If you ask me, destination weddings are the way to go. You get the romance + the travel + the honeymoon all built in one fabulous event. So when I came across this affair from the rolling hills of Tuscany…let’s just say I was a little envious in more ways than one. The whole day was orchestrated by Italia Celebrations, with Joanne Dunn there to capture. We’ve got the full gallery of Italian wedding goodies, and you don’t want to miss the Cinemate’s stunning film waiting down below!

From the Bride… Erik and I got engaged in the Summer of 2011 on a trip to Dubrovnik, Croatia. Since any wedding was going to be a destination wedding for most of our guests, we thought we might as well pick an awesome destination and make a long weekend out of it. Erik and I decided early on that we wanted all of our guests to stay on-site together. For many of our guests, this would be their first trip to Europe — and for some, their first time on an airplane! — so we wanted to minimize their travel hassle and make it as easy as possible for them to join us. By deciding early on that we wanted a venue that could sleep everyone on-site and had room rates at a variety of price points, we were able to really narrow down our venue search. When we met Brenda at Italia Celebrations, our wedding planner, she said that she had the perfect location for us and she was right.

When we traveled to Tuscany to visit several possible venues we immediately fell in love with the Il Borro estate. We loved the feel of the medieval “borgo” village and the flexibility that the property offered in terms of reception spaces. We loved the colors of the Il Borro estate — the dusty rose of the main Villa, the light cream of the village walls and, of course, the olive green of the Tuscan cypress tree. We decided to build on those colors to create a natural looking palate.

While we knew that we wanted to stick with the natural theme, the look & feel of the wedding really came together when we worked with Emily & Anna at PaperMoss to design our Save the Dates. I’d never cared much about stationery. After watching several friends stress about their invitations, I promised myself that the paper goods would be a low priority for us. But working with Emily & Anna made me quickly change my mind. The ladies at Paper Moss took my rough ideas on look & feel and they created a Save the Date that set the whole tone for our wedding. When our guests wrote to RSVP, more than one person said that they’d been carrying the Save the Date in their purse to show it off to friends!

Everyone says that your wedding will fly by. And that was definitely true for me. Even though we had events spread over five days, it still felt like a whirlwind — an absolutely fantastic whirlwind. Right as I was boarding the plane to Italy, I got the news: It was going to rain. I’m a planner by nature, so I’d spent months thinking about what our “Plan B” would be in the event of bad weather. But even though I’d thought through those ‘worst case scenarios,’ I never really thought that it would happen to us.

When I got the forecast (70% chance of rain), it really hit my spirits hard. Fortunately, my brother — who was lugging my wedding dress through airport security at the time — helped me make a quick decision to plan for a downpour, order a tent for the reception, and resolve not to let the rain water down the weekend.

It turned out to be great advice. While the tent was an extra expense, it easily paid for itself in terms of eliminating any weather-related stress. And true to the rule of ‘preparing for the worst,’ the grey clouds parted just in time for our ceremony and not a drop of rain came down during our big day.

From the Groom… One of my favorite parts of the weekend was our wedding reception. Since we had the opportunity to spend the whole weekend with our guests, Laura and I decided to have our own private table at the reception. This ended up being really nice for us — it was the first time during that whole day that we had a chance to be alone. I loved sitting next to my new wife and soaking it all in together.

We were really fortunate to work with a team of absolutely incredible vendors. From our calligrapher to our caterer, we felt extremely lucky to have the opportunity to work with such talented people who really went the extra mile to make our wedding incredible. Our Italian wedding band even learned how to play Sweet Home Alabama for us! In terms of advice, I’d strongly recommend hiring a wedding planner if you’re having a destination wedding. I love to plan. But I couldn’t have organized a wedding like ours without some professional help. There are so many little things that go into a wedding (..like where you’ll plug in those outdoor fairy lights) and hiring a planner really takes a huge load off your shoulders.

We felt like we really lucked out with Brenda Babcock of Italia Celebrations. Brenda was with us from the beginning — helping us find Il Borro, hire a band and florist, source wedding favors, the works. We worked with her weekly via email for 10 months leading up to the wedding and she was a tremendous source of local knowledge, decorating ideas, and logistical solutions. During the wedding day itself, Brenda and her assistant Linda kept our parents laughing and quietly ensured that everything went off without a hitch. I could not recommend Italia Celebrations more highly.

We also felt fortunate to work with the team at Il Borro who were exceptional hosts for our wedding weekend. The staff at Il Borro went above & beyond to help our guests feel at home. They even bought a waffle iron so they could whip up some American-style waffles for our post-wedding brunch!

Photographer: Joanne Dunn | Videographer: Cinemate | Wedding Planner: Italia Celebrations | Florist: Noosheen | Bride's shoes: Salvatore Ferragamo | Bridesmaid's dresses: Jenny Yoo | Calligrapher: Megan Chapin Calligraphy | Groom's attire: Hugo Boss | Bride's Dress: Suzanne Neville | Printed Goods: Paper Moss | Tuscan Villa: Il Borro

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