Six months into their relationship, Emanuela and Andrew holidayed in the Tuscan Hills, on the sprawling Il Palgaio estate. Romanced by the villa’s aesthetic, Emanuela instantly decided that it would eventually play host to her future wedding.
Fast forward a number of years, and guests began receiving invitations in the mail, formally requesting their presence for a four day celebration at the very villa Emanuela onced loved.
With a history working events and a penchant for travelling the globe, Emanuela and Andrew’s wedding was influenced by all that they knew. From first meeting in Hong Kong to a proposal in the Swiss Alps, their wedding was an amalgamation of their story, a celebration that spanned four days of a Tuscan summer.
With a gown by Naeem Khan and bridesmaids in an array of bespoke Chinese silks, Emanuela and Andrew’s wedding played homage to the boheme, with wild flowers dressing ancient church walls and daisies woven into braided hair…
Photography by LANE handpicked photographer Cinzia Bruschini.
Names / Emanuela & Andrew
Wedding Date / June 10, 2017
Guest Numbers / 200
How We Met
Andrew and I met in Hong Kong at a bar called Socialito under the neon sign “If life gives you limes make margaritas”. It was a very busy Thursday night and I randomly thought he owned the place as he stood confidently against the bar! I shyly ordered 5 margaritas from him only to then realize my faux-pas that really Andrew worked at Goldman Sachs! We ended up dancing the night away till morning in Dragon-I.
Our Engagement Story
Andrew proposed on a snowy New Year’s Eve in Gstaad at our friends beloved Chalet Montana. I was freezing as it finally had started to snow that evening when Andrew suddenly asked me to go outside. He began to recite a long list of the reasons he loved me, then took out a Cartier box from under a sheepskin on a bench outside and told me he wanted me to move to London with him. Thinking it was a very sweet gesture and a lovely gift I put the ring on my right finger and politely thanked him before asking if we could go inside as I was so cold. He had to then re-enact the whole thing as I was completely taken by surprise and I did not realize he was proposing.
Marriage to us Means
Marriage to us means partnership; a mutual respect for one and other, a promise which goes beyond a glitzy or memorable party, a celebration of our love with the people we love the most. Creating a new chapter of our lives which we write the pages of each and every day, we create the future we want for our kids and our little family.
Being Italian there was no other country in mind I could think of which would measure up to the great food, wine, energy and atmosphere of Italy.
It was definitely a dream come true when Andrew made the venue of my dreams happen, we had our first holiday together in Tuscany when Andrew’s best man had rented Il Palagio, Stings beloved holiday home. Although I’ve worked for over 12 years in the events industry, I had never seen such a naturally beautiful and well-kept venue that didn’t even need to try to be spectacular – every plant and flower was in the right place in an effortless style, the epitome of chic and laid back. We had only been together for several months at this point yet by the end of the holiday I had made it clear to everyone including the incredible staff that I would get married here someday (hopefully to Andrew!). The staff still remembered that fondly and it was amazing that we could make that dream come true.
Theme & Style
I wanted to create a bespoke theme for each day that was different from any of the events I had previously created.
For the welcome dinner, we went with a theme of “Florence of Bohemia”. This made up title took inspiration from Florentine tiles, architecture, colours and Medici history as well as being heavily influenced by Morocco and bohemian style. I was also inspired by a photo I had seen of Margherita Missoni’s wedding with cushions on the floor in lots of prints and patterns.
For the actual wedding I wanted to create something that reminded me of where we met, Hong Kong. I opted for the title an evening of Toscanerie – a marriage between China and Tuscany – taking elements from both Italy and China to influence the design of the evening. This theme influenced everything from the invitation, to the custom plate design, floral designs which mixed in country rustic, daisies with mandarin trees, to bamboo bird cages and Ming vases contrasted with Florentine glasses by designer Mario Luca Giusti and rustic wooden tables and chairs.
For the pool party, the theme was ‘Tu vuo fa l’Americano”. We encouraged guests to show up in bold and bright prints from Dolce Gabbana adverts – the design element was not as important for the recovery, we focused more on the food, a spread of oven fire pizza, pasta, home-made gelato set by the pool filled with a sea of inflatables in the swimming pool.
Cinzia Bruschini: her aesthetic and eye to detail is remarkable, she is able to create an ethereal shot that transports you and makes you dream. I love that she and Matteo were able to capture all the little details and the atmosphere and the vibe of the day.
Day One: Dolce & Gabbana couture dress
Wedding day: Naeem Khan New Mexico Dress, entirely hand woven with beautiful long bell sleeves and a plunging back line.
Day Three: One vintage Designs white lace dress that went over a Dolce Gabbana swimsuit.
Bespoke Aquazzura who is a dear friend of mine. Dusty Pink, very high with a platform sole to elongate and hide my growing baby bump!
The design was based on a look my mother and I designed, and I had worn to a friend’s 30th birthday party in Florence. The fabrics were all hand selected in China and made into long trailing skirts for each bridesmaid, the girls then paired this with a white body on top… they were magnificent and so beautiful they totally took my breath away that day.
Flowergirl & Pageboy Outfits
Bespoke outfits made by our tailor in Hong Kong. White taffeta for the flower girl with a green silk belt and white ballerina shoes for the boys olive green Bermuda shorts and sash for the boys with white collared shirts with green piped colour.
My engagement ring is definitely very different, its sapphires all the way round and a cushion cut diamond in the center
Andrew’s ring is classic Cartier gold ring with my name and our wedding date engraved on the inside.
Jewelry & Accessories
I had a very long and ethereal Rapunzel braid, I bought the extension in London and we weaved little marguerites / daisies into the length of it, it definitely was different.
Save the date was a bespoke website. The invitations were a hand designed and bespoke water colour with a separate invitation for every day. Each invitation had a strong emphasis on the design aesthetic of the venue and we incorporated the event design into each day.
Each guest received a little gold pineapple plate made in India in a bespoke gift bag with our logo on it. I love pineapples and have somewhat of an obsession for them as all my friends and family know… so they were perfect and everyone had a laugh.
Flowers & Bouquets
The florals were very much based on each of the bridesmaids skirts, all varying in colours. They were quite strong colours, we definitely weaved in Tuscan foraged flowers with hints of Asian peonies and tiny kumquats.
The reception was a mix of Italian foraged florals and peonies, we incorporated a touch of East such as orange trees which are reminiscent of Chinese New Year, we also had green and yellow hand painted parrots that were amongst the flowers which popped amongst the flowers we had selected. The overall colour scheme was pastels of peach, pink, oranges and greens and whites in beautiful blue and white Ming vases.
Videographer Christiano Ostianelli, the film is beautiful and reminds you of an Italian love story set in the Tuscan Hills as he zooms in on an aerial shot of the villa and ends with us speeding away in the red convertible MG roadster.
I had a memorable brunch prepared at the house, with my bridesmaids, close friends, god-mother, mother and my 98-year-old grandmother. The girls all told funny stories and what our friendship meant to them, and my maid of honor gave a memorable and emotional speech. I gave each of them a bespoke clutch which my mother made in her factory with each of their names engraved in mother of pearl. As I got my hair and makeup done, I distracted myself from my nerves by writing each of my bridesmaids a special card. It was a really special time spending that whole morning with them getting ready.
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Ceremony Décor & Reception Décor
Toscanerie was our made up name for the day and everything revolved around this. The ceremony was very understated, greenery and whites adorned the church into huge pedestals, the pews were dripping with green ivy and candles in hurricanes, with a fence of white delphiniums which dressed the alter very naturally, the medieval church did not need much as it was beautiful in itself.
For the reception, everything was sourced rather than rented. As the villa is so beautiful, it did not need a huge production to it but we did put a strong emphasis on lighting the villa and gardens and features properly. The fountains were lit and filled with wild roses and peonies and lemon trees lit perfectly as if they were glowing. For the dinner area, we used rustic wooden long tables, we had three variations of plates hand painted with chinoiserie motifs which were tone on tone with the colour of the bold water glasses, Ming vases in blue and white, bamboo bird cages, hand painted parrots in green and yellow, orange trees and ceramic pineapples.
I opted for a tent as I’ve done so many events where the weather has turned last minute, we decorated this with a fairy light canopy. On retrospect I wish we had just had the canopy of lights and no tent but I wasn’t prepared to take the risk. The dance floor was truly magical, set in the courtyard of the villa, I sourced a one meter disco ball that was hung within fairy lights to create an amazing effect in the trees and on the walls of the courtyard.
Wedding Planner & Wedding Stylist
As I have worked in the industry for 10 years (and have just set up my own agency – Event Republic), it was natural for me to undertake my own wedding as my first big project. I felt the only person who could bring this to life would be me, although it was definitely stressful planning and being the bride, I had one of my team members fly in to help me execute the wedding.
Mille Foglie with homemade cream and strawberries, which was prepared in front of the guests live.
Ceremony song: Ave Maria
First Dance: we choreographed our first dance to a medley of three songs to get everyone dancing. Just The Way You Are by Billy Joel, Le Rebelion by Joe Arroyo and Show Me Love by Robin S.
Food & Beverages
We had a huge selection of stations for everyone at the cocktail from live cheese station, cured meats, bruschetta station, fritti (Italian fried selection) and open bars. The dinner was a sit down three course meal of typical Italian dishes that were not too heavy but perfect for summer.
A vintage 1960’s red MG convertible – and ode to England where we now live.
Our honeymoon was at San Pietro Hotel in Positano, we loved the service and wonderful staff! I was almost 6 months pregnant and we took the boat out all day one day and spent our day swimming in grottos and snorkeling and then stopping at Conca del Sogno for an amazing meal.
We had our gift registry at Harrods. While all the gifts were wonderful, one particular gift that we will never forget was 4 days in Capri from two very good friends of ours.
Our readings were all religious and we had a catholic ceremony and vows. One thing that did surprise all the guests was a personalised blessing from the Pope himself which was a surprise from my father who spent days at the Vatican in order to have this sent on time.
Any Other Special Details
My husband’s sister sang Ave Maria as I walked into the church, also walking down I made sure to stop to kiss both my mother and grandmother, both such strong and important women in my life. The fact that my grandmother was present at 98 brought tears to my eyes as I walked down the aisle and saw her smiling at me.
Sources of Inspiration
My sources of inspiration drew from books I had read, magazines, The Lane blog and Pinterest. I tend to create a master board for all my events and screen grabbed from many sources to come to a final aesthetic and overall design.
A Memorable Moment
Finding out I was pregnant and having to factor this major news when it came to my dress, the wedding day itself and also trying to slow down on the planning and trying to delegate. It all went well : ) On the day itself a memorable moment would be dancing in a circle hand-in-hand with all my best friends as the sun came up!
One Thing I Wish I Knew Before I started my Wedding Plans
That the location needed everything brought in on site, kitchens, toilets, changing rooms for staff.
If I could give other Brides-To-Be one Piece of Advice
To meet with various planners and people before going ahead with your chosen person… I hear so many nightmare stories from friends and you need to have a wonderful and trusting relationship for the months ahead of your day.
Photography / Cinzia Bruschini
Bride’s Dress / Naeem Khan Couture
Bride’s Shoes / Aquazurra
Groom’s Formal Wear / Rubinacci
Wedding Rings / Cartier
Hair & Makeup / Lara Navarrini
Stationery & Styling / Event Republic
Florist / John & Jessie Flowers
Venue & Cake / Il Palagio
Catering / Galateo Riceviminti
Honeymoon / San Pietro Di Positano
Celebrant / Catholic Priest Don Alessandro
Videographer / Cristiano Ostinelli Videography