There is something mesmerising about the Italian aesthetic. Boldly dramatic, impeccably elegant and beautifully effortless all at once. The magic behind their inimitable style always stems back to authenticity. Decor layered with purpose and meaning to create atmosphere. Reception spaces inspired by the art of dining and the exchange of conversation that flows.
Imbued with personal sentiment, Frances and Will exchanged vows in the Tuscan countryside, beneath an arbour of wild blooms and woven vines. A dramatic communal dining stretched through the entire length of the garden reception, spilling with ornate crystal glassware, olive branches and cascading linens.
Beautifully documented by LANE handpicked photographer, Cinzia Bruschini
Names / Frances & William
Wedding Date / July 9, 2016
Guest Numbers / 91
How we met…
We met at a mutual friends 21st birthday party although our first meeting wasn’t the most successful as Will couldn’t remember my name throughout our whole conversation. We bumped into each other again a few weeks later and the rest is history.
Our Engagement Story…
My family are from Scotland and I studied at Edinburgh College of Art, so Edinburgh means a great deal to me. Will knew this and we had a new years eve planned in the city, the afternoon before our new years eve party Will insisted on walking up Arthurs Seat, a big hill in the centre of Edinburgh which offers amazing views. He proposed at the top – it was amazing and we came back down to champagne and celebrations with our friends and family.
Marriage to us means…
Showing each other how much we love one another.
We wanted to get married in Italy as we love the country and it is very special to us, having spent a lot of time as a couple there. We initially looked at Venice as we love the area, but after a while looking, Tuscany had some incredible venues that we couldn’t resist. We decided to work with a wedding planner – Stefania from MyItalianWeddingPlanner.com – we spent a while looking for her as we wanted someone who fitted our aesthetic and understood the look we wanted. Stef was fantastic and found Borgo Stomennano immediately for us, we went to visit and were blown away. Luisa who has had the Borgo in her family for hundreds of years was so friendly and welcoming. The main villa itself is so sumptuous and evokes memories of a bygone era, the apartments and pool areas are modern and chic and finally – the grounds and location – a stone’s throw from pretty Monteriggioni and the most impressive driveway lined by Poplar trees. It really was heavenly.
We wanted to keep the day quite relaxed and informal with lots of delicious food, wine and laughing. One thing we knew we wanted was a long dining table for all of our guests and I am so happy we did this, it looked incredible and was lined with mismatched candles, vases, herbs and old wine bottles. Lights hung from the trees and we had white and green flowers throughout, from the bouquets to the flower arch that we got married below.
We chose to work with Cinzia Bruschini and her husband Matteo and we loved every minute of it. Their style is perfect for the venue and for our tastes – dramatic and romantic yet modern. They were so friendly and really helped us to relax on our big day. Some of my favourite shots include the photographs of us in front of the amazing driveway at the Borgo – she has captured it perfectly.
I adored my dress which was by British bridal wear designer, Halfpenny London. When I visited the Halfpenny London boutique it was like a treasure trove of beautiful designs, I tried on and loved so many. I opted for a corseted top and skirt, which Kate Halfpenny helped me with – the corset originally had some appliquéd flowers on but Kate and I wanted to add more – we added more embroidery and added straps to the corset for a more contemporary look. It was finished with a big bow at the back.
I wanted something simple and elegant that I would wear again and so I chose Gianvito Rossi strap sandals. I love them and will definitely be bringing them out again next summer.
I chose a pale grey multi-wrap dress for my 6 bridesmaids as they were all different shapes and sizes and we needed something that wasn’t too heavy in the heat.
They each chose their own shoes in a nude or metallic palette.
My beautiful niece Annabelle wore a Monsoon dress with a flower garland – she looked so sweet.
I used to work for a fine jewellery brand and so Will had my engagement ring designed (without my knowledge!) with them, it took a few months and they managed to keep it secret. It is a really unusual design and features two diamond bands that join at the top and frame a pear-shaped diamond. On the underside is a tiny diamond which Will said was ‘for my eyes only’ which I love. My diamond wedding band was designed to fit around my engagement ring and has a curve in the band to show off the pear-shaped diamond, I have a W engraved on the back that sits next to the tiny diamond. Will opted for a 9mm gold band and had a ruby inset on the inside next to our engraved wedding date.
My mother-in-law gifted me her mother’s opal ring – I am obsessed with opals and it is the most beautiful ring. I wore this and then a selection of diamond earrings from Astley Clarke.
As it was in the height of summer and such a hot day Will and the groomsmen all wore navy waistcoats, trousers and brown shoes with white shirts and grey ties to match the bridesmaids – they were all hired from Moss Bros. Will wore navy suede and patent shoes from British shoe designer Mr Hare and a rose gold watch that his great-grandfather had worn in the first world war.
My good friend Kate Hughes is a very talented hair and makeup artist and so she attended the wedding as well as doing hair and makeup for myself and my bridesmaids. I wanted my hair to be very simple but a little bit tousled, Kate pinned it in a low messy bun which was perfect for the day.
I don’t wear a lot of makeup in my everyday life and I think it’s important not to be someone else on your wedding day and so I opted for soft smokey eyes and a blush pink lip.
Wedding Cakes & Desserts
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A friend of mine is a printer and so he made all of our invitations and stationery for the wedding. Our invitations were made of thick card with gold embossed lettering and were beautiful. But my favourite printed detail was our menu’s, my wonderful friend and painter Rosie Blair painted hanging vines that were then printed onto each of the menus. Our table plan was in 5 different hanging glass frames that were suspended from a tree close to the table.
We decided not to do favours and instead focused on feeding them as much food and wine as possible!
Flowers & Bouquet
I love white and green arrangements and so this was the brief to our florist – elegant, simple and beautiful, the bouquets featured ferns and white peonies – my favourite. The bridesmaids all had matching bouquets to mine and we had a foliage arch for the ceremony. The dining table had foliage running all the way down the centre and we had a rope swing adorned with white roses and vines.
Stafania and Slyvie from My Italian Wedding Planner. They were just amazing and we couldn’t have done it without them, they took care of every last detail from the flowers to the celebrant to the catering and décor. They have a fantastic vision and were just a dream to work with.
As the ceremony was late in the day we were able to spend some time by the pool in the morning before getting ready with the bridesmaids and mums. We drank prosecco, exchanged gifts and stories it was such fun.
My friend is a talented videographer and so we asked him to edit the wedding video as a wedding gift. We paid a friend of his to film the day and our friend did the editing, its something we will cherish forever and it immediately transports you back to the day!
Ceremony & Reception Décor
We really wanted the dining table to look like an Italian feast laden with candles, wine bottles and foliage. The dancing area by the pool was covered in candles and lights whilst the DJ booth was on top of the lemon tree house – we wanted it to feel like a crazy outdoor nightclub.
We chose a traditional mille fuelle Italian wedding cake that was made in front of the guests before being served, it was the perfect after-dinner treat as it is lighter than a traditional wedding cake.
I walked down the aisle to Jose Gonsalez Heartbeats played by a guitar duo which was so beautiful and perfect for the setting. We asked a good friend of ours to sing a song that meant a lot to us – a song called Souvenirs – it is the acoustic version of a drum and bass song by artist Etherwood and it really was the most magical moment when she sang accompanied by the guitar duo. My husband is very into his drum and bass music and occasionally DJ’s and so we chose an Etherwood track for our first dance called Revive. Its pretty upbeat and all of the guests were dancing like crazy, it made for such a fun first dance and is something I will never forget.
Food & Beverage
Before the ceremony guests were served Prosecco and ice cream from a traditional Italian ice cream cart, it was so hot and so we wanted to offer something cool before the ceremony. After the ceremony we had a cocktail reception on the front lawn of the Borgo, there were stalls with different Italian antipasti, cheese, meats, cocktails and prosecco. Following this we sat down for dinner and were served a first course of spinach and ricotta gnudi, followed by courgette flower pasta and finally pork in montepulciano sauce. We drank the wine from the Borgo throughout which was delicious. Once everyone moved to the dance area we were served the wedding cake, a dessert buffet and a selection of grappas. Needless to say, there was a LOT of food!
We had a guitar duo for the ceremony and cocktail reception, and then a DJ on top of the lemon tree roof for dancing until 4am.
We honeymooned in Borneo and Bali. It was incredible, we were lucky enough to see wild orangutans, crocodiles, monkeys and birds on the Kinabatangan river before relaxing in Bali. We moved around quite a bit but our favourite hotel has to be the Mandapa Ritz Carlton Reserve in Ubud in Bali, it is the most breathtaking place and you feel thoroughly spoiled by the wonderful staff and the food is to die for – we didn’t want to go home!
Our celebrant was Jo from Tuscan Pledges. She was amazing and our guests all commented on how lovely the ceremony was, she captured the mood perfectly.
We chose not to write vows, however, our celebrant Jo asked us both some separate questions about each other before the ceremony. She then put some of these together and the result was a beautiful, funny reading which we both absolutely adored and that had our guests laughing and crying at the same time. We also asked Will’s two sisters to do readings – they were beautiful – one was Bob Marley ‘He’s not perfect’ and the other was ‘Love Monkey’ by Edward Monkton.
As Will and I have been living together for 8 years we chose not to do a gift registry and instead asked our guests to contribute to a painting should they wish to, this wasn’t something we pushed as guests were already travelling a long way to be there. We now have a wonderful new piece of modern art in our living room that makes me think of our wedding guests whenever I look at it.
A memorable moment…
Seeing my dad for the first time before the ceremony, I cried as soon as I saw him. And then seeing my husband waiting at the top of the aisle – it was perfect and I couldn’t stop grinning.
If I could give Brides-To-Be one piece of advice…
If you are getting married abroad, get a wedding planner!
Photography / Cinzia Bruschini
Bride’s Dress / Half Penny
Bride’s Shoes / Gianvito Rossi
Flowergirls & Pageboys / Monsoon
Groom’s Formal Wear / Moss
Wedding Rings / Astley Clarke
Jewelry & Accessories / Astley Clarke
Hair / It’s All About You
Makeup / It’s All About You
Florist / Fluida Design
Catering / Delize Delize
Wedding Planner / My Italian Wedding Planner
Celebrant / Tuscan Pledges
Wedding Venue / Stomennano
Entertainment / Alma Project