Lauren and Ollie’s Tuscan Wedding
Wanting to work abroad after completing her MBA, Lauren moved from Pennsylvania to London in the fall of 2009. Soon after, while spending a night out on the town with some gal pals, she met Ollie, a Brit who had been celebrating his friend’s birthday with a pub crawl. Despite their initial chemistry, it took Ollie a few months of shy pursuit before the two shared a first date. “He would always use American holidays as an excuse to stay in touch, which I found sweet,” Lauren says. “We chatted regularly while I was in South Carolina for the holidays, and when I got back, we finally went on our first date and were inseparable thereafter.”
A few years into their relationship, Ollie, a travel marketer, took Lauren, a financier, on a dreamy getaway to Paris. On the hotel balcony overlooking the hilltop of Montmartre and the Basilica of Sacré-Cœur (an iconic Roman Catholic church), Ollie popped the question. “I was too busy eating breakfast so was totally surprised,” Lauren says. Since it was too early to call anyone back in America with the good news, the pair spent the rest of the day walking around the city and drinking Champagne.
They tied the knot before 125 guests on June 7, 2014, in the romantic city of Chianti, Italy. “It was a fairy-tale wedding,” Lauren says of the celebration in Tuscany. “Glamorous and fun!”
The bride and groom chose to have a destination wedding in Tuscany without either of them ever having been. “One of our first trips together was to Rome, and we loved the country,” Lauren says. “We’d heard how beautiful Tuscany was so we just went with it!”
Wedding planner Clara Boatto of Chic Weddings organized a long weekend of venue scouting for the couple in various parts of the city. Through a friend’s recommendation, they visited Castello di Meleto—a historic castle located in the countryside—which won the couple over. “We loved the idea of a castle with lots of accommodations on the grounds,” Lauren says.
The invitations were printed on tea towels from Wedding Tea Towels for a touch of English flair. Designed with a personalized image of the castle, they were tied with twine and Mad Libs-inspired RSVP cards and sent out in envelopes lined with olive green tissue paper.
The bride topped off her ensemble with a pair of antique-style earrings from J.Crew.
She carried two embroidered handkerchiefs: one belonging to her grandmother and another from a longtime friend, which had a monogram of her initials and the wedding date in blue.
The Bride’s Bouquet
La Rosa Canina created the bride’s bouquet of roses, peonies, ranunculus, and olive branches.
Lauren’s bridesmaids were her sisters. Lindsey and Mary Helena, and her sister-in-law, Eleanor. They wore identical Twobirds dresses in slate gray.
Clad in black tuxes and bow ties, Ollie’s groomsmen were his three best college buddies.
Father of the Bride
The blushing bride and her father were all smiles as they shared a special moment together.
The Ring Box
The couple’s wedding bands were placed inside a moss-lined glass box and set beside a bouquet of olive branches. “We didn’t actually use the ring box during the ceremony,” Lauren says. “Our ring bearers—my two nephews and godson—were too young, so in reality it was more ornamental.”
Cruising in Style
The groom’s father escorted all three bridesmaids to the service in a vintage baby blue Morris Minor Traveller. The back of the car was adorned with a floral garland made up of roses, peonies, ranunculus, and other greenery.
The Bride’s Entrance
The bride arrived in a white 1954 MG TF convertible, driven by her brother-in-law. Seeing Lauren for the first time as she entered the ceremony was one of Ollie’s favorite moments of the day.
Lauren’s father walked her down the aisle as a harpist played Pachelbel’s “Canon in D.” Since the weather was warm and sunny throughout the day, guests were given fans to use during the outdoor service.
Reverend Dow Sanderson from the Church of Holy Communion officiated the ceremony.
The newlyweds recessed down the aisle to a harp rendition of The Beatles’ “All You Need Is Love.”
After the ceremony, Lauren and Ollie posed for portraits under a sheer cloth-covered archway adorned with moss-topped letters of their “L” and “O” initials.
The Cocktail Hour
Guests took a short walk through a spruce-lined path in flip-flops (gifts from the bride and groom) to kick off the cocktail hour. Negronis and aperol spritzes were served as signature drinks while hors d’oeuvres were passed around. For additional fare, a charcuterie station and a mozzarella-and-tomato bar were set in place.
The Guest Book
The guest signage was done inside a leather-bound book from Florence, which was a gift from the father of the groom. Behind the book, a framed sign encouraged guests to drop by the venue’s theater for photos.
The Enchanting Stage
Decked with original sceneries and sets from the 18th century, the ancient theater served as the backdrop for photo booth pictures.
The Assorted Frames
The table assignments were displayed in various vintage-style picture frames. Gold vases containing roses, hydrangea, and stock flower decorated the setup.
Hanging along the castle’s iron gates were the Mad Libs-inspired RSVP postcards that guests had filled out and returned prior to the big day. “We got so many funny and sweet (and some naughty) responses,” Lauren says.
The Reception Setting
The reception dinner was held in the main garden outside Castello di Meleto.
Round tables were scattered throughout the garden and topped with blush pink linens and gold accents. Individual vases of flowers and antique candelabras were used as centerpieces to give the tables an elegant, warm feel.
The Place Settings
Wedding Paper Divas created dinner menus and name cards for all the guests. Each name card was weighted with a small peach to keep it from blowing away.
As the sun began to set, the garden was illuminated with hanging string lights and scattered lanterns.
Galateo Ricevimenti created an Italian-style millefoglie cake right in front of all the guests. “It was a show in and of itself as the chefs came out in a long line with all the ingredients and built the cake layer by layer,” Lauren says of her favorite part of the day.
After dessert, the newlywed couple took their first dance as husband and wife to “Back Down South” by Kings of Leon. Then the bride and her father shared a special dance to “I’ll Have to Say I Love You in a Song” by Jim Croce.
Photography: Polly Alexandre
Location: Castello di Meleto
Catering and Cake: Galateo Ricevimenti
Videography: Mary Helena Clark
Event Planning: Clara Boatto of Chic Weddings
Flowers: La Rosa Canina
Officiant: Reverend Dow Sanderson of Church of Holy Communion
Hair and Makeup: Silvia Gerzeli