-Real-life wedding by Tuscan Dreams-

Name: Sharon and Carl

Age: Sharon - 43, Carl - 57

Profession: Both Chief Executive Officers of organisations

Where do you come from : Near Brisbane in Queensland, Australia

1. How did you meet?

At work

2. How did you get engaged?

On a very small tropical island near Noumea, New Caledonia in the Pacific Ocean

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

We were looking for somewhere different and special, somewhere where most Australians would not think of.

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

Lots of research using the internet but mainly relied on Nicoletta and Erica from Tuscan Dreams to make the arrangements.

5. How many guests attended your wedding?

Four, two from Melbourne, Australia and two from Pittsburgh, USA

6. What did you ‘make from scratch’?

As we had to travel half way across the world nearly everything was bought except the owner of the villa we were staying in brought roses from her garden on the day of the wedding.

7. What was your biggest extravagance?

Lunch/dinner on the veranda of the Hotel Le Fonti overlooking one of the valleys of Tuscany which went for about ten hours, had nine courses and cost about 1000 euros.

8. Where did you save the most money?

By using Tuscan Dreams to arrange nearly everything we needed for the day.

9. Would you change anything about your wedding?

Only try and have more friends and family there.

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

Use Tuscan Dreams, they were terrific and I doubt that we could have arranged everything without their help. Also don’t cut corners for the day as you may only do it once in your life.

The theme of your wedding: The theme was Italian and our invitations featured scenes from the town of Volterra, outfits were blue to make the blue Tuscan skies and the atmosphere remained relaxed and informal.

Colour scheme of wedding: Blue

Music/entertainment: We had no formal entertainment but the Maitre at Hotel, Francesco was amazing to watch as he served the meals, told us about the food, decanted the wine and gave us a detailed background on the wine. He made our celebratory lunch/dinner an extremely memorable occasion.


- Real-Life Weddings by Tuscan Dreams -

Name: Adele and Matthew
Ages: Adele -24, Matt - 25
Where are you from: Chester, UK

1. How did you meet?

We attended the same high school and became good friends. A couple of years after we left school we got in contact again. We had both recently just broken up with our partners and it was nice to speak again after so long . We had a couple of dates and felt so comfortable with each other the rest is history.

2. Wedding date :

22/06/2010 – After we booked the date we actually found out that it fell on the same date as family history, such as Matt’s grandma getting married etc.

3. Ceremony and reception venues:

We got married in the Siena Town Hall, a beautiful location inside the famous square. Followed by a reception back at our villa “San Galgano”. This was set next to the famous roofless abbey.

4. Why did the venue appeal to you?

We visited the abbey with Tuscan Dreams the year before and we fell in love with it. Villa San Galgano is an authenic Italian house surrounded by the most breath taking views of San Galgano abbey and vineyards. The house is non other than spectacular. We knew this was the perfect setting for our big day.

5. Colour scheme or wedding theme:

We kept our colour scheme “neutral” Adele wanted creams, golds and browns throughout.

6. Photographer and photographer’s website:

Our photographer was arranged through Tuscan Dreams and he did a fantastic job and made us feel very comfortable.

7. Bouquet and flowers :

All flowers were cream roses, we had small posies as we wanted the main focus to be the dresses and also the lace parasols. Groom, farther of bride, father of groom and best man had a single orchid. Mother of bride and mother of groom also had pearl dressed orchids.

8. The entertainment :

We had a harpist for the ceremony she was amazing, that alone made me tearful! in the evening.. again we had most of this side at our party back home. In Italy we kept it all very relaxed, after the wedding breakfast and speeches we had music flowing through the house and drinks galore!

9. Table decorations :

We had three round tables all dressed in cream linen and chair covers. We had a butterfly theme on the tables, our name settings had little butterflies and we had butterflies sat on everyone’s wine glasses. Erica had dressed the table with golden feathers and gorgeous gold crystals. The centre pieces were three church candles on a Italian crockery, the candles were tied with gold, cream and brown ribbons. The room was covered in candles and tea lights! Just as we had dreams.

The Wedding fashion!

1. Wedding dress designer: My dress was by Maggie Sottero it is called Sabelle. My dress was a gift from my wonderful mum.

2. Where did you get the dress from? My friends mother works for Maggie Sottero so I knew I wanted one of her dresses, they are so beautiful! I went to Arisacrats in Chester.

3. How did you know it was ‘the dress’? I wanted a fish tail all lace dress…that’s what I was hoping to find! The moment I stepped foot in the shop me and my mum saw it and said..yep that’s the one! Although it seemed crazy to have such a heavy dress to take abroad I just had to have it! so we just booked an extra seat on the plane for it! it was well worth all the hassle…but never had I seen a dress have its own boarding pass. Very funny.

4. Bridesmaids outfits and groomswear by? The Bridesmaids wore a simple, elegant ivory chiffon wrap dress with orchids in their hair and lace parasols. Groomswear was Moss Bross, they wore a deep grey suit with tails and waistcoats and cravats ( groom wore silver waist and cravat, others wore cream)

Top tips!

1.What was your best idea?

To do it in Italy!! was the best decision we ever made, although we had a few hic ups along the way! and we did miss certain people we could not have with us, we can honestly say we have never been to a wedding like that before and hope our guests feel the same. It was so romantic and relaxed

2. What did you really love on the day? For me it was walking down the aisle towards Matt, it was so emotional seeing him stood there.

3. Would you do anything differently? The only thing that we would change was the time we got married, we got married at 4pm and it just seemed to go so fast. I wish we had got married slightly earlier…then maybe we would have avoided that 10minute drizzle when we left the town hall too, but we are told that is good luck!

4. Did you make anything yourself (favours, stationery, etc.) – please can you explain how you made it/them? We went to a company called inspirations for our place settings etc we put them together but it was only simple things.

5. What are your money-saving tips?

You can save so much money by making your own invites. I would just say to agree a budget and add a few extra hundred…because there is always that something extra that you just HAVE to have!

6. Where did you go on your honeymoon?

Cuba!!! Matt has always wanted to visit Havana…and I am always happy as long as I have sun, a good book and a cocktail!

Finally, is there anything else you want to tell us about the day?

We just want to mention how fantastic our friends and family were along with Erica and Nicoletta from Tuscan Dreams. We couldn’t have done it without them!


- Weddings in Style by Tuscan Dreams -

Caroline McMahon, from Barrhead, near Glasgow came home from working at the local primary school to find her dog had a new collar.

Boyfriend Gary, a marketing co-ordinator, also from Glasgow, told her to take a good look at it as not only had he bought a new collar he has also bought a new tag.

The couple had met whilst students working in the food hall at the local Marks & Spencer.

Caroline read the tag which had an engraving with the words: Will you Marry me? She asked him: ‘why on earth would you put that on there?’ and as she turned around he was down on one knee.

After asking him if he was serious she said yes and this week they married in Tuscany in a ceremony and celebration organised by Tuscan Wedding organiser Erica Bellini from Tuscan Dreams – www.tuscan-dreams.com


-Real-life wedding by Tuscan Dreams-

Age : Julia - 30, Scott - 28

Profession: Julia: Julia - Crime Scene examiner,  Scott - Chef/lecturer

Where do you come from : UK

1. How did you meet?

1st April 2003, we were both travelling in Australia and I had seen Scott in the kitchen of our backpackers and plucked up the courage to talk to him in a bar later on that night.

2. How did you get engaged?

We went back to Australia (20months later) and stayed in the same backpackers where we met. Scott took me for a champagne breakfast in the restaurant where he had worked then surprised me with a helicopter flight over Sydney’s beaches. He had arranged for some friends to write a sign on a bed sheet and when we flew over North Head Look Out Point (where he had once taken me) he said “look down there, there’s a sign that says will u marry me??”

After crying lots I said yes and he gave me a ring in a beautiful box.

Then champagne with our friends at a bar by Sydney Opera House then on for a meal at a restaurant where he gave me bunches of flowers.

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

We wanted to do our own catering for the wedding and we wanted as much of the wedding to be outdoors. We have also travelled loads and wanted our guests to experience a bit of travel as well.

We had a friend who knew someone who owned a villa in LUCCA so having never been to Italy we flew over, saw a few venues and were sold. We fell in love with Lucca and knew it was exactly what we wanted. Ceremony in the beautiful town hall and then the reception back at the villa.

The ceremony (interpreter and paperwork), music and photographer was organised by wedding planners Erica and Nicoletta from Tuscan Dreams (www.Tuscan-Dreams.com ). We were already organising our own food and were also organising accommodation so Tuscan Dreams was of great help for the remaining wedding parts. Erica and Nicoletta made it so easy and unstressful.

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


We visited LUCCA about 4 times before the wedding, Met with the Butcher, the wine shop, the lady who owned the villa… the list goes on….

5. How many guests attended your wedding?

48 (50 including us)

6. What did you ‘make from scratch’

  • Invitations
  • Food (Canapés, Starters, Mains)
  • Bellini’s for when guests arrived
  • Wedding Cake
  • Tables (everything was delivered and we set it all up)

7. What was your biggest extravagance?

The Villa (but we had it for 1 week and 14 friends came and stayed with us)

8. Where did you save the most money?

Food, drinks and the wedding cake

9. Would you change anything about your wedding?

Had a few problems with the taxi we arranged to be on standby all night - he never turned up!!! But apart from that it was the best day of our lives and we wouldn’t change a thing.

Even now friends and family still talk about it and we love to reminisce.

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

You will have a nervous breakdown… just go with it and it will all work out on the day!!!!

Remember to spend some time with your new Husband/Wife, take time to enjoy some Champagne together and enjoy every minute of it as its all over before you know it!!!!
11.What was th
eme of your wedding? SUNFLOWERS

12. What music did you choose? Harp to walk down the aisle and then for the reception. A jazz band for the evening and then music we had downloaded. It was the most spectacular day and for us the choice of music was just perfect… everyone commented on how brilliant they thought both the harpist and the jazz band were and we couldnt have asked for more. We are so pleased with our photographs… even if we did get told off for kissing too much!!! Music and photographer were organised by wedding planners Erica and Nicoletta from Tuscan Dreams.

We wanted an Italian theme with as much of the wedding outdoors.

We wanted lots of personal touches that made it “our” wedding, i.e. the invitations, the food, decorations etc


- Weddings in Style by Tuscan Dreams -

Where do you go for the most important day of your life if you are an expert on finding perfect locations?
Travel experts Chris and Laura from Peterborough became engaged in Paris but knew Italy was the only place to hold the wedding.
Despite being experts on the region they visited wedding fairs, reviewed countless magazines and then hired Erica Bellini, Tuscan Dreams wedding planner, to create their perfect day in the Tuscan hills.

Thirty guests travelled to Tuscany for cocktails, a seven course Italian feast including truffles and lobster and dancing by moonlight in the square of Castello di Firenze.
Laura said it was a fairytale wedding. She says: “We got married on the lawn overlooking the vineyards and then partied the night away in the candle lit court yard. We wanted the day to show our guests why we loved Italy so much and the fantastic food, gorgeous location and great entertainment made it perfect – our guests are still talking about it and say it was the wedding of a life time”.

Laura says her one tip to future brides is to keep making lists as there is so much to plan and it is so easy to forget details. She made her own Order of Service cards using small ivory pearls and green ribbon to match the colour theme of the wedding which was chosen to pick up on the beautiful surroundings of the castle.


- Weddings in Style by Tuscan Dreams -

With the majority of wedding parties over the age of 30 it is almost guaranteed that some children will be present on your big day. A lot of couples would feel rude excluding children from the occasion, especially when a lot of newlyweds have babies themselves before they are even married.
Some guests may choose to leave them at home with a grandparent or nanny, but what happens when the wedding you are invited to is abroad? Most parents would not want to leave their little ones for long periods so why not use it as an excuse for a family holiday?

Tuscan wedding organiser Erica Bellini, who has been planning weddings in Italy for 10 years, thinks children can easily be catered for during your day. She said: “At previous weddings we have arranged for a group of specialists ranging from baby sitters for the tiny ones to entertainers for the older children. It means children of guests can be part of the day too. ”

Erica recently organised a wedding at one of their popular locations, Villa Gambassi, for a couple called Vicki and Tony who had a 3 month old baby girl. She said. “They really wanted baby Francesca around and in each photo throughout the day so they brought along a baby sitter. This meant they still had time to themselves and to be with their guests.
They wanted her to be able to enjoy this unique day in her life as much as they did.”

Erica says. “Obviously keeping the children busy and happy became an issue that was at the top of the list throughout the planning. In fact, the organisation of the children at Vicki and Tony’s wedding was discussed with me before anything else was decided.”

With the help of professional baby sitters and entertainers children can safely play outside in the warm Tuscan sunshine, allowing parents to enjoy the day without worrying. Villa Gambassi is a perfect location for a large party with children. Guest accommodation is situated opposite the villa and the fact of not having to use transport to get to it makes its a lot easier for parents, knowing that their little ones are comfortably asleep in their room only a few metres away.

Here and some more tips to organise a wedding with children in mind:

  • Buy boxes of toys and non-messy creative items to help keep them quietly amused.
  • Don’t save on baby sitting/entertainers. Make sure you use professionals especially if 1 baby sitter/entertainer will look after more than 1 child.
  • Arrange for the entertainers to be close enough to the parents but also far away enough so that they don’t rush to the parents every time they fancy. An idea is to have the children on a lawn on a sunny day to get plenty of exercise as well.
  • Make sure the entertainers and baby sitters are specialised for the different age groups of the children.


- Real-Life Weddings by Tuscan Dreams

Name:Rachel and Dan
Age: Rachel 31, Dan 30
Profession: Rachel Fashion Designer, Dan TV Producer/Director
Where do you come from : Leeds, Yorkshire, UK

1. How did you meet? We met the first year of University in London
2. How did you get engaged? We got engaged on a remote island off the west coast of India.
3. How did you choose where to conduct the ceremony and have the reception? A friend had been married in Certaldo town hall 5 years earlier, and I had fallen in love with the place. Dan had never even been to Italy when we came over to look at reception venues!

4. What research and planning did you do before the wedding? We spoke to loads of wedding planners and got them to send photos of all the venues they used, none of them were quite right, so we visited the area 4 times before finding what we wanted. Finally we found Villa Paola and literally fell in love with the place. Tuscan Dreams helped us get all the details down to a T on the wedding day from the civil ceremony to the food and the music as well as the flowers.

5. How many guests attended your wedding? 85
6. What did you ‘make from scratch’? I hand made all of the lavender bags which were on all of the ladies place settings.
7. What was your biggest extravagance? My Vera Wang wedding dress, and Dans’ Lanvin suit.
Oh and having a wedding in Italy!!

8. Where did you save the most money? Probably by buying the huge amount of alcohol consumed by our guests after the meal from the supermarket. We emptied the Co-Op four times of Birra Moretti!
9. Would you change anything about your wedding? I would pick a day that didn’t rain!!
10. What advice would you give to someone planning a wedding? Try to be calm!!

The theme of your wedding and why did you chose that theme
We tried to keep the theme very natural, and very soft. So almost less was our theme??
Colour scheme of wedding : Soft neutral colours, with accents of  pinks/whites. The colour theme was supposed to represent summer field flowers.
Music/entertainment: A string duo to accompany the service and canapés. And then a DJ to play into the early hours.


- Real-file weddings by Tuscan Dreams-

Names: Libby and Oliver Shepherd
Age: Libby - 33, Oliver - 34
Profession: Libby - Nurse endoscopist, Oliver - Surveyor
Where do you come from: Libby - Queensland, Oliver - Australia & Sussex, England

1. How did you meet? On a sailing holiday in Greece in 2006
2. How did you get engaged? Woken up to 30 roses and a wet boyfriend on bended knee (it had been raining outside)

3. How did you choose where to conduct the ceremony and have the reception? We both love Italy and thought getting married there would be very romantic.  We did a search on the internet to investigate where to have the wedding and came across Tuscan DreamsVilla Gambassi suited our needs precisely and accommodated all our guests in one place. The church was close by and, fortunately, beautiful.

4. What research and planning did you do before the wedding? We visited Villa Gambassi twice. The first to assess the location and the accommodation and the second time was to taste the food and wine, which was straightforward as the chef that was recommended was excellent. We settled on a theme fairly quickly, but it was putting the thought and research into the small details that would make it individual that took more time. Having wedding planners with such experience of the location was extremely helpful.
5. How many guests attended your wedding? 77
6. What did you ‘make from scratch’? The table plans and name places
7. What was your biggest extravagance? The Alfa Romeo Spider Giuletta 1962 convertible. Unfortunately it rained.
8. Where did you save the most money? Having the reception where we were staying meant that we did not need a separate venue.
9. Would you change anything about your wedding? Having the speeches and first dance on photograph and film.

10. What advice would you give to someone planning a wedding? Have it over a long weekend which means family and friends can get to know each other before wedding and the bride and groom can enjoy the party even more.
11: What was the theme of your wedding? Rustic elegance.  We chose this theme to reflect the setting.
12. Colour scheme of wedding? ivory and merlot
13. What music did you choose? Jazz (at drinks reception) and pop band


- Weddings in Style by Tuscan Dreams -

It was on a two week trip to Italy that long term friends Stephanie Grundy, a 29 year old communications officer and Christopher Sykes, a 32 year old Solicitor, fell in love.

So it seemed only natural for the Manchester couple to go back to the place it all began for their wedding.

This month they travelled with family and friends to San Galgano a beautiful roofless abbey in the Tuscan countryside for their gorgeous Italian wedding and are planning to return next year for their first anniversary!


- Weddings in Style by Tuscan Dreams -

Photo by Nadia Attura

Gemma McGlue knows everything there is to know about organising an event – she is an account manager for Land Rover Global Events – and the one thing she knew she needed for the perfect wedding was an event manager!

Photo by Nadia Attura

After meeting at a party in 2003 and a romantic proposal at the Landmark Hotel in London, “we chose my engagement ring at Boodles on New Bond Street,” Gemma, an Account Manager for Land Rover Global Events and Phil McGlue, a Police Officer, set to work finding a wedding planner who could create their dream day.

Photo by Nadia Attura

The couple from Milton Keynes knew what they wanted early on, “We both love Italy and liked the idea of having our closest family and friends at a beautiful ceremony in Tuscany for the weekend,” said Gemma. They soon found Erica Bellini of Tuscan Dreams and she provided all the information they needed to arrange the event and provide the perfect venue for a September wedding. “When we found Villa Gambassi, we just fell in love with it and knew it would be perfect for our numbers and guests.” The blessing would be held in a church nearby, Santa Maria a Chianni - a popular location for Erica’s clients, and it also meant guests did not have to travel far for the reception after.

Foto by Nadia Attura

With its rustic and romantic atmosphere, Villa Gambassi could not have been more perfect for Gemma and Phil’s vintage, lace and fine art theme - birdcages adorned the tables as centre pieces. “We researched endless venues but we always came back to Villa Gambassi. It ticked every box,” said the blushing bride.

The biggest extravagance of the weekend was a seven course meal but money was saved on the venue hire. The couple also hired a harpist during drinks for a serene mood and afterwards a disco, for the evening event, to get the wedding party up and dancing.

If Gemma could offer any advice to someone planning a wedding it would be “always keep to your budget and research the market.” Luckily, they found Tuscan Dreams, and a perfect planner in the form of Erica. “She was so helpful and lovely and we just knew everything was right.”