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Week-long Wedding Celebration in Italy

If your guests are traveling across the Atlantic anyways, why not make a week out of it, right? That’s the approach Ali and Zach took when planning their Italian nuptials, and we’re sure glad they did. This stunning wedding week started in Florence and ended with the ceremony in Portofino, with lots of vino, fireworks, and dancing along the way. So sit back, relax, and enjoy the enchanting film from Carmen and Ingo.

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From Carmen and Ingo PhotographyWe are photographers by heart but we now and then do wedding videos for our clients too. Normally they are about 4-5 minutes and just a little add on to the photos.

Summer last year, we had this american (New York based) couple that wanted photos of their week long wedding in Italy. Florence and Portofino. They also asked for video. Since it is a bit to hard to compress 5 days in 5 minutes, we have produced an almost 12 minutes feature film for them.

The photos have still not been published actually, as the B&G wanted them to be in a print magazine somewhere in the US. However, we are allowed to release the feature film and since it was such a spectacular wedding week, we wanted to try if you are willing to feature one of our videos as well.

The Pre Events…Florence was the original place selected for the big affair, but with the hot temperatures known for that time the year, the couple decided to weave Florence in a different type of fashion. Thus was borne the #Zachitali adventure – a caravan starting overlooking the city of Florence, woven through the streets of the ancient city through a special scavenger hunt, and capped with a bus ride to beach party destination of Santa Margherita Ligure, and ultimately, Portofino.

Wedding Party Fashion…Frustrated with the options available in-store, the Bride wanted everything customized. Bridesmaid dress fabric was hand-selected by the Bride and her designer sister-in-law to glisten in tones of champagne, gold, and blush peach to accent the natural colors of the Ligurian coastal towns, and especially the venue. Each girl’s body was taken into consideration to ensure they felt their best on the big day. The Groom’s tuxedo was created bespoke by an Italian tailor, and the bride’s veil was lined with Italian lace to give her otherwise modern Peter Langner gown a more old world feel. Vintage pieces were purchased for everyone in the party by the Bride at Pippin – from old cufflinks to 1920’s rhinestone drops.

Pre Ceremony Musicians and Memory Table…From the moment guests arrived at La Cervara, they were to receive a feast of the senses. Mandolin and accordion players greeted them as they exited the vans, wielding tambourines draped with ribbons for guests to join in to the music. A “swan song” cocktail was there as an early refreshment – which was a crisp mix of St. Germain cucumber and champagne. Guests had polaroids to snap their photos to include in the guest book for the bride and groom, laid out for them on a table bedecked with vintage frames and the weddings of the bride and groom’s ancestors. Flower pots hung from the ceiling, framing the cloisters and teasing the guests with visuals of the garden to come.

Ceremony…The ceremony was designed as a celebration of not just Zach and Ali, but of the world of friends and loved ones that had flown across the ocean to share in the special week. To shield their heads from the sun and the ladies’ faces from perspiration, straw fans and panama hats were given out, along with parasols as an additional cooling agent. To dip the guests right into the fantasy that would ensue that evening, an acrobat danced in the air on white silk to capture the guests attention as they waited. Ali’s Rabbi from her hometown temple who married her parents, sister and brother officiated, signs and rings and flowers were carried by her niece, nephew, and custom music was selected to cue each special moment, from Music of the Night for the Bride’s entrance, to The Saints go Marching In to pay homage to their love of New Orleans jazz.

Pre Reception Décor...Zach and Ali cultivated their relationship over a love of literature, sharing life’s synonyms via their favorite excepts from the likes of “The Power of One,” “Pillars of the Earth,” and “Great Gatsby.” Each book housed the seating arrangements, scribbled elegantly in gold on old fashioned bookmarks. Their head table of course held the name of the F.Scott Fitzgerald work that inspired their wedding – The Great Gatsby. As favors for their guests, Ali and Zach commissioned a custom work done by an Italian artist – an etched representation of their week-long Italian adventures, encased in old ink and wine bottles as a nod to the proximity of the sea at their venue. To set the tone for the journey through time, straight to West Egg, Ali and Zach had a 20’s style jazz band to get guests right into the jazz age during the ‘aperitivo,’ as they noshed from an authentic Italian cheese table, a Ligurian fish bar, and sipped on custom cocktails pulling from the freshest local ingredients.

The wedding was the Grand Finale… mined with surprises for the guests’ utter delight. Every half hour brought a new treat – be it masks to mimic a Venetian masquerade, beads nodding again to New Orleans and the Groom’s schooling at Tulane, cocktail popsicles, fire dancers, and a photobooth with props brought in from their hometown, set to represent their various passions from cooking (chef’s hats) to countries (Italian flags) and baseball (foam fingers, anyone?.) If guests’ feet tired from the dance floor, they could find respite in a gentleman and ladies corner, dotted with their very own caricatures by an artist that created them at the welcome drinks in Florence only days before. The nights entertainment was capped off with fire dancers…until an even better surprise was given by Ali’s father. As Ali’s Dad took to the stage to share his speech to his daughter, he asked “do you trust me?” With that, he queued Josh Groban’s You Raise me Up over the loud speakers, prompting a burst of golden fireworks arching over the Portofino harbor as Ali’s Dad invited her to the dance floor, along with her new husband and his mother, so that they could share the stage and the first minutes as father daughter and mother son.

One year after sliding doors happened and we struck up a three hour conversation on a train, we turned an electric friendship into romance and began dating. The rest, they say is history.

Videography: Carmen And Ingo Photography | Event Planner: Chic Weddings In Italy | Florist: La Rosa Canina | Wedding Gown: Peter Langner | Invitations: Bride & Finger Ladies Letterpress | Engagement Ring: Hyde Park Jewelers | Bridesmaid Dresses: Wai Ming | Hair: Courtney Benedetti Tooke | Groom's Attire: Ricardo Negro | Groom's Shoes: Del Toro | Bridal Jewelry: BHLDN | Bridal Shoes: BHLDN | Cermony Venue: La Cervara | Makeup: Nam Vo | Reception Band: Sway All Stars Orchestra | Rehearsal Dinner: Cafe Puny | Thursday Beach Bbq: Santa Beach Club | Tuesday Welcome Dinner In Florence: Villa La Vedetta | Veil: Suzanne Couture Millinery | Wednesday Welcome Dinner In Florence: Il Latini

BHLDN is a member of our Look Book. For more information on how members are chosen, click here. Chic Weddings in Italy is a member of our Little Black Book. Find out how members are chosen by visiting our FAQ page.
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Intimate Italian Destination Wedding from Lauren Michelle Photography

Jetting off with the one you love for “I dos” in the Italian Riviera sounds like a dream. But what makes this story even cuter (if you can handle) is that these sweeties met at the tender age of 15. Fast forward 11 years and you get what has to be one of the most romantic weddings EVER. Ocean views, Italian charm and all. Exclusive Italy Weddings made sure it went off without a hitch and Lauren Michelle captured it all behind the camera. Click here for sooo much more.


David and I met when we were 15 years old, and after 11 years together, we got engaged in Central Park in New York City. We knew that we wanted a small, intimate wedding with only our family and close friends. The most important thing for us was ensuring that we could offer our guests an amazing, unforgettable experience since so many people were traveling from all over the U.S. to spend the weekend celebrating with us. I knew I wanted the day to feel romantic and elegant. We both love to travel and we had visited Portofino Italy while we were in college. Even though David and I are both from Los Angeles, when David and I were looking at different venues we knew that Portofino was the perfection destination.

For the ceremony, we picked San Giorgio Church, a traditional church that is situated atop a cliff with beautiful views of the Portofino square, anchored yachts, and the Mediterranean Sea. My bridesmaids and I rode in a tiny Ape up the cobblestone road that led to the church where we were greeted by tourists visiting Portofino.

David and I chose the Imperiale Palace Hotel for the reception because of its stunning ocean views, large communal table, and beautifully painted ceilings. The day was truly magical and everything I could have ever dreamed of. I knew the moment our wedding planner showed us photos of the reception room that the setting would be luxurious, yet intimate — everything we wanted. We chose a color palette of navy, blush pink, ivory and gold and each of my bridesmaids wore a navy lace dress of their choosing. Peonies are my favorite flower — so there was no other choice for me. My bouquet was ivory peonies and the centerpieces were ivory peonies with hint of blush pink. It was a bit difficult to find peonies that were growing in season, so all our flowers were ordered from Holland.

We are incredibly grateful to Lauren Michelle who captured the entire event beautifully, our videographer Mat and to the Chiara at Exclusive Italy Weddings for making everything look impeccable and the day run seamlessly. David and I have the best memories from our wedding day and it is so amazing to be able to revisit them with all the beautiful photos and video taken that day.

Photographer: Lauren Michelle | Cinematography: Matteo Castelluccia Videomaker | Wedding Planner: Exclusive Italy Weddings | Floral Design: Il Giardino SNC Di Morelli | Wedding Dress: Monique Lhuillier | Ceremony Venue: San Giorgio Church, Santa Margherita Ligure, Italy | Reception Venue: Imperial Palace Hotel, Santa Margherita Ligure, Italy | Shoes: Yves Saint Laurent | Bridesmaid Dresses: Joie | Bridesmaid Dresses: Monique Lhuillier | Bridesmaid Dresses: Diane von Furstenberg | Groom's Attire: Hugo Boss | Music: Co-Max Production | Transportation: Autonoleggio Stelvio | Wedding Dress Style: Monique Lhuillier - Jessica

Monique Lhuillier is a member of our Look Book. For more information on how members are chosen, click here. Exclusive Italy Weddings is a member of our Little Black Book. Find out how members are chosen by visiting our FAQ page.
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Portofino Wedding by Jacqueline Schmitz Campbell

I am by no means afraid of a little color but there is just something so romantic and breathtaking about an all white affair.  And when that all white affair happens to take place in Portofino you better believe the romance will be through the roof.  Jacqueline Schmitz Campbell brings us on an exquisite European adventure through the cobblestone streets of Italy to a classically elegant reception with simple yet stunning arrangements of all white blossoms and herbs.  This is so timeless it could be straight out of a Fellini film.  Click here to see even more in the full gallery!

Click here to see the entire image gallery!

From the Bride… When my parents stayed at the Splendido 25 years ago, during their first vacation since giving birth to me, little did they know that they would be hosting a wedding for their daughter and future ITALIAN son-in-law! Well the fates were watching over me and on 2 April 2011, I had the wedding of my dreams to Bernardino Provera.

We could not have asked for better family or friends to travel from near and far to celebrate with us on the most beautiful spring day. The church was absolutely stunning, fresh from renovations and decorated with wonderful white flowers and dogwood branches. The ceremony was both in English and Italian and as we left we were showered with risotto fresh from Bernie’s aunt and uncle’s factory in Vercelli.

A highlight of the day was riding around town in our Ape. Bernie and I felt like celebrities with Jackie and tourists as our paparazzi. After a sip of Prosecco and a bite of focaccia, we were up-up-and away to the Splendido Hotel, where a feast for a king awaited. The venue was first class. Carlo at the Splendido could not have been more helpful. Our menu included seafood
salad, risotto with local scampi and pumpkin flowers, home-made ravioli, and baked sea bass over polenta and sauted spinach (which reminded the New Orleans crowd of grits). The cake, an Italian spin on a Baked Alaska, filled with gelato and berries, cooled the guests off after a few rounds of rowdy bi-lingual toasts.

Marcus Bonfanti showed up mid-way through the meal fresh from a gig in the UK the night before. He serenaded us with blues and even threw in a few New Orleans faves, like “Oh when the Saint’s” and “Iko Iko.” The Splendido never saw such a Second Line!

Wedding Photography: Jacqueline Schmitz Campbell / Wedding Ceremony Location: Chiesa di San Giorgio / 1st Appritivo: Gelateria Portofino / Wedding Reception Location: Hotel Splendido / Floral Design: Interflora Italia Ferretti Alessandra / Band: Marcus Bonfanti / Wedding Dress: Carolina Herrera / Bride’s Shoes: Christian Louboutin / Groom’s suit: Ermenegildo Zegna / Wedding Cake: Hotel Splendido / Bride’s Hair & Makeup: Ricci e Capricci, Santa Margherita, Italy / Event Planner: Fernanda Andriani