Heather and Blake’s Tuscany destination wedding is as dreamy as it gets. After bonding over their love for travel, these two lovebirds talked about one day getting married at Blake’s family’s villa and that soon became a reality! With the help of Serena Ricci, they planned a romantic wedding ceremony and intimate reception that was too perfect for words. La Gardenia provided a ton of greenery and large white blooms that covered the ceremony archway and reception tables. Autumn Nicole Photo and her BFF second photographer, In Frames Photography, traveled to Tuscany to photograph Heather and Blake’s fairytale of a wedding.
Heather and Blake
Cortona, Tuscany, Italy
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When planning a destination wedding, definitely take that location’s taxes into account. We had set our budget and chosen most of our details before we realized taxes in Italy are 10 to 22 percent, depending on the service. So we had to rework a few things, but it all turned out in the end.
We were lucky enough to have Autumn and her BFF Morgan along as her second shooter, and they were my favorite part of the whole weekend! Not only were they fantastic at getting us to relax and laugh during our bridals shoot, but they helped with every single mishap on the big day. From loosening up over-styled hair and blending out eyeshadow blunders to retrieving forgotten bouquets and playing therapist during some stressful moments, they did it all!
When we first met, Blake and I bonded over our mutual love of travel, and later on he mentioned that if we ever got married, we should do it at his aunt and uncle’s villa in Tuscany. At the time, it sounded like a crazy fairytale, but a few months later we were engaged and ended up unexpectedly relocating to Italy for work. Talk about fate! We had always wanted to keep our wedding small and intimate…what better way than making it a destination wedding at a family home? Everything really fell together beautifully.
Blake is from Manhattan and a true city guy at heart, and had always wanted a classic, elegant celebration. I grew up in Virginia, and had always imagined myself getting married outside in the mountains, with a rustic vibe. Neither of us were into dance floors and DJ’s and bridal parties – the traditional wedding format. We ended up striking a nice balance between our styles: black tie, outdoors, with lots of greenery and candle light. Keeping the guest list small and having everyone at one long table kept things intimate, with plenty of lively conversation. No need for loud music or dancing, just spending quality time with the people we love.
All of the speeches from the guests were really touching. Almost everyone spoke at some point over the course of the evening, and there were lots of laughs and a few tears as well. Blake‘s father read a moving story called The Train of Life (author unknown) that threw everyone for a loop – he’s usually a big jokester, and none of us expected such a lovely reading.
Another highlight was the afterparty at the monastery, where Blake taught my mom how to play beer pong. She had so much fun, and still has the ping pong ball as a memento!
Also, as cliche as it is, don’t sweat the small stuff. Our vintage Alfa Romeo getaway car was unexpectedly unavailable the day of the wedding after driving an hour to pick it up, I forgot my bouquet, my hair didn’t turn out quite how I wanted…but it was all ok. Sure, I was 30 minutes late to my wedding, but it was fine. My brothers saved the day with their Vespa rentals. As for my hair, in the grand scheme of things, it wasn’t the end of the world. Just enjoy the day!
The Wedding Team:
Photography – Autumn Nicole Photo
Second Shooter In Frames Photography
Event Planning – Serena Ricci
Venue – Private Residence
Floral Design – La Gardenia
Catering – Preludio Catering
Officiant – Charlton deSaussure
Live Music – Firenze Classica
Stationery – Minted
The biggest thanks to Autumn Nicole Photo for sharing this fairy tale wedding with Junebug! For more magical nuptials, take a look at this Italian countryside elopement in Florence that is the epitome of intimate.