Enamoured with southern Italy’s sun-kissed landscape and fondness for languid living, Tash and Max were drawn to the cream stone walls, deep sapphire seas and bucolic charm of Puglia for their wedding abroad. Surrounded by a landscape painted in a palette of intoxicating hues, vows were exchanged between two olive trees, the bride adorned in a hand-embroidered gown.
A refined poolside reception followed, where balmy skies were illuminated by bulbs strung from above. Rustically styled, twin wooden tables were dressed with installations of white blooms and thick, cascading foliage. Afternoon soon segued into night and dinner was served beneath the stars. Here, guests sipped on Sgroppinos and sampled the freshest of local cuisines, revelling in epicurean delight.
Photography by Benjamin Wheeler.
Names / Tash & Max
Wedding Date / August 31, 2018
Guest Numbers / 124
How We Met
Although both hailing from Perth, we met travelling in San Sebastian, Spain in 2009 through mutual friends. We became best friends upon our return to Perth, which soon blossomed into something more and ended up with us living together in London a few years later.
Our Engagement Story
As we live in London, to celebrate Max’s 30th birthday, we met his family half way in Hong Kong. On what was meant to be the ‘Festival of Max’ birthday weekend, he got on one knee in our hotel room and the weekend that ensued was full of love and celebration.
Marriage To Us Means
A lifetime of love and adventure with our best friend.
Choosing our wedding location was the most difficult part of our whole planning process. Having lived in London for over 5 and 7 years respectively, we had friends all over the world. After scouting out a few venues back home, we couldn’t find the right spot and it took us some time to decide on a destination as we knew travelling to Europe was a lot to ask of people. Eventually, we decided on a destination wedding in Puglia as we wanted the celebrations to last more than one day. We have been long lovers of Italy and the incredible people and culture. Southern Italy is a particular favorite spot of ours and the raw and rustic charm of Puglia reminded us of parts of our beloved South-Western corner of Australia. Once we drove through the gates of Masseria Pettolecchia, we knew it was the one.
Theme & Style
Our location completely inspired us – the endless olive groves, rich red dirt and glistening Adriatic Sea combined with the newly renovated Masseria, were just effortlessly stunning. We felt we didn’t need to do too much more to create an absolutely magic environment.
Benjamin Wheeler was our number one choice, he doesn’t just take photos, he captures moments. I had come across his work through recommendations from old colleagues at Net-A-Porter and I knew he would be the one to capture our day perfectly. His mastery of light and capturing moments rather than posed pictures, was exactly what we wanted, especially for my camera-smile-challenged husband.
Hermione de Paula is a London-based designer who does incredible and intricate floral and personalised embroidery. My mum travelled over to London and I tried on a few dresses but we both knew that Hermione was the one. I was able to mix and match elements of styles I loved and had a stunning veil with ‘All you need is love’ embroidered (our recessional song), as well as my husband and I’s initials and wedding date embroidered on the sleeve. I felt completely myself in the dress and we created a custom overskirt that I removed after dinner for dancing.
I found my wedding shoes in Zimmermann, my favorite Australian label in London, I knew they were the ones. They felt so ‘me’, but also as if they were made for the dress. I loved that I wore a dress from a London designer and shoes from an Australian designer.
I didn’t think it would be possible for all my bridesmaids to wear the same dress, so we set out looking for different styles in neutral tones. I visited Perth earlier in the year and we walked into Natalie Rolt, within 10 minutes, all 4 girls had tried on the same slip style dress and fallen in love. Everyone was happy, it was a miracle! They all looked stunning and the nude-y bronze tone was perfect for the red earth and olive tree surrounding of the venue and into the evening, they matched incredible light of golden hour. I accessorized the girls with gold and pearl earrings from Clover Accessories.
My gorgeous flower girl wore a little white linen and broderie anglaise dress from London-based Benedita, with a flower crown. She was the most perfect flower girl!
Max completely surprised me with his proposal and had chosen a beautiful pear diamond with a halo in white gold that he designed with his friend Justin Linney at Linney’s Jewellery in Perth. I fell completely in love with it. My wedding band is a diamond eternity ring in yellow gold, as I love clashing mixed metals.
Max had his father’s antique wedding band resized – his Dad never took to a wedding ring and Max loved wearing something of his.
Jewelry & Accessories
I had baroque pearl earrings ordered but unfortunately, they arrived damaged a few days before I left for the wedding. Last minute I picked up a pair of simple gold and pearl hoops from Celine which worked perfectly. My mother-in-law lent me her stunning tennis bracelet as my ‘something borrowed’.
Max had a beautiful navy suit made at P Johnson in London, it fitted him perfectly and he looked so handsome! His groomsmen also wore navy suits, and they all wore ties from P Johnson.
I wanted a super natural blow wave – understated and irreverent – simple, right? Harder than it sounds to find this in Italy, where more is more. My planner searched high and low and found a wonderful local Italian hair stylist, Vittorio, to give me a natural blow wave. Although he spoke no English, he understood my brief!
I do not wear a lot of makeup day-to-day, so I just wanted to look the best version of myself on my wedding day. I had worked hard on my skin for this reason. Again, finding a makeup artist in rural Italy to give me the natural glow I was looking for was proving difficult. Luckily, Perth-based Ash Brockman came to the rescue! He totally understood my brief of ‘make me glow!’. I had a trial with him back home earlier in the year and he was amazing. He brought so many good vibes on the day.
Stationery & Invitations
I love hand lettering, type and stationery, so this was one of my favourite parts of the planning process. I spent so many nights scouring Pinterest and Instagram pulling together a moodboard for what I wanted. Heather from Hawk Creative totally understood my brief and matched the blues, greens and ochre reds of our venue to our invitation suite. She also created a stunning map of Puglia and surrounds, as well as our gorgeous custom crest which was used throughout the invitations, on the day and for the thank you cards. Our beautiful hand-lettered place cards were all painted with stars to mirror the inky Italian night sky above us.
We were in Italy, it had to be limoncello! We brought over our favourite limoncello from the Amalfi Coast. Each mini bottle of Limoncello was adorned with our hand-painted crest by a ribbon.
Flowers & Bouquets
I adore flowers but originally planned not to use any, just greenery. My mum, also a huge flower lover, managed to talk me out of this, and I’m so glad she did.I focused on working with natural Puglian foliage, including olive leaves and eucalyptus in a nod to Australia, and a variety of white foraged florals. The tables were adorned with long garlands hanging off the tables and white florals.
At the end of the aisle, rather than an arbour, I wanted a feature from the ground up. To line the aisle, we created height through white hydrangeas, garden roses and delphiniums with greenery. At the end of the aisle we also had an arch of greenery and florals, like blooming grass and flowers. Bouquets were kept simple with greenery and a mixture of white florals, tied with a natural white raw-edged silk ribbon.
Jono is an old friend of ours and he makes wonderful candid-style videos. It was an obvious choice for us to bring him over to film our day. We really wanted him to capture all the moments that we would look back on and treasure. The smiles, the laughs, the small exchanges and even the tears. He did a wonderful job and we love watching over the film.
I got ready at the Masseria, the venue of the wedding, with my bridesmaids (my two girlfriends and two sisters) and my mum. I gave the girls gifts including monogrammed Jasmine & Will pyjama shirts to get ready in and The Daily Edited clutches and Clover Accessories earrings to use on the day.
We had breakfast and then hair and makeup started. I felt incredibly relaxed and was swimming in the pool until midday! I have been known to throw a tantrum and I think all the girls were waiting with bated breath for me to crack, but it didn’t happen! The last half hour before the wedding felt a bit crazy and happened so quickly, but everything went very smoothly.
Max and his groomsmen got ready at nearby Borgo Egnazia, a stunning hotel only five minutes from the venue. They went to the driving range in the morning, then spent time relaxing poolside before getting ready.
Hair & Makeup Artists
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Ceremony Décor & Reception Décor
The ceremony was held in the grounds of the Masseria on grass, with the aisle leading to our floral installation between two gnarled and twisted olive trees. We were inspired by the raw beauty of the location in Southern Italy and wanted to let the surroundings speak for themselves.
After the ceremony, guests moved to the other side of the Masseria for Aperitivo with live food making stands; from mozzarella to local panzerotti and cold cuts, our guests all raved about the food.
From here, guests moved to our sit-down dinner by the pool at two long tables adorned with garlands, flowers, and candles under a sky of fairy light strings. It was pure magic. At the head of the table we had a neon sign custom made reading, ‘All you need is love’, our recessional song.
Wedding Planner & Wedding Stylist
Our location was stunning as it was, it didn’t need a huge amount of styling. I had a very relaxed-yet-elegant vision in mind for the ceremony and reception to enhance the beauty of the Masseria. I worked with Victoria from Weddings In Puglia as our planner. She was recommended by the venue, and coincidentally, a past colleague highly recommended her. She was simply wonderful in pulling together our vision, finding all the vendors that I needed to bring the aesthetic of our day together.
A giant white chocolate cream and wild berries millefoglie. We were in Italy after all, it would be rude not to! Created by Il Fagiano, our caterer.
I walked down the aisle to Elton John’s ‘Your Song’, one of my favourite songs of all time, which now gives me goosebumps every time I hear it! We signed our paperwork to Elvis’, ‘Can’t Help Falling in Love’ and walked out to The Beatle’s, ‘All You Need Is Love’. We amped things up a bit after this and walked into the reception to Cut Copy’s, ‘Hearts on Fire’ and our first dance was ‘Praise You’ by Fatboy Slim.
We had a Neopolitan Quintet for Aperitivo and during dinner. They were amazing and added to the authentic feel of the wedding. Our DJ, Sophie Bond, we found in London through our photographer and flew her over. She used a playlist I made, and I can’t thank her enough for keeping the dance floor going – all, night, long.
Food & Beverages
We used a local Apulian caterer, Il Fagiano, who were absolutely amazing. All our guests commented on how delicious the food was. After the ceremony, guests moved to Aperitivo and food from delicious food stalls. We had live cheese making, cold cut meats, seafood tempura and local panzerotti being handmade to the sounds of the Neapolitan Quintet – and our favourite champagne, Perrier Jouet, Aperol Spritz and beers.
From here, guests moved to the sit-down dinner on two long tables with a menu of local pastas, fish and meats. We wanted all our favourite local Italian dishes to feature, from vongole to burrata and fresh fish. All pasta was handmade on site and everyone was in awe of how incredibly delicious it was. We finished the meal with Sgroppinos – a delicious aperitif of vodka, lemon sorbet and prosecco and of course, the wedding cake. After dinner, we had an open bar conveniently placed right next to the dance floor armed with espresso martinis, vodka sodas with fresh lime, and whisky. For those needing a breather from the dance floor, we had a gelato cart by the pool.
A huge bonus for us was that we stayed at the Masseria, so we didn’t have to travel far at all to fall into bed at the end of the night!
Right after the wedding we took a few days in one of favorites, Capri, for a minimoon. It wasn’t too far from Puglia and as we’d been there a few times before, we were so happy to go our favourite spots and lie by the water at La Fontelina, eat pasta and drink Aperol spritz whilst we unwound after the amazing wedding week.
A few months later we did our honeymoon in the US and Mexico. It was the trip of a lifetime with a road trip through California, Utah and Arizona, and ending up in Tulum, Mexico. Highlights included the inimitable and breathtaking Amangiri Resort, unbelievable sights in Zion National Park and Antelope Canyon, endless margaritas and tacos with our toes in the sand in Tulum. We ended the trip with a few days in LA and Malibu, reflecting on the unbelievable few months we had just experienced!
I held some guilt of asking our family and friends to travel for us and we were so very grateful for everyone attending. It’s corny, but their presence really was the best present we could dream of. We still were very spoilt with gifts from our wonderful friends.
We were actually legally married in London before the wedding, so our symbolic ceremony officiant was our very good friend, Rhys. We really wanted to be married by someone we both knew, and we felt so honoured he took on the role.
One of my best friends read an extract from Captain Corelli’s Mandolin – “You have to work out whether your roots have so entwined together that it is inconceivable that you should ever part”. With our ceremony taking place between two ancient olive trees twisted together, it seemed completely apt. Another reading was from a dear friend who read a piece by Bob Marley.
Any Other Special Details
‘All you need is love’ was a theme throughout the wedding. Not only do I love The Beatles, but the meaning of the song felt so important. I had the phrase embroidered on my veil, we had it as our recessional song and a custom neon sign made, which will hang in our home as a daily reminder of the fiery love we felt both for each other, and from our family and friends on our wedding day.
Sources of Inspiration
I took most of my inspiration from the venue’s surroundings and looked to Instagram, Pinterest and of course, The Lane for ideas. I would find myself hours deep in a Pinterest or Instagram rabbit hole!
A Memorable Moment
Being walked down the aisle by my superhero of a Dad and seeing everyone’s beaming faces and then my husband-to-be grinning at me from the other end is a memory that will be etched into my mind for life. Another moment we will not forget is our MC’s incredible performance. Two of our respective best friends are sisters and put on the most incredible show, ending in a Michael Bublé rendition with them dancing on the tables. It was the biggest surprise, and we could not wipe the smiles off our faces.
If I could give other Brides-To-Be one Piece of Advice
Don’t get caught up on what other people think, or what you think they will think! At the end of the day, it’s you and your partners day, do what you both want to do and enjoy the ride.
Photography / Benjamin Wheeler
Videography / Jono Laird
Bride’s Dress / Hermione de Paula
Bride’s Shoes / Zimmermann
Bridesmaids Dresses / Natalie Rolt
Groom’s Formal Wear / P Johnson
Groom’s Shoes / Edward Green via MrPorter.com
Wedding Rings / Linney’s Jewellery
Jewelry & Accessories / Celine earrings
Hair / Vittorio Risola
Makeup / Ashley Brockman
Stationery / Hawk Creative
Florist / Flower Addicted Angelica
Catering / Il Fagiano
Cake / Il Fagiano
Wedding Planner / Victoria from Impression Villa & Weddings
Wedding Venue / La Residenza Masseria Pettlecchia