WWW readers Meredith and Eric are huge advocates for destination weddings and when you see the images from their big day in Italy, I think you’ll see why. They chose their location very carefully so that their friends and family were close enough to explore the lovebirds’ favourite city Florence and were also able to wander through Tuscany’s mesmerising countryside. They really wanted to show their guests a good time and filled their loved-up week with activities such as a pizza night, welcome drinks and a gourmet picnic and pool party. Bellissimo!
The special day took place in a picturesque villa with sprawling grounds, tall trees and the Tuscan hills as a backdrop. The soft pastel colours and exquisite décor created an atmosphere of romance and the abundance of full blooms and greenery completed the classic look and style. Meredith wore a beautiful lace two-piece mermaid gown with bright blue high heels and Eric was dressed in a custom-made royal blue suit. I think I gasped out loud when I saw the masterpiece of a wedding cake – a Millefiori, traditional Neapolitan pastry treat – and the way it was prepared in front of the couple and their loved ones. I thought it was extremely sweet that the bride’s parents were able to FaceTime into the ceremony after they sadly couldn’t travel to Italy and that their participation was a surprise even for Meredith. So gorgeous.
Thank you so much, Chloe Murdoch Photography, for these spectacular photographs.
THE PROPOSAL | Eric and I live in Venice Beach, just steps from the sand, so make it a point to take walks on the beach and watch the sunset as much as we can. Back in August of 2013, we took one of our many walks on the beach, although this time Eric wanted to bring his camera and take pictures for a class he was “taking”. It’s funny because he was wearing his nice loafers and my girlfriend who was staying with us for the weekend suddenly had to “run” an errand, and for a moment I thought something seemed off. Anyway, an hour or so later after a long walk on the beach and lots of pictures, I had forgotten all about it. I was playing with his hat, trying to roll it up my arm and catch it on my head and in that moment, which I will never forget, Eric was down on one knee, in the middle of Venice Beach, proposing to me. All I remember is the incredibly beautiful ring shining in the sunlight and this overwhelming feeling of excitement. He then had arranged a table and champagne at Hotel Erwin followed by dinner at Melisse, and drinks with all of our closest friends at Bar Chloe ending with a romantic night at Lowes Hotel. It was an incredible day of surprises! To top it off he had told me we had a work lunch with his boss Sunday afternoon at Gjelina. We arrived and there was our entire family!!
THE VISION | Rustic Italian Villa.
THE PLANNING PROCESS | Planning an Italian wedding from Los Angeles would not have been possible without the help of Daniela and The Tuscan Wedding! I was incredibly lucky to have found her through all my research. For us, it all came down to the location. We knew we wanted to be close enough to Florence where guests could stay in the city, but just far enough outside where we could enjoy the Tuscan countryside. Daniela made that dream come true at Borgo I Vicelli.
My husband and I flew out a year before the wedding to meet Daniela and tour our top four villas. Within 48 hours and 20 espresso shots later, our wedding was ultimately planned. While a whirlwind at the time, it was incredibly efficient. We had met, tasted and booked our caterer (who mind you was just about to cater the celebrity wedding for Kim Kardashian and Kanye West!!!) toured and booked our villa, hired our florist and selected our tables, chairs, and table settings. A perk of destination wedding planning is the post-planning fun! Lucky us enjoyed a few extra days in Forte de Marmi which will hopefully stay one of Italy’s best-kept secrets.
The rest of the planning from there was full of the fun stuff. To share my vision for the wedding, Dani and I shared lots of Pinterest boards, Skype chats, and PowerPoint decks full of floral collages and design ideas. We wanted to start the wedding with a pizza night hosted by the villa for our family and wedding party, followed by a rehearsal dinner in Florence with welcome drinks to follow for the entire guest list. Appertivo next to Santa Croce Cathedral was a surreal way to start the festivities and welcome 100 of our closest friends and family to our favourite city, Firenze! Finally to end the weekend we wanted to host a picnic and pool party at the villa with basket lunches and wine flowing from the damigiana! I think Dani to this day still wants to kill me for shipping 30 picnic blankets from Amazon to her home.
THE VENUE | Borgo I Vicelli Country Relais, Florence, Italy.
THE DRESS & ACCESSORIES | ZahaviTtshuba ‘Lucia’ two piece dress. Alexandre Birman blue laser-cut heels. Mother’s necklace.
FINDING THE DRESS | I tried on dresses almost everywhere, LA, NY, London and was starting to worry about finding the perfect dress. I received a last minute fitting call from an Israeli designer and my husband encouraged me to go. He even went with me since it was so last minute. I met Tasha at an old Hollywood bungalow, which once belonged to Charlie Chaplin. Her name was ZahaviTtshuba and she had these incredibly unique two piece dresses. Lace body suits and gown skirts. I instantly fell in love and with the support of my husband (no, he didn’t see it), decided to pull the trigger and custom order the Lucia dress. Besides its beauty, one of the things that drew me to the dress was how easy it was to pack it considering I’d have to travel with it to Italy!
GROOM’S ATTIRE | Brooklyn Tailors custom royal blue suit. Alan Edmonds brown oxford dress shoes. The Tie Bar tie and pocket square.
THE READINGS & MUSIC | Readings were done by Meredith’s Aunt Vicky and Eric’s sister’s Jennifer and Alison. Married by our good friend Ryan.
BEAUTIFUL BRIDESMAIDS | Eight bridesmaids starting with Maid of Honour, Nicole Burrow my best friend from high school, ‘maidettes’ Aiko Fujimoto and Asha Shivaji my best friends from college, sister in laws Alex McBride, Jennifer Hall Cops and Alison Hall Maring, and longest childhood friend Leah Schmidt and college sorority sister Mia Klarich.
THE FLOWERS | South African Protea, peonies, olive, and eucalyptus.
THE CAKE | Millefiori cake which was made right in front of our guests, one of the most entertaining surprises for our guests. One of my favourite photos from the wedding is our niece Everly waiting very patiently while layer upon layer was beautifully crafted! Our guests were very impressed!
YOUR PHOTOGRAPHER | My childhood best friend, Chloe Murdoch! She’s incredible!
THE DETAILS & DÉCOR | Rustic Italian Villa! It was spring/early summer, so soft and romantic with shades of pink, peach and white, lots of aromatic plants and garlands of olive leaves and branches. Natural compositions in a romantic style with a touch of wild country!
THE HONEYMOON | Following the wedding we mini-mooned in Positano and toured Pompeii, however, our real honeymoon followed six months later with a South African safari in the Eastern Cape at Shamwari Game Reserve.
MEMORABLE MOMENTS | I can’t even explain it, but having 100 of your closest friends and family together in a foreign country, all there to share your love, was and still is an incredible feeling. The wedding was pure magic and our hearts were touched by feelings of gratitude. It was also pretty cool to have one of Dani’s girls FaceTime my parents into the ceremony. My mother had fallen ill right before the wedding so both my parents were unable to attend. The photos of that, which at the time I didn’t even know were happening, is so freaking cool!
ADVICE FOR OTHER COUPLES | Destination, destination, destination!!! Our wedding was incredible because we were able to pull everyone away from their daily lives for a week of fun, relaxation, love, amazing food and wine and incredible company! The wedding celebration was just the cherry on top!
CREDIT WHERE CREDIT IS DUE |
Photographer | Chloe Murdoch Photography
Wedding Planner | The Tuscan Wedding
Venue | Borgio I Vicelli Villa
Guest Villa | Torre A Cona
Wedding Dress | ZahavitTshuba
Groom’s Suit | Brooklyn Tailors
Caterer | Galateo Ricevimenti
Florist | Stiatti Fiori
Videographer | Momo Film Factory
Music | Alma Project
Thank you, Meredith and Eric, for sharing your blissful Italian celebration with us. Your day is practically a walking advertisement for destination weddings and I loved seeing how happy and delighted you looked. Abby xx