From the beautiful Bride…We met whilst working together at a bar in Melbourne in 2006. I was working in marketing and Luke was the new bar Manager. He was constantly making excuses to call me for work purposes and one day plucked up the courage to ask me out.
After 6 years together, we went out to celebrate Luke finishing his honours degree. He took me to a small family owned Italian restaurant where we had our very first date. He was being very coy and seemed quite nervous (which is unusual as he is never at a loss for words!) and pulled out a gorgeous diamond ring he’d had made and popped the question.
From very early on in the relationship we knew. We moved in together after dating for 4 months. We just worked well together and knew we would be together.
2 years was the length of our engagement – we knew straight away that we wanted to get married in Tuscany which is a place very special to us, having spent much time there for Luke’s studies and work. So we wanted to share the beautiful experience with everyone else and give all of our guests enough time to plan an amazing holiday in Italy.
We hired a beautiful 17th century villa called Villa Le Colline in Impruneta for the week, in the countryside, 20 minutes outside of Florence, Italy. We held the ceremony in the garden of the villa overlooking the Tuscan hills.
We held a symbolic ceremony in the garden with 40 of our closest friends and family. A good friend who had been there since the start of our relationship was our celebrant, which made the experience so much more special to us. I was very nervous before the ceremony, but when I walked out and saw all of our friends and family and Luke standing there, I was excited and surprisingly calm. Luke’s sister sang a song for us, “A thousand years” by Chistina Perri. Luke and I both wrote and chose our vows. Luke memorised and recited William Shakespeare’s Sonnet 18 to me as part of his vows. It was a beautiful gesture. The view over the countryside was also breathtaking; it was a perfect day.
Our reception was also at Villa Le Colline, we had one long table, Italian style just in front of the villa. The villa was the perfect setting, being an old 17th century home, antique oak doors and shuttered windows with flowering wisteria wrapped around the façade. To complement the natural beauty of the property, we set up rustic lanterns lining the grounds of the villa and bistro lights intertwined around the large tree in the garden under which we cut our wedding cake.
We held aperitivo by the poolside of the villa with a complete spread of beautiful antipasti. For the reception, we had a five piece jazz band who played Frank Sinatra and Al Green and other classics as well as party songs later into the night. Our caterer and wedding planner was Barbara from Infinity weddings and events, who was incredible. The food was a four-course dinner with beautiful simple Italian food, beef carpaccio to start, ravioli with butter and sage, roast suckling pig with roasted peppers and pinenuts for the main and a traditional Italian wedding cake, millefoglie. Our wedding favours (bonbonniere) included little bottles of organic olive oil and limoncello, each tied together with traditional sugared almonds. After dinner, there was an open bar with grappa, brandy and cigars my father had brought for the boys. There was also plenty of prosecco, coffee, vin santo and cantuccini to finish, Tuscan style!
We made a trip to Florence a year earlier and visited a number of different venues. When we first saw Villa Le Colline and met the lovely owner, Andrea (villa has been in her family for generations since it was built), we knew immediately this was where we would have our wedding. It was just spectacular, elegant and beautiful. It certainly did not disappoint for our guests either.
Gianluca Adovasio was our wedding photographer; Gianluca and his wife Mary, are incredibly talented photographers. I searched high and low for the perfect photographer in Italy and after seeing their work, there was no one else I would rather have had. We had a pre-wedding shoot in Florence the day before the wedding to get to know them better. They are very funny and made us feel at ease. Neither Luke and I particularly like “staged” photos, but their work and photos just blew us away.
Wedding colours were ivory, navy, grey and green. The theme was very simple, elegant to fit in with our style, the villa and Tuscan location. We had olive leaves and branches featuring in the table setting and bridal party flowers (how could we not – it was Tuscany and the villa had its own olive grove!). Flowers included sweet peas, hydrangeas, white David Austin roses and blackberries.
I spent hours in the lead up to the wedding, looking over wedding shoots, real wedding articles and inspiration for wedding settings, flowers, cakes, hair and makeup and ideas for bridesmaids dresses.
We had three bridesmaids and groomsmen each. My bridesmaids were my two best friends and my brother’s girlfriend. I spent a long time looking for bridesmaids dresses, but didn’t find anything I liked. In the end I found a beautiful picture of a navy Giambattista Valli dress and had a very talented girlfriend who works on big stage productions in Melbourne recreate the dresses. Luke had his best friend as his best man and his two brothers as his groomsmen. We found their suits at Godwin Charli, a locally made tailored suit store in Melbourne.
I am very into the details and knew I wanted something with a vintage style. My dress was a made to measure dress called “Kasia” from Baccini and Hill and it was the second dress I tried on. Although I tried on every other wedding dress in Melbourne (I like to be thorough), I kept coming back to this dress. I knew it was the perfect dress for me, I felt so incredibly elegant in it. I Both my mother and Luke’s mother saw me try the dress on and were speechless. I had a headpiece custom made out of the same beading from the cap sleeve on my wedding dress. I also found the perfect matching Jimmy Choo sandals to wear.
The whole day was so special, from the ceremony to the reception. It surpassed our expectations in every way. Our caterer and wedding planner Barbara from Infinity Wedding and Events® did an exceptional job, the table setting, the flowers, the food, the music was amazing. She helped pull everything together seamlessly and made planning a destination wedding half way across the world an ease. It felt quite surreal and we couldn’t have imagined a more perfect setting and location for the wedding. We even had a Noweigian neighbour come to the villa and ask if he could join the party as the music was so good!
I also had a lot of fun getting ready during the day in the lead up to the wedding with my girlfriends and I spending the morning together (there were 18 of us staying at the villa). We had a champagne breakfast before getting ready. Our hair and makeup artists were amazing as well. Luigi and Elisa from CLASS hair and makeup in Prato, and their work has included many fashion shows for designers such as Gucci and Prada as well as tv shows like Italian X-Factor. When they had finished with all of us, I think we were all in awe.
It was a perfect destination wedding with all of our favourite people there. It was an intimate setting, which meant we got to spend quality time with all of our guests. Everyone was on holiday so we could truly relax and enjoy the experience together. We had also planned a number of activities during the week for everyone, a private winery tour and lunch in the Chianti overlooking the Tuscan hillside, a rehearsal dinner in a Florentine restaurant which was once an old church and a party the day after the wedding at the villa by the pool. The villa had a pizza oven so we organised a special pizza chef to come and cater. Everyone who came had so much fun and said it was the best wedding they had been to. It was just a magical week.
Unfortunate event – The week before we left for Italy, Luke’s mum broke her ankle severely and needed to have surgery which meant she was unable to fly and couldn’t come to the wedding. We were able to skype the wedding and are having a small second wedding at the registry office back in Melbourne, which means she will be able to attend.
Funny – Two of our girlfriends composed a special rap, dedicated just for Luke and I – they took over the stage and microphones after dinner with one beatboxing and the other performing the rap. Everyone was in hysterics.
Al Green – Let’s stay together was our first dance song. We danced to the song in the garden with the sun setting in the background.
My advice to other brides is think about the things that are special to you and what you don’t want to compromise. i.e. intimate wedding, perfect dress, great food, good band. Get those things right, and then don’t sweat the small stuff. Even if things go wrong before the wedding, it all turns out in the end. Also, take the time to stop and enjoy everything, the day will go very quickly. Pre and post wedding events are a great way to spend extra time with your loved friends and family.
Seeing as we were in Europe, we went on to London for a week for our honeymoon (Luke was presenting at a conference in Leeds) and then onto Crete in the Greek Islands. We stayed at the Blue Palace which is a Starwood luxury collection hotel. We had a honeymoon suite with a private infinity pool. Life could not have been much better, it was amazingly relaxing and just what we wanted. Absolutely recommend it to anyone else and would go back in a heart beat.
Photography: Gianluca & Mary Adovasio | Floral Design: Infinity Wedding And Events® | Wedding Gown:Baccini And Hill | Cake: Infinity Ricevimenti™ | Shoes: Jimmy Choo | Catering: Infinity Ricevimenti™ | Make Up: Elisa, CLASS Hair And Makeup Prato | Hair: Luigi, CLASS Hair And Makeup, Prato | Entertainment:: The Bitband | Suits: Godwin Charli | Gift List: Wedding Gifts | Venue: Private Villa | Venue Stylist/planner: Barbara Calò, Infinity Weddings And Events®