What Sophie Did… Fell In Love With Italy (Again).

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Ok, time to tell you all about our venue! I can’t really take any credit for choosing to get married in Italy. It was Simon’s idea. When we tell people where we are getting married, the question we are usually asked is “is that because of Sophie’s Italian family?”, my Italian surname being the first clue. Our response has often gone something like…”Err, yeah I guess so. That would make sense”. But really, the Italian family was merely coincidental to this decision. The real reason is simple – we LOVE Italy. Like, seriously adore the place. Giuseppe Verdi (of Atilla Opera ‘fame’) once said, “You may have the Universe, if I may have Italy”. I would happily take that deal.

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When Simon and I first started talking about how we’d like to get married he was quick to suggest the idea of a small wedding in Tuscany. It seemed such a glaring and obviously perfect idea that I wondered why it had never occurred to me before, during those many years Prit-Sticking pictures of English country manors in to my wedding file (remember the file??).

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Cypress Trees & Rolling Hills

After getting engaged, we quickly decided on how we wanted this to go –

  1. A small group of nearest and dearest, 30-40 max;
  2. A venue that was big enough to sleep everyone;
  3. Views of Tuscan hills and cypress trees. I had tunnel vision, rightly or wrongly, that there was simply no point getting married
  4. In Tuscany if we could not see those beautiful rolling Tuscan hills unfolding right in front of us;
    Exclusive use for a long weekend, to give us maximum time with our friends and family and make it worth their while flying over.

After hours and hours of research (and some terrifying quotes!), we whittled it down to 3 options and decided the time had come to get ourselves over to Italy and see them in the flesh. This was a fun weekend!
The first venue was big – way too big! Sure it had gorgeous views and ticked all of the boxes, but somehow it lacked a soul. We were holding out for the next 2.

As we drove up the long winding driveway of number 2, lined with Cypress trees (tick), and pulled in to the courtyard, we were greeted by, in my humble opinion, the most incredible view of hills that Tuscany has to offer (double tick). Getting out of the car, we were struck by the absolute silence. As clichéd as it sounds, it was just bird song and wind brushing through olive trees in the surrounding fields…this place had soul. Cue a phone call to cancel appointment number 3 – we knew we had found the perfect place before even stepping a foot inside.

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And so after meeting its wonderful manager Giacomo, having a tour around, and spending a night there, we promptly booked Casa Cornacchi for 23-26th May – perfect timing for the bank holiday and allowing all of our guests to stay for 3 nights. We spent the next day having a long lunch in the late September sunshine on Siena’s main square, feeling thoroughly proud of ourselves, followed by running around the town like something out of Challenge Anneka looking for matching post cards of Tuscany to use as Save the Date cards (Simon would like me to point out that the post cards were also his idea, and the second of many good ones to come…).

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A Bump In The Cypress-Tree-Lined Road

Venue – done. It would be small and intimate but we could throw a party back in the UK afterwards for extended family and friends………ah, problem. Within 2 weeks of booking our dream venue Simon got the call about the job in Houston. This would make having an after party more difficult due to our now limited vacation allowances, and more than anything it just emphasised that we wanted to have as many of our closest friends there as possible, knowing how much we would miss them during our time away. Our guest list jumped from 35 people to 60 almost overnight and we had to book 4 extra villas down the road to accommodate everyone! Oops!
But anyone having a wedding of any size, be it 30 people or 300 people, knows the problem of the dreaded guest list. It’s surely the one thing that every couple getting married has in common – that and the even more treacherous table plan (God help me…). Every couple feels the pressure to invite everyone and to please everybody but it’s simply not possible. Even with the extra villas, the poor “Mama” cooking our Italian feast was going to struggle with any more than 60 mouths to feed.

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So we took the difficult decision to prioritise with friends who are a part of our lives on a daily basis. This is difficult, and no doubt will upset some. But we figured that those who really cared about us would understand and just want us to do whatever makes us happy. There are people we simply cannot imagine not being there, and the fact that they’re not family is not going to change that. Hopefully one day we’ll have the chance to celebrate with everybody.

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Invitations Dreams Are Made Of

So with the venue booked and Simon’s Save the Date postcards sent, I set out on a project that gave me huge excitement – the invitations!! I have had a thing for stationery for as long as I can remember. I loved nothing more than stocking up my pencil case before the first day of school (I’m not doing anything to dispel my geek reputation here am I?). Not having the creative-DIY-genius gene of either Sarah or Stef, for me it was time to turn to the professionals. I knew that I wanted something unique and special, and I knew exactly the place to go – Momental Designs. I had seen the work of Kristy Rice and her team for the first time on these very pages and have stalked her blog ever since. Every single one of their invitations is hand painted. HAND PAINTED!!! What a talent these ladies have! I can’t paint for toffee.

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They are absolutely stunning and we are thrilled with them. Hmmm, what else can I get them going on…? 😉

We finished them off with a wax seal of an olive tree brushed in a little gold (another genius idea by Simon over lunch in Siena). This took a little practice but was great fun. What was even more fun was how much Simon got involved in the design process – who knew he would be so fussy? Get your grooms involved ladies, they have a lot to offer and the planning process is so much more fun if your do it together.

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So that’s all from me for now. Next, it will be time for the girls to make their grand entrance, before I fill you in on results of the big dress hunt!

Sophie.

Author: Adam Crohill
Adam likes Pina Coladas and getting caught in the rain.

27 thoughts on “What Sophie Did… Fell In Love With Italy (Again).

  1. Gorgeous venue Sophie, its totally stunning! Wonderful invites as well, sounds like you found an amazing team to help with them! xx

  2. Amazing venue! I am getting married in Italy in 6 weeks (eek) and also found it hard to get the guest list down (we initally said 35, we have 50). Neither of us have any Italian blood at all, but we are besotted with the country. Can’t wait to hear more!

  3. Hi everyone! Thanks for the lovely comments!
    @Natalie – You have just made my day! Thank you soooo much! I’m thrilled that people like them.
    @Sophie – Thanks lovely! ‘Perfect’ is always a good word to hear….! 😉
    @Jackie – Thanks hun. They are indeed an awesome team! I can’t say enough good things about them.
    @Anna – How exciting that it’s only 6 weeks away!!! I feel your pain on the guest list. It’s crazy how much it can grown. I hope you have a really wonderful wedding. It is the best country in the world.
    xxxxxx

  4. Oh My Goodness.. Sophie can I come to your wedding?!! Hehe.. if not, please send me an invite, they are beautifullll!! Literally the nicest I have ever laid eyes on!
    Also, that venue is stunning, cant wait to see the rest of your plans!! 🙂 xxx

  5. @Laura: Thanks lovely! I’m so glad you like them! That’s such a nice compliment! I absolutely adore them so it’s great to hear that other people like them too. 🙂

  6. I love seeing someone who is as obsessed with stationery as I am! Can I ask – where did you find the amazing wax seal? Did you have it customised with the tree? Rather fancy one myself…

  7. @Anna – We got it from customwaxnseals.net. They were really helpful and they got it to us really quickly. Ours was called ‘TREES AND LEAVES – TREE 9’ from their catalogue, but they can also make custom ones. They sell all of the wax and also the gold ink pad, which I really recommend because it makes the stamp stand out a lot more. The do other colours too Happy to share some tips a picked up along the way if you decide to go for it! 🙂

  8. What a wonderful read first thing in the morning!!! Sophie I am drooling into my morning tea over your venue, it is simply divine and I am in adoration! Clever Simon for suggesting Italy! I cannot wait to see your wedding pictures! As for your invites my friend; so classically beautiful, I love them, I agree with Laura, send us all an invite to put in frame! Gorgeous. xx

  9. @Sarah: Thank you sweetpea! So glad you like my invites….I realise that they have no glitter! 😉 Can’t wait to see what you come up with for yours. You need to bottle some of that creative genius and sell it to me! xxx

  10. “nid aur yw popeth melyn”, meaning “all that ‘glitters’ is not gold”… your invites are testament to that! 🙂 x

  11. lush-sticks. Ahh, sophie you’re such a doll. Same as the other girls here, i adore your venue, you guys are going to have the best time, and boy you stationary is so elegant and will make an amazing keep sake. I think your perspective on the (dreaded) guestlist is so true and has probably relaxed a lot of readers, thank you (you certainly struck a chord with me). Can’t wait til your next post xxxx

  12. Thanks Nicola! The guestlist really is a tricky one for everybody isn’t it?? I think in the end you just have to do what’s right for you and your fiance. Never easy though! xxx

  13. I love Momental Design Invites. I have got them for my wedding as well and received them today. The best thing about it was that they arrived in a big box filled with polystyrene and it was like a lucky dip pulling all the different pieces out of the box! They are stunning – by far my most fav thing of the wedding so far! I’ll def be framing a few for the family and for my wall!

  14. @Jennifer: You’re totally right about the lucky dip! I was so excited pulling them all out that they went everywhere! I was still finding pieces of it the next day. Great idea to have them framed!

  15. HAND PAINTED!!!!! Sorry I am late to this party. But wow what a party. Hand Painted?!!?! Cannot get over that! They are gorgeous!! Just gorgeous! As is your venue. You are one lucky girl with this wedding of your dreams!! 🙂

  16. I can’t tell you how excited I was to get my invitation and looking forward to this wedding like you wouldn’t believe!! My beautiful Niece will make a stunning bride and of course Simon will look great too – love to you both xxx

  17. We are getting married at Casa Cornacchi in 5 weeks! I felt the exact same way when we drove up to it last year, a very magical place indeed! Enjoy your planning and look forward to hearing more about your experience 🙂

  18. Wonderful to see one of my very own designs and how it is finally put to use, your invitations look truly beautiful, all the best wishes for your future xx

  19. Hi Sophie,
    I know I’m a bit late to the game here… but your seals (and everything else) look amazing! We’re currently planning out own Italian matrimonio for this summer. I wondered if you might be at all interested in selling us your stamp and the added bits and bobs, if you’ve finished with them all? I’d love to add such a lovely touch to our own invitations!
    All the best xx

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