Florence is a magical place in itself. Florence combined with an intimate destination wedding dripping in romance brings that magic to an entirely new level. It’s a combination that will certainly make your heart flutter a time or two, particularly because the images from John Zillioux and Lisa Poggi Photography are overflowing with pretty. It was all perfectly planned by Original Tuscan Wedding, and you can see it all right here.
From the Bride… Our marriage and our wedding are evidence that life is filled to the brim with unexpected events and challenges, which make our days on earth sweeter and more complex. My husband and I were friends for 11 years before we fell in love, to our surprise and elation. We are both from Charleston, South Carolina, a beautiful and inspiring venue for any wedding, but we wanted to marry abroad. Florence, Italy is a city close to both our hearts and a city that, with its ancient history, art and music, felt like us.
With a small guest list of 20 people, you have more leeway to get creative with your details and the ability to produce many of them yourself because there are so few to make. My fiance and I designed and assembled the olive oil bottle Save the Dates, which our friends and family loved. I designed and created the menus, welcome bags, bird-seed toss bags, and the welcome booklets filled with information about the week’s events. To represent our love for books, we had antiqued copper bookmarks with each guest’s name on them to serve as placecards. Our copper hand-calligraphed chair signs read “Sposa” and “Sposo” to mark the Bride and Groom’s seats. In lieu of a traditional guest book, we asked our guests to sign bottles of wine, which we would open on our 1st, 5th and 10th wedding anniversaries. The real challenge was hauling all the wedding details in our bags from Charleston to Florence!
The most memorable characteristics of our wedding were those we did not plan. We won gorgeous custom wedding invitations from Paperfinger after I entered an online contest on a whim. In Florence, Italian workers went on strike so the Uffizi closed on the day we were scheduled to visit–our guests shopped and ate gelato instead! Two days after arriving in Florence, I fell very ill with bronchitis and had to spend the day before our wedding in bed while our relatives toured the city. I was terrified that even after all the planning and thousands of miles of travel, I would be too sick to enjoy our special day. With the help of strong Italian antibiotics, though, I felt amazing on our wedding day and even had a sexy, jazz-singer’s voice in which to speak my vows!
My husband and I agree that though the ceremony was beautiful, the most moving moment of our lives was one that was unplanned and happened when we exited the Palazzo Vecchio after the wedding. A choir from Finland was performing in a nearby town that evening, and came into Florence for the day to see the sights. When we walked through the piazza after the ceremony, we encountered the choir and they serenaded us! The serendipitous moments are the ones you never forget.
We could not have been more pleased with our Italian vendors, including the phenomenal duo Ann and Elizabeth of Original Tuscan Wedding. The day ran beautifully and all we had to do was sit back and enjoy! To any brides who worry about planning a wedding in another country, we advise you to take the leap as long as you have an amazing planner who will do the groundwork for you. Finally, we would like to thank our photographers Lisa Poggi, from Florence, and John Zillioux, from Charleston, both of whom created images we’ll cherish forever!
Photography: John Zillioux | Photography: Lisa Poggi | Event Planning: Original Tuscan Wedding | Wedding Dress: Carol Hannah | Invitations: Paperfinger | Ceremony Venue: The Red Room | Reception Venue: Il Salviatino | Shoes: Tory Burch | Calligraphy: Calligraphy by Paige Tanenbaum | Groom's Suit: Z by Zegna | Bridal Boutique: Maddison Row | Clutch: Calvin Klein | Groom's Shoes: Cole Haan | Hair Comb: BHLDN | Place Cards: Snappin Engraving Snappin Studio