Posts Tagged ‘ Weddings in Tuscany ’

- 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 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 ( ). 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 -

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.”


-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.

- Weddings in style by Tuscan Dreams -

Traditionally the cost of a wedding falls to the father of the bride, but today the bride and groom are choosing to pay for the majority of the day themselves.

According to Credit Action, the national money education charity, the average cost of a traditional wedding in the UK is about £20,000 so its not surprising couples are feeling the pinch, especially in today’s economic climate. Luckily Tuscan wedding planner Erica Bellini has come to the rescue with some practical tips on how to have a credit crunch wedding abroad without sacrificing on style.

Location and accommodation should be your number one priority when planning a wedding overseas as the rest of your plans can then begin to take shape.

Erica, who has been planning dream weddings in Tuscany for 10 years, knows the best ways to save on your big day. She says: Hire a large villa or farmhouse where you can also hold your wedding. You can save a lot and plus for you and your guests it will turn into a lovely holiday.

With so many details to consider you could consider a planner like Erica who is devoted to organising every aspect of your wedding in Tuscany, including the accommodation.

Don’t make the mistake to try and save on every item because you will not be satisfied in the end since you will have compromised on things that you cared for. Another way of saving on spending is to have guests stay where the venue is so that you save on transportation, which is an expensive item on an Italian budget.

Flowers can also be prepared on a budget. Erica says: Use seasonal flowers and local flowers which will be a lot cheaper than imported from Holland or out of season flowers. Remember that Italy is a lot warmer than the UK so the flowering time is a lot shorter.

If flowers rank at the top of your wedding budget, then make sure you pick a date when your flowers are in season. For example, Peonies are gorgeous flowers but have a very limited season in Tuscany (May), so it might be worth getting married in the period that they are in season.

Other ways of cutting back on cost for your big day:

  • Go for a traditional Italian wedding cake (Millefoglie – layers of puff pastry and fresh vanilla cream with either chocolate chips or fresh strawberries.) The cost is sometimes 50% less than a wedding cake in the UK.
  • Unless you have a friend or family member who is a professional photographer do not count on them taking snapshots. Your wedding photos are what you will have to look at in 20 years time and show your children, so make sure you get a pro to do the job.
  • Keep your guest list down. Having a wedding abroad means not all your family and friends will be able to attend so have a small wedding and throw a big party when you get back for those who you weren’t able to invite.
  • By having the wedding midweek as opposed to a Saturday means more local suppliers will be available and they sometimes charge less for catering than they would during a weekend.

Remember to save on things that don’t really matter to you


- Weddings in Tuscany by Tuscan Dreams -

One can be amazed by the beauty and the history behind most Tuscan Town Halls. Each individual Hall has got its own characteristics linked to the history of the city.  If you wish to tie the knot in Tuscany and do this in a civil ceremony then here are the top 5 Town Halls.

In terms of legality you should hire an interpeter to take care of the paperwork.