Need a little help getting over the Monday blues? We prescribe a healthy does of this naturally and organically styled destination wedding that captures the warm and inviting spirit of Italy, held at the beautiful Castello di Oliveto and planned by Weddings in Tuscany by Imperial. Photo after dreamy photo by Peter and Veronika are sure to turn your day right around! From the bride... Quite soon after Andrew proposed, we decided to get married in Italy. The warmth of the people and the sun, the food, the wine, and the lifestyle of Italy evoked in us a feeling of relaxed happiness, which we wanted to be the spirit of our wedding. We soon realized with the language barrier that we needed a wedding planner; that was one decision I didn't once question. Planning was fun and allowed me to be creative, with Gillian doing all the hard work! We then flew over to meet her and see venues in Tuscany. It was such an exciting day, helped along with some of Tuscany's finest wine, and before it ended, we'd booked our villa and castle! We went home and began searching for photographers, which was incredibly important to us as it is quite literally how you remember the day. We paid a deposit for one photographer before we found Peter and Veronica and fell in love with their flawless fine art photography. Unfortunately we couldn't get our deposit back, but switching photographers is the best decision we made. You have to take your time and feel comfortable with your decisions, or they'll keep you awake at night – every night! The villa we booked for all our guests blew us away with its breathtaking views of the Tuscan vineyards. It features typical Italian country style and is actually a working wine estate, which came in handy! Our family arrived first and helped us string fairy lights and blow up pizza inflatables, we went for a truffle-filled dinner, and it was the perfect beginning seeing everyone laughing together. Our friends arrived the next day, and we had prosecco by the pool followed by a pizza party under the stars until the early hours. The day before our wedding, we had separate stag and hen days, filled with sunbathing, wine tasting, sight seeing, and of course, plenty of al fresco dining. The day after our wedding, we had a BBQ complete with an old-fashioned gelato cart, a donkey decorated in flowers while carrying beers and her two-week-old baby skipping around the lawn! Every day was special and memorable in its own way, and it was incredible to be able to spend so much time with our family and friends. We love the soft, warm, natural tones of Tuscany's landscape in September, so for our attire we wanted something striking to cut through and contrast those hues. Andrew, being the stylish gent he is, chose the groomsmen's classic midnight blue dinner suits, and I chose complementary bridesmaids' dresses. We wanted to look timeless and sophisticated, but we wanted the vibe of the day to be laid back and fun. The band was perfect for this and played great Italian swing and jazz during the prosecco/aperol hour in the gardens of the castle. Castello di Oliveto was built in 1424, it has beautiful detailing and even a bedroom for the pope! We dined in the courtyard, and being surrounded by the ruining walls in candlelight was magical. For the "wedding breakfast," we actually called it a feast and wanted it to feel like a big, family-style dinner, and it didn't disappoint! The natural wooden tables were arranged in a U shape to give a communal feeling to the dinner. Each featured a dark grey runner, tons of candles, an olive leaf and eucalyptus garland, and pots of herbs to really create that castle feast ambience. For place cards, I had everyone’s names painted on marble coasters, which doubled up as favors. The pasta and wine were plentiful, and instead of champagne toasts we asked for bottles of limencello to be plonked down in front of people, which our guests really enjoyed! We then had a traditional Italian wedding cake - mille foglie, which got a bit messy! After that we danced to a DJ and saxophonist before a sparkler send off. Dress shopping for me was the least fun part of the planning. I had no idea what I wanted, so instead of dragging my friends around mindlessly, I decided to try on as many as possible by myself. I must have gone to 10-15 different shops, and on the last shop, I was thankfully with my chief bridesmaid when I found this dress by Martina Liana in Angelica Bridal. It really was just a feeling of "ahhh finally!" I loved the ridiculously long train with the detailed trim, the classic cut, the pretty straps, and the low yet modest back. My advice to couples is this: Try to do everything in your power to enjoy the process. Make that your number one priority, because a wedding does just last one day, but the engagement and planning is many, many days that can all be incredible if you let them be. Don't rush decisions! Once you've found something then wait as long as you can before putting money in it – I probably would have changed many things just a few weeks after paying for them. Plan a few little surprises for each other, too. Make them secret missions; when they come to fruition, it's so much fun seeing your partner's face.
Photography: Peter & Veronika | Event Design: Bride | Event Planning: Weddings in Tuscany by Imperial | Wedding Dress: Martina Liana | Invitations: Quill London | Bride's Shoes: Tom Ford | Band: Alma Project | Groomsmen's Attire: TM Lewin | Venue: Castello Di Oliveto | Art + Calligraphy : Kilkie Sands | Bridesmaids' Rompers: Piyama