Andrea and I met in August 1998 while holidaying on the Elba Island in Tuscany with friends. After our holiday Andrea invited me to spend a day with him on the Chianti hills of San Gimignano where our long distance relationship started. Being both from Italy we then both moved back to our hometowns Milan (myself) and Rome (Him) where we started a long distance relationship for over a year.
In 2001 Andrea moved to London for work reasons so our distance got even longer but nothing would create an obstacle to our relationship and love, which actually got stronger and more resilient. We finally decided to get together and live permanently in London in 2002. We decided to get married in 2014, yes a few years later, as we always wanted to make our Big Day special we wanted that day to take place in that magical place where everything started, in San Gimignano Tuscany!
Tuscany has always been our favourite region in Italy and is located halfway between Milan and Rome meant that both families and relatives had to travel half way each to get together in joy for our rural Tuscan wedding. We decided that the magic of the Tuscan hills was the perfect backdrop for our wedding. San Gimignano is the place to amaze family and friends with a unique landscape for the happiest day.
The Planning Process
Being Italian, living abroad meant that I was half-equipped to organise every aspect of my wedding. In order to make the process smoother I decided to have a wedding planner to help me with, the local chores and admin on the premises. Bea from Alfresco Wedding was a pivotal part of the whole project from Day 1. With her team of experts, she made things easier and smooth to happen like church, musicians, florist, local drivers and catering deliveries. Bea is a professional in the field coming from the travel and tourism sector and being 100% from Tuscany she is the most amazing source of knowledge, inspiration and enthusiasm.
Bea was able to redirect us to the right venue choice among the many she has direct contact with. She proposed us Fattorie Santo Pietro laying on Siena’s countryside on gentle hills along the Via Francigena and minutes away from the famous towers of San Gimignano, noble and ancient houses form the Fattorie Santo Pietro, an ancient and quiet village surrounded by 300 hectares of unspoiled nature. The whole village has been restored and it is a rural architectural heritage of pure Tuscan tradition. Being wine and nature lovers Bea suggested the right place that ticked all the boxes. We fell in love with it at first sight. We travelled out to San Gimignano from London to visit the venue together and we cemented our relationship in such a way that we developed a long-lasting friendship.
Bea and I had weekly Skype and conference calls to plan every single details of the event over 4 months. Overall we were quick and in tune all the time on every decision. She gave me many beautiful ideas and concepts on how to develop the theme of the wedding and she was a great value for money.
Our big day!
September is normally the most amazing time to get married in Italy. In Tuscany the colours are still vivid and warm, days are long and warm but not as hot as in June or July. The previous days before the Big Day it was pouring down so we were very concerned that the alfresco plan we had was spoilt by the weather. Thanks to Bea and her husband Alessandro’s experience they gave us the right tips on how to overcome the stress and how to revert to a plan B. But the wedding day was gloriously sunny so everyone (especially the bride) was very relaxed and happy! They fully decorated the venue for the evening after party by the pool with beautiful décor without worrying about anything.
Our religious ceremony took place in one of most characteristic churches in San Gimignano the Convent of Saint Augustin. This church’s simplicity and understated beauty were perfectly in tune with the theme of our wedding. The church has some of the most important fresques about the life of Saint Augustin so it was a perfect venue for pictures. The delicate pastel ocher stone hues matched perfectly with the delicate pale pink English roses and eucalyptus leaves of my bouquet and the flowers on the altar. To finish it up the church is located on a beautiful medieval piazza which meant a perfect setting for pictures after the ceremony.
Andrea and I personally designed the little prayers booklet which had a beautifully designed watercolour with the façade of the church on the cover. Bea organised the handouts to our guests, together with rice and lavender flowers to be thrown at the newly wedded couple outside the church sprinkling a fresh lavender perfume in the air!
Soon after the ceremony, our guests had the time to walk back to their cars and minibus ride that Bea organised for the elder guests to be driven back to the venue while Andrea and I had a photographer’s reportage along the medieval streets of San Gimignano and on the romantic hills and vineyards leading to the venue.
The venue, Fattorie Santo Pietro, is an extensive wine estate offering accommodation for guests and 3 different locations well located to create a spectacular event on one sight. The day before the wedding we had a big barbecue and music by the pool to welcome our guests upon arrival. The main alfresco lunch reception on the Big Day was organised in the main courtyard for 100 people and the after party with DJ set was held by a candlelit infinity pool overlooking the hills under a dazzling starry night. Truly spectacular!! Our guests were staying at the same venue in lovely independent apartments well sparse among the green and lush of olive groves of the estate, some others by the pool, all keeping a discrete and non-intrusive feeling all around for our guests.
The whole village has been restored and it is a rural architectural heritage of pure Tuscan tradition. They all loved the place. Our guests even had the time even to get changed for the evening party! The whole event was totally relaxed or as I liked to call it “shabby chic” as everyone was relaxed and at ease to enjoy the music and the food.
I will never forget the sight of the view when we first arrived at the venue newlywed, our guests were enjoying the perfect “aperitivo” with Italian starters and canapes from the best local producers accompanied by live jazz music on the grass. It was picture perfect!
To have Bea and the whole Al Fresco team to look after us, the organisation and decors made the real difference to ensure our wedding was so beautifully and elegantly Tuscan style.