Mary & Sue | Villa Catureglio, Tuscany, Italy
At the end of 2013, I got an enquiry from a couple called Mary and Sue. We met up for coffee and chats about their wedding and I immediately loved how down to earth and genuine they both were. They told me their dreams of a destination wedding in Italy surrounded by their loved ones. I could not contain my excitement, not only because I just started my company earlier that year and couldn't believe they had come across my work, but because I had only styled 3 weddings and I couldn't believe two women from Northern Ireland were wanting to hire me for their destination wedding! It was a dream come true and one that I didn't think would happen for at least a few more years. I am so glad they brought me on to assist with the planning and design of their day.
After some research, we found and booked their venue and in September of 2014 flew out to Italy to scout the locations, had a tasting with the catering company in Florence and explored the small rural town of Borgo a Mozzano in Tuscany. Mary and Sue booked the most beautifully rustic Villa Catureglio for their wedding. This villa is one of the prettiest places I've ever been. It dates back to the 13th century and is nestled in the hills overlooking the Garfagnana valley. It's about an hour from the walled city of Lucca, and two hours from Pisa and Florence airports which made it convenient enough for Mary and Sue's guests to travel around Tuscany. The history of the villa is amazing as well, it's been restored to it's original beauty (and then some!) by talented English architects and they now rent it out exclusively for weddings, accommodating 41 guests to stay onsite with two pools, a cathedral, main villa with 4 floors, beautiful gardens and rustic cottages.
Here are a few pics from our trip back in 2014, if you'd like to see...
May 30th we were to fly out for their wedding from Dublin but our flight got cancelled, thankfully we were able to book another flight the following day. We had allowed to be onsite two days prior to the wedding so even though we were a bit rushed we still had enough time to get everything done. The morning after we arrived, we awoke early to head to the flower market about an hours drive away, which to our disappointment was closed after saying they were open on their site. After a minor freak out :), we serendipitously came across an open air flower stand that had gorgeous garden roses and the most helpful and friendliest staff! We spent the rest of the evening foraging from the nearby wild flower fields and olive tree groves, which was any florist's dream come true!
The ceremony was going to take place in the front garden of the Villa and the dinner reception was going to be out in the back garden on long wooden farmhouse style tables surrounded by fairy-lit olive trees. However, the rain stuck around and didn't stop until the day after the wedding. As we had just come from a wedding in Kiawah Island, South Carolina where we were hit with a tropical storm I was very much looking forward to what we hoped would be a sunny Italian garden wedding. That didn't happen. Instead, the power went out from a tree falling and the day's festivities were all moved indoors, it was apparently the worst weather that region has had since the 1860's! I was clearly more bummed out about this than the brides were, they were so relaxed and enjoying spending quality time with their family and friends. They weren't going to let anything ruin their special day and they were just right!
Despite the rain though, the day unfolded so beautifully. The intimate ceremony took place in the heart of the 13th century Villa only illuminated by candlelight with the doors open and the sound of the rain falling outside as Mary and Sue exchanged their written vows to one another. At the end their guests sang 'That's Amore' a cappella. It was emotional to say the least, to have gotten to know these two beautiful souls over the last 3 years and to know that neither of them ever thought the day would come where they would find their love or it would be accepted for them to stand in front of their closest family and friends and declare their love and lives to one another.
The rain stopped just in time for their Apéritif so their guests were able to mingle on the patio and enjoy prosecco, antipasti, and gelato. They were also surprised by a local marching band who serenaded them with traditional Italian music! Because the ground in the back garden was so wet we had to change dinner plans and instead placed all the dining tables in the converted rustic stone barn that overlooked the cyprus trees and valley below. The tables were decorated with natural tuscan linen, soft blue hand dyed table runners, foraged olive leaves from the property and loads of candles and strung globe lighting throughout the barn. Il Fattore Party provided the most amazing meal and service! Afterwards, the guests danced the night away with DJ Simone Alinari , mingled and had cocktails in the outside courtyard illuminated by overhead festoon lighting, and enjoyed their delicious traditional Italian wedding cake, Millefoglie. It was such a memorable and fun wedding and I can't wait to return to Tuscany next year for another Italian wedding! I'm so grateful to Mary and Sue who put their trust in me when I was just starting out and who I've gotten to know over these last few years, it's so special when your clients turn into friends :)
These are just a few behind-the-scenes images that Conor and I took of the wedding. If you would like to see more of Mary and Sue's wedding day, please take a look at Northern Ireland photographer Graham Crichton's blog post here.