Friday, 28 January 2011

Real Destination Wedding: Laura & Chris {Part 2}

Time for part two of this delicious Italian wedding. Laura and Chris celebrated their big day twice, once with a civil ceremony and then again with a church wedding followed by a fabulous reception at Il Borro. You can see their first wedding here, but this one is just as packed with wedding ideas, and Laura has very kindly filled in the Before the Big Day Bridal Questionnaire, so you can snaffle all her suppliers. If you're a DIY bride, you're going to feel super-inspired by Laura because she not only made one of her wedding dresses {yes, she had two!}, but she also handmade her bridesmaids' gowns. Incredible! My favourite wedding inspiration shout-outs are the Laduree macaroon favours, Laura's simple but stunning pearl jewellery and that amazing vintage car. Truly stunning pictures published with thanks to Patrick at Butler Madden Weddings.

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The Before the Big Day Bridal Q&A - Laura was kind enough to fill in our questionnaire, aimed at helping other brides with their planning process. Feast your eyes on her answers for helpful hints and tips from someone on the other side of her big day!

Where and when did you get married?
We had a civil ceremony on Friday September 11th 2009 at Arezzo Commune and a ‘traditional’ wedding ceremony and reception on Saturday 12th September 2009 at Il Borro, both in northeast Tuscany, Italy.

What was your thinking behind choosing the venue and the decoration of the reception?
We got engaged in Italy and knew we wanted to get married there as we love the wine, the food and weather. Luckily my husband is also fluent in Italian. We planned a venue-hunting trip a year before the wedding and it felt like we visited every castle we saw on the journey from Rome to Florence! When planning our trip we’d seen Il Borro on Luxury Link, a site which we’d used to book other holidays and it had formed the idea that we were looking for a venue where we could host a wedding but also where our guests could all stay on site. When we arrived, we were taken on a tour of the estate by Gianluca D’Angeli and fell in love with the rustic yet luxurious venue, complete with a restored medieval village. We felt very welcome there, but most of all, at home. Whenever we drove through the gates, we felt restful. Eating dinner that night at the restaurant cemented our decision; the style of food was exactly what we wanted and the restaurant team became our wedding caterers.

Did you have a theme, colour or motif in mind?
The only real direction that we had was that we wanted muted tones. The theme evolved as a friend and I put together the invitation design using a Victorian style acanthus motif from istockphoto and when we chose the bridesmaid’s dress fabric. We accented the bridesmaids dresses with silver ribbons on the invitations and flower arrangements.

Who made your wedding outfit (dress, veil, shoes and accessories), and how did you come to that decision?
I made my own dress for the civil ceremony as I was unable to find what I had in mind within budget. I tried on several dresses for the main ceremony but again, was unable to find the fishtail design in lace I was looking for, so I contacted designers who made dresses to your own design. I met Emma Hunt who shared my passion for fabrics and draping. She made several toiles of the design which evolved slightly during the process, before making the final gown shortly before the wedding. It was a great process and the dress fitted beautifully; it was amazing knowing the no one else could wear the same dress and that I’d help design it. Emma edged a cathedral veil with lace to match my dress and I wore a pair of gold Sergio Rossi kitten heel sandals. I had a bracelet of my grandmother’s made into pearl jewellery in Hatton Gardens to complete the outfit.

What about your husband’s outfit? Where was it from?
For the civil ceremony, he wore Ferragamo shoes and an Aquascutum suit which, by chance went beautifully with my dress! We hired suits for him, the ushers and our fathers for the Saturday’s celebrations from Hire Wear Direct. He also bought a waistcoat from Favourbrook which made his outfit different from the others. My mother in law made all the men cravats from the same fabric as the bridesmaid dresses.

And how about your bridesmaids’ outfits?
I made both bridesmaid’s dresses from James Hare heavy crepe-backed silk, with a little help from my mum, using Vogue patterns. I knew I wanted them to be long and although the colour choices were a little limited, we found a dusty pink that worked with their colourings.

What type of cake did you go for, and how did you come to that decision?
The caterers, who ran the restaurant at Il Borro made us a traditional Italian wedding cake (Millifoglie). We aren’t great fans of wedding cake and were happy to embrace the Italian tradition!

Did you have any favours? What were they? Was there any particular reason why you picked them?
We love Laduree macaroons and one of our best friends offered to buy them for us as a wedding present and flew to Italy with them in her hand luggage! We bought little plastic boxes from eBay and friends helped put them all together on the morning of the wedding.

Who was your florist, what flowers did you choose, and how did you come to that decision?
When we did our initial venue hunt, we saw photos of Noosheens’ designs and decorations of various events at a venue in Rome. Although we looked at other florists, her styles always kept coming to mind as they were exactly what we were after. We contacted her and she was happy to come to Tuscany and did an amazing job; the flowers were rustic, yet beautiful.

Who was your photographer and how did you choose them?
Someone who worked with my husband knew Patrick at Butler Madden Weddings and had worked with him on other commercial commissions. Following their recommendation, we met with him, really liked him and saw some of his photographs which had a real brightness and energy to them. He did an amazing job and was very accommodating to all our requests, including translating at the local hairdressers as he’s fluent in Italian (and lots of other languages!). The photographs are simply amazing - we’ve had so many compliments and several of our friends have engaged him since.

Did you enjoy planning your wedding?
I loved it, it was stressful at times, not least because we took on a lot to do ourselves (making invites, sewing dresses etc). But when someone compliments the day; the details and the great time they’ve had, it makes everything worth it. You should definitely take up all offers of help!

What advice do you have for brides planning their big day?
Although your wedding is about you and your spouse, you are also organising an event to remember for your guests. It’s really important to think about timings and the flow of the event; we’ve all been to weddings and learnt what works and what doesn’t. When deciding about where to spend money and where to cut back, think about what will make it a better event. A few years before we married, I’d read about wishes in the sky and loved the idea for a wedding. We found the lanterns on eBay and they are brilliantly interactive and were a real high point for us and our guests, though I would recommend not using them when it’s windy! They made a great alternative to traditional fireworks and provided an excuse to get our guests on their feet before moving to the dancefloor.

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