Posts Tagged ‘ Tuscan Dreams ’

- Real-Life Weddings by Tuscan Dreams -

Name: Mawgan and Tom
Age: Mawgan - 28, Tom - 27
Profession: Mawgan -Mother to Caleb 15 months , Tom - Banker
Where do you come from : Mawgan - Nottingham, Tom - Surrey

1. How did you meet?
We met at Bath University in 2001 when I was in my final year of my Economics degree, and Tom was in the third year of his five year Structural and Civil Engineering Masters degree
2. How did you get engaged?
Tom proposed early one morning at home. I was so shocked I made him ask me again!
3. How did you choose where to conduct the ceremony and have the reception?
We looked at various places in and around London but none suited what we wanted.  A family friend had got married the previous year in Italy and that inspired to look into the possibility of getting married there.  We went backpacking in Italy in 2002 and had a wonderful time so it seemed like a great place to get married.

4. What research and planning did you do before the wedding?
We looked at lots of websites and then contacted Tuscan Dreams.
We got married in the magic Medieval hamlet of Certaldo and the venue was Villa Gambassi.
All the guests were also staying on site which made things very practical logistically.
5. How many guests attended your wedding?

6. What did you ‘make from scratch’?
We put together a booklet with information on the surrounding area, travel, car hire, restaurants and sent them to all our guests.
7. What was your biggest extravagance?
Photographer and wedding dress

8. Where did you save the most money?
Compared to the UK, the food was incredibly good value.  We also did our own music so that we had complete control and only paid for the soundsystem.
9. Would you change anything about your wedding?
Nothing at all!
10. What advice would you give to someone planning a wedding?
Enjoy it and don’t get too caught up in the little details.
11. Colour scheme of wedding : FLOWERS - white and light pink calla lillies in tall vases.
As favours we had lovely bottles of Limoncello for the ladies and Grappa for the men to give it that Italian touch.

12. Music/entertainment: String quartet during ceremony and canapés then own music for the evening.


-Real-life weddings by Tuscan Dreams-

Name: Julie Man Diccon Driver
Place and date of wedding ceremony AND reception: Castello di Marcialla, Tuscany, Italy. Sat 24th July 10 booked through Tuscan Dreams

1.How did you feel when you first met your husband?
Dumbstruck by his handsome good looks and boyish charm (yes he ‘helped’ me write this).

2.When and where was your first date?
We’d been friends for a while because we worked together. We first started going out after a night at a club in London called SoulSonic.

3.What’s your best memory or funniest story of your time dating?
There’s been many funny times, too many to choose a particular event.

4.Tell us about the proposal – how did it happen?
I was taken to New York for a surprise Christmas trip. He popped the question in a restaurant in Greenwich Village.

5.Were you surprised?
YES! We’d been together for 11 years and we’d always said that we were happy together. We weren’t that fussed about getting married.
6.Did he go the traditional route and ask your father’s permission? No. Although I think he mentioned it to my mum.


1.Where did you find your wedding dress?
I purchased my wedding dress in a shop in Bromley called Marianne Jessica.
2.Tell us the – boutique, material, designer, price, any style details…
I initially thought I’d find something on ebay.  But this idea didn’t last long! In the end I brought the dress in a lovely little boutique style shop near where I live. As I was looking through the rails I knew I’d found the dress for me the second I clapped eyes on it. This completely blew my original ebay budget, but what’s a girl to do?
As I was getting married abroad in Tuscany it had to be quite light weight, with not too much material so it was easy to transport and cool enough to wear in the heat.  It was a beautiful ivory strapless dress with a small train made from satin like material with organza over the top. It had delicate lace and beading on the edging of dress.  And the bodice was rouched and finished off with a row of pretty flowers over one shoulder, trailing down the back of dress.  It was from the collection from Augusta Jones called Kelly.

3.How did you feel when you put it on?
I’d already fallen in love with it just from seeing it. When I tried it on it just confirmed what I thought. I loved it.
4. What accessories did you wear on the day?
The dress was quite detailed so I didn’t want too many other accessories. I opted for simple studded pearl earrings, a corsage bracelet of flowers (which the wedding shop make up for me from my dress) and a few in my hair to complete the look.

5.Tell us about the – tiara, jewellery, shoes, underwear!
I was lucky to spot a pair of silver leather shoes in TK Maxx from the Paris Hilton collection as all the bridal shoes I’d been looking at looked were cream fabric which I thought were a waste as I wouldn’t get to wear them again.

6.Where did the groom buy/hire his outfit from?
He bought it from Emporio Armani

7.Did he choose it?
Yes. Being a typical man it was the first thing he tried on. At first I thought he was just being lazy. But when I saw him try it on, I had to agree, it did look nice.

8.Describe the colour/material/style
Grey fitted suit
9.How did he look when you first saw him?
He doesn’t usually wear a suit so I thought that he looked really smart.

10.Tell us about your bridesmaids – how many did you have and who were they?
2 bridesmaids.  My two younger sisters.
11.How did you decide who to ask? How did they help you?
Easy really, as I’ve got 2 younger sisters so I asked them.  I would have like to asked two of my other friends, too, but because there was only 30 guests, I needed to keep the numbers down so there would actually be someone there to see us get married.
12.Tell us about their outfits – where did you buy the dresses (boutique/designer/material/price/accessories)?
The wedding was in Tuscany, in summer, so I didn’t want them wearing something too heavy and restricted. I stared looking early in the January sales. We found exactly what we were looking for in Karen Millen and the shoes in Aldo. All with 50% off!
13.How did they fit with the theme?
There wasn’t really a theme but we wanted brides maids dresses and groom/ushers to wear grey suits/ties.

14.Did you have any other attendants?  Did you give your attendants a gift? We paid for a night’s accommodation for everyone so we didn’t spend much on presents. I bought my sisters some Selfridges vouchers. And the Bestman and Ushers got John Lewis vouchers.


1.Tell us about your make-up..
I opted for shades of brown.  Nothing too fancy. Just an ‘upgrade’ from my day to day make up.
2.What brands did you use?
Clinique quickliner for eyes brown/black eyeliner and Clinique Foxy 404 eyeshadow.
3.Do you have a make-up tip for other brides?
Thought that I was going to be very tearful on the day so I did a test of a few waterproof mascaras and decided on Maybelline The Colossal Volume Express Waterproof mascara.Highly recommend it!

4. How about hair – did you and your maids hire a hairstylist? If so who, and what did she do?
I knew roughly what I wanted and use the hairdresser that the wedding planners recommended.
It was lovely for me and my friends all having our hair done at the same time, with a glass of champagne before the ceremony to calm my nerves. Mine was quite simple with lose curls in a bun put up to the opposite side of the train of flowers on my dress. I also had some flowers left over from my dress which I attached to hair pins and then they were put in my hair.


1. Tell us about the ceremony …
The ceremony was a simple affair in the sunny grounds of an Italian castle ( Castello di Marcialla booked through Tuscan Dreams ).
As neither of us are religious so we opted for a celebrant rather than a priest.
2.Did you have readings and/or music?
We had my husband’s mum and our friend Mel do a reading.
3.Who walked you down the aisle?
My mum walked me down the isle


1. How did you create your fabulous big day look? So tell us all about the suppliers you used.
We used Tuscan Dreams wedding planners.  Erica/Nicoletta from Tuscan Dreams made planning our wedding very easy from booking our venue to making sure our day went smoothly. Their details are:-
As I didn’t know how I wanted to get married it took us a while to come up with ideas.  It wasn’t until someone at work said that they were getting married in Tuscany that I thought that could work for us seeing as we wanted a small wedding, outside in the sun, with tasty local Italian food.
2. What was your theme?
We wanted to use local flowers so there were lots of sunflowers and herbs for the table decorations and white roses and herbs for the bouquets.
3.Where did you get your stationery?
My husband works for an advertising company so he came up with the idea. For the invites he designed a 70s style postcard to invite our friends to come on a ‘holiday’ with us. The table plan and order service tied in with our sunflowers theme we had on the tables.

4.What transport did you hire/borrow?
No transport was needed as everything was under one roof.
5.What decorations did you buy and how did you decorate the venue?
Tuscan Dreams did a fantastic job of decorating the venue with lanterns, tee lights, ribbons, lights in jars on bird hooks and waxed candle bags.
6.Tell us about your cake – did you buy it, made it, order it? Tell us about the flavours/topping…
We didn’t have a traditional wedding cake we opted for a locally produced cake called Riccotta di Chocolate, which was lovely
7. Were you inspired by any celebrity weddings? If so, who?
If anything, seeing how some celebrities did it made us sure of how we didn’t want it to be.


1.Tell us about the reception – where was your venue?
The reception was in the old castle where we were all staying. ( Castello di Marcialla booked through Tuscan Dreams ).
2.How did you do the table plan – was it a traditional top table?
We wanted all our immediate family on the top table and then we just tried to spread everyone else out so they would be sat with people they knew.
3.How many people did you cater for? Did more arrive later?
We catered for 30 people.
Canapes and Prosecco to start with after the ceremony and a hogroast meal when we sat down.
No one turned up later.
4.Tell us about the speeches – what was memorable? What made you laugh/cry/throw plates?!
We kept the speeches to a minimum. My husband did an amusing ‘Thank-you’ speech and his bestman was very funny. But then my husband is a bit of a wally, so he plenty of material to work with.


1.What was your entertainment – music/band/DJ?
We had a DJ. But we gave him exactly what we wanted him to play. Wedding DJs can be pretty awful and especially in another country where we thought he might not speak much English. At first he was a bit reluctant to play our music but by the end of the night he’s liked it so much he asked if he could keep the mix we’d given him!
2. Tell us about the first dance – what song did you chose and why? Did you choreograph a routine?
We chose a song by the French band ‘Air’. It was a song my husband used to play to me when we first met. Our dance was more ’school disco’ than ’strictly’. We hadn’t really thought about until about a minute before the song came on.
3. Describe your favours (if you had them)… were they different for male and female guests?
Didn’t have any
4. Tell us your most memorable moment…
The whole weekend was unforgettable. Close friends and family. Great food. Bright Sunshine and the beautiful Tuscan countryside. I can highly recommend getting married in Tuscany. And can highly recommend Tuscan Dreams.


1.Based on your own experience, give us some top tips…
For brides - Keep it simple. Don’t panic. Enjoy it. If a little thing goes wrong, don’t let it ruin your day just have another glass of Champagne and go with the flow.
For grooms - Erm…pick someone you love.
For keeping to a budget - Get married abroad. It’s a lot cheaper than you think. The food is better and there’s no corkage!
“If we could do it all again, we’d…” wouldn’t change anything!

2.Tell us about the honeymoon – when/where did you go? what did you do?
As we were getting married in Tuscany we decided to have a few days after the wedding there, bit like a minimoon, which was lovely after all the rushing about. In September we’re off to Kenya for beach and safari. (I’ll be on the beach, my husband will be off looking for elephants!)


- 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!


- 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 -

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.”


- Weddings in Style by Tuscan Dreams -

The big trends for 2011 weddings in Italy have set off already and are in full demand.

Trends on transport:More and more couples decide to drive in style to their wedding ceremony and back to the villa and choose a vintage Italian sports car to remember their day by.

The choice of cars is wide and usually reflects the style of the wedding. You name it: from Alfa Romeo Spiders and Giulietta to all models of Fiats from the sports cars to the classic Cinquecento.

And of course for the grooms seriously passionate about Ferraris you cannot miss out on a ’80s flaming Ferrari.

Many couples choose classic white for the wedding day but when it comes to convertible two seater sports cars a red car is undoubtedly a love at first sight.

This trend has become even more remarkable because many couples actually hire the car for a week and drive down to the Amalfi coast, one of romantic spots of Italy, in a red vintage convertible.

Truly an unforgettable experience!!!

But the treat is not only for the Bride and Groom… The wedding party can also have their share of fun hiring vespas for the wedding day. Your Italian wedding will be really more like out of a movie!

Reception Details: The new trend is to add an authentic Italian flavour to the wedding so a good way to have guests take back a personalised token of your wedding in Italy is to pick something local for them to take back. Think personalised bottles of local olive oil with the names of the bride and groom or Chianti Classico red wine in a miniature flask or for the ones who like strong flavours, sun-drenched Limoncello Lemon liqueur or 40 degrees elegant mini bottles of Grappa spirit.

This will add a personal classic touch to a truly Italian wedding.


-Real Life Wedding by Tuscan Dreams-

Name : Vicky and Michael
Age : Vicky - 36, Michael - 41
Profession: Tax Advisors
Where do you come from : Michael - Australia, Vicky - Uganda

1. How did you meet?
Michael and I met at a party in South Kensington, London
2. How did you get engaged?
Michael proposed on the beach overlooking the Isle of Wight.
3. How did you choose where to conduct the ceremony and have the reception?
We always knew we wanted to get married in either Italy or France. Some close friends of ours were married in Italy and when we went to Florence we were immediately  “sold”.

4. What research and planning did you do before the wedding?
We took two trips to the castle, once to decide on a venue and the second time to stay at the castle and decide on the menu. We essentially began planning the wedding as soon as we got engaged but began working on details 9 months prior to the wedding date.
5. How many guests attended your wedding?
6. What did you ‘make from scratch’?
The wedding invitations were made in Uganda by a non-profit group based on a design and idea which Michael and I came up with.

7. What was your biggest extravagance?
The venue, Castello di Cornelia
8. Where did you save the most money?
By not having professional make up and hair people and also not having a bridal party.

9. Would you change anything about your wedding?
Nothing everything was absolutely perfect.
10.What advice would you give to someone planning a wedding?
Do not get involved in arranging accomodation for guests.

The theme of your wedding ,  and why did you chose that theme?
No theme as such – It was a great mixture of ugandan and irish tradition with italian accents (food/winw etc…)

Colour scheme of wedding :
Bright pink bouquet and orchids
3 day event with day 1: ugandan traditional wedding ceremony, day 2: dinner in village and day 3: wedding. Had a classical duo during ceremony and a Dj for reception

-Real-life weddings- by Tuscan Dreams

Name: Laura and Chris
Age: Laura 29 and Chris 31
Profession: Laura – Account manager - Travel sector, Chris – Head of sales – Travel sector
Where do you come from: Chris is from Manchester and Laura from Liverpool.  We now live in Peterborough in Cambridgeshire.

1. How did you meet?
We meet at work and got on like a house on fire from day one. We went on our First date on the 11th September (this is why we choice this date to get married)

2. How did you get engaged?
Chris booked a surprise trip to Paris as a Christmas present. The night we arrived he proposed and we went to the George V for Champaign to celebrate.

3. How did you choose where to conduct the ceremony and have the reception?
We spent hours looking for the perfect location online in the UK, We both love Italy for its natural beauty and picked out a number of different venues to look around. Castello di Firenze was the first Castle we went into and we both instantly fell in love with it, nothing else we saw that day compared. Once we got home from our visit we book the venue straight away, wit the help of our wedding co-ordinators. We had the whole day at the castle ground. Tuscan Dreams helped us to arrange the whole day from start t finish, we got married out on the lawn looking over the Vine yards and then Partied the night away in the candle lite court yard. Perfect!

4. What research and planning did you do before the wedding?
We went to wedding fairs, reviewed magazines and talked to our wedding co-ordinator lots, she advised us were we could try and save money and recommended things that had worked well before.

5. How many guests attended your wedding?
We had a total of 30 guests at our wedding.

6. What did you ‘make from scratch’?
I made the Order of service from scratch as I was running out of time to get these done. They were very simple with Olive Green ribbon and Small ivory pearls attached to front.

7. What was your biggest extravagance?
Probably the Food, we had a 7 course Italian feast, fit for a king, with Truffles and lobster.  If you are ever going to be guaranteed to have fantastic food it is in Italy. We wanted to give our guests a taste of why we fell in love with this country so much.

9. Would you change anything about your wedding?
No it was like a fairy tale, it really couldn’t have been anymore perfect. Our guest are still talking about it, they call it the wedding of a life time

10. What advice would you give to someone planning a wedding?
Lists! Lists! And More Lists, there is so much to plan with a wedding and it is very easy to forget things, I had list for each month leading up to the wedding so that I could tackle each bit at a time. Remember that it is your day and you are only going to do it once so you want it to be perfect.

11. What was the theme of your wedding? Colour scheme of wedding: Olive and Ivory with a touch of Platinum.

12. What music did you choose?
violin for the Cocktail party, Lorenzo and a pop duet in the evening, both were fantastic and very professional.


-Real life weddings - by Tuscan Dreams

Name: Dan and Becky
Age: Becky – 23, Dan - 35
Profession: Becky – Secondary Teacher, Dan – Service Duty Manager
Where do you come from: Becky – Washington, Dan – Newcastle, both Tyne and Wear in north east England.

1. How did you meet?

We met each other at work in 2007. We never really spoke to each other but exchanged the odd glance across the room. One day I was talking to one of my friends at work and Dan started making his way over to the two of us. I thought I was going to get told off for talking too much and not working but he was just coming over to speak to my friend about work. Once Dan returned to his desk he emailed me just to make sure I did not think he was some sort of tyrant. We got talking through email and he asked me out the pictures that evening. Dan picked me up from my parent’s house, where I was living at the time, and from there we went to the cinema. From then on we started dating and we have never looked back.

2. How did you get engaged?

It was just after our year anniversary together and we had a family meal for Dan’s birthday arranged at our favourite restaurant Fat Buddha in Durham, a few of my friends had said he would do it there but I said they were wrong as it was his day, his birthday. I was wrong! At the end of the meal Dan said a few words to say thank you to everyone coming to the meal and as doing this he pulled out the ring from his pocket, made his way around to me at the other side of the table and on one knee asked me to marry him and of course I answered yes along with crying yet laughing at everyone else crying around the table.

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

Money was also a major factor for us so we started to look around on the internet to see what we could get for the amount we wanted to spend. We found the Tuscan dreams website and liked the look of the properties and previous weddings they had planned and conducted. We emailed our interest and Erica/Nicoletta replied with a variety of villas for us to look at. The second we saw Villa Gambassi we fell in love with it. From letting Erica/Nicoletta know we wanted this villa as our accommodation they then sent us details of the two nearby town halls and again as soon as we saw Certaldo we fell in love and the decision was made. Erica/Nicoletta sent us details and photographs of previous weddings they had conducted at villa Gambassi and Certaldo which just re-enforced our choice. It all was just so beautiful.

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

In terms of research and planning before the wedding most of it was conducted by Nicoletta and Erica in Italy. Right at the beginning they asked about us and what we were like as people, what style we liked and what sort of things we would want at our wedding. Again they sent through examples in photographs for us to see of their past work which helped a great deal. Even without this though, they just seemed to know what we would love. All we did was arrange my wedding dress, Dan’s suit, the bridesmaid and flower girl dresses and the favours. We found some favours/place settings we wanted to use so we bought them ourselves prior to going but yet again Nicoletta sorted them all out when it came to the day. It was offered within the fee’s for us to visit the venue which is an excellent idea but because of all the photographs and how friendly and helpful Nicoletta and Erica were we totally trusted their judgement and did not feel this was necessary. I do not know how they do it, the work they must have to do to make peoples perfect days be perfect and believe me they do make it perfect in every way and more.

5. How many guests attended your wedding?

We had 18 adults and 3 children attending our wedding including ourselves.

6. What did you ‘make from scratch’?

We made a couple of items ‘from scratch’. The first would be my bridal veil, the whole wedding I wanted to be ours and my Aunt Michelle is very good with a sewing machine and offered to make me a veil. We looked at a variety designs and styles and in the end came up with our own design and the end result was amazing and will hopefully be passed down through the family. The second thing we made ‘from scratch’ was our name cards. We bought place settings that doubled up as favours for everyone from the internet, again saving money.

7. What was your biggest extravagance?

Our biggest extravagance would have to be the villa itself. We thought we were paying a lot of money for the villa but as soon as we arrived at the villa gates we knew we were getting our money’s worth and more. The villa was absolutely amazing!! All of our guests felt the same too. Everything was just perfect, the staff, the room’s, the private pool, the surrounding views and then we realised that there was actually live deer on the grounds with us that you could hand feed. Out of this world is how I would describe Villa Gambassi!

8. Where did you save the most money?

We feel we saved the most money on the wedding itself. By deciding to get married in Tuscany we had guaranteed beautiful surroundings, good weather, great help (Nicoletta and Erica) and overall by far better quality of everything on the wedding day than if we had planned it in the UK.

9. Would you change anything about your wedding?

The only thing we would change about our wedding would be to make it last longer as we did not want it to end. It was so beautiful, delicate, extravagant and perfect. Thank you Nicoletta and Erica.

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

If I were to give advice to someone planning a wedding I would say get married in Tuscany, everything and everywhere is so romantic and gorgeous. My second piece of advice would be use Tuscan Dreams, they work magic, and even if you do not know exactly what you want they will be able to help and find what you want and work so you can have what you want.

The theme of your wedding and why did you chose that theme.
The only theme we had if any would be wild looking flowers and an Italian rustic feel. The reason for this being the same reason we chose to get married in Tuscany, it is everything we love, beautiful and romantic yet simple, original and different.

Colour scheme of wedding :

The colour scheme was traditional floral colours, so purple, yellow sunflowers and cream.
Although the options given to us for music and entertainment would have been again out of this world we decided to use our own iPod and docking station. We were offered string musicians, dj’s and speaks etc for our iPod but we chose to do that side ourselves. This was solely so we could save money and have more money to put elsewhere in the wedding that was more important to us.