A Formal Outdoor Destination Wedding in Tuscany, Italy
Paige and Victor
After their October 2007 engagement, Paige and Victor -- two Americans living in London -- were on the hunt for a location where they could host their friends and family for a weekend destination wedding in the fall of 2008. Their choice? Tuscany. After all, the groom's parents are Italian, the bride studied abroad in Florence, and the scenery is spectacular.
So Paige and Victor began scouting properties. With their main focus on castles, hotels, and a few villas, they knew Il Borro would be the site of their wedding even before they got out of the car. The long driveway lined with cypress trees and perfectly formed lavender bushes felt magical. Horses came running to the fence to greet the couple, and the air was filled with the aroma of olives ripening and grapes being crafted into fine wine.
The estate covers approximately 1,750 acres of Tuscan countryside. In a lush green valley surrounded by the Pratomagno mountains, it features a stone footbridge, a tiny old church, several farmhouses, tennis courts, a driving range, and a series of little apartments where the guests would stay. The main villa atop the hill -- formerly the home of the Ferragamo family -- combines rustic and historic elements with luxurious, modern updates and elegance all around.
Paige, an artist, sketched images appropriate to the Italian nuptials (like the local cypress trees, a fountain on the property, and a bottle of wine). With the help of Arak Kanofsky Studios, she incorporated those drawings throughout the stationery suite. The invitation was letterpressed and wrapped with a band that told the story of how the couple met: "It began as a chance meeting on the twelfth of December over oysters and a New York Times, and they immediately knew that destiny had given them the ultimate gift." A fresh green color was selected for the wedding and was used throughout the paper items as well.
Two of Paige's sketches were made into fine-art prints and given to each guest as a wedding favor -- a little bit of Italy to take home as a way to remember the special weekend abroad.
The traditional Catholic ceremony took place at the church on the property, La Chiesa di San Biagio.
As the newlyweds emerged from the church, the bells rang forth in celebration.
Paige wore a Manual Mota gown that she purchased at Harrods. She accessorized with diamond studs, a diamond necklace from Roberto Coin, and Jimmy Choo shoes. She used white ribbon to turn an extra flower that came with her gown into her hairpiece.
Her bouquet of seasonal white flowers included hydrangea, lisianthus, snowberries, and a variety of roses.
The Bridal Party
Following the ceremony, Paige and Victor stepped away to take portraits lit by the setting sun.
While Paige and Victor took their portraits, guests moved to the upper terrace of the villa, where they were serenaded by a six-piece jazz band and drank Rossinis (strawberry puree and sparkling wine).
Before the sun completely set, Paige and Victor rejoined their guests for the remainder of the cocktail hour. Everyone gathered for a group photo in front of the villa as the happy couple took it all in from the balcony above.
Since little was needed to enhance the natural beauty of the estate and its manicured landscapes, wedding coordinator Brenda Babcock of Italia Celebrations merely personalized the location. She noticed an antique carriage in the corner of a storage room while doing a site inspection at Il Borro. She had it decorated by florist Noosheen Noei-Tabrizi and pulled out into the piazza in front of the main residence.
The 80 guests were seated at two long tables on the terrace overlooking the Italian garden and the same fountain sketched for the stationery. Golden shantung runners, floral arrangements, and candles covered the length of the table.
Paige and Victor cut their three-foot-wide wedding cake, made in the style of the traditional Italian millefoglie by Convivium Firenze.
Following the cake-cutting and conclusion of dinner, guests moved to the other side of the terrace for hours of dancing to a club DJ. Most of the group stayed with the couple on the dance floor until 5 a.m. Luckily, they were served mini paninis as reinforcement at around 1 a.m.
The Happily Ever After
The newlyweds left early the next morning for their honeymoon. They split their 19 days in Cape Town, South Africa, tasting wine and going on safari, and in the Seychelles at a resort on Denis Island.