An Engagement in the Heart of Florence

Before we dive into Tony and Claire’s wedding day (coming up this afternoon!) it’s important to hear the love story where it all began. It’s the tale of two Americans who met in college, moved abroad and became engaged while living in Florence. Naturally, they asked KT Merry to photograph their e-session in the city that holds their hearts with their sweet pup, Louie along for the fun.

From KT… Two Americans who meet during their final year at Northwestern University followed their work to Italy and found themselves engaged and living abroad in one of the world’s most romantic cities – Florence. To document their love of travel and this adventurous time in their life we photographed Claire and Tony (and their darling lab, Louie!) in the their new home amisdt the history and busy culture that make Florence such a magical place. The birthplace of the Renaissance is the perfect place to begin a love story…

From the bride… Tony and I met in January 2012 during our senior year at Northwestern University. We were at one of the city’s trashiest college bars and I was inebriated beyond recollection and feeling bold. I introduced myself to Tony, who unbeknownst to me was the designated driver that evening, chatted his ear off and quizzed him on my name several times throughout our conversation. Later that night as Tony tried to end his night early as the designated driver, he asked if I wanted a ride back to Evanston, which I misinterpreted as him trying to make a pass and responded, “Um, no! But if you want, you can ask me for my number and maybe we can go out sometime…” Surprisingly, Tony took me up on the offer and asked me for my number. Tony texted two days later and asked to go to Peet’s Coffee on Sunday, where we had our first sober conversation and I decided he was “The One.” We had our first official date on Tuesday, our first kiss on Saturday, and the rest, as they say, is history! In December 2014 Tony and I were living in Florence, Italy and planning to visit my home in California over the holidays. Tony tried his hardest to keep the proposal a secret, but I spoiled the surprise when I “accidentally” stumbled across a text message about the engagement from his mother. However, Tony did surprise me when he popped the question on Christmas Eve in front of all of my family and planned a surprise engagement party with all of our friends and family. We knew we wanted to get married in Northern California, but we wanted our engagement photo session to document our time living abroad in Florence, Italy. Fortunately, our wedding photographer, KT Merry, was in Greece for a destination wedding and we were able to coordinate a destination engagement session several months prior to the big day.

We met with KT and her husband, Chad, bright and early at 6AM to avoid the crowds, catch the sunrise, and hit up some of our favorite spots in Florence. KT and Chad were both so professional, personable, and friendly and made our engagement session such a fun and relaxing experience.

We are so happy we decided to do an engagement session in Florence because it gave us an opportunity to document our time abroad with an amazing photographer in a city that has played a huge role in our relationship and will always hold a special place in our hearts.

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Photography: KT Merry Photography

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A Study Partner Turned Lifetime Love

As fellow sunset admirers, the proposal Craig planned for his beloved is totally speaking our love language. Even more so? He asked his beautiful Bride if they would return to Florence one day to be married. Fast forward two years later and this duo returned to their favorite city to become husband and wife, inviting Facibeni Fotografia to capture it all. Witness their beautiful beginning in The Vault!


Al Fresco

From The Bride…Craig and I first met studying together in 2004. At only 19 I fell completely in love with his beautiful kind heart. Our relationship progressed as we slowly set up our future together, and after 8 years he proposed. It was the most incredibly surreal moment I have ever felt. We were on a holiday traveling through Europe, when one beautiful evening in Florence we stood on the Santa Trinita bridge, to the left a view of the Ponte Vecchio and to the right the sun setting over the Arno river. I have always told Craig, sunset is my favourite part of the day as I love watching the colours of the sky change. It was then he dropped to one knee, told me he loved me and asked me if I want to return to Florence one day as husband and wife. With tears streaming down my face I said yes, never thinking almost exactly two years later we would return to our favourite city to become husband and wife.

Our dream wedding was set in the beautiful Villa La Vedetta overlooking the city of Florence, Italy.

The original plan was to get married in our home town Melbourne, Australia with a guest list of 120 people. With the venue booked, and plans unfolding, my Grandmother sadly lost her battle to cancer 9 months prior to our wedding date. With heavy hearts we continued with the preparations, never anticipating losing my Grandfather 3 months later. With a giant void in my life, this great loss was enough for us to reassess what we truly believed our wedding should be. The decision was made to cut our losses and stay true to ourselves, to travel to a beautiful destination with our closest friends and family, and what place would be more meaningful than Florence.

Upon first sight of Villa La Vedetta, we knew we had made the right decision, it was the most beautiful property we had ever laid eyes on.

I woke up unusually calm, being a hairdresser I started on my bridesmaids hair, I completed the four girls as well as my own before the make up began. I chose a beautiful silk and lace Steven Khalil dress, Yves Saint Laurent Heels and Dior pearl earrings, whilst Craig wore a classic custom made tuxedo.

Once I was dressed my mother handed me a ring my grandfather had given her, it was a pearl and topaz ring. This was my something old, borrowed and blue, along with a lace and pearl horse-shoe she had made for me for my something new.

From the immaculate gardens we held the ceremony, to the reception on the terrace under the Tuscan sun, we watched the city light up as we ate under the stars. Our decorations were simple white flowers with touches of gold to reflect the history of this beautiful city, without detracting from the view.

There could not be a more beautiful day imagined, with 40 of our nearest and dearest traveling from Melbourne, Australia to share the most magical experience of our lives. It was simplicity meets grandeur combing our decoration with the villa and views. After 10 years Craig and I have shared together, with our love for family, friends, travel, and our engagement in Florence, this day encapsulated everything we ever wanted, needed or dreamed possible.

Our honeymoon was spent on the Amalfi Coast, Isle of Capri, South of France, and the Greek Islands. This entire experience will always be the most vivid memory of our lives.

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Photography: Facibeni Fotografia | Cinematography: Gattotigre - Destination Wedding Videography | Floral Design: Stiatti Fiori | Wedding Dress: Steven Khalil | Invitations: Giant Invitations | Bride's Shoes: Tribut Ives Saint Laurent | Jewelry: Christian Dior | Bridesmaids' Dresses: Zimmermann | Celebrant: Blessings From Italy | Venue: Villa La Vedetta

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The Sweetest Italian E-Sesh, Cute Pup Included

You know what every engagement shoot needs?  A cute puppy.  Well, that AND a breathtaking backdrop like the enchanting streets of Italy.  Together with this stunning duo, it’s a combo that makes for some pretty amazing captures from Marta Guenzi.  Fall in love with every moment (sweet pup included) right here in THE VAULT.

From Marta Guenzi Photographer… Engagement shoots are one of the most creative parts of my job. They let me explore the territory to scout the perfect location trying to imagine a scenario, then they get me in touch with wonderful people that are the true inspiration for every picture I take.

Carolina and Nicolò received this engagement shoot as a gift. While being very happy and excited they were a little embarrassed about the idea of being photographed through the lanes in Orta San Giulio, that in a spring afternoon, could have been crowded by tourists. So we decided to start at the Sacro Monte di Orta, where among the greenery of the park and the colonnades of the chapels we had the necessary intimacy to start to break the ice. At that point, together with their puppy Ira, we headed for a walk along the paved road that leads from the hill to the center of Orta San Giulio. Once in town, thanks to the windy and not sunny day, we found very few people around the streets and the perfect atmosphere.

A heartfelt thanks to Lizzy, the flower designer of Petalo & Sepalo, who composed the flower crown for Carolina, and to the owner of the Enoteca al Boeuc, a delicious wine bar just behind Piazza Motta, who let us take some super romantic pictures sitting at one of its tables!

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Photography: Marta Guenzi Photographer | Floral Design: Petalo & Sepalo | Dress: John Zack | Flat Sandals: Steve Madden | Heels: Dsquared2 | Location: Orta San Giulio, Italy | Location: Enoteca al Boeuc

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