March 7th, 2016 | Julia Braime
Happy Monday! For this morning’s real wedding we’re exchanging the chilly north of the UK for sunnier climes as we jet off to Tuscany to relive John and Danielle’s big day.
Everything about this romantic destination wedding sounds right up our street, from the stunning setting to Danielle’s vintage dress and the traditional Italian food (especially the wedding cake).
Now sit back, relax and soak up those warm Italian rays!
With images by Valentina Weddings.
danielle says: We got engaged on New Year’s Eve in 2012. John and I are originally from Northern Ireland, but were living in Brisbane, Australia, at the time. John had booked us into our favourite restaurant for New Year’s Eve. There was a big firework display down by the river, so after our meal we made our way down there before midnight. I had just bought new shoes and my feet were hurting so I sat down and John kept asking me to stand up. The countdown to the New Year began 3-2-1, I turned to give John a kiss and there he sat with my ring. It was so romantic!
Our wedding was on the 9th September 2015 at the cathedral of Cortona in Tuscany. We spent the week with family and friends at Villa Baroncino, where we also had our wedding reception. We found Romantic Italian Weddings online, and we instantly fell in love. The villa was built in the 18th century and lies in the hills on the border between Tuscany and Umbria. The villa itself is just breath-taking with amazing views over Lake Trasimeno. We knew it would be the perfect setting for our big day and we weren’t wrong.
We didn’t really have a theme, we just picked a colour scheme and incorporated things that we liked. We wanted an overall feel of elegance and romance, and to be honest the location and venue did most of the work.
We went with cream and a dark dusky pink colour scheme. I just loved the colours together as it gave us that rich, elegant feel that we were after.
My dress was by YolanCris and was a 1920s vintage lace dress. I got it from the London Bride Couture boutique. My sister actually spotted the dress and asked me to try it on, I wasn’t really keen on it but she insisted and the moment I tried it on I fell in love. The lace was so soft and beautiful and I loved the colour. I also had a full length two tiered veil to go with it.
John’s suit was from Statement Menswear in Portadown, Northern Ireland. The suits are exclusive to Statement and John’s particular suit was called the Roberto, which was a three piece slim fit with a Benson scoop waistcoat. We matched it with a blue checked tie and cufflinks from Esty. One cufflink had a map of Cortona where we would marry and the other had a map of Banbridge where we both are originally from. I loved them.
John hadn’t ever tried his suit on as we live in Australia, we just gave Glen his measurements and he sent the suit over to Italy. We were both very nervous about how it would fit, but it fitted him perfectly and on the day he was so relaxed and I’d never seen him look so handsome.
The groomsmen’s suits were also from Statement in the same style. They wore blue ties and each of them had a dusky pink rose to match the girls’ dresses.
The bridesmaid dresses were from The Bridal Court in Portadown. Once I had my dress, we narrowed down a few colours as it had to be something that complemented mine. I opted for a dark dusky pink in full length. The girls loved the style and colour and on the day they all looked fabulous.
On the day of the wedding we used Nello and his team from Tendenza, to style mine and the girls’ hair. He is amazing, he took a lot of time and care getting my hair exactly like the pictures I showed him.
My dad drove me to the church in a vintage red MG convertible, which was perfect on the day as the weather was amazing! The bridal party arrived in a pale green VW camper van. These were both hired from Claudia at Driveinstyle.it.
Our photographer was Mark from Valentina Weddings, he is based in Harrogate. We loved his modern take on our wedding photographs and fantastic use of light! His attention to detail is amazing! Mark is very friendly and genuine, he got on so well with everyone and he just melted into the background, so half of the time we didn’t even know we were getting our photos taken, which is exactly what we wanted. Our photos are incredible and are something we will treasure for the rest of our lives. I believe in photography, you pay for what you get, and honestly with Mark you won’t be disappointed. Book in quick for your wedding!
Our florist was Cristina Faluomi, she is based in Tuoro Sul Trasimeno. She is incredibly talented and when our bouquets arrived the morning of the wedding they just blew me away! It was unbelievable how she created my vision to perfection. They were a mix of white, dark pink roses and pale pink avalanche roses with brunia and pink astilbe. Simply stunning!
For the centrepieces we used white hydrangea, white lisianthus, pale pink avalanche roses, white roses and gypsophila. These were all placed into beautiful crates on the tables.
I’m lucky enough to have an amazing mum who is extremely creative and she decided she was going to make all my decorations. She made burlap table runners trimmed with lace, and burlap buntings for around the room. She also crochet doilies, which we used to decorate our ladder. On the ladder we had our table plan and photos of our grandparents on their wedding day. The roof of the marquee was also flushed with fairy lights, which was stunning in the evening when it got dark. Our letter lights which spelt ‘love’ looked incredible in the garden and was a real focal point for our guests.
Again my mum made all of our favours. We wanted to stick the Italian traditions! For the ladies my mum made crochet cream bags to hold five sugared almonds and she attached a dusky pink flower to each of them. She also made cloth hearts filled with lavender and hung them on the seats for each of the ladies. For the men she made her own Limoncello which is an Italian liquor, this was put into small glass bottles with a cork screw stopper.
We had a traditional Italian Millefoglie wedding cake, which literally means ‘thousand layers’. It was made up extremely thin sheets of filo pastry with a light cream, mascarpone and chocolate, and topped with fruit! It was unlike anything I have ever tasted before. We also had a ‘naked’ sponge cake made of plain and chocolate sponge and filled with jam and cream! They both went down a treat with our guests. Katia at La Torte di Briciole di Cannella, was to thank for this, she also made us a ‘cheese cake’ using different barrels of cheeses accompanied with homemade crackers and biscuits. Delicious.
After the ceremony we had arranged to take our guests for gelato (ice cream). None of them knew about this so it was a lovely surprise for them all.
Back at the villa where we had aperitifs, which consisted of cold meats, tarts, vol-au-vents, fried titbits and a selection of bread. We then had a sit down meal, which was three course. The first course was wild boar tagliatelle, second course was roast beef with porcini mushrooms, and then we had fresh fruit kebabs and our wedding cake as dessert. The food was delicious and most of our guests enjoyed a second serve as there was so much left over.
The villa has its own vineyard so we had red and white wine and prosecco from there.
To entertain, we had a string quartet play during our ceremony and later on back at the villa. They played a mixture of modern and classical music during the drinks reception, which catered for all tastes and kept people occupied whilst we were having photos taken. They were just fabulous, and they created a wonderful ambience. After our dinner we had DJ Alex play for us. He was amazing and had people on the dance floor all night, nobody wanted it to end.
At the reception we also had a Polaroid guest book which was handmade from Etsy and also props from Etsy which included an Instagram style frame for our guests to have fun with. Everyone loved it and it was great to look back at the next morning to see everyone’s photos and kind words.
Following our wedding we would absolutely recommend our choice of venue to others! For anyone who wants to get married abroad but don’t know where to start, or worry that it might be too difficult to plan, get in touch with Marco. Marco and his team make the wedding organisation so easy with an eight step guide. They do all of your legal work and you can plan your entire wedding from home. You are provided with a list of trusted and recommended vendors, making your choices incredibly easy. There are also two venues to choose from. Villa Baroncino is suitable for a bigger wedding for up to 200 people and Villa San Crispolto is suitable for a smaller wedding for up to 65 people.
My favourite part of the day was the cutting of the cake. All our guests gathered around us in a circle and the DJ played Dean Martin’s That’s Amore. We were all singing and our guests danced around us! It was just amazing and something I will never forget.
After our week at Villa Baroncino, we headed down south to the Amalfi Coast for our honeymoon where we spend a few nights in the NH Collection Grand hotel. The hotel is perched on top of an 80 meter cliff with stunning views of Amalfi. We did some sight-seeing around the area before flying off The Maldives, where we spend one week on Meeru Island. We had booked a water villa with a Jacuzzi which looked right out onto the ocean. It was just magical. We spent the week, eating, drinking and snorkelling. It was so relaxing and was exactly what we needed after the wedding.
My top tip to other Brides Up North would be some advice that a friend gave – during your reception, just stop and take a look around and watch how everyone is enjoying your big day. I actually did this a few times during the day and it was just lovely to see everyone laughing and having a great time.
Since our wedding I have fallen pregnant, which is very exciting! We are planning to leave Australia and return back to Northern Ireland in early 2016 to be around our family once again.
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Former lawyer and bride to be Julia founded Brides Up North in 2010 with a chip on her shoulder. Frustrated by the poor Northern presence in glossy bridal magazines and online, she decided to do something about it herself. Astounded by the rapid growth of her blog and brand, Julia now manages Brides Up North’s online content alongside their busy wedding exhibition season, industry events and related commissions. And she’s always, always, got a new project on the go…
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