We decided to have a destination wedding, so we could host a whole weekend of celebrations, while also giving it a holiday vibe. We visited four or five venues in Tuscany but were absolutely blown away when we arrived at San Galgano Abbey. I truly couldn’t believe that ‘normal’ people could get married in there! The roofless remains of the 13th century abbey are breathtakingly beautiful and surrounded by fields as far as the eye can see. From there, Villa Podernovo was the perfect setting for a picturesque, Italianate reception. We booked it for three days, so that eighteen of our closest friends and family would be able to stay together in the run-up to the wedding. We also hired a chef for the whole time – our biggest extravagance. But this was well worth the cost, as it meant no one had to be busy in the kitchen or away from the other guests and unable to relax.
We thanked our wedding party for all their help and contribution by gifting them bespoke Parcel London boxes of goodies. We had them filled with lots of little presents, polaroid photos and special extras, including gold Frame Chains for their sunglasses, as well as delicious Aesop toiletries. It was such a fun way to start the preparations on the day!
I kept putting off choosing my wedding dress until just five months before the wedding – too nervous to make the decision. But as soon as I tried on the Rama at Pronovias, I knew this was it. I had wanted something very fitted and the ivory-satin dress was exactly that. I knew I wouldn't feel myself in something more flouncy. The balconette neckline and mermaid skirt weren’t at all what I had imagined choosing, but these details just made the design so much more special. And the crystal detail on the straps and inside the plunging back were the perfect finishing touch.
My wedding shoes were one of the first things I chose after we got engaged. True to nature, I threw any idea of comfort out of the window and chose six-inch heels, in nude Italian leather, from Francesco Russo. I knew they would be a worthwhile investment, as I'd definitely wear them again. I kept my jewellery classic and minimal: a rose-gold Cartier Love Bracelet - a gift from Mark; vintage diamond earrings (my ‘something borrowed’ from my mother-in-law) and a beautiful diamond necklace, which was given to me by my in-laws the night before the wedding. To ensure the detail on the back of the gown was still visible, I wore a barely-there, cathedral-length veil, handmade by Britten Weddings.
One of the most important aspects of the wedding to us was the music. We put a lot of time into planning it for the entire day, and the songs chosen for the day's most significant moments were all from romantic films. I walked down the aisle to the instrumental He sleeps from Pretty Woman; we signed the register to You & Me by Penny and the Quarters (from Blue Valentine), and our first dance was to You Send Me by Aretha Franklin (from The Holiday). We made a long Spotify playlist of Rat Pack jazz music, which was played during dinner, then had a great local DJ called Maurizio playing a diverse range of tunes – from 80s classics to garage – for all the dancing. Each song played at this point was actually chosen by a wedding guest on their RSVP, which made for such an fun and eclectic mix! Next, at the after-party that we held inside the villa, we played a brilliant playlist that Mark found on Soundcloud by Bambarra.
Photographs by Benjamin Wheeler