July 6th, 2018 | Aislinn Thompson
Taking romance to the next level, today’s featured couple flew their destination wedding party out to Italy and exchanged their vows against a stunning backdrop often featured in glamorous Hollywood movies and Vogue-style fashion editorials.
The ceremony between Samantha and Alex took place against a glorious view of gently undulating mountains and boats skittering across the impossibly picturesque Lake Como. Travelling in a stylish, vintage boat across the lake must have been a real wow moment! Samantha and Alex chose white as their principle colour, accented with sprigs and swathes of silvery green ruscus and urns blooming with white roses and delicate greenery, for simple and classic décor.
Samantha’s bespoke gown is exquisite, with an incredibly detailed pearl and Swarovski crystal bodice and elegant illusion sleeves; a dramatic V-neck back and beautiful fishtail skirt add to the glamour. It’s the perfect dress for the setting and, holding a bouquet of white and eucalyptus, Samantha is the epitome of elegance.
The couple chose some great special touches to add personality to the day too. Instead of a traditional wedding cake, they went all-out with a buffet-style table offering five delicious Italian desserts for guests to sample. We love the idea of giving out fans at the ceremony to keep guests cool and add to the chic vibe, and Samantha even had personalised flip flops bespoke made for guests to wear as the dancing got underway – the perfect touch for a beach-side wedding we think you’ll agree!
With images by Kristos Kabiotis.
samantha says: We got engaged in October 2015, on Richmond Hill in London. Originally from the north, we have since built a life together in London, and Richmond was the first place we lived together, so is very special to us. Alex made up a story about a business meeting with a client who lives on Richmond Hill and asked if I would come and support him. As we parked up, Alex said the client was running late and suggested we go for a coffee in the café in the gardens. We walked down the steps and I just kept walking, noticing he’d stopped; when I turned, there he was down on one knee. I was in complete shock and there were many tears shed before I said yes!
I was quite emotional as I was due to travel away for a few weeks for work and, as our families both live in the north, we wouldn’t get to celebrate for a while. I tried calling everyone and no one was picking up. Alex said he had booked brunch at High Brasserie Road in Chiswick and, as I walked in, our parents and my brother were all there waiting to celebrate. More tears followed, as you can imagine. We spent the whole weekend celebrating with them (whilst taking advantage of my dad’s DIY skills!).
We got married on 31st August 2017. We chose this date as it was the same date my godparents got married. They couldn’t have children themselves and supported my mum and dad bringing me and my brother up (and now my nephews!), so it was special for them too. Sadly, my godfather passed away whilst I was planning my wedding, so this made it all the more special but also an emotional day for my godmother.
Without a second thought we would recommend these venues to other couples looking to marry overseas. I decided to plan my wedding myself (I must have been mad!) and both venues were fantastic at providing support and help where they could. We didn’t even have chance to visit either venue prior to the wedding (again, people thought we were crazy!) as I travel with work so much, so we put a lot of trust in them. We were not disappointed – they were fantastic and we could tell both venues were absolute professionals at organising weddings and had done it so many times before.
We didn’t have a theme – we let the scenery of the lake be the backdrop and create the style for our wedding. The villa we were married in was a botanical garden, which led a lot of the design and style on my dress, as well as the selection of plain ivory and white flowers that both suited the villa and the simple, chic style of the beach restaurant for the party.
We didn’t have a particular colour scheme either; everything was simple in ivory and whites, from my dress all the way to the wedding invites and menus for the day. I thought the scenery was enough to bring in natural colours and white complemented this for simplicity.
When it came to my bridesmaids, however, I opted for a pale blue dress, not because this was my chosen colour but because when we found the dresses I thought they suited all the girls and thought the colour went so well with the surrounding colours of the lake. They wore a simple, one-shoulder dress, with side floating detail, from a brand on ASOS, along with silver, barely-there high heeled sandals. The two flower girls wore a dress we had made by a seamstress from the same material as the bottom part of my wedding dress.
June 18th, 2018 | Aislinn Thompson
Richard and Francesca’s dreamy engagement atop an Italian castle inspired the rustic Italian theme for their glorious ‘back garden’ wedding in the height of the English summer. And, when you have a back garden like that of Francesca’s parents, there could be no finer place to pitch your yurt, scatter your hay bales and soak up the atmosphere to the chilled-out sound of a five-piece band in the sunshine!
A wedding sign proclaimed “Let us make our own fairy tale today” – and Richard and Francesca duly did. They even enjoyed a sprinkle of fairy godmother magic: Richard’s late grandmother spoke to them across the decades in a letter 30 years old and gifted Francesca a gorgeous diamond ring despite never having known her.
Wearing a stunning Jenny Packham gown, Francesca looked every inch the modern princess. We love the capped sleeve detail and beading that echoes a sunbeam pattern across the bodice – the perfect complement to a sunny June day. Apparently, Richard planned most of the big day by himself and we have to agree with his bride that he did a marvellous job #majorgroompoints
With images by Eyesome Photography.
francesca says: We got engaged in a small town called Calitri in southern Italy in August 2015. We were on holiday with my family and Richard arranged to have a tour of a castle in the town in the evening. What I didn’t know was that he planned the whole evening weeks in advance. He arranged for the castle to stay open after hours and for us to have a private tour. When we reached the top of the castle with views of the vineyards and open countryside, whilst the sun was setting I turned around from looking at the view and there he was, on one knee. As you can imagine I was shocked and taken back. Perfect proposal.
We got married on 3rd June 2017, in a very small local church in Copt Hewick, Ripon. The reception was in my parents’ garden, a short walk from the church. This was the home I grew up in, so I had always dreamt of this for my wedding day.
Our theme was Italian rustic. We chose this style because of where we got engaged and also because we have lots of family holidays across Italy every year and we love the food. We didn’t really have a colour scheme – just very rustic colours.
For my dress, I went to The Bridal Collection in Harrogate and chose a Jenny Packham gown. I tried it on and instantly knew it was the one. My shoes were Aquazzura and my veil was borrowed from a good friend.
Richard, the groomsmen and dads wore navy blue suits with light pink ties, which they hired from a local suit shop in Harrogate.
April 3rd, 2018 | Laura McDonagh
Chocolate hangover and intense back to work dread anyone? We hear you.
We know what you need: chilled festival vibes, rustic homespun details and bride on a zipwire! We’re picking up the blog after the Bank Holiday with a real wedding which ticks all the inspiration boxes.
Adele and Michele were married last summer at Northside Farm, Northumberland, home to a beautiful converted barn and some stunning rural views. The couple paid homage to Michele’s Italian heritage with live ‘pop-up’ accordion music sessions and a sumptuous menu featuring Parma ham, mozzarella and Prosecco (obvs). Food wasn’t the only priority, though – fun was also top of the agenda with an appearance from a magician, a table plan featuring cringeworthy snaps of guests and a photobooth guestbook.
Our favourite features, however, have to be Adele’s floaty boho-meets-Grecian-style lace dress, literally last-minute bouquet and showstopper of a flower crown, which result in a laidback earthy look with bags of originality. We likey – and we suspect you might, too!
With images by DPR Photography.
adele says: We got engaged on 13th May 2015, which was also our little boy’s first birthday. I was changing Enzo and discovered he was wearing a babygro saying “Daddy has something to ask you downstairs”. Even then I didn’t guess what was about to happen! When we came down, Michele was on one knee holding my ring with candles and rose petals on the floor. I had to walk back out the door and back in again, so he could actually ask the question because he was crying so much!
Our wedding date was Saturday 15th July 2017. We knew we wanted to get married on a Saturday in the summer, so we went ahead and booked the wedding – and found out afterwards that I was pregnant and my due date was 15th July 2016! Our little girl Alba arrived five days early but in the run-up we thought we might end up preparing for a wedding and a first birthday!
We got married at Northside Farm, Northumberland. We visited the barn when it was only a lot of bricks and a shell. We sat down with Ralph and Olivia and looked over their vision and instantly fell in love with the place. I always wanted a barn wedding and this place was a hidden gem. Ralph and Olivia tested it out themselves by getting married there first.
We had exclusive use of the venue and the wigwams for the whole weekend. Michele and his groomsmen stayed in the wigwams on the Friday and had a takeaway and drinks. We then had a barbecue on the Sunday after the wedding, which was so chilled. We absolutely loved the fact that we turned our celebrations into a weekend party rather than just one day.
Michele’s family are Italian so we wanted to add our own little Italian touches; not in-your-face-Italian but more of a subtle nod to his ancestry. We also wanted everyone to feel relaxed and enjoy themselves. Our guests were able to camp on site so we ended up with tents, campervans and teepees everywhere – exactly the vibe we wanted!
We didn’t have a colour scheme but we kept everything very rustic, using wildflowers and a lot of personal handmade touches throughout the venue. The venue décor was already very much to my taste so not a lot needed doing.
Dress-wise, I tried on a few different styles, but I just couldn’t find ‘the one’. However, I eventually came across Bex and her amazing shop Bexbrides, and I’m so glad I did. I knew I’d find my dress as soon as I walked in! I ended up going with Bex’s own design, which was an amazing white lace dress and we worked together on adding my own touches including a very long train. I was over the moon with the finished dress knowing it was completely bespoke and unique to me.
On the wedding day, a local makeup artist called Carla Donnan MUA did mine and my bridesmaids’ makeup; she arrived bright and early and fitted in effortlessly.
Tiffany V Hair did the bridesmaids’ hair and my older sister/bridesmaid created my wavy do. I didn’t want anything out of the ordinary and wanted my headpiece to take the attention instead.
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.
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November 10th, 2015 | Julia Braime
This afternoon we’re leaving the UK behind to relive Ashton and Mark’s dreamy wedding in Siena, Italy.
Brimming with romance, we can see why this bride and groom chose to leave their Yorkshire roots behind in favour of sunnier climes with stunning backdrops galore! Following their traditional church ceremony, Ashton and Mark then enjoyed a stunning outdoor reception complete with Italian food and drink. Sounds favoloso to us!
Ciao for now.
With images by Black Mill Photography.
ashton says: Mark popped the question on the 9th July 2013, while we were on a brilliant holiday Croatia. Mark had initially planned to ask me to marry him on a walk up a ‘hill’ with a lovely view as a back drop. The ‘hill’ was actually a mountain, and I got a little bit grumpy so he decided it wasn’t the right time or place! That evening, after a lovely dinner, he got down on one knee in a secluded area of the old town in Split and I obviously said yes, whilst tears of happiness were streaming down my face. The ring was amazing, an art deco halo style, which Mark had got custom made for me in Hattton Garden, London. I was so excited to tell all my family and friends I rang up a £120 phone bill! Oops!
Our wedding date was the 31st July 2015, there was no real relevance of the date other than it was between both our birthdays and a date that Mark was likely to remember! The last day of July!
We are from Bradford in West Yorkshire but got married in Siena, Italy. We married in a Roman Catholic church, Certosa Di Pontignano, and then had our reception back at Villa Catignano where family and friends stayed for the wedding week. We both love travelling and always wanted to marry abroad. Italy was perfect; great food, wine, scenery and affordable so that friends and family could join us on our special day.
June 17th, 2015 | Julia Braime
And so for the second time today we’re leaving the north behind and jetting off overseas for another beautiful destination wedding. We’ll squeeze some sunshine in somehow!
Having visited Italy in 2010 for a friend’s wedding, Graham and Naiobh decided there was no other option but to return to the romantic country for their own big day.
The couple combined traditional touches from their home back in Scotland with Italian influences to create a day that reflected them as a couple whilst also remaining in keeping with their dreamy setting.
So once again slap on the factor 20 as we fly to sunnier climes!
With images by Brides Up North Sponsor, Valentina Weddings.
naiobh says: We got engaged on 29th June 2012 in Siena, Italy. It was the second evening of our holiday. We had just arrived at the beautiful Aia Matttonata and headed out for dinner in Siena. When we arrived back at the relais there was a candlelit table at the bottom of the garden with views across the Tuscan countryside to Siena. We sat at the table and Mario, the owner, opened the bottle of champagne and left us to chat. Then Graham proposed and obviously, I said yes!
Our chosen wedding date was 23rd July 2014. We wanted a July wedding and decided to go with the day in the middle of the week as we were getting married abroad. We thought this would allow guests to arrive and have a few days of relaxation before and after the wedding.
Villa Baroncino, in Tuoro was our wedding venue. We had been to a wedding at the sister property in 2010 and knew from that moment that Italy would be where we’d get married and that we would be using the services of Marco Bernasconi as we’d never been to such an amazing wedding before. Getting engaged in Italy meant it felt right to get married in Italy too.
For our wedding theme we simply wanted a day of elegance.
My wedding dress was by Stewart Parvin which I got from Rachel Scott Couture in Edinburgh. I tried it on three times in two different shops along with other dresses but kept coming back to it as I never had the ‘this is the dress’ moment. My bridesmaids wore raspberry full length backless dresses.
Graham wore a traditional kilt in Lomond Mist exclusive tartan from Macgregor Macduff which had a raspberry check to match the colour of the bridesmaids. The groomsmen also wore the same tartan with a grey cravat and black sporran while Graham had an ivory sporran and cravat. The button holes were a calla lily and thistle in homage to Scotland.
Mark Raffan of Valentina Weddings was out amazing photographer. He is very personable and made us feel totally at ease. He listened to what we wanted and was great fun to work with. We would definitely recommend him and as a result my brother-in-law is using him for his upcoming wedding.
Mark arranged to visit us in Scotland prior to our wedding to do a pre-wedding shoot, discuss photography styles and get to know us, which we really liked. He listened and made suggestions and our wedding album is better than we could have imagined.
Ryan of Riff Raff Photography did the videography for us which was just fantastic! Both my brother-in-law and Graham’s best man are using him at their upcoming weddings – if that isn’t flattery we don’t know what is!
I had a bouquet of white hydrangeas by Mood Flowers in Glasgow. The owner, Nick, flew out especially for our wedding as he had worked with my husband. He provided all the floral decoration. Our centre pieces were in tall vases and were white hydrangeas, white orchids and sunken white Cala lilies. Our table plan was made up of white orchids, rosemary and olive branches from the villa garden. We used empty wine bottles to mount the table names (provided by Luciano’s restaurant in Passignano) all the table names were named after Italian cities.
Our wedding stationery was provided by Inviting Wedding Invitations. Judie was fantastic and the stationery ticked all the boxes; professional, tasteful and elegant.
For favours we gave Mirano glass bottle openers to the men as a nod to Italy. The ladies meanwhile were given Arran aromatics creams and balms as Graham’s mother is from Arran and we still go over as often as we can with the dog.
Our cake was from Pots and Pans and was tiramisu flavour with buttercream on the outside. We wanted to stick with the Italian theme and Graham loves Tiramisu. The cake was garnished with hydrangeas.
Our food was provided by Luciano. We had tried his food at the aforementioned 2010 wedding and loved it and went back for a tasting in May before the wedding to confirm our choices.
We sourced our own red wine when we were in Montalcino from the Piombaia vineyard and Mario from Aia Matttonata sourced our white wine and prosecco from his favourite supplier.
To entertain our guests we hired DJ Alex as we love to dance and we gave him our playlist of our favoutrite songs. We also had a quintet provided by Marco and the sheet music was written by one of my colleagues.
As a special touch our brothers coordinated our guest book at the wedding. They ensured every guest/couple were photographed at the start of the day and the Polaroid was stuck into our guest book ready for all the guests and bridal party to pass around the tables during the meal and write a comment. We don’t quite know how our brothers managed it, they did a great job!
We would 110 per cent recommend using Marco and his assistant manager, Ina, who were the venue manager and the suppliers we used. They ran a seamless operation and our day would have not been as memorable as it was had it not been for Marco, Ina and his team.
Walking down the aisle with my dad whilst Eden Roc was being played by the quintet at the bottom of the garden was my favourite part of the day. For Graham it was standing at the bottom of the aisle trying to take everything in.
For our honeymoon we went to Singapore and Bali. We started at the Pan Pacific hotel in Singapore for four nights and toured around and ate. Went to restaurant André, as we are foodies, which was amazing! We started every evening in the Pacific Club with 360 degree views of Singapore and free flowing champagne (we were celebrating after all). We then went onto Banyan Tree in Bali for ten days where we chilled in our private ocean view villa, toured and ate at the Ju-ma-na restaurant every evening where Michelin star chef Christophe Schmidt from restaurant Diane, Paris cooked every evening.
My top tip to other Brides Up North wanting to wed in Italy would simply be to let Marco guide you. He is a pro and will give you both the most amazing and memorable day of your life.
To help our guests get to know each other we had a barbecue two nights before wedding. This went down a storm and we would recommend other couples marrying abroad do the same. Our best man is doing this at his upcoming wedding, which is also in Italy this year – we can’t wait to return!
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