30 Guests in Tuscany for a Dream Destination Wedding

Hi SMP readers! Blogger Bride, Nicole here and I’m excited to reflect back on our wedding now that we have been married a few months. Even though I’m a wedding photographer, I have to admit that I underestimated just how much goes into planning (peek back at my entire journey!) We wanted our wedding to be elegant but unfussy, joyful and intentional.  And since we love to travel, no one was surprised when we chose to have a destination wedding.

And a look back at the entire wedding weekend!








We welcomed our 30 guests to Villa Petrolo in Tuscany with the most Italian of welcome cocktails, an Aperol spritz, followed by an informal pizza and prosecco gathering. It was a fun, low-key kick off to wedding festivities and the perfect opportunity for old friends to reconnect and new friendships to begin. Our goal was to create a relaxed weekend in a beautiful setting and for the wedding to feel more like being hosted at an intimate and lively dinner party. We invited all of our guests to stay with us at the villa and surrounding farmhouses. The next day we all hopped on a shuttle bus to explore Pienza, a charming hill town in the Val d’Orcia known for its delicious pecorino cheese and Renaissance architecture. That evening we got on the shuttle again to Castello di Meleto in Chianti for our rehearsal dinner, with wine flowing and hilarious and sweet informal toasts from friends. Hosting our rehearsal dinner in a frescoed room of a medieval castle was one of the most memorable events of the weekend.

Our wedding day was even more emotional than I expected. The ceremony took place on the steps in front of the villa, led by our dear friend who crafted a beautiful testament to our understanding of love, culture, and marriage. Our chuppah was decorated with olive branches, and the top was graced by a tallit (prayer shawl) brought from Israel by Daniel’s grandfather, while beneath our feet was a Moroccan handira (marriage blanket) we had purchased while traveling in Marrakech. We stood under the chuppah and committed to choosing each other that day and every day forward. Short ceremonies have become more popular, but we were happy to have a 45 minute ceremony that included circling each other, the seven blessings read in Hebrew and a modernized English interpretation, long weepy personal vows, three poetry readings, and a slightly less conventional “science reading” (Daniel was a biology major in college after all).

At the end of the ceremony, Daniel stepped on a glass and together we jumped over a broom! There are many explanations for why the groom breaks a glass, traditionally to remember the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem or to acknowledge the fragility of life and brokenness in the world even on such a happy day. We embraced the idea of a symbol that connects one generation to another. Jumping the broom is an African-American wedding custom that dates back to slavery. Slave marriages were not legally recognized but this act granted dignity to seeking love and domesticity within the confines of bondage. Much like breaking the glass, this is both a joyful moment and a powerful reminder of cultural memory.

We tried to make decisions for details that reflected our aesthetic and our budget. One thing I was excited about was investing in decor that could also be used in our new home since we bought a house just before our trip to Italy! The copper candlesticks and Silk and Willow table runner are now on our dining table at home, for example. Instead of hiring a florist, we chose to use olive leaves as decor, with me and my bridesmaids carrying olive leaves gathered in bunches for bouquets tied together with Silk and Willow ribbon. Working on our invitations gave me the inspiration to finally study calligraphy in order to do the calligraphy design for our invite and hand calligraph the addresses on each envelope! I used handmade paper with its luxe organic feel and found a wonderful and affordable letterpress printer. One of my favorite moments during wedding planning was when I had a minor melt-down to Daniel, saying that I should have just hired someone because my calligraphy didn’t look professional, and he told me that it looked beautiful but more importantly, that it was more meaningful since it was created by me. Our invitation felt more like a handwritten letter.

I was certain I would choose a colorful untraditional dress before I went shopping, but I ended up choosing a white lace dress. The moment I put it on I felt like a bride, so in the end, I wasn’t quite as daring as I thought I would be! Thanks to Rent the Runway, I had fun gowns for the welcome reception and rehearsal dinner, and on our wedding day I slipped into a stylish reception dress just after cocktail hour. I wanted to invest in accessories that fit with my style and that I could continue wearing after the wedding, so I found simple brass earrings at an Oakland boutique, a brass bangle at Marisa Mason, and dusty pink heeled boots from Anthropologie.

We were so lucky that two of my dear wedding industry friends made the trip to Italy with us! The weekend would not have been the success that it was without Nira of Amber Events making everything happen and Kristina Adams behind the camera. I still don’t know how Nira managed everything she did, with friendly composure and grace throughout! Kristina documented the weekend so organically and made sure that taking photos didn’t take us away from the party for too long! Her luminous film style captured the moments of our wedding in a way that we will cherish for years to come.

The following day was warm and sunny and we had a leisurely post-wedding brunch in the courtyard where dinner was meant to be the night before. In the afternoon guests went on walks on the property amid olive groves and vineyard-covered hills, and Villa Petrolo hosted a wine tasting for us. On our final evening my sister, who is a private chef, cooked a delicious farewell dinner.

As a wedding photographer who has seen so many different kinds of weddings, I think it’s important to note that the most important tip about wedding planning is to be authentic to you and your relationship. Don’t feel you have to abide by every tradition or unsolicited opinion! Throw “must” and “should” out the window. At least that’s what guided me, and I already wish I could go back and do it all over again.

Happy Planning!



Vault CTA

Vault CTA



Photography: Kristina Adams Photography | Wedding Planning: Amber Events | Wedding Dress: Reformation | Wedding Bands: Cat Bird | Catering: Catering in Toscana | DJ: DJ Francis | Venue: Villa Petrolo | Bridal Jewelry : Marissa Mason | Bridal Shoes : Manolo Blahnik | Bridal Shoes : Anthropologie | Groom Suit: J.Crew | Grooms Shoes: Novocas | Letterpress Printer: Reb Peters Press | Rentals: Happy Days | Ribbon + Table Runner + Invitation Paper: Silk & Willow

© Style Me Pretty, 2017. |
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Post categories: Destination, Real Weddings, Romantic, The Blog

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