M & J Photography always manage to blow my mind they are so spectacular. They capture every last detail, every last emotion and have summed up this destination peach wedding planned by Wed in Italy to perfection.
The dreamy Tuscan views at Castello di Vincigliata are enough to make your heart melt. Let alone all the gorgeous peach blooms, romantic candle light and elegant reception decor.
Then there is our gorgeous bride and groom who are not only all dressed up in love but the most fabulous fashion too. Groom Tom opts for a neutral cool linen suit, whilst Bride Charley looks every bit the princess in an organza Suzanne Neville ‘Victoriana’ gown. Accessorised beautifully with a stunning lace jacket, Christian Louboutin Shoes and a Jenny Packham headdress. Some serious Bride goals here ladies.
Are you ready? Lets take a look at this breathtaking day.
Charley the Bride: From quite early on I knew I wanted my dress to be two things; classic and versatile. I found ‘THE ONE’ on the internet and essentially stalked it all the way to a beautiful boutique dress shop in Oxford (Ellie Sanderson). Victoriana by Suzanne Neville was a strapless, lace, fit and flare gown with silk organza finish ( a bespoke change). The girls at Ellie Sanderson were amazing and really listened to my vision, they picked out a beautiful lace sleeve jacket to compliment the dress which gave me the elegant look I desired for the ceremony. I slipped this off in the evening and replaced it with a sparkly belt and Jenny Packham Headress; Voila-I was ready to party!
My views on veils are: if you’re going to wear one, make it a statement! A Helen Martin cathedral length veil added this drama for me.
My shoes were an incredibly generous gift from my mother in-law. Two-tone sparkly Louboutins-I got to wear the red soles.What’s even more special is that, as they aren’t traditionally bridal, I will be able to wear them over and over again.
My Jewellery was purchased from a local shop Steffans (Northampton) and I wore, CARAT yellow diamond drop earrings-a gift from the hubby and the jewellers kindly leant me a CARAT bracelet to match for the evening.
On the day, Giulia Cresci completed my bridal look with hair and make up. She speaks fantastic English and her make-up collection is to die for!! I was nervous about having my hair and make up done abroad but she put me completely at ease and even came back in the evening to switch my look up!
Tom has always had a unique sense of style so he was quite nervous about how to approach a destination wedding. I wanted him in a tux-35 degree heat doesn’t warrant this. Luckily, some good friends recommended a bespoke tailor in Suffolk- Trotter and Deane. They picked out a gorgeous light stone coloured fabric that was a linen/wool mix. He chose a 3 piece suit with a slightly tapered leg so he could wear summer loafers. An Eton dress shirt and multicoloured bow tie completed his look.
Wedding Party Fashion
The boys went bargain hunting at Bicester Village and got light blue linen jackets from the Savoy Taylors Guild and white chinos from Tommy Hilfiger-they certainly looked like Italian Stalions!
The bridesmaids wore the ‘Amy’ dress from Maids to Measure in the softest peach colour, the style suited all four of my bridesmaids which was a task in itself and complimented the colour scheme perfectly. We had the best day in their London studio, sipping champagne and eating cupcakes before taking full advantage of their selfie booth… we even made it on to their website! My beautiful flower girl was my cousin’s daughter, she was born very premature at 24 weeks and very nearly didn’t make it. She wore a white tulle dress with peach flowers from Monsoon and seeing her walk down the aisle was emotional for everyone involved in her journey.
The Venue/Colour Scheme/Decor
Castello di Vincigliata is a 13th century castle that sits upon a hill top with the most spectacular views over Florence. It has traditional turrets, stunning garden with water feature and a spectacular open air courtyard which we transformed into our evening ‘club’. The castle has the prettiest orange trees and terracotta flooring so I wanted to incorporate this. I felt bold orange didn’t fit in with my romantic, fairytale setting, so a mixture of soft peaches and ivory with gold accents was a nice alternative.
Le Petit Jardin of Tuscany were a fantastic supplier to work with. I wanted a mixture of textures and heights and Marisa chose four big urns of different heights, filled to the brim with big white delphiniums, peach and ivory avalanche roses and dark green foliage. A nice touch was the peach strewn rose petals all the way down the aisle- a complete surprise and so thoughtful. My bouquet was a mixture of peach avalanche roses, sweet peas, ivory spray roses and cala lilies, whilst Tom wore a cala lilly buttonhole to tie in with me. Our table centrepieces were a mixture of vintage gold candles and gold flower-filled pots, all of various sizes. Iit completely fitted in with the vintage castle feel and created a very soft, romantic dining area. We really didn’t need much decoration in the venue as the setting spoke for itself.
Our ceremony was the part I was most looking forward to. It felt incredible saying our vows, overlooking Florence with 80 of our nearest and dearest.
We had a pianist and string trio playing songs as guests waited nearly 30 minutes for me, oops! What can I say- it’s a brides prerogative.
I walked down the aisle to an instrumental version of ‘Turning Page’ by Sleeping at Last, this was also our first song and the lyrics hold a special place in our hearts. The walk itself was super emotional; my mum walked me as we lost my dad only 11 months prior and his absence was a huge gaping hole in my heart. My mum has been my pillar of strength so having that moment together was one I’ll always remember.
We had two readings, one by two of my best friends called the ‘blessing of the hands’. I loved how the words captured the importance of how you will need each others hands throughout marriage whilst holding each others hands during the ceremony.
Our second was an extract from Captain Correlil’s Mandolin.
When we started dating, It didn’t go unnoticed to Tom and I that alcohol and food were the main placaters in our lives; amazing food and an off the scale party were therefore key ingredients to our wedding recipe! Thankfully our wedding planner Ludovica of WedinItaly, suggested a company called the Alma Project to help with the entertainment and they helped transform the castle into our very own club. A dance floor, huge glitter ball, professional lighting rig, and our initials projected onto the castle’s stone walls complimented the DJ and Saxophonist we hired. The Sax was only supposed to stay for an hours set but he was having such a blast assisting the DJ’s tunes that he stayed for most the night. Our guests did not get off the dance floor until they were practically pushed out and onto the awaiting carriages at gone 1.30am!! Additional entertainment included, a penguin ice sculptured vodka luge (my nickname is penguin), shisha pipes (a Dubai holiday pastime) ice cream cart and chocolate fountain.
The best part about getting married in Italy? Obviously the food!! Gudi Lenci were hired for the catering and served up: Antipasto post wedding ceremony and for the wedding breakfast: Tortellini with pear and pecorino, risotto with courgette, beef tagliata with rocket salad and a raspberry and mint sorbet to cleanse the palette.
The icing on the cake was quite literally when we had a chef come in and make our wedding cake live in front of guests; a traditional italian millefoglie with chocolate chips. After this we got the party started with a champagne fountain and free bar! We hired cocktail makers so guests could could mix and match to their hearts content-the Mojito was a personal fave.
Wow, what can I say about M&J Photography? Without a doubt the best decision we made second to getting married abroad! They’re specialist in destination weddings which is a huge plus but we fell in love with their photos the instant I saw them and I knew we had to fly them out to capture our special day. Their photographs capture the ‘feel’ of the day and the vivid colours bring the memories to life; their ability to capture the minute details and so many of the guests, without it being staged, left me in awe-it was so nice to see the little touches I hadn’t absorbed on the day. Stunning photography aside, they also fit in seamlessly with the guests and so many commented on how professional they were- Morgane and Jonny felt like old friends by the time they left after shooting our post- wedding pool party!
I went to the National Wedding show at the NEC in Birmingham and came across Shoot It Yourself. The concept is simple, you hire the cameras and they edit the footage. The end result is brilliant! Not stuffy, totally bonkers and so incredibly special that all the footage was shot and commentated on by our own guests. It truly is one of the funniest wedding videos I’ve ever seen.
Unique aspects to our wedding/Advice
Having a destination wedding can seem incredibly challenging but finding the right suppliers and wedding planners is key; be prepared for the fact that most, if not all your arrangement will be made via email so patience is key! If you can, try to take a trip out before the wedding to meet with the main suppliers and enjoy some food/wine tasting- this really helped us make up our mind. Get your wedding date and details out EARLY! If you’re asking your friends and family to spend out and come abroad, they need time to prepare and save. Have advice on hand for accommodation and flight details; we found an amazing place called Borgo I Vicelli that accommodated 45 of our guests! The rest had a dedicated email address set up by our planners for all their needs. Finally, have a plan for the week and make the most of it! We had a pizza party the evening we all arrived, meal out in Florence one night, pre- wedding buffet with all wedding guests and a post- wedding pool party. With all family and friends from both sides mingling for so long before the wedding, it meant the actual day went off like fireworks! Everyone felt comfortable enough to have a good old party together.
Having lost my dad so soon to the wedding I thought it would useful to give advice on how I coped and what I did to make him feel included in the day. It’s important to strike a balance between having reminders of your loved ones there without flouting it in your guests face. I did the following:
Saved a blue shirt of his and had the pocket sewn into my dress so he still walked me down the aisle.
Had a small photo locket on my bouquet.
Had a photo of him in a frame on my guest book/ card table (thought this way he could see everyone having a good old boogie on the dance floor!).
Played his song ‘Eric clapton, wonderful tonight’ as one of the slow dances. Nobody else apart from myself and my immediate family would have known the importance of the song.
I was told in advance he would be mentioned in the speeches so I could mentally prepare myself for this moment.
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