Real Bride Lucy and Leon’s Tuscany Wedding
Lucy and Leon Young
Date of wedding:
17th September 2016
Location of ceremony and reception:
Borgo Casabianca. We hired the whole venue and got married on the top lawn overlooking the Tuscan countryside, had the aperitifs over-looking the pool, reception dinner in restaurant and then we moved the party to the converted stables until gone 4pm in the morning.
What made you decide to get married where you did?
Leon surprised me with a two week holiday in Tuscany for my 30th birthday (he managed to keep it all a secret and told me the day before!) where we spent a week touring Tuscany from a base in Florence and visited Pisa, Lucca, Viareggio, Vinci, Sienna, San Gimignano, Monticantini, Sienna and many more beautiful Tuscan towns. Then we spent a week in the Lakes after driving up through Bologna to Milan and up to Lake Como and spending the rest of our holidays in Bellagio.
We decided there and then that if we ever got married, it would have to be in Italy! It was my first time in Tuscany and I absolutely loved it. When Leon proposed on Christmas day, we absolutely knew we’d marry in Italy but wasn’t sure exactly where. Within two weeks, we had our flights booked to Pisa to look at venues in Tuscany.
How many guests?
We had 60 guests – we wanted to keep it intimate but still have a real party vibe about it.
How long did you take you take to plan the wedding?
About 8 months – Leon proposed Christmas Day 2016 and we got married on 17th September 2016
How would you describe your wedding day in 2 sentences?
Our intimate Italian destination wedding weekend was filled with fun, music and laughter celebrating with our nearest and dearest. It began with pizza and prosecco on the Friday, a late afternoon outdoor wedding celebration on the Saturday (that went on until 4am) and ended with an 80’s style Fairwell BBQ on the Sunday.
How did you meet? And how long have you been together?
We met in an 80’s bar (chain called Reflex) on Saturday 6th April 2008 – I was standing in the edge of the dancefloor and he walked over to me (after I gave him the ‘you may approach’ look with my eyes) and his opening line was ‘you’re tall!’. We had been together nearly 8 years when he proposed.
Tell me about the proposal:
It was Christmas day 2016, and we’d got up early because we had volunteered to go to the local school to help pack Christmas dinners with the Rotary Club that were being delivered to the elderly and homeless. We were visiting my parents for Christmas dinner in the afternoon, but with the morning free, we thought we’d try and do something to help out.
He had hidden the ring box in a pair of slipper socks and whilst I was un-wrapping, I was guessing what they were (I had put them on my list!) until I felt the box inside. He had already swiftly got down on one knee to help me put them on…and then took the box from my hand to get the ring out and ask me to marry him.
How did you spend / allocate your budget?
We had very specific ideas on how we wanted to celebrate our wedding. We knew we didn’t just want a one-day wedding, but instead we wanted to have three-day celebration with our nearest and dearest getting to know each other and having the time to spend with each and every one of them. Everybody tells you your wedding day goes by in a blur, so we hoped by extending the celebrations we could savour the memories.
In addition, we were very conscious of the costs and that we were asking our guests to travel to Italy and pay for accommodation for 2/3 nights – so we wanted to ensure their efforts were appreciated….and there wasn’t much cost when they got to the venue.
The budget was based on what we thought a UK wedding in a luxury stately home or manor house would cost for one day – including transport, venue hire, catering etc.
However, we believed we could plan it in Italy with food and drink included over the three days for all the guests and it be a similar amount. We had a Pizza & Prosecco welcome party on the Friday, the wedding on the Saturday and an ‘I Do’ Farewell BBQ 80’s style on the Sunday. We hired the whole venue, so there wasn’t a venue hire cost, we just had to commit to taking a portion of the rooms for guests – which was no problem as it was the perfect size for our guest numbers.
Where did you splurge and where/how did you save?
We saved by having everything at one venue. The accommodation, ceremony and reception dinner, plus all the other celebrations. We didn’t need transport and the venue was a generous enough size that every celebration was in a different part of the complex. Rooms didn’t need to be turned around, we just moved the party on.
We hired a wedding planner based in Empoli near Florence, which came with its cost but equally she helped us source the suppliers and negotiated on our behalf, saving us planning time and money.
Our biggest splurge was probably the flowers and table decorations – we had a beautiful floral arch which we got married in front of and the reception dinner had a fabulous flower arrangement running the length of the U shaped table plan dotted with copper candle holders and geo decorations.
We also saved by sourcing and shipping some of the decorations out to the venue from the UK. I’d collected frames and ordered vintage post cards from all the places around the world we’d been together. We also spent hours spraying plastic safari animals with copper paint (something I’d seen on pinterest) to put in the flower arrangements and use as place cards – people thought I was crazy but they looked fab and all seemed to have mysteriously disappeared on the night! We were also planning a trip to South Africa for our honeymoon…hence the safari animals!
How/Why did you choose your photographer?
Francesco was recommended by the wedding planner and his casual reporter style suited the laidback feel we wanted for the wedding. We don’t like getting our photo taken and feel very un-natural in front of the camera. His approach suited our day perfectly.
Who was your dress by? And your accessories and shoes?
My dress was designed by Allure Bridal and made from Italian lace – I pretty much knew this was the one (especially when I tried it on for my Mum, Nan and two sisters and they all started getting teary!) but I did have to try a few more just to reassure myself!
http://www.allurebridals.com/products/9113. I wore a long train veil.
I wore vintage Lotus sandals, made in Italy and found in a charity shop whilst away for the weekend in Tewkesbury – which I paid £4 for! They were a mix of gold and silver and I bloody loved them – I couldn’t believe my luck!
The only other accessory were some vintage pearl earrings given to me by my mother-in-law
And the suit? And bridesmaids?
Leon wanted a laidback look for himself and the grooms men, and of course hoping for the lovely Italian sunshine, didn’t want too many layers.
We browsed the internet for ideas and came across a great look that fit our rustic and casual vibes – tweed waistcoats and chinos. In March last year we couldn’t really find many suppliers, but eventually we came across Marc Darcy and they had exactly what we were looking for! http://marcdarcy.co.uk/
We wanted each of the grooms men to wear a different style tweed waistcoats and they had so many to choose from…and a bargain at £35 each. We teamed the waistcoat with a pair of slim fit chinos from Zara and a pale blue shirt from Matalan to complete the look – the whole outfit cost less than £70 each…and they looked a million dollars! 😉
Did you have a theme or colour scheme you were working towards?
With the venue being very rustic and surrounded by beautiful flowers and greenery, we were keen to keep our theme complimentary with natural foliage and pastel shades. We didn’t have an exact theme or colour scheme as such, we just tried to bring lots of things to the day and hoped they somehow worked!
The bridesmaids dresses wore pastel shades – mauve, sage green, grey, beige, peach – and their flowers were mostly green with contrasting deep purple, almost black calla lilies.
I collect postcards from all my travels and the theme was inspired by some vintage style postcards we bought whilst in Bellagio, Lake Como for my 30th birthday. All the invites and wedding stationary were designed around a vintage travel theme (it being a destination wedding too!) and the venue was decorated with around 30 frames filled with postcards from cities and countries we’d visited together.
Very early on I loved seeing all the copper accessories used in styling shoots on wedding blogs, but some of these were over-the-top and not very achievable for the every-day bride and her budget. It was also too glam for my taste and I wanted to tone down the style for our wedding decoration by bringing lots of foliage and flowers into the mix.
It was hit and miss as to whether our wedding planner could source the copper table decorations and candle holders we so badly wanted. Oh and when I say we, I mean me, as Leon left most of the theming in my capable hands! So as a back-up we collected lots of plastic safari animals and spray painted them copper along with several photo frames…when I say we this time, I mean Leon…spray painting’s a man’s job! 😉
Luckily the florist managed to source the copper accessories at the last minute at an extra cost to us – but it was worth it as they looked fabulous on the tables.
What sort of flowers did you have?
My bouquet was unstructured and oversized to give it a wild and ‘just made-up feel’. It was heavy with foliage, mainly Eucalipto and Baby Eucalyptus and had very pale pink Astilbe, English Roses and Symphoricarpos Snowberry with deep pink Lisianthus and Sedum. Hanging Amaranthus Rosso and Eryngium Thistle gave it texture and the Chocolate Cosmos and nearly black Calla lilies added contrast.
The ceremony arch, aisle and floral decorations were mostly green foliage with English Roses, Lisianthus and Hanging Amaranthus Rosso.
What sort of decoration did you have?
Wedding Ceremony – we hired in vintage luggage to match our travel theme, and decorated the area with the vintage postcards in a mixture of metallic photo frames with copper geo decorations. We had beautiful brightly coloured paper Chinese fans and sunglasses for the guests to use.
Reception Dinner – beautiful candlelight amongst a floral garland decorated our U-Shaped table arrangement with copper geo shapes and copper strayed safari animals. The floral arrangements used for the aisle decoration were re-used throughout the venue.
What did you eat?
We choose a traditional Tuscan four-course menu that consisted of:
Antipasto: Potato & Truffle Cream Pie with Parmesan Sauce
Primi: Hand Made Pappardelle Pasta with Wild Boar Sauce & Taggiasca olives
Secondi: Entrecote steak of beef with Shallot, Brunello of Montalcino Sauce, Roasted Potatoes & Butter Baby Carrots
Dolce: Strawberry Salad with Lemon Ice Cream & Mint
And the wedding cake?
A traditional Italian Millefoglie layered wedding cake which we served with prosecco after dinner.
What did you have as entertainment?
We had live music throughout the celebrations, starting with a trio playing as guests arrived for the outside ceremony playing easy listening and popular guitar music. They played Ed Sheerans ‘Thinking Out Loud’ as I walked down the aisle.
During the drinks and canapes, another member joined them creating a more upbeat tempo including a mixture of swing, pop and country & western.
For the evening entertainment they played songs from all eras for our guests.
Who supplied the stationery?
A good friend of the bride owns a design and print business called Q Design. All the wedding stationary was bespoke, and designed with the Vintage Travel theme in mind, it included the save the date, wedding invite, welcome pack and a thank you note, plus the menus, table plans and added touches used on the day.
Did you have any personal touches? Or things that you did yourself?
The vintage postcards in the copper painted frames and the copper spray-painted animals were very much our personal touches – bringing in our love of travel and our plans to honeymoon in South Africa.
What were your special moments or highlights of the day?
The brides best friend was unable to attend the wedding being 8 months pregnant and living in the USA, so she prepared a video which was played during the speeches. She had everyone in tears with a medley of photos from our pasts.
Also, seeing how everything came together and how beautiful the floral decorations looked on the table after hours of debating and endless emails between myself and the wedding planner.
What advice would you give any other couples about planning your big day, or any tips for the day itself?
Make sure you get to spend some time together during the days celebrations to step back and take everything in. The day flies by and it’s important to share as many moments as you can together.
What was your biggest surprise of the day?
The weather! We’d hoped that by booking a destination wedding, we’d guarantee the weather – how wrong could we be? It was glorious sunshine when we arrived on the Wednesday before the wedding, however on the Friday there were storms and lashings of rain for when our guests were arriving. However, on the day we had beautiful sunshine and clear blue skies…we went to bed with everything crossed and praying for sunshine the night before! Then it turned back to rain on the Sunday. Somebody must have been watching over us on our wedding day! 😉
Could you please list all the suppliers you used with their websites and emails?
- Wedding Planners – Dream Weddings Tuscany >> http://www.dreamweddings-tuscany.com/
- Photographer – Francesco Sonetti >> http://www.francescosonetti.com/
- Music – B Katch >> http://bkatch.com/
- Flowers – Paolettoni Fiori >> http://www.paolettonifiori.it/site/home.asp
- Stationary – Q Design >> http://www.q-design.co.uk/
- Venue, food & drink – Borgo Casabianca >> http://www.casabianca.it/eng/index
- Wedding dress – The Bridal Lounge >> http://www.thebridallounge.co.uk/
- Groomsmen Waistcoats – Marc Darcy >> http://marcdarcy.co.uk/
- Bridesmaids Dresses – Needle & Thread >> http://www.needleandthread.com/
The wedding was featured on the boho weddings website to view click here.