A stone castle, Castello di Bibbione, perched high on a hill and surrounded by panoramic views of the Tuscan countryside is the setting for this incredibly swoon-worthy destination wedding. Planned from New Zealand with the help of RMW The List recommended suppliers Wiskow & White. The day starts with wine and cheese tasting for the men and ends with dancing on the cobbles of the castle. Emma, the Bride wears a Rue de Seine wedding gown with deep red Rewritten bridesmaid dresses for a sophisticated palette. (FYI, you can find of course Rewritten on our exclusive directory) This stunning photography is brought to you by Red on Blonde, another RMW The List member.
Inspiration, Destination Wedding, ItalyEmma the Bride: We got engaged a couple of months before moving from London to work in New Zealand, just to make organising a wedding a little trickier than normal! We had been to a friend’s destination wedding a couple of years earlier and loved how all of their friends and family had come together to celebrate over the whole weekend in a beautiful location. We’re both huge fans of Italian food and wine and fell in love with Tuscany on a previous trip. So it quickly became clear that a weekend wedding in Italy, with our friends, family and plenty of food and wine would be the perfect way to celebrate!
The Venue, Castello di Bibbione, Tuscany, ItalyOur venue was Castello di Bibbione, about 20 minutes outside Florence. This was the hardest part of planning by far. There is a huge range of options in Tuscany and the choice was overwhelming. We hoped to pick somewhere remotely, but in the end, we added a venue search when we came back to the UK for my best friend’s wedding. Seeing places in person made a huge difference, and we loved Castello di Bibbione right away, and especially fell in love with the castle courtyard, which was exactly what we were thinking of for the party on the night. We knew we wouldn’t be able to do lots of decoration and DIY, and luckily a Tuscan castle speaks for itself. Even better, Bibbione has a lot of rooms and apartments in the surrounding grounds. In the end, we had around 50 staying for the weekend, and it was great having more time to catch up, relax and celebrate together.
PhotographersLiam the Groom: As soon as we booked the venue our top priority was looking for a photographer. Emma and I both enjoy photography, and had a fairly good idea of what we were looking for - though that didn’t stop us from A LOT of searching! But as soon as we found Hannah and Toby at RedOnBlonde we knew they would be perfect. They have a gorgeous natural style, making superb use of the natural light to capture the happiness of a wedding authentically. That came through in their photos right away. It was even more obvious they’d be perfect after we spoke to them on Skype - they are lovely, friendly people who put us at ease straight away.
On the day we couldn’t have asked for a better experience. They were with us the whole day, capturing every moment - even well into the party. They were friendly and warm, and our guests loved them too. We are really thrilled with our photos - they captured the day perfectly.
The Ceremony, outside.Emma the Bride: We got married in an olive garden next to the castle, the perfect peaceful spot. We had a good friend officiate our ceremony which made it really personal and special. It’s a bit of a blur but we remember lots of laughter and a few tears!
The Food, Italy, NZ Style.Liam the Groom: You can’t have an Italian wedding without having great food. As it wasn’t possible to come back from NZ for a food tasting we sent our best man and his partner for a weekend tasting, and they helped us to choose Oste Gentiluomo, who did an outstanding job. After the ceremony, we had aperitifs on the lawn in front of the castle, alongside delicious cheese and cold cut corners, as well as finger foods like fried zucchini flowers, truffle pastry puffs and homemade bruschetta. A friend had confided in me that he regretted not having time to eat more of the food at his own wedding, so I made sure not to make the same mistake and tried absolutely everything - it was all delicious. For our sit down meal, we had two first courses (risotto and ravioli) followed by barbeque cooked Florentine steak. We choose to follow the Italian tradition and have a millefoglie for our wedding cake, which as a bonus we got to help make in front of all our guests.
The PartyEmma the Bride: I love a wedding which has lots of dancing, and a live band makes all the difference. Our wedding planners, Wiskow and White, helped us find Restauro Band. As soon as we heard the singer and saxophonist we knew they would be great. They played an acoustic set for through the aperitifs and then the party after dinner and into the early hours. We danced all night and they were simply fantastic, exceeding all expectations. We also stocked our own bar for the evening (staffed by the caterer); this gave us lots more choice and the opportunity to introduce the Italian staff to the magic of jagerbombs.
The BrideEmma the Bride: It was important to us to bring a bit of New Zealand to our wedding, and fortunately I found New Zealand designer Rue de Seine from Paperswan Bride. They have a lovely range of boho wedding dresses perfect for warm weather and a relaxed feel.
At the last minute, I bought a simple veil from Britten, the Skylar - I’m glad I did as it made the moment feel more special. I also wore a beautiful floral pearl bridal comb that I found through Etsy.
The BridesmaidsI wanted my bridesmaids to be individual and all feel comfortable in what they were wearing. As all brides find out: this is hard. I fell in love with the gorgeous colour of the Chianti dresses by Rewritten, which come in a range of styles that let my bridesmaids pick the right dress for them. They all looked fabulous on the day, making the many many hours of scouring the internet worthwhile!
The GroomLiam the Groom: If you can’t get a bespoke suit on your wedding day then when can you? A friend in New Zealand recommended Tailor Made Suits, who made me a gorgeous three-piece suit. I was unsure whether a three-piece might be too much for the Tuscan sun, but I was really glad I went with the waistcoat in the end. I too loved the gorgeous colour of the bridesmaid's dresses and knew I wanted the groomsmen’s ties in the same colour. I was less certain with the pocket squares, and it was a bit of a painful process. I couldn’t decide and ended up putting off ordering them until the last possible minute, which happened to be the morning after my stag party - not recommended! Both were from Mrs Bow Tie, who have a great selection and quick delivery (thankfully). For the shoes, I treated myself to a beautiful pair of brown brogues from Russell and Bromley. Emma also insisted that the groomsmen wore matching socks, and I found some lovely burgundy dress socks from Happy Socks.
Decor & DetailsFor favours, we had traditional Italian sugared almonds, which Emma’s auntie bought from her home in southern Italy. We wanted the wedding to have a laid back, garden feel with seasonal whites and greens, with highlights of pink in the flowers. This is one area where we wished we could have spent more money, but if you don’t say no to some things it’s pretty easy for a budget to get out of hand, so here we kept things simple. We went paperless for our invitations, but for the day we commissioned some orders of service, table plans and table names. We loved the illustration of Bibbione that Ben from the White Creative made for us.
AdviceIf you’re thinking about picking a destination wedding - go for it! Though there were some stressful moments brought on by the culture and time zone differences, with careful planning it was fairly straightforward. And, as result, we got to spend a full weekend with our closest friends and family in a beautiful location.
Dress, Designer: Rue De Seine | Dress, Boutique: Paperswan Bride | Veil: Britten | Bridal Comb: Tania Maras | Flowers: L'Oasi | Venue: Castello Di Bibbione | Catering: Oste Gentiluomo | Entertainment: Restauro Band | Bridesmaids: Rewritten | Ties & Pocket Squares: Mrs Bowtie | Wedding Planner: Wiskow & White | Invitations: Paperless Post | On the Day Stationery: The White Creative