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Elegant Summer Tuscan Wedding

Italian weddings automatically make me swoon but add in an ancient family-owned villa, a personal gelato cart and a vintage getaway car and I’m pretty sure this is something out of a dream. Il Cerimoniere Italian Weddings organized this whole elegant affair and with Emm And Clau behind the lens, I’ll be pinning almost every photo from this breathtaking gallery for the rest of today.


Emm And Clau… We were so fortunate to photograph Laura and Gavin’s destination wedding at Villa Catignano, near Siena! They were a pleasure to work with and their ceremony was so heart-touching. It was an intimate event and you could see their close friends and family really enjoyed each other’s company. We are very thankful that it didn’t rain (more) on the wedding day and everybody had a lovely dinner outside.

From The Bride… Gavin and I met 11 years ago on a college exchange to Lingen in Germany back in 2003 when we were just 17 and 18 years old. Even though we attended the same college in our home city, our paths had never crossed before. After 6 years together we became engaged during a round-the-world trip where we took a couple of months off work. Gavin proposed while we were lying in a hammock on one of the stunning Yasawa islands in Fiji.

We’ve never stopped traveling, and it’s our love of seeing the world that made the idea of getting married somewhere other than our home city so appealing. Also, I lost my dad when I was little so the thought of a big white wedding in England just didn’t seem right; I knew we should do something different and a bit out of the ordinary.

We started to plan our wedding in 2012, two years before our intended date. This meant we could invite people early on and give them almost two years notice! This most certainly helped as out of 73 invited guests, 72 flew out to Italy – we felt so privileged. We also discovered how few people had actually been to Italy before and it has been such a great feeling to know we’ve encouraged people to take a trip they might not have done usually, some even conquered a fear of flying! So many of our guests have told us this trip has inspired them to see more of Italy.

I had no idea where to start when planning a wedding, until I saw a featured wedding in You and Your Wedding that just took my breath away! I knew it was what I wanted and I found the man to make this happen – in the vendor list it showed Samuele from Il Cerimoniere and I contacted him without hesitation.

From day one Samuele was brilliant. He emailed us with about 50 venues around Tuscany, and we sifted through and chose five to visit. We met Samuele and he drove us across Tuscany visiting stunning location one after the other. The first one we visited, Villa Catignano (about 15 minutes from Siena), was the one that stole our hearts! The location, the views, olive groves all around, pool, and the family feel (the villa is still owned by the same family since the 17th century). The set-up of the villa also meant that we paid one price and ALL of our 72 guests could stay with us on one site. The villa was perfect for what we wanted to do and they were so accommodating.

I had been very nervous about the weather; our wedding was on 5th August, and in July it had rained for 20 days out of 31! The ceremony at Certaldo was in an open-air courtyard and thankfully the weather stayed perfectly sunny. A small drinks reception at a local bar and garden followed before our guests made the descent back down in the funicular to the coach. During the drive back to Villa Catignano the heavens opened and there was a huge thunderstorm. But thankfully, by the time we arrived back at the villa it had stopped.

On our return to Villa Catignano we had our drinks reception in the vaulted tinaia room, and dinner followed outdoors in the courtyard which had been decorated with the most spectacular strings of lights overhead.

The meal was a real Italian feast. We took inspiration from the local cuisine with the menu including ravioli with game ragu, champagne and bacon risotto and beef steaks with Chianti Classico sauce. We were excited for the traditional Italian wedding cake delicately made in front of our guests – who were mesmerised! We also enjoyed delicious local wines! After the cake, Spumante, coffee, dessert wine and cantucci biscuits, we had a surprise gelato stand, complete with gelato man dishing up four tasty flavours.

The morning after we arranged a buffet breakfast for all guests in the villa’s main lounges and after a lazy morning by the pool we all headed for Castello di Meleto in Gaiole in Chianti for wine tasting and a tour of this ancient castle.

Our photographers were Emm and Clau, who our wedding planner put us in touch with. We had originally booked another photographer from the UK, but for one reason and another we decided to switch to Emm and Clau. We believe that this was the best decision we could have made with regards to our wedding planning. We could have used other vendors for other areas but I think Emm and Clau captured our day incredibly well and were a real pleasure to work with.

We know that we had the kind of wedding that was perfect for us and wouldn’t have dreamt of doing anything different. We feel such a connection with Tuscany now, and did from our first visit. We will be back!

Photography: Emm And Clau | Wedding Planner: Il Cerimoniere Italian Weddings | Flowers: Marie Lou, Panzano In Chianti | Wedding Dress: Mimi Toko, Derbyshire, UK | Reception: Villa Catignano, Siena, Tuscany | Catering: Delizia Ricevimenti | Groom's Attire: Ted Baker And Levi’s | Chandeliers And Lighting: Il Cerimoniere Italian Weddings | Ice Cream Cart: Gelateria Malotti – Delizia Ricevimenti | Stationery Print: Plan4Print | Stationery – Invites, Menus: Laura Wride | Villa: Villa Catignano | Vintage Car: Matrimonio In Maggiolone

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Travel to Tuscany with Jessica Burke

Whenever something from Jessica Burke lands in my inbox I just know I’m in for a treat (I mean, did you SEE this rehearsal dinner? It’s insanely gorgeous). And her trip to Italy? Well it somehow surpassed even my highest of expectations. I spent more time than I’ll ever admit poring through her photos. And you may want to set aside some time as it’s all right here.

From Jessica Burke… One of my favorite things to do when traveling for destination weddings is to explore the area where the wedding is taking place. I not only love to travel + experience new places, but I also love to provide images of the area to my couples. On a recent tip to Italy, I had some extra time to explore Tuscany and absolutely fell in love.

The smaller towns in the Tuscan countryside are less visited by tourists and are incredibly charming. Siena and Lucca and both lovely and worth a visit, at least for a night or two each. Siena is a great home base to experience Tuscany, you’ll want to be sure to have a car.

I could write an entire separate post on the wonderful experience I had at Aia Mattonata Relais. A restored farmhouse built in the 1800′s, the owners Mario and Elisabetta created a warm and welcoming escape just outside the town of Siena. The location is central to experience Tuscany, yet tucked away from the hustle and bustle. One of my favorite places I’ve ever stayed, I highly recommend!

One of the best drives is through the three villages of Pienza, Montepulciano and Montalcino. Do not miss visiting here! Truly the quaintest towns I’ve visited in Tuscany. While you’re there, be sure to visit the leather shop Maledetti Toscani in Montepulciano.
Another wonderful day was spent biking on the wall that surrounds Lucca.. tree lined streets and views of the town below make for quite a lovely afternoon.

Siena has a sun-filled piazza perfect for a relaxed lunch. Pick up some cheese + salame + bread from one of the many markets to enjoy while people watching.

Tip: if you’re gluten-free like myself, visit the farmacias scattered about each town. There are shelves of gluten-free goodies, (even baguettes!) which allowed me to enjoy one of my favorite meals – cheese, bread and wine. Such a great surprise!

With its old world architecture, endless walkways and friendly Italians, wherever you travel in Tuscany you’re sure to be charmed.

Photography: Jessica Burke

Jacquelyn Clark