Archive for the ‘Our weddings’ Category

Exchange of rings

Saying ‘I do’ in Italy

The legal, civil ceremony in Italy is fairly basic. The registrar will read three articles from the Civil Code and read the declaration in the marriage register. The ceremony doesn’t actually include any vows or rings.  But this allows you to personalise your ceremony to the max with readings, music, vows – traditional or written personally by yourselves – and promises as you exchange your rings…

We can provide you with suggestions, a copy of the basic ceremony as well as a sample ceremony so you can see where it is appropriate to add your own ideas to make the ceremony more personal. You really can be as creative as you like so your wedding ceremony is all about you.

The Abbey of San Galgano

Civil ceremony at San Galgano

Many couples contact us asking if we can arrange a legal, civil ceremony in the grounds of a villa or in a park, but it is only possible to marry where the venue belongs to the town hall.  For this reason lots of couples opt for a low key civil ceremony in the town hall followed by a symbolic ceremony at the venue of their choice.

The Abbey of San Galgano just south of Siena is available for civil ceremonies, and if you choose to get married here the deconsecrated church will be closed to the public for an hour so you can have your wedding and photographs in absolute privacy. And this is what Joe and Mariko decided to do.

They booked a week’s holiday at Villa Podernovo in the small town of Monticiano – a beautiful setting and ideal for a wedding party. Extra accommodation for friends and family was booked in a family-run hotel and self-catering apartments, both of which were just a 5-minute walk from the villa.

The theme for the wedding was travel,  and the table plan represented some of the countries Joe and Mariko have visited over the years. The flowers were a mix of yellows, greys and whites, as were the bridesmaids’ dresses and paper pompoms which were hung from the ceiling.

The ceremony was held at 5pm on a very warm, August afternoon, followed by photos in the abbey, an absolutely stunning backdrop. Guests were taken back to the Villa for the aperitivo in the gardens while Joe and Mariko had some photos and drove back in a 1964 Alfa Romeo. The speeches took place before dinner was served, and after dinner everyone moved down to the porched area in front of the house for the first dance, a buffet of desserts and an open bar, with Mariko and Joe in charge of the playlist :-)

Official photos are here – wonderful memories of an absolutely brilliant day!

A cool alternative to wedding cake

Over to the bridegroom…

We usually work closely with the bride as we plan a wedding, sharing colour coded lists, excel files and pinterest pages, but Ruth and Sean’s wedding in August was a wedding with a difference: we did 99% of the planning directly with the groom.

‘Simplicity’ and ‘no fuss’ were the key words right from the outset and we worked via skype and email (no shared documents in sight) to create an event in a stunning location with a laid-back feel.

The  symbolic ceremony was held in the courtyard at Villa Casagrande in Figline Valdarno, followed by photos in the gardens with Livio before the aperitivo and dinner. Table decorations were mini olive trees and candles, and buckets of personalised lego to make fridge magnets. Sean is a graphic designer and had taken care of the seating plan, name cards and guest book.

Rather than opting for a traditional wedding cake, we had looked for something a bit different and just before the speeches were about to start an icecream van pulled into the courtyard – a great surprise and perfect for a very warm August evening. Music and dancing followed, with a late night buffet with fresh fruit being served at 11pm.







Down Under the Tuscan Sun

Kim and David contacted us a year ago for help with organising a 5 day event which would see guests flying in to Tuscany from Australia and Europe.  As the weeks went by the guest list grew so extra accommodation and coaches were booked to transport the guests to and from the three different venues.

As well as organising the wedding event, we arranged:

  • a welcome dinner with porchetta
  • a day of sightseeing and wine tasting in San Gimignano,
  • an informal BBQ the evening before the wedding in the gardens at Ozio in Collina,
  • an afternoon of shopping at the designer shopping mall the day after the wedding,
  • a farewell dinner with ‘micro buffet’ with various pasta dishes and pizzas in a local taverna.

The wedding took place at Agriturismo San Leo where the bride and groom had stayed 3 years previously. The ceremony took place in the gardens of San Leo. Food was provided by Luciano, Antonio, Alessandro and their team, with the aperitivo by the pool accompanied by a folk trio followed by an informal Tuscan meal with sharing platters in front of the villa. After dinner, Kim and David took to the dance floor and amazed their guests with their first dance. As the evening went on, ice cream was served in the courtyard, there was an open bar with whisky and cigars, and music and dancing in the wine cellar with Umagroso. Flowers by Stiatti Fiori and photos with Livio Lacurre. A winning combination – despite the heat! :-)

Official photos are here



Number crunching…

Our last few weddings have seen a significant change – more and more couples are contacting us once they have chosen their venue already, often because they have already been there or because they have already done some independent research online.

Here are a few things to be considered along the way to avoid hidden costs which may catch you out along the way:

Accommodation & catering

How many people can the venue cater for? Not just in terms of accommodation but also in terms of kitchen staff – can they provide the food and service, or will you need to involve an external catering company?

Venue fee

Is there a venue rental fee or an extra charge for exclusive use of the venue?


What is included at the aperitivo and what drinks will be served with the wedding meal? How much will extra bottles cost if your guests are enjoying the wine? And how much will extra bar service and drinks cost after the meal?


How much will children pay and at what age are they expected to pay the adult cost? Last minute changes do occur – what is the latest date possible for making changes?


If guests are staying in more than one venue due to limited accommodation capacity you will probably want to arrange transport for your guests, and this in turn can see higher rates for transfers after midnight or after a certain number of hours of service when the driver will need to be substituted. Taxis in small villages are not as easy to come by as they are in cities like Florence and Rome!


Does the venue have a sound system you can use and  if so, do they charge for rental? Is there a microphone available for speeches?

Do they take care of the music licence fee or is this an additional extra?

What time will the venue allow the party to continue until? And which areas will they allow you to use for dancing? If you want to dance outside will you need to rent a wooden dance floor?


Does the venue have their own lights and if so, do they charge for rental? Will lighting need to be organised if you want to eat outside?


Is it possible to get married at the venue or will you need to have the civil wedding service in the town hall and then have a symbolic wedding ceremony at the venue?

Terms and conditions

Are all of the basic extras included or are there extra charges for linen changes, breakfast, cots/high chairs, air conditioning etc?

Booking online

Yes, guests may find cheaper booking deals online but it really is best to book directly with the venue to ensure they get the best rate possible, and to avoid the risk of overbooking….it has happened in the past!

It really is worth sitting down and going through all of these points with the venue as early on as possible to avoid disappointment or unexpected expenses as the wedding date gets closer. And this is where we can help…


photographer in action

How to choose your wedding photographer

Your  wedding photos will be a huge part of your day, as will your photographer, so here are a few pointers to help you.

1. Style – are you looking for something traditional with posed shots or something which captures moments behind the scenes which would otherwise go unnoticed, pr perhaps a combination of both? Do you want a DVD or a series of photos to tell your wedding story?

2. Service – most photographers offer a basic service starting with 3 or 4 hours, and this can build up to a full day service with assistants as well as engagement sessions and more recently ‘trash the dress’ sessions after the wedding is over.

3. Proofs – the days of having to wait to see the proofs before making your selection are long gone and everything is digital. The most basic package will include all pictures on DVD and you can choose for yourself which pictures to print off when you are home. For an extra fee your photographer will select some of the best images and edit them using postproduction software to provide you with some truly stunning photos.

4. Prints and albums – you can opt to have your postproduced images printed and mounted, or to have your photos displayed in an album. Some photographers provide gift boxes with a limited selection of images which are perfect keepsakes for your families. A slideshow is another option, with a number of images set to a track which tells your wedding story from start to finish.

5. Budget – how much do you realistically want to spend on your photos? While the cost for a basic 3 hour service is certainly accessible it might be better to stretch the budget to cover as much of the day as you can – the day really does fly by and you are unaware of so much which is going on. Think about whether you want photos during the preparations – what is the groom doing while the bride is having her hair and makeup done? What are your guests doing as you get dressed?  And do you really want the photographer to have finished before the speeches and after dinner dancing?

Where possible we always try to arrange a meeting to introduce our couples to their photographer before the wedding day, so you have already met and know who will be working with you.



Matt and Paula, 20 September 2014

Paula and Matt first came to Italy for a venue visit in October 2013, looking for somewhere typically Tuscan, with breathtaking, panoramic views. Terre di Nano in Monticchiello had made the shortlist and as they walked around the gardens and the terraces with their views across the rolling hills to the Tuscan villages of Pienza and Montepulciano I knew it was the right venue for their wedding.

There were around 60 guests in the wedding party so we also booked apartments and rooms at Agriturismo Nobile and Albergo San Biagio.

The wedding weekend started on Friday evening with a prosecco reception, pizza party and quiz night and finished with an informal brunch on Sunday.

Saturday saw the early morning rainclouds give way to warm, autumn sunshine much to the relief of everybody involved!  The guests were seated and the wedding party came down to the lavendar garden accompanied by a traditional folk trio, much to the delight of friends and family. As the ceremony finished the wedding party moved round onto the terrace in front of the main villa for the aperitivo which was served as the sun set over the hills. Dusk faded into dark and dinner was served in the olive grove with hundreds of fairy lights and candles before guests moved into the wine cellar, transformed into a disco for one final wow factor.

Official photos by Livio Lacurre, flowers by Stiatti Fiori.



confetti and rice in the gardens at Villa Casagrande

Brian and Alison, 21 August 2014

Having worked at Camping Girasole in Figline Valdarno many summers ago, Brian wanted to bring Alison to Tuscany to get married here, and they chose the stunning backdrop of Villa Casagrande in Figline to share their special day with family and friends from both the UK and Italy.

Brian and Alison had an informal engagement photo shoot in the grounds of the Villa and in the town centre with Christian, the photographer, who also arranged for them to have a short video made, a couple of days before the wedding.

Brian has many Italian friends in Figline who had worked together to come up with a series of surprises: a wedding car to take Alison and the bridesmaids to the Palazzo Pretorio, prosecco and strawberries in the town square after the wedding, and as the evening went on they played several practical jokes on the groom.  I was horrified to see them take Brian’s tie and hack it into pieces to collect money for the bride and groom – as per the Italian tradition – but later found out he’d been half expecting it and had changed ties before dinner, just in case (phew!).

The whole run up to the wedding was very informal and laid back, and this was exactly how things were on the day.  The morning was spent relaxing with friends and family and at 3pm the hairdresser arrived to start getting Alison ready.  After the civil ceremony, Brian and Alison went for some photos at San Martino, just above Figline, before coming back to Villa Casagrande to join their friends and families for the aperitivo with piano bar.  After the meal and cutting the cake, everybody went to Aqva, Casagrande’s pool bar for drinks, music and dancing and the celebrations went on into the early hours.

Congratulations to Brian and Alison, Katie and Livia, and thank you to the fantastic team who worked with us to make the wedding such a success!!



Siena wedding, 26 July 2014

This summer has been a wash out with thunderstorms and temperatures well below the average and it seems that every wedding we have had so far this year has had the threat of rain (or rain!) and there have been lots of emails from worried brides about the forecast!  Today was no exception but the sun managed to come out and stay out this morning for Amy and Kris and their wedding.

Amy and Kris contacted us just over 18 months ago to make the arrangements for their wedding – their dream wedding backdrop was the Piazza del Campo in Siena. The ceremony was held in the Palazzo Pubblico, the stunning building which has been Siena’s city hall since the Middle Ages. The guests came up the three flights of stone steps and into the huge room with frescoed ceiling and spectacular Murano glass chandeliers - absolutely beautiful.

Amy and Kris’s 8 year old son gave his mum away and there were a few tears but these turned into smiles as the vows and rings were exchanged  and the exit song – ‘Happy’ – summed up the vibe perfectly.

A prosecco reception in the Piazza del Campo followed, before the coach took everyone back to the reception venue for an afternoon of relaxation before dinner and dancing with a beautiful sunset…

Siena Here comes the brideA poignant moment P7260140  Happy groomHappy brideAperitivoHappy guests



For a stress-free day which is all about you

Elope wedding with a difference

When I met up with a good friend over lunch in Arezzo last October we caught up on all our news and we joked about her eloping to Italy to get married. When I told her I’d organise it for her I was sincere but I didn’t really expect that our chat would actually culminate in a wedding!

By the end of December there had been a proposal and the decision had been made – they really were going to elope to Italy to get married!! Families were informed, the town hall was available so the florist, hairdresser and photographer were contacted, appointments were booked to get the paperwork sorted. Accommodation was arranged in a medieval tower in Figline Valdarno – the groom had wondered about a castle so we came up with the next best thing! In the space of three months everything was in place and we were ready to go.

We’ve organised and assisted on elope weddings before but this elope wedding was slightly different. Giacomo, my husband, is usually on hand behind the scenes at our weddings but this time he was one of the witnesses and I was going to be a guest.

The morning of 4th April was cool, grey and rainy but we had plenty of umbrellas on hand, and nothing was going to put a dampener on Jane and David’s special day. Once we were all ready, the witnesses arrived at the tower and we wandered down to the Palazzo Pretorio in Figline for the civil ceremony which was followed by photos and a cappuccino – the bride’s only ‘must have’ photo request! An aperitivo was waiting for us at Villa Casagrande and then we went down to the restaurant for a wonderfully relaxed lunch.

It was a really lovely day. I could do with a wedding every Friday to start the weekend like this – friends, sisters, anyone else thinking about eloping – drop me a line!

Click here to see Torre Forese

Paul's engraved ring

Paul and Jan, Elope wedding 19th September 2013

Paul contacted us at the end of June because he and Jan had booked a holiday in Italy in September and he wanted to surprise Jan with their wedding when they were here! Unfortunately, the legal procedure meant that he couldn’t do things without her finding about it so he broke the news to her – but she was thrilled with the idea and Paul set the ball rolling!
Paul and Jan had both been married before and they wanted the day to be as laid-back and as stress-free as possible, doing something they love – horse-riding!
We organised the ceremony and a bouquet – Jan’s request was for something blue – before going to the local riding stables where we produced a bag with some spare clothes for them to get changed and sent them off on a trek through the vineyards with Maura and Silvia from Vecchio Texas. Paul and Jan had been to Florence and chosen their rings and had them engraved the day before the wedding – Paul chose to have his engraved on the outside rather than the inside, a really lovely idea.
When they returned they had worked up an appetite and had a wonderful aperitivo waiting for them, and they called their families and close friends to tell them their news (which took a while!). They went on to enjoy dinner under the stars, and then had a week of honeymooning in the Tuscan hills.

champagne and fruit

Congratulations to Sarah and Thomas!

We have collaborated with Gio from Accent Events on several weddings and when she contacted us because she was organising a wedding package for Sarah and Thomas, a young couple who were eloping to get married in Tuscany, we were more than happy to help with the arrangements.  We assisted her with the creation of the wedding package, which included flowers, photography, champagne reception and transfer as well as accommodation, spa and evening meal before the wedding.  We were on hand to interpret at the verbal hearing and the civil ceremony, and we provided the two witnesses necessary for the legalities!

At 6.30am on the morning of the wedding it was pouring with rain, by 7am there was a rainbow and by 9.30am the sun was shining. The wedding was very relaxed and informal, and the focus was – as to be expected – on the bride and groom. They met the photographer at 10am, had some informal photos in the hotel and then made their way on foot to the Palazzo Pretorio in Figline for the ceremony, much to the pleasure – and interest – of the locals. After the ceremony they walked back to the hotel for an intimate champagne reception before gathering their belongings and heading to Florence at 1pm to begin their honeymoon.

Congratulations Sarah and Thomas, and good luck for your new arrival in October!

elope definition   Google Search

Let’s run away and get married in Tuscany…

This summer has seen the start of a new trend – for us at least – with couples eloping to Tuscany to get married.

More and more couples are opting to elope and get married while they are here on holiday. This way they keep their wedding as stress-free, as intimate and as personal as possible  - and why not – it keeps the costs down too.  Then when they return home, sunkissed and glowing, they can choose how to break the good news to their families and friends.

If this idea appeals to you read on…

In terms of legalities, you will need to procure all the documents required as for any wedding in Italy, and you should allow sufficient time for this process (meaning your elopement won’t be a rash decision!). You will also need two witnesses present at the ceremony, and we are happy to provide them for you if necessary.

In terms of booking a date let us know the dates you’re planning to come on holiday and we will check availability with the town hall of your choice. If you are happy to have a mid-week wedding it will probably be easier to get a slot.

And then the rest is entirely up to you, whether you decide to be whisked away by limousine to your honeymoon destination, or to do something fun that you will both remember for years to come, like a trek on horseback through the vineyards as the sun sets. By eloping you really can make your wedding all about you and your new husband or wife!

Drop us a line if you’re interested…





Lisa and Richard, 21st July 2013

The venue for Richard and Lisa’s wedding in July was Hotel Villa Casagrande in Figline Valdarno, where Richard had proposed to Lisa on a recent trip to Italy.

The wedding ceremony and reception were held in the Cloister and the focal point was the well which was adorned with flowers, candles and fairylights.

A string trio was playing to welcome guests as they arrived for the ceremony and the bride and groom made their entrance down the stone steps into the courtyard. Photos in the gardens were followed by an aperitivo while Lisa and Richard went into the main square of Figline Valdarno for some informal pictures, accompanied by lots of ‘Auguri!’ from the locals!

Dinner was followed by the first dance and a surprise solo performance from one of Richard’s closest friends on the saxophone, before the cutting of the cake and fireworks!

On the evening after the wedding guests were invited to a relaxed ‘apericena’ with drinks and buffet dinner at the pool bar.

Click here to see Livio’s slideshow (and some award winning pictures!)

Documents must be legalised and translated

A new procedure for getting married in Italy

This summer sees the end of the Nulla Osta for British nationals who are resident in the UK who wish to get married in Italy. As of the end of August there will be a new procedure which couples will have to follow but it sounds more complicated than it is!

You cannot start the documentation process more than 6 months before your wedding date, or 3 months if you are resident in Scotland.

1. CNI

You both need to get a Certificate of No Impediment from your local Registry Office.  Please take your passports with you to avoid any potential problems with the paperwork.

2. Statutory Declaration

While you are waiting for your CNI you should make a statutory declaration before a solicitor or public notary in the UK. This declaration is required by the Italian authorities. The solicitor or public notary will charge a fee for this service. Fees will vary so it might be worth shopping around. Download the bi-lingual statutory declaration.

3. Legalisation

When you have your CNI and you have made your statutory declaration, you need to send them both to the Legalisation Office for each to be legalised with a Hague Apostille. The Legalisation Office will charge for this service.

4. Translation in Italy

Once all of your documents have been legalised, you will then need to have the legalised CNI translated by a translator based in Italy who will take the translated documents to the Italian courts to legalise the document here in Italy. If you send us your legalised CNIs and Statutory Declarations we can organise this for you. The translator will charge a fee for this service but we have negotiated competitive rates.

And then?

Once the Italian documentation is ready we will need copies of your passports and those of your witnesses, and we will arrange everything with the town hall of your choice here in Italy. A day or so before the wedding we will need to do a verbal hearing, and on the wedding day itself there are some parts of the ceremony which must be read by the Registrar in Italian by law. You can personalise as much or as little as you want to, with vows, readings and music.

Here is a useful link with further details – and more scenarios!

from newly engaged to newly wed

From newly engaged to newly weds – how we can help

You’ve got the ring and made your happy announcement to friends and family…now what?

First you need to decide if you want to get married in Italy. If you are unsure, do a quick brainstorm of pros and cons – we find it helps when making big decisions ;-)  Getting married in Tuscany has so many things going for it – the atmosphere, the food, the landscapes, the weather, the people –  all of which will make your wedding celebrations unforgettable for you and your guests.

And getting married with Weddingsmiths can help reduce the list of cons. We can help you save money by negotiating the best deals possible with our trusted suppliers. We can save you time by doing the legwork for you. We can remove any worries about language barriers and communication issues because after 15 years living in Italy we can speak the lingo. We can help you organise the logistics, from how to transport your guests to the venue to having their welcome packs ready and waiting for them when they arrive. And this means we can reduce the stress, allowing you to focus on the fun side of things like choosing shoes, bridesmaid dresses, and your honeymoon!

You will need to think about a date which will work for you and your guests, and talk about the kind of venue where you can envisage your reception taking place – do you want something rustic and informal or something elegant and formal? Do you want a Church wedding or a symbolic ceremony? Do you want a small, intimate reception or do you want to celebrate with as many friends and family members as possible?

Then drop us a line! We will take time to talk to you, to get to know you as a couple and to get a feel for what you are looking to create on your wedding day. Then we will give you some ideas and suggestions to start the ball rolling, and we can take it from there.




Gav 4

Venue of the month – October

Gavillaccio is a medieval hamlet which has been lovingly restored by Lorna and Eugenio to provide 8 beautiful apartments which can accomodate approx 35 people. Their mission is to provide Courtesy, Quality, and a Personalised Service, and having worked with them on several weddings we can guarantee that you won’t be disappointed. You will be able to relax completely, knowing that the smallest details have been taken care of.

The residence has a pool where you can relax with your guests in the run up to the wedding, and it would be possible to hold the reception around the pool for smaller parties. For larger parties of up to 70 guests the Pavilion is available, with huge panoramic windows overlooking the hills.

Weddings can be held in the Catholic church at Gaville, or in the town hall of Figline or San Giovanni Valdarno, and it is also possible to hold a symbolic ceremony in the grounds of Gavillaccio with a hidden grassy walkway providing the perfect aisle for a bride who wants to make a grand entrance. The panoramic views and woodland provide stunning backdrops for your wedding photos, and the combination of the venue, the setting and the hospitality mean that your wedding will be a day (and a week!) which you and your guests will never forget.

Visit Il Gavillaccio’s website 




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Congratulations Simon and Caroline!

When Caroline and Simon contacted us last October they had already booked their venue and accommodation and were looking for someone to assist at their civil ceremony. We also arranged some of the smaller details – flowers, hairdresser and music.  Caroline had  booked a small complex of villas for a group of around 50 friends and family members, as well as a coach transfer to and from the ceremony and again at the end of the evening to take guests back to their accommodation.

On a sunny September afternoon they had their wedding ceremony at the Palazzo Pretorio in Figline, with music, vows which they had written, and 3 emotionally charged readings! The reception was held at Villa La Palagina where guests enjoyed an informal aperitivo in the gardens before the wedding meal by the pool.

Congratulations Simon and Caroline, and we wish you a lifetime of happiness together!