- Real-life weddings by Tuscan Dreams -

Name: Hannah and Matt
Age: Matt - 33, Hannah 29
Profession : Matt – Operations Director of a Brick Distribution Company, Hannah – IT Consultant.
Where do you come from? Cheshire

How did you meet?
We have been together for 8 years and there have been lots of fun times and exciting stories that have happened along the way….however the story of how we met is not all that exciting or glamorous but it truly was one of the best days of our lives. We went to high school together but being several years apart we never talked to one another.- and looking back it makes us laugh that we would have passed each other in the hallways hundreds of times not knowing that one day we would be married! In fact I think I even had a crush on one of Matt’s friends!


7 years later our paths crossed once more – this time in the delights of our local Cricket club for a mutual friend’s birthday. We got chatting and very soon we realised that we quite liked one another! So after one or two gin and tonics together and a lot of egging on from our two best friends (bridesmaid and best man) we decided to move on to our local nightclub for a dance! There we were on the dance floor busting some moves to Shakira when we had our first kiss! A very romantic moment!
From that moment we were hooked on each other over the last 8 years we have had so much fun – enjoyed lots of holidays, great times with friends, buying our first house and having two adorable cats (who we treat like children!).

How did he propose?
Having seen so many of our very best friends get engaged and then married there was never a suggestion that we might be next - so when Matt did propose it did come as a shock to a lot of people (including Hannah) as he had never mentioned it to a soul!
It was Christmas day 2008 - Matt loves Christmas and it seemed like the perfect most romantic time of year to propose. Christmas morning came – Matt was acting slightly sheepish! The bucks fizz was opened and we went into our living room to open our presents! Lots of gifts were exchanged – the usual – CDs, perfume, pyjamas!


Thinking that was it for presents and about to start sipping my bucks fizz once more – Matt said I think there is one more present for you right at the back underneath the tree – not having the slightest inkling I found my present, ripped off the paper and to my surprise saw a jewellery box and I started to think ‘could this be what I think it is?’. Slightly nervously I opened the box and saw this beautiful shiny diamond ring looking back at me, Matt took it from me and then said ‘So Hannah I love you so much – will you marry me?” Tears were running down my cheeks uncontrollably having never felt so happy in my life – we were at home in the place we love more than anywhere else, sat underneath our pretty Christmas tree  - I said yes gave Matt the biggest cuddle  he said ‘why are you crying though –you are happy aren’t you?” I then started jumping up and down in excitement and he knew I was happy!
It really was such a happy day and sharing the news with Family and Friends was amazing! People were so happy for us – it was the best Christmas ever and we had constant smile on our face.

 

- Real-Life Weddings by Tuscan Dreams -

NAME: Sandra and Richard

PROFESSION OF BOTH: Sandra - accountant, Richard - going through a career change and working temporarily in cafe as he’s currently applying to become a paramedic.

AGE: Sandra - 29, Richard - 32

WHERE DO YOU COME FROM: We bought a house in Oct last year and live in Loughton (Essex)

HOW DID YOU MEET: We both use to work for the same medical devices company, I was in accounts and Richard was in the sales team. We met on a work conference at 2am in the bar. It was in the cumberland hotel in London, all the men were in tucks and the girls in evening dresses. I had danced all night and my feet were aching, I managed to find the nearest free seat which happened to be where Richard’s team were sitting. I was sitting next to his friend Steve who said how gorgeous I was and then asked Richard if he agreed, he did (he was drunk!), then Steve ask if I was single, I said yes and then he remarked that Richard was also single and we should get together! After an hour of chatting in the group, a drink was accidently poured over me, which gave me an excuse to move seats and of course I moved to the seat next Richard.

Eventually everyone else went to bed except the two of us. Richard fancied a cup of tea and I said that I had tea making facilities in my room! (what a hussy). So he came to my room, and didn’t have a cup of tea! The rest in history. It was a brilliant night, the hotel was amazing, I have never stayed in somewhere as posh.

HOW DID HE PROPOSE: We were on holiday in America. We were touring around the west coast for 3 weeks, we went to LA, San Francisco, Sonoma, Yosemite, Lone Pine, Death Valley, Las Vegas, Grand Cannon and Zion Cannon.  Unknown to me Richard was planning propose on this holiday and he was waiting for the right moment. One day we went for a hike around Hetch Hetcy, there was hardly anyone else around a Richard kept kissing me along the walk, which I though was a bit strange. After a about mile around there was a small bridge over the reservoir surrounded by mountains he dropped to one knee and proposed, it was lovely. We then went back to our tent where Richard produced a bottle of champagne that he had sneekly bought from when we were wine tasting in Sonoma. We drank our champagne by the river and then went out for a posh meal in the Ahwahnee. Easily my best day.

Sandra and Richard got married on 18th September 2010 at Villa Gambassi where they also stayed and had reception with 60 guests.

 

- Weddings in Style by Tuscan Dreams -

Name: Sharon and Peter

Ages: Sharon - 48, Peter - 49

Profession: Sharon - Personal Assistant, Peter - firefighter on blue watch, based in Swindon.

Where do you come from : Chippenham, Wiltshire. We both have 2 children each from previous marriages. Peter has 2 sons; Craig and Bradley and I have a daughter and son; Nathasha and Liam.

We thought we would get married in the beautiful country of Italy, with close family and friends, hiring a beautiful villa for immediate family and close friends staying close by in apartments all arranged by a reputable company with a personal touch and hastle-free.

We stayed in the Villa Gambassi for a week, followed by a honeymoon in Sorrento and Rome.

How did you meet: We met at a local night club 12 years ago.

How did he proposed: Pete proposed to me 2 years ago at the top of the Eiffel Tower, which was very romantic.

 

- Real-Life Weddings by Tuscan Dreams -

NAME: Sam and Lee

PROFESSION: Sam - Marketing Manager in magazine publishing, Lee Managing Director for AOP.

WHERE DO YOU COME FROM: London

HOW DID YOU MEET: Sam and I have been together 11 years, after meeting at the Guardian newspaper where we both worked. Our drinks together after work became more and more frequent, and soon we were a couple. Our first time away together just happened to be a work trip to Rome, that would start another love affair with Italy.

HOW DID HE PROPOSE : Neither of us were particularly inclined towards marriage but, ten years later, neither of us could really remember why! So, on a ski trip to St Anton, Austria, I proposed to Sam in a champagne ice bar halfway up the mountain slopes.

When we first entertained the idea of an Italian wedding, we never thought we would be able to encourage all our beloved friends & family to travel with us. When they all whole heartedly supported the idea, the next piece of the puzzle was finding a location - something that our wonderful wedding planners at Tuscan Dreams were able to help with, and much more besides.

We had the wedding of our dreams with all the people we love around us, and all the details and touches that made it unique to us.

Sam and Lee got married on 6th June 2010 at Certaldo Town Hall and had reception at Villa Gambassi

 

- Weddings in Style by Tuscan Dreams -

Unlike the USA more weddings in the UK are planned by the bride and her mum than by a wedding organiser. But stress free wedding planning is almost impossible to achieve for the average full time working woman – unless you happen to be an event organiser or can wave a magic wand!

That’s the view of Tuscan wedding organiser Erica Bellini, who has created countless events in Italy and knows just how hard it is to keep on top of the detail let alone agree the main event with everyone involved.

She says: “What many people don’t realise is how much time and effort you need to put into your event to really make it work the way you want. There are such expectations for the day and each bride wants to be unique and special and create her own magic. But most of my brides are busy working and have very little time to manage all the bits and pieces that make up a wedding.

“By the time it comes to choosing the dress and the invitations many brides who choose to arrange the event themselves are completely fed up with the whole thing. It really is a skill in itself that is very time consuming especially if you want to marry abroad.”

Other advantages of working with a wedding organiser include:

· Saving you money – while you may pay a fee for their services wedding planners often secure great deals with venues, photographers and caterers and florists which you could not negotiate yourself and which will ultimately save you money.

· Save your relationship – instead of battling with the mother-in-law you can become detached from the event and so can she!

· Event experience – you will only ever hopefully arrange one wedding – your planner will have vast experience of many special days.

· Knowledge of the area, its customs, local specialities and pitfalls – especially useful if planning to marry abroad.

· Advice on every aspect of the day from your dress, flowers, invitations, cakes, venue, service, to entertainment – gleaned from years of experience and having worked with reliable suppliers many times before.

· Someone on the day specifically to manage the event or manage the odd mishap without the bride having to lift up her skirts and deal with it herself!

Demetria Maratheftis, from the UK but of Greek Cypriot origin chose Erica to organise her dream wedding in Italy to make sure she had the day of her dreams and not just of her family! She says: “I was expecting my day to go well but we really didn’t expect it to go so smoothly. We laughed and giggled from the beginning to the end and I wish we could do it all over again!”

Erica, 36, who lives mainly in Italy and also offers Tuscan accommodation to those guests wishing to extend their stay, has a huge range of venues for weddings, specialist caterers, florists and photographers and is always on hand to make sure everything runs smoothly on the day.

She says: “Having a wedding planner means you can concentrate on enjoying your day and leave event organising to the experts. We know how to make our weddings uniquely gorgeous every time.”

 

- Real-life wedding by Tuscan Dreams -

NAME: Carla and Ben

PROFESSION: Carla – Aviation Recruitment Specialist, Ben - Car Rental Manager

AGE: Both 30 years

WHERE DO YOU COME FROM: We live together in Bournemouth but originally Carla is from Chepstow, South Wales and Ben is from Dartford, Kent.

HOW DID YOU MEET: We met in 1998 at Bournemouth University. We were close friends throughout our 4 years courses and remained friends once we graduated in 2002. We finally got our act together in August 2004 and confessed our feelings for one another and started our relationahip!

HOW DID HE PROPOSE: Ben proposed in May 2009 on Sandbanks Beach, Dorset.  We had finished work, it was a beautiful sunny evening and we went to the beach for fish and chips!  Ben pulled out a bottle of champagne and a little box with my beautiful ring inside.

Carla and Ben got married in Castelfiorentino Town Hall on 11th September 2010 and had reception at Castello di Marcialla where they and their guests stayed.

 

- Weddings in Style by Tuscan Dreams -

Any wedding planner worth their salt not only puts their heart and soul into making their clients big day as memorable and spectacular as possible but is also prepared for every eventuality.

Each wedding comes with its moments of madness – The dress splits, the Groom spills red wine down his tie and the heavens open just as the bride steps out of her carriage. Never fear though, for Erica Bellini, wedding planner and creator of Tuscan dreams, is here to help.


She has been planning weddings in Tuscany for over 10 years, so has had plenty of experience of wedding mishaps. Here she gives every bride a few tips to solve any last minute disasters and make proceedings run as smoothly as possible.

Erica has a huge bag of props that becomes heavier by the year and her dream of becoming just like Jennifer Lopez in the Wedding Planner has come true. However, unlike the film, not everything can run according to plan and that is where Erica steps in. “I have an endless amount of equipment which grows after every wedding” she says. “If someone has forgotten or broken something it’s my job to save the day”.

Here are some of the items Erica keeps in her wedding first aid kit in case of a nuptial emergency:

· Nail repair glue – This will always save a bride on the brink of tears, as every girl knows you aren’t finished without a full set of perfect nails.

· A little box with buttons and safety pins – These little beauties can provide a quick fix and hold together an outfit in a matter of seconds.

· Cushion (or pillow for wedding rings) – In case the best man forgets (and they often do!)

· Pretty umbrella – To protect the bride from a sudden downpour.

· Lighters for candles – Candles are a popular theme at weddings and so often there are many to light!

· Bottle of fresh water and a sugar cube – “Once a guest fainted right in the middle of the ceremony because of the Tuscan heat. Sugar and water have never been so useful!” says Erica.

· Stain remover – “At one wedding in the beautiful Tuscan square of Siena, just before the bridal party entered the town hall a pigeon flew overhead. You can imagine what happened next. Thankfully the bride saw it as good luck!”

· Hair spray/grips – Not every bride has a hair dresser on hand, especially if getting married abroad, so this will help if the weather isn’t great.

· Needle, thread and scissors – Probably the most important items you will have in your kit says Erica. “The mother of one bride burnt a hole in the flower girls dress. We sewed on an orchid corsage to cover the burn and the dress looked even prettier”.

As Erica continues to plan and create more and more beautiful weddings every year, she continues to expand her ever growing wedding first aid kit. “My husband says that my next car should be a lorry so I’m able to carry everything with me that I might need for a wedding emergency!” says Erica. If she continues to solve every bride’s worst nightmare it may be a good investment!

 

- Weddings in Style by Tuscan Dreams -

It was an office romance that turned into a match made in heaven - but it wasn’t a lightning bolt of love as Becky explains!

“We never really spoke to each other but exchanged the odd glance across the room. We eventually started talking through email and never looked back!”

A year after they began dating Dan got down on one knee in front of family and friends at a Chinese restaurant in Durham and the fairy tale commenced.

When the couple talked about getting married they held very different views. “I wanted to stay in the UK so all my family could attend but Dan wanted it abroad somewhere like Cyprus,” says Becky. She soon came round to the idea of a wedding abroad, but wanted something more unique and that is when they came across Tuscany as a perfect location. “Money was a major factor so we started to look around to see what we could get for the amount of money we could afford.” It was then they found Tuscan Dreams, the baby of Erica Bellini who has been planning weddings in Tuscany for over 10 years. With her knowledge and experience, Erica showed Becky and Dan exactly what they could achieve with their budget and it was nothing short of perfect.

Soon a list of venues was drawn up for the couple to browse and one stood out in particular. “The second we saw Villa Gambassi we fell in love with it,” says Becky. “Erica sent us details and photos from previous weddings just to re-enforce our choice. It was just so beautiful.” Right from the beginning Erica and her assistant Nicoletta, made sure they got to know the couple inside out. “They just seemed to know what we would love. All I did was arrange the bridal parties outfits, everything else Tuscan Dreams took care of.” Wild flowers and an Italian rustic feel gave the event a sense of everything the couple loved about Tuscany, beautiful and romantic yet simple and original. Traditional floral colours such as purple, yellow sunflowers and cream were used to set the mood.

Although their biggest extravagance would be the villa as soon as the couple and their guests arrived they knew they had made the right decision. “As soon as we arrived at the villa gates we knew we were getting our money’s worth and more. There were even live deer in the grounds that you could hand feed,” says Becky. “Out of this world is how I would describe Villa Gambassi!” After spending most of their budget on a venue, Becky and Dan saved some money by making a few vital parts of the wedding from scratch. “My aunt made my veil, which hopefully will be passed down through the family. We also brought the place settings that doubled up as favours for everyone.”

After their dream wedding in Tuscany what can Becky say about the wonderful women who made it possible? “The work they must have to do to make people’s perfect day perfect is amazing and believe me they do make it perfect in every way and more,” said an extremely blissful Mrs Gill.

Becky and Dan got married at Certaldo Town Hall on 4th August 2009 and had reception for their guests at Villa Gambassi.

 

-Real Life Wedding by Tuscan Dreams-

Age:

28 (Gemma), 31 (Phil)

Profession:

Account Manager for Land Rover Global Events (Gemma), Police Officer (Phil)

Where do you come from :

Milton Keynes, Buckinghamshire, UK

1. How did you meet?

At Phil’s brother’s wedding in 2003.

2. How did you get engaged?

As a surprise, Phil took me to the Landmark Hotel in London – my favourite hotel. He then took me to the diamond shops in Hatton Garden and New Bond Street, followed by a romantic dinner later that evening. We chose my engagement ring at Boodles on New Bond Street.

3. How did you choose where to conduct the ceremony and have the reception?

We both love Italy and liked the idea of hosting our closest family and friends at a beautiful villa in Tuscany for the weekend. When we found Villa Gambassi, we just fell in love with it and knew it was perfect for our numbers and budget. The Church – Santa Maria a Chianni – was even more perfect and meant that our guests didn’t have to travel far for the ceremony.

4. What research and planning did you do before the wedding?

We researched the whole of Tuscany but always came back to Villa Gambassi. It ticked every box. Our wedding planners, Tuscan Dreams, were so helpful and lovely and we just knew everything was right.

5. How many guests attended your wedding?

70

6. What did you ‘make from scratch’?

The Menus & Order of Service

7. What was your biggest extravagance?

The 7 course meal

8. Where did you save the most money?

On venue hire.

9. Would you change anything about your wedding?

No. It was perfect in every way.

10. What advice would you give to someone planning a wedding?

Always keep to your budgets and research the market.

The theme of your wedding  and why did you chose that theme

Vintage, Lace, Fine Art, Classic.

Colour scheme of wedding:

Creams, whites, pinks, pastels

Music/entertainment:

Harpist during drinks, Disco in the evening.

 

-Real-life wedding by Tuscan Dreams-

Age: Both 32

Profession: Steve - Business Travel Consultant, Fiona -   Buyer – now full time mum!

Where do you come from: Aberdeen, NE Scotland

1. How did you meet?

We got talking at a Christmas night out in 2001.

2. How did you get engaged?

Surprise proposal whilst walking along the beach at Findhorn Bay, Scotland.

3. How did you choose where to conduct the ceremony and have the reception?

We decided to have a small and unique wedding abroad, we had been to Italy numerous times on holiday and love the country. Having searched the internet for a wedding planner Tuscan Dreams (www.Tuscan-Dreams.com ) were extremely helpful and arranged for us to view various venues. We decided on our venue – Villa Gambassi as soon as we saw it. The nearby church suggested by Erica & Nicoletta was the ideal venue for our religious ceremony.

4. What research and planning did you do before the wedding?

For the religious ceremony there was a lot of paperwork to be completed In the UK and Italy. We used the internet and wedding magazines to research flowers, favours, dresses etc. Erica & Nicoletta were invaluable at offering suggestions and options.

5. How many guests attended your wedding?

We had 24 guests in total.

6. What did you ‘make from scratch’?

Favours, Place cards, Order of Service, Invites & Thank You notes.

7. What was your biggest extravagance?

The hire of the villa for one week for all of our guests – well worth it to have such a memorable week with our family and friends!

8. Where did you save the most money?

The whole wedding, the food & drink is more reasonable than the UK. Plus for the same or less cost we were able to enjoy a week with our family and friends instead of a few hours. We also saved money doing our own stationary.

9. Would you change anything about your wedding?

Not a thing!

10.What advice would you give to someone planning a wedding?

Try to keep calm and enjoy the planning. Trust your wedding planners advice - they certainly know their stuff!. Finally enjoy the day - it goes far too fast.

The theme of your wedding and why did you chose that theme

We wanted the theme to reflect the Tuscan countryside; Cream, Gold and Chocolate Brown colours on the stationary. The flowers followed the same rustic theme – lavender on the napkins and country blooms in the church. For the favours we used traditional scented soap from the nearby village for the girls and a little bit of Scotland for the boys In the form of whisky. Bridesmaids were in Sage green.

Colour scheme of wedding :

Cream, Gold and Chocolate Brown colours

Music/entertainment:

The music was brilliant! another great recommendation from Erica and Nicolleta – a special thank you must go to Lorenzo who played the organ in the church, violin during aperitifs and the keyboard with the band later on which kept everyone dancing until 2:00am.

.