Nestled amongst a cluster of traditional Tuscan Cyprus trees you’ll stumble upon Borgo Pignano, a haven rich with character, romance, and Italian charm. Elif and Arnold’s wedding was a laid-back, rustic celebration amidst their enchanting woodland surrounds.
A dreamy forest ceremony brimming with whimsical wildflower arrangements and timber bench seating, transformed into a marquee illuminated with warm pontoon lighting and tablescapes of autumnal tones for their reception. It was a scene that felt beautifully organic to their location.
Capturing every emotive moment and delicate detail was The Lane’s Stefano Santucci.
Names / Elif & Arnold
Wedding Date / 22nd September 2018
Guest Numbers / 100
How We Met
We met at a wedding in the south of France in September 2016. I was a friend of the groom and Arnold was a friend of the bride. Both decided to come alone, both waited to confirm until the very last minute. Perhaps by chance, or perhaps by fate, we were seated across from each other on the Friday dinner.
After a few glasses of wine and some attempts from Arnold to get attention, we began to chat. We spoke all night until finally, it was time to leave. As a true gentleman, Arnold walked me to the bus and then to my hotel. We met again the following day and were inseparable for the rest of the weekend. We talked about everything and anything when we were together, looked for each other when we were apart and made excuses to join the other whenever we could. Almost immediately there was a feeling of familiarity – as if we had known each other our entire lives, or possibly longer.
Our Engagement Story
September 2017, I moved to London to begin our new life together. Living in the same house was a dream come true. Six months after moving in together, the night before a surprise weekend to the Highlands of Scotland, Arnold was unable to hold his nerve another 24 hours and dropped to one knee in the middle of our kitchen and asked me to marry him. In complete shock, I answered. Both full of tears and laughter, still in our pajamas, right there on the kitchen floor, we got engaged. Lost in our bubble of love, we flew to Scotland the following day, keeping our news private until our return.
Marriage to us means
A lifetime of adventure and love with the ultimate partner.
We chose Borgo Pignano because it was low key but elegant and because of the diversity it offered. It had everything from stunning Tuscan hills, to a beautiful forest and a wonderful pool built into rocks. We also were looking for an intimate place that could host all our guests and all our events for the weekend. We did not want to have to leave the property. We wanted it to be like we had gone on a country weekend getaway to someone’s home with all of our loved ones.
We both got ready at our hotel Borgo Pignano. I had the bridal suite with my immediate family and three bridesmaids. And then a few very close friends joined for a glass of champagne. I, unfortunately, didn’t do anything before that as I was recovering from the Friday night welcome dinner! Where I did not listen to my bridesmaids who tried to take away those extra couple of glasses of champagne. Arnold was getting ready in the billiards room/library of the hotel with his groomsmen, brothers, and parents, which made for some very beautiful photos. I believe he did a brunch and a hike in the woods with his closest friends beforehand.
Overall Aesthetic / Style
Rustic but chic. We wanted to work with the incredible setting and keep things as uncontrived as possible.
Ceremony & Reception Décor
Our wedding colors were defined by the fall season. I asked La Rosa Canina who did our flowers and were absolutely amazing, to forage the flowers and plants from the forest. Whatever was in season at the time was what defined our color pallet. We wanted lots of greenery to complement and be in tune with our natural surroundings. We had a lot of dried plants and leaves, and everything else was neutral to complement this.
We worked with an exceptionally talented woman named Francesca from SPOSIAMOVI Firenze. I have to admit that absolutely none of this would have happened without her. She understood exactly what we wanted before I even was able to articulate any of it and introduced us to the perfect vendor. I would have been completely lost without her! I honestly feel that things magically just came together (and in a short time) which allowed us to actually enjoy the whole process, which oddly most people do not do! She was our fairy godmother.
Our photographers Stefano Santucci and his lovely partner Lucrezia were incredible! We were extremely drawn to their style, and then met them and instantly loved them as people. Which was a huge help as I was particularly worried about the photos. I am not very photogenic and cannot pose and therefore have a shyness towards cameras. The best photos taken of me have always been candid and I could probably count them on two hands. I think I was most worried about this part of the wedding, as they are what you ultimately end up with after everything is said and done.
I remember thinking our wedding photos would be a disaster because I thought that by definition, wedding photos are always posed and directed. I have to tell you that apart from the very few family photos (which is something we asked to pose for), not one of the gorgeous photos were staged. Not one! They asked us to just walk and be natural. Most of the time we barely saw anyone. It was as if my new husband and I had decided to take a romantic walk in the gardens overlooking the Tuscan hills. Everyone was usually concealed behind a bush or tree. Even the closeups were all done with what I am assuming is a strong zoom lens. I remember worrying about the weather and clouds but the photos ended up being even more magical than the reality which I could never have fathomed. I am eternally grateful to both of them for one of the most important memories of our lives!
Marco Abba was our videographer and they were amazing. Again in following with our theme of natural, uncontrived and chic, they did an incredible job! As with our photographers, Marco Abba and his team were also almost invisible making acting natural extremely easy, with an extremely professional final product. We had almost decided against having a video, as I thought that having someone else’s view for our special day would somehow reshape our memories of the day. I could not have been more mistaken. They captured our wedding exactly how we saw it and the video was better than we could have ever imagined. It is very difficult to look at oneself and genuinely say everything looks perfect, (especially if you tend to be a harsh self-critic as I am), and especially with a moving continuous image.
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My dress was designed by Monique Lhuillier. I loved that it was elegant and timeless and most importantly extremely comfortable, which I think played a big part in my ease for the day and evening. I loved the full lace, long sleeves, and the contrasting open back. The dress was so beautiful that I only wore a pair of simple diamond drop earrings, and was able to get away without a hair and makeup stylist, so I barely wore any makeup and kept my natural hair. I looked like myself which was one of my most important criteria – with the added bonus of not having to worry about my hair and makeup spoiling. After the photos, I put on my favorite pair of Isabel Marant Cresi Boots which I have worn almost every day for about 10 years.
My shoes were Gianvito Rossi. I wanted to go for something that was a bit different and elegant, but not lace or satin. These were perfect!
Our wedding bands are the classic 1895 Cartier bands in yellow gold. My parents have them and they symbolize marriage for me. My engagement ring is an emerald cut diamond on a platinum square edge band.
Flowers & Bouquet
Fall in Tuscany was our inspiration. Our incredible flower designers were true artists. They foraged all the flowers and plants and used only what was local and in season. My wedding bouquet was actually a surprise on the day. I had only said that I wanted it to be wild and bold. It was beyond perfect!
We chose a cake that was a typical Italian wedding cake called a Millefoglie. It was made at the Borgo where we held our wedding.
Food & Beverages
Our menu was made up of Tuscan dishes made from organic produce from local farms in close proximity. Many ingredients were also grown in the property where we were staying. We had a cocktail reception with canapés of different types of arancini and an incredible selection of cured meats and cheeses, with classic Italian cocktails.
We went island hopping in the Maldives for our honeymoon and learned how to surf together, which we are still doing!
Our ceremony was in the forest surrounding the Borgo, so we decided to have a three-piece band which made it quite mystical and powerful.
As people waited: ‘Cello Suite No1 in G Major’ – Bach
‘Over the Rainbow’ – Israel Kamakawiwo’ole
‘In Your Eyes’ – Peter Gabriel
Ceremony: ‘Pachelbel Cannon in D’
We asked the musicians to start off with just the cello (full first loop) as we wanted it to be a very powerful start off (especially in the forest) and then the first violin, followed by the third violin solo.
Exit: ‘Don’t Stop Believing’ – Journey
We had a swing band during dinner and a DJ who played later on in the night.
Our celebrant was my husband’s best friend who was ordained for our ceremony.
One Thing I Wish I Knew Before I Started My Weddings Plans…
I wish I had hired our wedding planner from the very beginning instead of finding a venue and then hiring her!
If I could give other Brides-To-Be one Piece of Advice…
Enjoy the planning, it goes by so fast, and no matter what there is no reason to stress. By the time your wedding day arrives, you will most likely not even remember or even see the details you were stuck on along the way. Enjoy your wedding. A good wedding planner truly makes all the difference, you want someone to be you for the day, so you can take the day off.
Photography / Stefano Santucci
Bride’s Dress / Monique Lhuillier
Bride’s Shoes / Gianvito Rossi
Grooms Formal Attire / Thom Sweeney
Wedding Rings / Cartier
Florist / La Rosa Canina
Cake / Borgo Pignano
Catering / Borgo Pignano
Wedding Planner / Spoziomovi Firenze
Venue / Borgo Pignano
Videography / Marco Abba