you, dear readers – even the King of Italy Umberto I, spent a night here in 1883.
In the park it is not hard to meet squirrels looking for hazelnuts and hares dodging curious stares. Amongst the trees, pampered by Luigi, Aldo’s father, there is a majestic Oak, that is considered one of the tallest plants of Italy : they say it climbs up to the sky. Climbing the trunk, one can reach a castle inhabited by a giant who hides a hen that lays golden eggs. Are we exaggerating? Not at all, the oak really exists. Among mysterious rose-bushes, ancient trees and hedge mazes – you might have guessed it – there are all the ingredients to make a fairy tale flourish.
Beside the house there is the church, dedicated to Saint Crispino, Bishop of Pavia. Mr. Grattoni wanted it in the Lombard Gothic style: pointed arches, stained glass windows, pinnacles and spires, as in any authentic fairy tale.
The quest for my gown really seemed like the quest for Atlantis. I found it “just in time” and I didn’t have “that moment” when you know you’ve found “The One”. My mum didn’t cry when I came out of the dressing room. And yes, it was completely different than what I had in mind when I started the search. It was absolutely perfect, though ! Simple at first sight, yet very feminine and sophisticated. I also wore a flower crown with blackberries and a pair of simple blue sapphire earrings my mum lent me.
Aldo the Groom:
I wanted to find something simple and elegant at the same time. It had to be taylor-made because: a) I put sincere trust in human beings and their handwork vs. serial automated production, b) I am well aware of my, little, physical asymmetries. It had to be Italian, because....well I don’t need to explain this... It had to be something to be re-utilized in future occasions, not only because it was likely to cost me a fortune, but also because it would have been a great reminder of a very special day.
Chiara the Bride:
The florist we chose to rely on, Il profumo dei Fiori
, is run by incredibly talented daughter and mother, Sofia and Cosetta. As the church was beautifully simple in its gothic style, their white luminous floral arrangement made it even more precious. For the dinner, they created beautiful vintage looking compositions that were in keeping with the house style but also with the flavour we wanted to give to the party. I wanted an elegant bouquet which would also be natural and wild looking. Blackberries were everywhere since they’re very special to us.
Our ceremony took place in the church of St Crispino, right by the house. It was very evocative and charming to just walk there with my dad. An harpsichord, a flute and a violin provided the music background for the ceremony. Our friends did beautiful readings. As it was very hot, mass booklets became beautiful fans ...
For the dancing we created a magical corner under a walnut-tree, in the park of the villa. The florist and the lighting technician, Marco, helped us setting up an enchanted place with lanterns and candles, hidden by hazelnuts trees, for the cake cutting.
Our first dance was a very emotional moment. We chose to dance Jacques Brel’s “La valse à mille temps”. We wanted a waltz, but it had to be non-traditional and that song was perfect: romantic, French and fun. Before kicking off, we were really scared because the dancefloor had little holes in between the wooden boards and my heels were so tiny. In the end everything went fine... Flawless and elegant. We flew over the dancefloor and had lots of fun!
Camilla, our music consultant
, helped us finding what we were looking for: 4on6
, a cool gipsy jazz band played on the terrace for the aperitif, challenging me and my Dad with a first frenzied dance. Stefano Protopapa, the DJ, really made everybody dance later at night in the park.
For the dinner, we went for a solution that combined simple and seasonal recipes with a contemporary-nouvelle cuisine touch. We found the perfect match at Innocenti Evasioni
, a small restaurant in the outskirts of Milan. Its young, Michelin-starred, chef Tommaso Arrigoni came up with a selection that gave us an embarrassment of choice.
Photographer and Videographer
We found LATO
Photography surfing internet and we couldn’t hope for a better encounter: Laura and Tommy are young and very talented! They catched the magical and joyful atmosphere of our special day and they did a great job, all the guests commented about how beautiful our wedding photos are! They also did the video… unique!
We did a lot on our own and with the help of our families.
All our stationery was made with handmade paper: super soft to touch and with a beautiful story to tell. Toscolano 1381
is a recent project to bring to new life the paper mills valley in Toscolano Maderno on Lake Garda, close to my hometown. Menus and table signs were handwritten by myself. The names of the tables were inspired by the trees in the park and table signs were inspired by ancient herbari, we personally collected and pressed the leaves in the park to make them. We choose to write on Gingko leaves as place cards: ginkgos are known as immortal trees (they survived Hiroshima!) and their leaves are very elegant.
My mum made lace tambourines: we had the idea, surfing through Pinterest
. They assured us a very joyful exit from the church.