A destination wedding in a Tuscan castle?! What’s not to love?! Suzanne and Tim and 28 of their close friends and family headed to the Castello Santa Maria Novella in Italy for a festive weekend celebrating their nuptials. From the incredible venue to the pops of red throughout (including a darling vintage Alfa Romeo), this wedding will have you ready to pack your bags and cross an ocean to tie the knot!

SEE THE GALLERY FOR MORE IMAGES FROM THIS TUSCAN WEDDING BY FUNKYBIRD PHOTOGRAPHY.

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“Our guests arrived, one by one, at the castle on Thursday. In the evening we had an informal pizza night. Everybody got to know each other, enjoyed wine and pizza hot from the wood oven. The next day was our wedding day. Tim had breakfast with all the guests, while I was in our room with my mother, sister, mother-in-law, sister-in-law and best friend, getting ready for our day.”

 

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Are there any DIY details you’d like to tell us about?  We had a very DIY wedding, from the planning to the details. My father works in the flower trade, so he made my bouquet and all the other flower pieces, just as he did at my brother’s wedding. We made a photo display board with our childhood photos. I designed the stationery and did the calligraphy, and with help from my sister, made monogrammed napkins for the dinner table. The guests absolutely loved it! Looking back it all took way too much time, but I still think it was absolutely worth it, because it made our day very personal.

 

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What was the best advice you received as a bride?  The day passes so quickly so enjoy every moment! It’s an old cliche but so true.

What advice do you have for other couples in the midst of planning a wedding?  The most important one: Schedule a moment after the ceremony to be together, just the two of you. To take in the fact that you’re finally married in the presence of all your loved ones. This will only happen once in your life!

 

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“The guests went to the ceremony location while Tim was waiting for me in the courtyard. The moment we saw each other was overwhelming! Tim looked amazing and I felt very proud to become his wife. We drove to the ceremony location together in our old Alfa Romeo.”

 

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The Ceremony

“We are both Dutch and live in the Netherlands but I lived in Italy for a couple of months and fell in love with this country: the way of living, its residents, food and wine culture, and passion for family. When Tim proposed we talked about what we really wanted for our wedding: a relaxed, intimate, romantic day surrounded by a beautiful vineyard. It didn’t take long for us to decide on a destination wedding in Tuscany. When we found this small chapel surrounded by vineyards and the Tuscan landscape, we couldn’t think of a better place!”

 

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Your ceremony in three words.  Elegant, personal, relaxed.

How did you go about planning your ceremony?  We wrote it mainly together with a little help from our officiant. We wanted him to welcome our family and friends. Recognize our parents and offical wedding witnesses. We asked him to talk about us, the things we told him about each other, how we first met and things we absolutely dislike about each other (this led to lots of jokes and laughter). Quite often you see couples rushing through their ceremony, so we decided to make a genuine effort to craft a relaxed personal ceremony and we did!

 

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Who officiated your ceremony?  Because of our destination wedding a language problem popped up. Some of our guests don’t speak English and none of them speak Italian, so we decided to bring a Dutch officiant to Tuscany: Mr. Timen Lalkens. A year before our wedding, we attended a wedding where he was the officiant. The way he led the ceremony, partially in the groom’s Dutch language and the bride’s German language, touched us. We looked each other in the eye and said, “Wouldn’t it be amazing if he spoke Italian as well?” And he did! So our choice was made.

Did you include any traditions in your ceremony?  My grandmother handmade our ring pillow. We went to a fabric store together, picked a beautiful fabric and made the design. She does this for all her grandchildren who get married. Since we had no children at our ceremony my grandmother was the one who brought the ring pillow to the officiant during the ceremony. She even did a short speech at that moment. A lovely memory!

 

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What was your ceremony music?  I walked down the aisle with my dad to a special version of Vivo Per Lei (translation: I live for her) from Andrea Bocelli. After the vows and the ‘I do’s’ we played John Legend’s All of Me. A very intimate moment between Tim and me, holding hands and sharing a very happy tear. Our recessional was Tutto Sommato by Annalisa Scarrone. The title translates to All Things Considered, and has the loveliest lyrics.

What were your ceremony readings?  A small poem by my mother and 1 Corinthians 13:1-7.

What were your vows like?  We chose to write our own vows. The moment we shared them for the first time during the ceremony, looking into each others eyes and committing our lives to one another, was a very emotional and intimate experience. It felt like no one else was there but Tim and me.

 

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What was your favorite thing about your wedding ceremony?  Tim’s vows. The words went straight to my heart and still bring tears in my eyes. I remember thinking: If a man makes the effort to take time and come up with true words about how he feels about you in front of all your loved ones, he is quite perfect!

 

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“After the ceremony we had a toast outside the chapel where my father gave a toast. He doesn’t like to give speeches, so it was a huge surprise to me and his words were so touching, truly beautiful.”

 

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“Before returning to the castle for lunch, we took our guests along to a very small village where we took photos, walked around together and received congratulations from residents.”

 

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The Reception

“When we decided to have our wedding in Tuscany we needed a place for all our guests to stay. We found this old castle, Castello Santa Maria Novella, with the help from Roos van der Wielen, co-owner of Get Married in Tuscany. It’s location on a hill overlooking the vineyards, the big old tree just outside the castle doors, the old but beautiful restored rooms, the courtyard, the swimming pool… it all made us fell in love instantly!”

 

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How would you describe your reception?  A festive intimate evening with nothing but romance.

What inspired you when you were planning your wedding?  The castle and the Tuscan surroundings are old, green and full of vineyards. We decided to keep the decorations mostly neutral to let the surroundings stand out: ivory, light peach, gold. But we also incorporated a touch of red which turned out amazing in the photos!

 

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“After the ceremony, lunch was served under the big old tree just outside the castle doors. A couple of hours of leisure time followed – all the guests changed into bathing suits and enjoyed the sun at the pool! We took the car for a small drive through the vineyards and joined the guests afterwards.”

 

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“In the late afternoon our guests all changed back into beautiful outfits and joined us for a toast near the pool, while the sun was setting behind the hills. I had a little surprise for my husband and the guests: the saxophone player, who would play during the reception in the courtyard, came to the pool. He led us in a parade to the dinner table – amazing!”

 

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What was your favorite moment or part of the reception?  We had one large table for dinner. All the guests were enjoying the wine, atmosphere and food while I squeezed Tim’s hand. All our loved ones at one dinner table to share our love – overwhelming!

Menu:  We love to travel and we love food! Se we decided to take our guests along on a culinary journey through the Italian kitchen. The main course was served on big elegant platters on the table, which gave the cozy atmosphere of a long family dinner.

Antipasti: Prosciutto Crudo, Bresaolo, Mortadella & Salami / Bruschetta / Frittata di Zucchini / Grilled Eggplant with Mozzarella // Primi: Ravioli stuffed with Spinach, Ricotta and Pecorino Cheeses with Sage Butter // Secondi: Bistecca Fiorentina / Italian Fish Stew // Contorni: Rosemary Potatoes with Garlic / Grilled Seasonal Vegetables / Green Salads // Dolce: Naked Red Fruit Wedding Cake / Red Velvet Cake

Did you have a signature cocktail?  Limoncello Fizz! Prosecco with a zip of Limoncello.

 

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The groom’s jacket collar hid a sweet little reminder of his wedding day: Sposato!!! 05-09-2014

 

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What was your first dance song?  Michael Buble’s version of Feeling Good.

“Everyone enjoyed wine and food until late in the night, and the next day, we had a brunch all together in the courtyard before everybody went home. The little imperfections, the love in the air, it was definitely our most wonderful day!”

 

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Photography: Funkybird Photography / Venue: Castello Santa Maria Novella in Fiano, Tuscany, Italy / Ceremony Venue: Capella di Semifonte in Barberino Val d’Elsa /  Dress, Veil: Maggie Sottero / Shoes: Caparros / Clutch: Menbur / Earrings: Carolee Bridal / Bracelet: LuLu Splendor / Ring: Gassan Diamonds / Suit, Tie, Shirt: Roka / Shoes: Melik / Cufflinks: Designed by groom via Machet Knope /  Fonts: Moonflower, Traveling Typewriter and Aracne Ultra condensed via Dafont / Floral Design: Johan de Vries (father of the bride) / Hair: Annemarie van Zuilen / Makeup: Caterina Pelosi / Transportation: 1962 Alfa Romeo Giulia Spider / Catering, Cake: Hééérlijk
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  • Destination Wedding in Tuscany by FunkyBird Photography

    7 July 2015
  • 3 comments posted +add a comment SEE MORE: Real Weddings, Some Favorites

    Sometimes when you’re planning a wedding, the perfect venue is right in your backyard – literally! Callen and Danny were joined by 50 of their friends and family for an intimate celebration at their home. From the romantic floral details by Amy Osaba Events to the delicious menu from Sun In My Belly, it was a truly memorable day.

    SEE THE GALLERY FOR MORE DETAILS FROM THIS BACKYARD WEDDING FROM BUFFY DEKMAR.

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    What was the best advice you received as a bride?  Do what you feel is right, and what makes sense to you as a couple.

    What advice do you have for other couples in the midst of planning a wedding?  Have fun with everything and don’t take it so seriously.

    If you had it to do over again, is there anything you would do differently?  No, it was perfect. Every single vendor we used made sure everything ran smoothly, and the day would not have been the same without our wedding coordinator Shanna Skidmore from Amy Osaba Events.

     

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    “Danny and I decided to see each other before the wedding, which was so nice,” shares Callen. “We had some photos taken, while our families peeked through the windows of our home. We then got to hang out in the backyard with a few people before the guest began to arrive. It made everything feel more calm. I would recommend it to any bride!”

     

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    The Ceremony

    “We decided to have the ceremony and in our own backyard. Before moving into the house, we knew the backyard was something we eventually wanted to redesign and that is exactly what we did. We used our venue money and basically transformed our yard into exactly what we wanted. It was the best decision we have ever made, and we are still enjoying our new backyard everyday!”

     

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    Your ceremony in three words.  Romantic, relaxed, unforgettable

    How did you go about planning your ceremony?  My husband’s best friend, Kevin married us. He wrote his own ceremony, as did Danny and I. We then combined our ceremonies and just picked and chose what we liked and what was important to us. Kevin and Danny have known each other for 16 years, and I met Kevin in high school when Danny and I first started dating, so he knows us as a couple quite well.

     

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    What was your ceremony music?  We had a string trio playing, it was beautiful: Jesu Joy of Man’s Desiring (Bridal Party), Pachelbel’s Canon in D (Bride’s Processional), Spring from Vivaldi’s Four Seasons.

    What were your ceremony readings?  One of my best friends, Megan, did a hand blessing, but of course added her own twist. It was so sweet and meaningful.

    What were your vows like?  We wrote our own vows. They were very similar to our personalities: mine was sweet and his was funny. I tried not to stress over them, vows should sound like you, so it was perfect!

     

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    What was your favorite thing about your wedding ceremony?  Walking down the aisle, seeing Danny waiting underneath the flower arch and looking around at all our guests was my favorite part. I was so happy to be marrying my best friend.

    Is there anything else that you’d like to share about your wedding ceremony?  The flowers were stunning, and the ceremony was everything I envisioned

     

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    The Reception

    “We have a massive Silver Maple tree in our yard, and every fall the colors are absolutely brilliant. We knew we wanted our wedding to be then and the weather in Georgia is usually perfect, and it was! That being said, I was inspired by a fall harvest.”

     

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    How would you describe your reception?  Playful, rustic, harvest, romantic.

    What was your favorite moment or part of the reception?  We rented large farm tables and pushed them together to create really long tables. It was so great to have everyone sit down together for an amazing dinner. It was a moment in time that will always be remembered by us as something incredible. The food was also a favorite for everyone I think.

     

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    Menu:  passed hors d’oeuvres: mini corn muffins with carolina pulled pork + purple slaw / alison’s famous deviled eggs with candied bacon / fried green tomatoes with spicy pimento cheese / seared crab cakes with ancho chili aoili // buffet: local apple + crispy pancetta served over fresh local greens served with a light gorgonzola vinaigrette / horseradish encrusted salmon with seasonal chutney / wild mushroom ravioli + truffled mushrooms + brown butter sauce / pepper seared filet of beef with burgundy demi glaze // sides: roasted sweet corn + zucchini in thyme butter / garlic + shallot sautéed haricot vert with grape tomatoes and toasted pine nuts / roasted fingerling potatoes with truffled mushrooms / fresh artisan breads with rosemary butter

    What type of cake or dessert did you serve?  We didn’t do the traditional cake cutting; instead we had a dessert bar that was made up of homemade chocolate chip cookies with little shots of milk (my husband’s favorite). We also had lavender scented cupcakes, red velvet cupcakes, and local apple tart in a cinnamon crust.

     

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    Did you have a signature cocktail?  Yes, Danny and I found our cocktail when we were in Bozeman, Montana. It was called the “GFC.” It was made with infused ginger vodka, fresh lemon and lime juice, muddled basil, and it comes with a piece of candy ginger garnish! Sun In My Belly was able to recreate the “great f***ing cocktail!”

    Please tell us about any other special details or moments from your reception.  Danny and I love to travel, so in order to keep the buffet line running smoothly, we made table markers with some of our favorite places traveled together. We gave the DJ a list of events that happened in each specific place, and the tables had to guess if it was their given destination. If so they got to get up to get their food. It was a fun game, and fun to see the tables squirm to get the right answer.

     

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    Are there any DIY details you’d like to tell us about?  I drew our large tree and had it printed on canvas to use as our guest book. We now have it hanging in our bedroom. I also found these beautiful gray woven blankets from West Elm on sale. I was so worried that it was going to get chilly at night, so I purchased blankets for all of the girls. I tied them up and embossed a little letter on each one. I feel like it is something they still use in their homes.

     

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    What was your first dance song?  Danny and I danced to “our” song, “Do You Remember” by Jack Johnson. We picked that song in high school because the lyrics were so much like us, and 13 years later we danced to it at our wedding.

    Is there anything else that helps tell the story of your wedding?  It was everything that I could have imagined. I am so pleased that we had such an amazing photographer so we are able to relive it again and again!

     

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    Photography: Buffy Dekmar / Venue: The Couple’s Backyard in Atlanta, Georgia / Event Planning & Design, Floral Design: Amy Osaba Events / Catering: Sun In My Belly / Dress: Leanne Marshall, via The Sentimentalist Atlanta / Shoes: Valentino / Leather Jacket: Veda / Jewelry: Cartier Love Bracelet / Bridesmaid Dresses, Suit, Tie, Shirt: J. Crew / Shoes: Cole Hann

    This post contains affiliate links. 

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  • Backyard Wedding in Atlanta from Buffy Dekmar

    16 June 2015
  • 0 comments posted +add a comment SEE MORE: Real Weddings, Some Favorites

    Weddings at San Ysidro Ranch are always lovely, but this one seems exceptionally so, with the bride’s custom dress (decorated with pearls from her mother’s own wedding dress!), the couple’s two pups, and their champagne tower. Gorgeous! And you’ll never believe it, but Allison and Jesse planned their intimate Santa Barbara wedding in just 12 weeks! With 18 guests, it was an intimate family celebration that is sure to inspire you.

    SEE THE GALLERY FOR MORE IMAGES FROM THIS ROMANTIC SAN YSIDRO WEDDING FROM THE GREAT ROMANCE.

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    “Jesse got down on one knee and asked me to marry him on Allison Beach in Miami, Florida, while we watched a plane fly overhead with a banner that said Will You Marry Me Allison – Jesse. At our wedding, we held a piece of that same banner in our wedding portraits – a four-foot-tall, red heart.”

     

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    “My wedding dress was a custom design, created by La Petite Fleur Bridal and decorated with hundreds of pearls from my mother’s wedding dress. Our wedding bands were also fashioned from family heirlooms – the diamonds in my band were my mother’s and the gold for Jesse’s band was from a family ring.”

     

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    “We incorporated the traditional rhyme in our wedding day – Something Old: the pearls from my mother’s wedding gown sewn into my dress; Something New: my beautiful, Swarovski crystal Jennifer Behr headpiece; Something Borrowed: veil, borrowed from a friend after I was a bridesmaid in her wedding; Something Blue: our custom, wedding monogram embroidered into my dress in light blue.”

     

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    “We worked with designer Emily McCarthy to create a custom A and J wedding monogram that was featured in all of the wedding details, from the menus, place cards and welcome letter, embroidery on the table runner, to Jesse’s inner jacket pocket.”

     

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    The Ceremony

    “In 2011, Jesse and I packed up and moved from Florida to the San Francisco Bay Area in California. Full disclosure – we had never been to the city where we were moving and we didn’t know a single person! Needless to say it was an adventure. We have been exploring the West Coast and adventuring ever since, making a life for ourselves in California. We have traveled to many beautiful places, but the Santa Barbara area stole our hearts and we knew immediately that it would be the perfect place to celebrate our marriage. We chose the intimate and picturesque San Ysidro Ranch in Montecito, California for our ceremony and reception.”

     

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    Your ceremony in three words.  Intimate, Romantic, Bright

    Who officiated your ceremony?  Our families have attended the same church in Florida for many years and our pastor, Dr. Thomas Crawford, made the trip out to California to officiate our ceremony. It was very special to have him there for such a serious moment in our life, when he has witnessed so many pivotal points over the years.

     

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    Did you include any traditions in your ceremony?  Jesse and I exchanged traditional vows standing on a Moroccan wedding blanket that is now prominent feature in our home. Each ceremony seat was adorned with a monogram handkerchief, personal to each guest, for catching happy tears.

    What was your ceremony music?
    Family processional: Canon in D
    Bridal processional: Bridal March
    Recessional: Water Music by G.F. Handel

     

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    “Planning a destination wedding can be challenging, so we enlisted the help of Samantha Scott Events to help find the right local vendors to bring our vision to life. We wanted an intimate, romantic affair in a setting that would be comfortable for our family and our two dogs, Bo and Romeo – who roamed free and relaxed the entire evening, gathering lots of affection from staff and other guests.”

     

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    “Jesse and I have known each other since childhood. He is my older brother’s friend and the dark, handsome, older guy – my adolescent crush. Fast forward to 2010, we reconnected while I was in Florida visiting family over the holidays. Thinking back, I can’t even pinpoint our first date, since I feel like our first date has been a continuum! This may sound silly, but I feel that my love for Jesse has been present ever since that first crush and it has only grown over time.”

     

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    The Reception

    “I’d describe our reception as decadent, happy and memorable!”

     

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    What inspired you when you were planning your wedding?  Blush and white florals, old Hollywood glamour, two-letter monograms, Pinterest, John and Jacqueline Kennedy and their September 1953 honeymoon to San Ysidro Ranch.

     

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    What advice do you have for other couples in the midst of planning a wedding?  Since this was an intimate family-only affair, I was able to conceptualize and plan the entire wedding in just 12 weeks! The wedding date was very important to us, so we chose 1.5.15 – a Monday. I would encourage other brides to consider having a weekday wedding – because of our date, we were able to hire our first-choice vendors (even 12 weeks out) and we had the venue virtually to ourselves.

     

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    Please tell us about any special details from your reception.  We collected vintage brass candlesticks for the dining table and cut the cake with the same knife that my grandparents used on their 50th wedding anniversary. The entire evening was filled with so much love.

     

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    Menu:  Hors d’oeuvres: Dungeness Crab Cake with Cajun Rémoulade / Potato, Gorgonzola & Applewood Bacon Croquette / California and Imported Artisan Cheese Selection // First Course: Bacon Wrapped Tiger Prawn Soft Polenta, Pea Shoots and Ranch Meyer Lemon // Second Course: San Ysidro Ranch’s Famous Tortilla Soup with
    Avocado, Organic Grilled Chicken, Cheddar Cheese with Tortilla Crisps // Entrée: Pan Seared Prime Filet of Beef with Gruyere Potato Gratin and Haricot Vert
    / Pan Seared Sea Bass with Mascarpone and Organic Spinach Risotto, Truffle Sauce

    What type of cake or dessert did you serve?  A three-tier cake from Susie Cakes made from Red Velvet, Vanilla and Celebration flavors.

    Did you have a signature cocktail?  Yes, we had two! Her Favorite: Moscow Mule and His Favorite: Old Fashioned.

     

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    What was your favorite moment or part of the reception?  Every person at the table gave a toast and each one was touching and unique! For example, my two brothers toasted us with Patrón shots and limes. Those moments during the toasts, where we laughed and we cried, were definitely our most favorite part of the evening. A close second, however, was the champagne tower! To kick off the reception, Jesse and I poured champagne over a tower of coupes and everyone drank in celebration.

     

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    Is there anything else you’d like to share?  Looking back, it was the most perfect day and I am so grateful to all those who made my dream a reality. I also feel fortunate to have the opportunity to share our story, and inspire others planning an intimate wedding day – it really was magical.

     

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    Photography: The Great Romance  / Event Planning & Design: Samantha Scott Events / Venue, Catering: San Ysidro Ranch in Montecito, California / Officiant: Dr. Thomas Crawford / Dress: La Petite Fleur Couture Bridal Salon / Shoes: Christian Louboutin / Accessories: Jennifer Behr / Jewelry: Philippe Charriol, Cartier / Suit, Tie, Shirt: Hugo Boss / Shoes: Nocona Boots / Watch: Rolex / Stationery: Emily McCarthy Design / Calligraphy: Sarah Elizabeth Design / Videography: Shark Pig / Floral Design: Cody Floral Design / Hair: TEAM Hair and Makeup / Makeup: Rachel Zimmerman / Rentals: The Tent Merchant, Classic Party Rentals, La Tavola Fine Linen, Town & Country Event Rentals / Music: AMS Entertainment / Dessert: Susie Cakes

    La Tavola Fine Linen is a Snippet & Ink Select vendor. 

    SEE THE FULL GALLERY
  • Romantic Wedding at San Ysidro Ranch by The Great Romance

    4 June 2015
  • 3 comments posted +add a comment SEE MORE: Real Weddings, Some Favorites

    Though they live in London, Steffi and Toby chose to tie the knot at the bride’s parents’ home in Sweden. And once you see these photos from their summer celebration, you’ll understand why – what a gorgeous, relaxed place for a wedding! We especially love that the guests arrived on a tour boat, friends of the couple performed all of the music, and the tent was decorated with tons of leafy branches. If you’re looking for inspiration for a sweet summer wedding your guests will love, look no further!

    SEE GALLERY FOR MORE IMAGES FROM THIS SWEDISH SUMMER WEDDING BY NINA & WES.

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    “We live in East London but decided to get married in my family’s home in Sweden,” says Steffi. “The house is on an island outside of Vaxholm in the Stockholm Archipelago that looks out over the sea. It’s an absolutely stunning place and somewhere that means the world to my family. Toby and I have spent many lazy summer holidays there.”

    Steffi wore a vintage Reiss dress that she purchased on eBay for just £50. “I had it altered by my friend Natalie who is a costume designer,” says the bride. “I had my fittings backstage at London’s Royal Opera House amongst piles of tutus and robes, which felt pretty special!”

     

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    What was the best advice you received as a bride?  It’s just one day!

    What advice do you have for other couples in the midst of planning a wedding?  Really think about what you want and what is important to you, rather than what is expected or conventional. It’s okay to question the traditions and how they really fit in or reflect your lives.

     

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    If you had it to do over again, is there anything you would do differently?  We were so wrapped up in the planning and anticipation that we didn’t really think about the photography side very much, not least because I am much more used to being behind the camera than in front of it! Luckily our fantastic photographers, Nina and Wes, knew exactly what to do and really held our hands throughout the process as our gorgeous photos prove. If I was doing it again, though, I might have asked to do a few goofy photos, maybe even just with sun glasses on or something, but I didn’t really think of it at the time!

    Is there anything else that helps tell the story of your wedding?  Just how impressed we were that so many people traveled up to Stockholm from all over the world to be there with us – especially all our friends in London!

     

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    “Our guests arrived by old fashioned steamer boat from Stockholm, which gave them a tour of the archipelago. There was a traditional fika (Swedish for the act of sitting down with coffee and something sweet) on board with cinnamon buns.”

     

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    The Ceremony

    “Getting married in Sweden meant that we could have a service outdoors, in our back garden, as the person who marries you comes with the license (not the case in the UK). We felt really lucky to be able to do this as it felt like there was nowhere more poignant that getting married on our back porch, surrounded by all our loved ones, drinks in hand. I also loved the idea of it being super casual, that I could just get ready, walk down the stairs and out into the garden and get married to my favorite person.”

     

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    Your ceremony in three words.  Joyful, Informal, Short.

    How did you go about planning your ceremony?   We each wrote a letter to our officiant about each other and our relationship, which gave her something to use in her introduction. We knew we wanted some friends to sing and another friend (who actually introduced us to each other) to read a short poem. Our main focus was to keep it as relaxed as possible, we didn’t feel the need for the formality and gravitas of a lot of the weddings we’ve been to as we find that quite alienating and rather stiff. We wanted everyone to have a glass of fizz in their hands to make it feel fun, a real celebration. The ceremony also lasted all of about 10-15 minutes (after all, people were standing) – we don’t feel that long, drawn-out ceremonies are necessarily more meaningful, so we kept it short and sweet. It was perfect – a bit different, but very special.

    Who officiated your ceremony?  Estrid Landmark, a local registrar. We got in touch with a few in the area and picked her because she was the only one who was available in the summer (a time when lots of people are on holiday in Sweden). She put us at ease, was kind and seemed to genuinely love what she does.

    Did you include any traditions in your ceremony?  None whatsoever. We had a completely blank slate to do whatever we wanted, which was great.

     

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    What was your ceremony music?  As we got married on our back porch, there was no aisle or processing; we sort of just rocked up and got married – as I say, it was very casual! A group of very good friends of ours with lovely voices formed a mini choir and performed two songs. We gave them completely free reign to decide what they wanted to do and joked that they could even do an ABBA medley if they wanted (what with us all being in Sweden!). They learnt a traditional Swedish hymn (despite not speaking any Swedish!) and did, in fact, sing ABBA’s “I do, I do, I do” which made everyone chuckle.

    What were your ceremony readings?  A poem called ‘Being Boring’ by Wendy Cope which is about being happy to settle down and be as dull as possible as long as it is with the person you love.

    What were your vows like?  We had the standard Swedish vows, the long version (wich is only about 10 seconds longer than the short version). They are legally required but we really liked them as the words describe marriage as a partnership between two individuals who find strength in one another in their everyday lives. The words are perhaps a bit practical and unsentimental (perhaps a bit Swedish in that way!), but for us, having been together a long time and through a great deal, the words perfectly summed up our feelings about marriage.

     

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    What was your favorite thing about your wedding ceremony?  How informal and joyful it felt and looking out to see everyone’s grinning faces.

    Is there anything else that you’d like to share about your wedding ceremony?  There was plenty of laughter. Toby even cracked a joke mid-vow by pretending he hadn’t understood the Swedish (though everyone knows he has been taking lessons for years), which had everyone in hysterics. // We also had a large basket of toy instruments for everyone to ‘make some noise’ with when the ceremony ended – Toby is a musician and many of our friends sing or play instruments so they were all over that!

     

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    The Reception

    “Our reception was casual, leafy and nautical! We had the tent set up right by the water so everyone could wander around, laze about on the jetty with their drinks and canapes. In Stockholm during the summer, the sun doesn’t set until very late and the weather was gorgeous so we were able to stay outside during the whole reception. Even our band and dance floor was outdoors! We even brought some of the outdoors into the marquee with very green and leafy decor.”

     

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    What inspired you when you were planning your wedding?  We really started by thinking about what our ideal party would look like and went from there. We decided early on that we wanted the wedding to feel as relaxed as possible and for everyone to have the best time. The island location was also pretty inspiring – we let the surroundings do most of the talking!

     

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    What was your wedding menu?  The food was particularly important to me, as a food stylist, but again we wanted a relaxed feel. So we skipped the starter and instead had lots of nibbles and canapés (many with a Swedish theme so a fair bit of herring!), which meant that everyone could walk around the garden and relax on the jetty. We had a BBQ themed main course with a choice of beef, chicken or salmon and lots of vegetable sides (including delicious Swedish new potatoes and asparagus) and sauces out on the table for everyone to help themselves.

    What type of cake or dessert did you serve?  Dessert was a pavlova with lots of Swedish summer berries including blackcurrant sorbet, wild strawberry mousse and raspberries. I knew there would be an expectation for me (as a trained chef) to make a cake, but as neither of us love wedding cakes, we decided to avoid this by skipping it all together. Instead we stacked up some cheeses from the local cheese maker on the island next door, served with my homemade chutneys and chili jam. We also made traditional English biscuits to reflect Toby’s heritage (chocolate bourbons, custard creams, jammy dodgers and party rings) to have with tea and coffee. Favors were traditional Swedish pick and mix candy for guests to help themselves to.

     

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    Are there any DIY details you’d like to tell us about?  We did lots ourselves, and luckily we also had an army of friends and family to help, from aspects of the food (chutneys, gin, biscuits, cordial) to the decor. We did the calligraphy ourselves – it was messy and imperfect and that was fine! We made fans for guests to cool down with and table runners from burlap, painted all of the menus and signs ourselves using blackboard paint, cut massive branches and potted herbs to decorate the tent with – it was all really lush, green and beautiful!

     

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    Did you have a signature cocktail?  For the ceremony we had a sparkling Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand with elderflower cordial made from the tree in our garden. We also had Dark and Stormy cocktails and, as another nod to all the Brits, a cucumber gin and tonic, made with my homemade cucumber gin. Oh, and we also hung mini Swedish snaps bottles from a tree with some scissors for guest to cut down and enjoy
    as a nightcap!

     

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    What was your favorite moment or part of the reception?  I loved the toasts! We had them dotted throughout the dinner which is typical in Sweden but also made things feel a bit more relaxed. They were all so thoughtful and funny. I also really loved that we had as many women speaking as men, which felt really important to me – at English weddings normally only men speak! Our wonderful band, made up of friends and Toby’s bandmates, were also amazing – they really managed to get everyone on the dance floor! I also really loved that everyone seemed to be relaxing and enjoying themselves so much – some of our guests even went for a dip in the sea!

    What was your first dance song?  Our friends who are all in different bands formed our wedding band. Our first dance song was “Martha” by Tom Waits sung by our friend, Jim (Toby sang the first dance song at Jim’s wedding so he was returning the favor). After that, Toby and I got up on stage and joined the band by singing the chorus to “Do You Love Me” by the Contours – a bit of a surprise to our guests as we hadn’t told anyone we were going to be singing (apart from the band, of course)!

     

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    Photography: Nina & Wes / Venue: private home in the Stockholm Archipelago, Sweden / Event Planning & Design: JustGo Event Design / Floral Design: Berga Blommor / Dress: Vintage Reiss / Ceremony Shoes: Sergio Rossi via Far Fetch / Dancing Shoes: Dune / Earrings: Cadenza / Rings: Efva Attling, Serendipity Diamonds / Suit, Shirt, Socks: J. Crew / Shoes: Banana Republic / Stationery: Ruth Keating / Hair, Makeup: Andrea Nyström / Rentals: Tavet / Catering: Eriksberg Catering / Dessert: Local cheeses from Ostmakeriet

    This post contains affiliate links. 

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  • Summer Wedding in Sweden by Nina & Wes

    11 May 2015
  • 2 comments posted +add a comment SEE MORE: Real Weddings, Some Favorites

    The Spanish island of Formentera has been called Ibiza’s more relaxed little sister, and sounds like a perfect place to throw a laid-back beachside celebration. Monica and Valerio asked their 60 guests, mostly Milanese, to join them for a wedding weekend set on the spectacular Mediterranean isle, and it’s a locale we haven’t been able to stop dreaming about since! We also adore the couple’s stylish wedding day duds and the sporty white dune buggy the couple tooled around the island in!

    PS – Be sure to stop by later for a second beautiful wedding from Bikini Birdie!

    SEE THE GALLERY FOR MORE PHOTOS FROM THIS CHIC MEDITERRANEAN WEDDING BY BIKINI BIRDIE.

     

    From the photographer, Bikini Birdie, “Monica & Valerio’s wedding, set on the Mediterranean island of Formentera, was a very bohemian and fashionable celebration. The church where they were married is classic Mediterranean, and the rooftop beach reception at 10.7 Formentera was chic and laid back. The couple works in fashion and design, so it was no surprise that their wedding was so stylish, and their guests embodied beachside chic!”

     

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    The Ceremony

    “Chiesa di Sant Francesc is romantic, simple and so white. Built in the 1700’s, we loved its authenticity and austerity.”

     

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    Your ceremony in three words.  Non-traditional, addictive, intimate.

     

     

    Who officiated your ceremony?  The priest at Sant Francesc is the only priest on the island, and we were so lucky to have him marry us! He’s a wonderful person.

     

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    What music did you include in your ceremony?  We chose “Ave Maria,” among other songs, to be played during our ceremony.

    What was your favorite thing about your wedding ceremony?  Our ceremony was in both Italian and in Spanish – and the music was our favorite part.

     

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    Please tell us about any special details from your wedding.  I own an interior design shop in Milan, and most of the details, decor and gifts were created there.

     

     

    The Reception

    10.7 Formentera in Formentera is one of the best locations on the island in every sense. The views are spectacular, the food is fantastic and it was the perfect atmosphere for our reception.”

     

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    How would you describe your reception?  Our reception was very fun, youthful and musically perfect. We spent a lot of time working on the musical backdrop for the reception.

     

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    What inspired you when you were planning your wedding?  Love for Formentera Island!

    What was your wedding menu?  A modern Italian menu prepared by the chef at the Italian-owned 10.7 Formentera Beach Club.

     

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    What advice do you have for other couples in the midst of planning a wedding?  Make it thoughtful, and throw as big a party as you can! We had so much fun on our wedding day.

     

    Photography: Bikini Birdie / Venue, Catering, Cake: 10.7 Formentera in Formentera, Spain / Event Planning & Design: Yolanda of Blue Charm Weddings / Dress, Veil: Le Spose de Gio / Shoes: Christian Louboutin / Suit, Shirt: Lorenzo Albrighi / Stationery: Moo’s Print / Decor: Madme Gioia Home Milano / Floral Design: Kentia Formentera / Hair, Makeup: Formentera Nails / Music: Hot Ice from Ibiza
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  • Chic Mediterranean Beachside Wedding by Bikini Birdie

    29 April 2015
  • 3 comments posted +add a comment SEE MORE: Real Weddings, Some Favorites