There’s no escaping the glorious sunshine, smiles, fabulous details and fashion at this Italian destination wedding, every gorgeous moment captured by Frances Sales Photography is basked in light and love and will leave you feeling all warm inside.
Plus the moment you see bride Nicola’s backless Sarah Seven dress yet your jaw is going to hit the floor. Sexy, sophisticated and just dawn right stunning. Her bridesmaids look beautiful too in blush pink dresses from the high street and I love that groom Sam has opted for a different coloured blazer to his trousers and waistcoat so he stands out from his groomsmen.
Everything was planned and executed to perfection by Tuscan Wedding Planners, including a dreamy festoon covered al fresco reception. *Swoon.
Nicola the Bride: For as long as I’ve wanted to get married I always wanted it abroad so we could stand in the sun and dance under the stars. When Sam finally popped the question on our 10 year anniversary we knew just the place – Italy! We his visited Tuscany before and loved the laid back lifestyle, romantic looking buildings and awesome food, so the decision was made.
With neither of us speaking Italian, finding a wedding planner was first on the list of jobs to ensure a stress free ride. After contacting many, Elia Moretti, owner of super Tuscan Wedding Planners, immediately stood out. He was warm and enthusiastic and following our first Skype call I knew him and his team would be the ones to help bring our dream to reality. From that point his amazing colleague Germana Di Santolo took lead and she was nothing short of perfection. She was always there to make suggestions and hear our ideas, and I just don’t know what I’d have done without her constant emails and spreadsheets. By the time the wedding came around a year later, Germana and Elia were like family!
Germana was great at sending us links to various venues across all of Tuscany, but when we saw the website for Borgo Petrognano we knew it had to be this one. We visited Italy during May of the year before our wedding and despite it raining the entire time, Borgo Petrognano was like something out of dream. The three levels gave a variety of back drops for the various parts of the day and the stunning orange of the terracotta terrace looks so Tuscan against the scenic views of rolling hills and vineyards. The second venue we visited did not stand a chance!
I was mindful with it potentially being very warm and the need to travel abroad, that a lighter option may be the way to go. With that in my mind my dress journey started and ended at one gorgeous boutique, Love Bridal Boutique in Altrincham, Cheshire. The boutique came highly recommended by my best friend who had taken many other brides before me to Emma Draper and her team, and let me say, it certainly didn’t disappoint. From the minute you walk in, the shop itself is just perfect, everything perfectly placed, with a select few rails filled with stunning designers. Straight away the Sarah Seven range caught my eye and I think I tried at least 6 of her beautiful designs. But the one that turned the head of my 4 bridesmaid and my mum was one that had been on the mannequin in the window… the Orleans dress! Perfection didn’t even cover this stunning and yet simple cut out dress; the material was silk crepe and the way it just fell was breath taking. I’m not usually one for cut outs, but this backless number blew me and my bestie’s away.
Given my long torso, Sonya (the boutiques fabulously talented seamstress) had her work cut out for her with a total of 5 fittings! Sonya quickly realised that at fitting number two, there just wasn’t enough hiding places in this shyly cut dress to make the alternations necessary, but both Sonya and Emma went above and beyond to make it right. So just a quick FaceTime to Sarah Seven herself in New York and a new (longer) top piece later, Sonya had created a perfect dress that fit like a glove. I never thought I’d receive a service like the one I did, but for Emma and her team, nothing is too much and my experience was one that I will never forget.
The photographs for us were extremely important, not only because we were mindful we were travelling to Italy, but also because neither of us are ones for posing in front of a camera. We wanted natural photographs that captured those little moments and the beautiful light that the Tuscan sun would bring us. After contacting many and finding that many local photographers weren’t quite what we wanted, I turned to my favourite blog for inspiration. That’s right, Rock My Wedding was always publishing destination photographers, so when I came across Frances Sales and her stunning shots, I prayed she was in budget. From the off, Frances was a dream; from travelling hundreds of miles for a cold engagement shoot in the Peak District and then even further to capture our Tuscan Wedding. The pictures are more than we could have imagined and her soft, subtle and stunning images are just what we wanted! We couldn’t be happier with them now and I love that we have those magical moments captured forever. There’s no wonder she made the top 50 wedding photographers in the UK!
During our pre-wedding trip to Italy, we tried two caterers recommended by our wedding planners, but on visiting Preludio in the historical town of Cortona, we knew these would be the ones to do our wedding breakfast. The food was unbelievable…like nothing we had tasted before. On the day they were amazing. They did everything; setting up our bar, tables and servicing a beautiful drinks reception around the pool. We opted for a ‘limitless’ package (and dangerously so) which meant the bubbles were flowing none stop. During the drinks receptions, they served tables and tables of hot and cold canapés; if you can call them that? Anything from caprese, cured meats, to seafood, marinated freshly cooked chicken and bruschetta. There was so much and it just kept on coming and all delicious. For the wedding breakfast itself, we had two starters of burrata stuffed pasta with truffle sauce following by a saffron and porcine mushroom risotto. The main was fillet beef tagliata with seasonal vegetables and a yummy balsamic reduction. All courses were perfectly paired with handpicked wines by Elia himself. When it came to dessert we opted to have our wedding cake; a traditional Italian, two tiers, mille feuille with mixed berries; it was the best part! The fresh custard was light and slightly sweet, and accompanied by a Moscato dessert wine, it really was the perfect end.
We didn’t want a religious wedding and when Germana asked us whether we had a friend that may want to be our celebrant, our close friend Chantal was the first to come to mind. And she certainly didn’t disappoint. She lovingly wrote such an original ceremony and vows that had everyone is tears and laughter which couldn’t have been more special to us. All of this took place in the gardens of the Borgo that were all in flower, and after walking down and incredible leafy archway, it’s definitely something we will remember for ever!
Colour Scheme & Décor
Due to the simple beauty of the venue, we didn’t want to overwhelm it with additional colour and so opted for a neutral colour scheme of lots of fresh whites, with a hint of pale blush pint and old gold. The tables were laid with white runners, white crockery with a simple gold rim and then the added gold cutlery for something a little special. The favours also added a unique prettiness to our table as we opted to have beautifully handmade rose and champagne Love lollipops made by The Little Lollipop Shop, which everyone loved! Around the venue there was white and pale pink paper pom poms hanging from trees and the terrace; all enhanced by magical lighting. Strings of festoon lights turn the dinner into something magical when the sunset and then the terrace was lined with candle lit lanterns to give the dance floor that special feel. My little craft projects added in other bits of colour whether that was gold easel for guestbook signs or the card box itself.
Arranging my flowers was straightforward and this was all due to Pintrest. I shared my ideas with Germana and she got to work putting together a board with the florist Flowers Living Wedding & Decor. I love peonies and dreamed of having these as my flowers and so I did, beautiful big white and blush pink ones. Greene olive branches ran down the middle of our long rustic tables with antique gold tea lights and single glass candelabras – it was like my Pintrest had come to life.
After deciding the colour theme would be kept simple with clean whites and a hint of blush and gold I decided to opt for a pale blush dress for my girls. Given all their different tastes, I arranged an unconventional ‘dress party’ at my house. I ordered easily 25 dresses from ASOS and they tried them on one by one as me and my mum gave our opinions and sipped on the Prosecco. An hour later they had chosen two they liked and so that was that, my sisters were in one style (a little floaty, V-neck number) and my two best friends in another (a pretty lace skater style). Both complimented each other gorgeously and they all looked fabulous. With this, I got them all gold Carvela Grecian style sandals and gold jewellery with rose quart stones from Lisa Angel.
Not being in Italy made these little touches that little bit harder. However, my cousins, Andy Davis of Lighthouse Design & Marketing had the perfect creative eye and offered to kindly produce (and then carry out to Italy) all of our wedding stationery. After explaining the wedding theme and showing him pictures of the venue, Andy designed some beautiful pieces with a peony image on them colour matched to the bridesmaids dresses.
The music was up there for Sam and I as something that was key for everyone to have an amazing time. So after lots of research between Germana and myself, we came across the Tuscan Trio band. A local trio that I can only alike to a Tuscan version of the Kings of Leon. They played an acoustic version of Ed Sheeran ‘Give Me Love’ coming down the aisle having the bridal party completely in tears, and then Florence and the Machines ‘You’ve got The Love’ as we walked out. They then played a two hours set for the reception party which every guest commented how fab they were. Later on, we opted to self DJ with the helping hands of my bridesmaids and Spotify allowing us to have something for everyone and party until we were told it was bed time. It was just the perfect party evening!