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Whimsical Garden Celebration in Italy

— Michelle & Dan

Date

22 September 2016

Guests

50 people

Photographer

Lelia Scarfiotti

Michelle & Dan by Lelia Scarfiotti
Michelle & Dan by Lelia Scarfiotti

With rambling rustic gardens and beautifully aged patinas, the Tuscan countryside is forever drawing couples looking to exchange their vows. Michelle and Dan were one such couple, and LANE handpicked photographer Lelia Scarfiotti romantically documented their garden soiree, which unfolded in an olive garden in Petrolo (and also inspired their stationery and decorations!).

Complementing the botanical surrounds, the couple wed beneath a floral arbour of muted greenery and white blooms. Contrasting the rustic theme, the bride wore a delicately appliquéd lace gown with a long train, blending ethereal lightness and sophistication.

Dark, opulent and held beneath the stars, the reception was a celestial concoction of whimsical styling elements. Marble facades, olive branches, rustic linens and candlelight were interwoven in organic disarray, creating a stunning, otherworldly space for the celebration.

NAMES: Michelle & Dan 

WEDDING DATE: September 22, 2016

GUEST NUMBERS: 50

HOW WE MET: We met through mutual friends at a bar in our hometown of Vancouver. We hit it off immediately, however, Dan was set to move to Bermuda in two months! After 14 months of Skype calls and racked-up air miles, I made a leap of love and moved to sunny Bermuda, which isn’t the worst place in the world to move to! 

OUR ENGAGEMENT STORY: My friend who is an amazing photographer in Bermuda gifted me a photo shoot for my birthday. This had nothing to do with the proposal, but Dan sneakily contacted her to initiate and set up the photo shoot day so he could secretly propose to me. At the beach, during a typical beautiful Bermuda sunset, I went along thinking I was going to awkwardly pose for cheesy family photos with Dan and our springer spaniel puppy, Ollie. It was right in the middle of the photo shoot when Dan asked me to marry him. 

MARRIAGE TO US MEANS: Being able to love, laugh, and share life’s adventures with your best friend!

WEDDING LOCATION: Because we are both from Vancouver, were living in Bermuda, and now temporarily in London, our friends and family are scattered across the globe. We wanted an intimate destination wedding in a beautiful, romantic setting and we thought Tuscany would be perfect (even though neither of us had been before!). After searching online, we found Petrolo, a charming 18th century estate near Bucine, which is now an award-winning vineyard. It worked out to be the perfect venue, the villa and adjacent farmhouses sleep a combined total of 65. We were able to have all of our family and friends stay on the property for five nights making our wedding celebration a multi-day event!

(Interview continues beneath gallery)

THEME/STYLE: I wanted to allow the natural setting of Petrolo and Tuscany to set the mood of the wedding. I loved all the olive trees on the property, so I used that as an inspiration for the stationery and decorations. 

PHOTOGRAPHY: The moment I saw Lelia Scarfiotti’s work I knew she would be the perfect photographer for our wedding. Unconventional, beautiful and moving, her images were exactly what I was looking for and she perfectly captured the day. Only having one Skype meeting with her, I knew we were in great hands. On the day of the wedding, Lelia was amazing in making us feel as comfortable as possible. Like a fly on the wall, she captured such magical candid moments throughout the whole day. 

BRIDE’S DRESS: When I was searching for a dress I was still living in Bermuda which doesn’t really have any options, so I planned my dress search on my next visit back home in Vancouver. I was pretty certain I looked up every single dress that existed online before I made the trip, since I had to make a decision within a week of being in Canada. There was one dress that I absolutely loved online, it was a dress by Atelier Pronovias that had intricately placed lace on the bodice and the most beautiful long train. I booked my last appointment at the shop that carried the dress and went to other places first trying on other styles. Once I put on the Pronovias dress, it blew all the other dresses out of my mind. It was breathtaking! It was the perfect mix of romantic and glamorous which it suited me perfectly. I purchased it the same day I tried it on. 

BRIDE’S SHOES: I actually had bought my shoes before I even found my dress. They were Stuart Wetztman’s Nudist, which I already owned in two other shades. For the wedding I got them in a glitter fabric. I think they are the most versatile, sexy, minimalist shoe, and the high heel was great to give me some extra height since I’m quite petite. 

WEDDING RINGS: My engagement ring is a Brian Gavin round diamond set in an intricate platinum Tacori petite halo setting. Dan picked out the ring himself and found a setting that was vintage with modern touches. All of my friends said he had hit the nail on the head with the ring choice! For my wedding band, I wanted something mismatched. I chose a tiny delicate rose gold bezel eternity band from Brian Gavin. I think they go together beautifully in an interesting way. Dan wanted something simple and classic. He picked a thin Cartier gold band. 

JEWELLERY/ACCESSORIES: Since my 30th birthday was coming up, Dan had surprised me with both a wedding and birthday gift. I received beautiful rose gold diamond pave studs from Brian Gavin and a rose gold with pave pink diamonds cocktail ring from Diamonds by Lauren. I also wore the Cartier Love bracelet, a beautiful gift I received on my birthday the year before, which I haven’t taken off since. 

GROOMSMEN ATTIRE: Dan wore a bespoke blue suit, tailored by one of his best friend’s father and finished his look with a light blue Ermenegildo Zegna tie and beautiful Prada shoes. The watch he wore was my wedding gift. I had enlisted help from a close friend to find the perfect piece and I surprised him with an A. Lange & Sohne, a beautiful classic gold men’s dress watch. He also wore vintage gold cufflinks that I had gifted him for Christmas.

HAIR: It’s really helpful when your best friend (Marvin Principe) is also your hair stylist! I hardly wear my hair up and because of the detail of the back of my dress, I wanted to wear it swept back in a simple and chic way. I completely trust Marvin and his magic and he transformed my hair into a sleek, low knotted bun. 

MAKEUP: I decided to do my own makeup and aimed for a glamorous old Hollywood look with a bold, red lip. 

STATIONERY/INVITATIONS: As a graphic designer, It took me forever to decide what I wanted to do with the stationery. I know I wanted everything to be branded with the same style and look, but I didn’t want it to overtake the natural setting of the venue. I ended up designing a modern but romantic stationery suite, using a drawing of an olive branch as the element that tied everything together. I even taught myself calligraphy to address all the envelopes - a wonderful skill that I’m happy I have now! I bought beautiful Italian paper and printed the suite at home, which allowed me to be flexible with the design. The colors were kept neutral in grey, black and white. 

FAVORS/BONBONNIERE: Each guest received a handmade marble coaster with their name handwritten in gold as their escort card. At the tables, the men received a bar of olive oil soap and the ladies received a grey pashmina. The scarves were a total hit since the evening became chilly once the sun went down.

FLOWERS & BOUQUETS: I really wanted an organic and natural feel for the florals. I worked with Roberta of La Gardenia, who I found on Instagram. She is absolutely amazing! Through many, many, many emails and Pinterest sharing she made my vision a reality. I was completely blown away on the day of the wedding. I chose lots of different textured greenery to reflect the surroundings of Petrolo and chose simple white garden roses for the flowers. Roberta created beautiful green garlands that lay on all the tables and the most amazing wedding alter I’ve ever seen! 

VIDEOGRAPHY: We took a long time to decide if we really wanted a videographer and we were happy we found one that worked for us. Katia Casprini's work is beautiful and emotional. Her documentary-style videography was exactly what we were looking for - not at all intrusive or overly staged. 

PREPARATION: Once I woke up, the first thing I wanted to do was go for a run. It was the best thing for me just to relax and have some time to myself before the hectic day got started. Afterwards I set up the table decorations with some of my close girlfriends. Since I didn’t hire a planner, I had to plan all of the decorations on my own. It was impossible to determine how everything was going to go, since I absolutely had no control. Thankfully, everything went miraculously to plan! 

CEREMONY DÉCOR/ RECEPTION DÉCOR: I was definitely inspired by a lot of the elements seen on The LANE. All of the decorations I made by hand, such as the hand-dyed silk ribbons that wrapped around my bouquet and the marble coaster escort cards. 

WEDDING PLANNER/STYLIST: We didn’t hire a wedding planner; however, Marco and Susan of Petrolo went above and beyond in providing and helping us with vendors and also managing logistical details on the day of the wedding. 

CAKE: We chose a traditional Italian millefoglie cake, which was probably the most delicious cake we’ve ever had. 

WEDDING SONGS: I walked down the aisle to a beautiful acoustic version of Brian Adam’s “Heaven”. Our first dance song was Otis Redding’s, “These Arms or Mine”and I danced with my father to The Everly Brothers’, “All I Want to do is Dream”

ENTERTAINMENT: For the ceremony and cocktails, we had a young acoustic guitarist from Scarlett Entertainment. He was amazing and so talented! He played current pop hit covers and our guests sang along to every song during the cocktail hour while the sun dipped below the Tuscan Hills. It was an absolutely beautiful setting. 

For the dance party, we ended up DJ’ing on our own with a carefully selected playlist that took us months to curate. It was a lot of work, but definitely worth it. The music choices were important to both of us, and we wanted it to be the right mix of songs. I created two playlists; one for the dinner and one for the dance party, which was a total of 7.5 hours of music! In the end, the dance party stopped at 4.30am and we had gone through 6.5 hours of the list! To this day, our guests still rave about how our wedding was the best dance party they’ve ever been to! There wasn’t a single person standing still on the dancefloor the entire night! 

FOOD & BEVERAGES: We had a traditional Italian wedding menu that spanned several courses. Vecchi Amici really outdid themselves. During the cocktail hour, there were several different canapes served. The dinner was a traditional antipasti spread, the second courses were two pasta dishes; spinach and ricotta gundi, and beef ragu parpadelle. The main course was Florentine steak with vegetables, and at midnight, they served traditional aglio e olio pasta to help keep the dancing going all night. All of the wine served was from Petrolo, which we luckily had a tasting of before the wedding. 

HONEYMOON: A group of 17 of us headed to Cinque Terre first for two nights, and then Dan and I headed off to Venice and Lake Como. We stayed at the Grand Hotel Tremezzo in Lake Como which is one of the most beautiful hotels we’ve ever stayed in. We also booked a private boat tour in their beautifully restored Venetian water taxi and explored the entire lake.

CELEBRANT: We actually got legally married in London the night before we headed to Italy, just an intimate ceremony with two of our close friends that were unable to make the journey. So for our symbolic ceremony in Tuscany, we asked Dan’s father to officiate the wedding. It was really special and comforting to have him speak for us and a moment we’ll always cherish. 

ANY OTHER SPECIAL DETAILS: We had a gelato truck which was a converted old Volkswagen van serving our guests treats before the ceremony. Unfortunately, I didn’t have time to try it but it sure was a hit with our guests. 

SOURCES OF INSPIRATION: Definitely other gorgeous weddings featured on The LANE.

A MEMORABLE MOMENT: I’ll never forget the moment I locked eyes with Dan while walking down the aisle. As much as I tried to keep it together, I was just too emotional!

IF I COULD GIVE OTHER BRIDES TO BE ONE PIECE OF ADVICE… If you’re doing all of the planning on your own, be as organized as possible with every single possible detail. I’m normally a bit scatterbrained, but for our wedding I was the most organized, spreadsheet-oriented person in the world! 

MICHELLE & DAN’S CONTACTS:

PHOTOGRAPHY: Lelia Scarfiotti

BRIDES DRESS: Atelier Pronovias

BRIDE’S SHOES: Stuart Weitzman

WEDDING RINGS: Brian Gavin, Cartier, Tacori 

JEWELRY: Diamonds by Lauren

HAIR: Marvin Principe Hair

FLORIST: La Gardenia

CAKE: I Vecchi Amici

CATERING: I Vecchi Amici

WEDDING VENUE: Petrolo

HONEYMOON DESTINATION: Venice and Lake Como (Grand Hotel Tremezzo

ENTERTAINMENT: Scarlett Entertainment 

VIDEOGRAPHER: Katia Casprini

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