Posts Tagged ‘Tuscany’

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!


Courtyard

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

 


sunset

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!!

 


Happy!

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…

http://www.liviolacurre.it/en/kris-amy-weddings-stories/

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!


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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!)


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Venue of the month – April

Traditional oak beams, terracotta floors, soft cotton bedlinen, simple furnishings and light, airy rooms. Woodland, stunning sunsets and the sounds and scents of nature. Low key and laid back, enjoying the great outdoors and spending quality time together.  If this is your idea of a Tuscan backdrop for your wedding, Villa Toscana is the right place for you.

The villa is located between the small towns of Faella and Castelfranco, in the Province of Arezzo, and just a short drive to the nearest station in the town of Figline Valdarno.  The property was renovated in 2006 and with the addition of 3 new apartments it is possible to sleep around 40-45 guests in single, double and triple bedroomed apartments, each of which have a terraced area, overlooking the woodland or pool area and extensive grounds.  A stunning wedding photo opportunity is just around the corner with ‘Le Balze del Valdarno’, one of the most unusual features of the valley and a protected area of local interest.

The villa is ideal for couples who are looking to relax and spend quality time outdoors with family and friends. The venue is especially suitable for families with children as there is a large play area, table tennis tables, a tennis court and a shallow pool for smaller children as well as the larger swimming pool. There are 3 large barbeques and a clubhouse with tables and chairs meaning mealtimes can be social times. For the wedding reception there are numerous solutions, maybe starting with an aperitivo at the pool before having dinner under marquees in the garden area below the pool and then dancing by the clubhouse, which could also be used as emergency back up in the case of rain.

An important added bonus at this venue is that the owners are happy to accept mid-week arrivals, and bookings do not have to be Saturday-Saturday, extremely unusual during high season in Italy! This makes it easier to make travel arrangements with budget airlines and have your wedding on the day which suits you. Please contact us to arrange a quote if you are interested in renting the villa for your exclusive use.

Visit Villa Toscana’s website

 

 


Wedding at La Selva

Venue of the month – February

When you describe your dream wedding, are the words ‘rustic’,  ‘relaxed’ and ‘ romantic’ at the top of your list? If so, this is the place for you.

La Selva is a private, family villa located in 32 acres of grounds, which offers absolute privacy and intimacy. As you enter the villa you immediately feel the welcoming atmosphere, and it is not hard to imagine how relaxed you would be after spending a week of your life enjoying the Tuscan sunshine and scenery on offer here!

The venue is ideal for small wedding parties as it can sleep up to 16 guests, with 7 bedrooms and 5 bathrooms, perfect if you are looking to spend a week with your closest family or friends.  The fact that you will be the only guests means you have no restrictions and you can do exactly what you want – there are no neighbours to complain if the music is still playing at 3am!  For added magic, there is a small cottage with a domed roof which can be used by the bride and groom.  There are plenty of accommodation options in the local area if you are inviting other friends and family members to celebrate with you in Italy.

Tuscany is famous for its hospitality, and the intention of Francesco, the owner, is that you move in and make the villa your home for the week. A welcome dinner is included on your first evening,so it really does begin to feel like home from the moment you arrive. There are plenty of extra options available to make your stay as relaxing and enjoyable as possible, including grocery shopping, breakfasts and evening meals, wine tasting and cookery classes.

The gardens offer endless possibilities for creating your wedding, with plenty of different areas where tables can be set up, whether in front of the house, under the pergola or overlooking the pool. If you are looking to do something informal, there are two pizza ovens and a barbeque.  The amphitheatre is perfect for your symbolic  or civil ceremony, and the fact that the local mayor is happy to come to La Selva to officiate is an added bonus!

Visit La Selva’s website

 


Thank you cards

Grazie!!

You may still be in the early stages of planning your wedding but as we are super-organised we like to plan ahead!! When you plan your guest list it is a really good idea to save names and addresses on an excel file so you can add a column with details about the gifts you receive and another column to show you have written your thank you cards.

When ordering your save- the-date cards and invitations you can order your thank you cards at the same time. It may work out cheaper because you are placing a bulk order, and your theme will be complete from beginning to end. But there are lots of ways to personalise your thank you cards using official or informal photos from your wedding celebrations, and with lots of great websites such as moo.com and snapfish it has never been easier to upload your photos and create your own designs.

A lot of our couples who choose to get married in Italy ask their guests not to buy them anything because the very fact that they will be coming over to share their celebrations is the biggest gift they could give them. But a lot of guests bring presents and cards with them anyway!  In the excitement of welcoming guests and on the wedding day itself it can be easy to lose track of who gave you which gift, especially if the cards get dislodged from the parcels. Try to keep all the cards together with the gifts, tearing open a corner of the wrapping paper to put the card inside the parcel if necessary, and as you open gifts keep a running list of who has given you what so you can refer back to it once you are at home again.

If you receive gifts before your big day then it is a good idea to write thank you notes as you receive them, and once you come back from honeymoon and sit down to write your thank you cards you will almost certainly find it easier to write them in short bursts, rather than attempt a marathon session! Cards should be hand-written, as should the envelopes, and both the bride and the groom should be involved in writing them. In today’s world of computers and technology the personal touch really does make a difference.

As for the wording, refer to your list so you can mention the gift specifically and say why you appreciate it. If you have received cash, you can say how you are planning to spend it (or how you have spent it!). If your guests put money towards your honeymoon you could mention something you saw or did and that you thought of them while you were there. And thank your guests for coming to your wedding and for sharing your special day with you. Gifts may get lost or broken over the years to come, but your memories will remain.


bride

Venue of the month – January

A new year, a new venue. For our first blog post of 2013 we have selected Hotel Villa Casagrande, the venue where we organised our first ‘big’ wedding in 2004 and a venue which played an important role for us in 2012.

The original Villa dates back to 1392 and the interiors are adorned with priceless paintings, frescoes, furniture and coats of arms. Outside, the walls of the medieval town of Figline Valdarno provide a backdrop to the Italian gardens, perfect for wedding photos during the aperitivo, and the cloister, with a sweeping stone staircase which is perfect for your grand entrance and symbolic ceremony.

With 60 bedrooms as well as self-catering apartments, accommodation for your wedding party should not be a problem! Guests can enjoy the swimming pool and health spa (booking necessary), and the hotel is a 3 minute walk from the centre of Figline. There are regular trains to the cities of Florence, Arezzo and Rome, with Florence just a 20 minute train ride away. The restaurant offers typical Tuscan dishes, as well as international dishes, with plenty of Tuscan hospitality!

The hotel can organise one-day cookery courses in the farmhouse kitchen and wine tastings in the extensive wine cellars, should you wish to offer something extra for your guests.

We like working with this venue because they are flexible, they work hard to ensure their guests are happy, and because they have so much to offer all kinds of wedding couples! Whether you are looking for a complete wedding package in one location to make it easy for your guests or whether you are looking for a stunning outdoor location for your symbolic ceremony, whether you are looking for somewhere for the bride to prepare for the wedding or whether you simply want to use the health spa and have a glass or two of chilled prosecco the day before the wedding, you will not be disappointed!

Visit Hotel Villa Casagrande’s website 


SL1

Venue of the month – November

Sitting inside on a cold, rainy November afternoon, summer feels like a long way off, and thinking about hot chocolate and log fires brought us to think of this venue!

Residence San Leo is a country house with character in the Chianti hills which has been converted into 9 holiday apartments for 2-6 guests, each of which has its own individual feel and charm. The courtyard is ideal for warm summer evening receptions, and the huge indoor room with open fireplace is ideal for creating a warm, welcoming atmosphere on cooler spring or autumn evenings. Downstairs there is a converted wine cellar which can also be used for your reception if you are looking for something unusual and typically Tuscan. And if it should rain on your wedding day like it is doing here today it won’t be a problem!

Patrizia and her family run a farming business from San Leo, producing excellent olive oil, honey, jam, fresh fruit and vegetables, and it is possible for guests to visit the oil press and sample some of the products. Patrizia is a wonderful cook and can provide breakfast and evening meals, as well as freshly baked bread and farm produce for your apartment.

San Leo can provide accommodation for approx 36 guests and can cater for groups of around 60-70 people. The food is excellent, with homemade pasta and produce from the farm. All apartments have air conditioning, and there is a pool and jacuzzi with wonderful views over the Chianti hills. The Limonaia is a cottage with private garden, and not being attached to the main building is ideal for the bride and groom.

Visit San Leo’s website

 

 

 

 

 


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!

 

 


LP2

Venue of the month – September

Villa La Palagina is in the hills just above the small town of Figline Valdarno, in the Chianti countryside between Florence, Siena and Arezzo. The track to the villa leads up through age-old olive groves and vineyards, and as you enter the grounds you are met by spectacular views from the terrace.  You can have your aperitivo served by the fountain in the gardens, and then choose whether to have your wedding meal served by the pool or in the gazebo, both of which provide breathtaking views over the valley.

If you wish to book the villa so your guests can enjoy a weekend of celebrations, accommodation is available for approximately 100 guests.  The friendly hotel staff all speak English, and the restaurant staff will work hard to provide you and your guests with excellent service, and this is reflected in the glowing reviews on Tripadvisor.  The chef adds a modern twist to traditional Tuscan dishes with mouthwateringly good results, and with numerous menu options and fine wines to choose from, your Italian wedding meal will be unforgettable, both for the food, the people and the location!

Visit Villa La Palagina’s website