Romance in the Toscana Hills
Wow what a wedding, a Tuscan Wedding! It’s not very often the opportunity arises to photograph a destination wedding, especially in the rolling landscape of Tuscany in Italy (of course that’s not to say I wouldn’t welcome more!!!).
Now this post may be a little longer than usual as there’s just so much to tell! So where do I begin…I’ve known Anna and James for quite some time. Anna and I have a mutual friend, my best friend, Melissa, we’ve all shared nights out and grew up in the same area. James and I on the other hand went to the same school. He was always the hot Spanish one in the year below. A couple of years ago Anna contacted me about learning photography through my academy. She undertook a one year intensive photography course under me, learning from a beginner to a professional photographer! We became good friends during this time and on many occasions during our crash course weekends we would get to discuss weddings as part of our industry, Anna would dream about her wedding day, the photo’s she would like and wondered when James would propose! After 6 years together and recently buying their first home in London, James finally popped the question!
The Proposal – Now I could go on forever about how Anna was so busy practicing her sunrise photography skills on the beach in Sardinia that morning, that she didnt even realise that James was trying to propose! But I guess I should move on to the wedding; the big weekend!
As I mentioned earlier James is half Spanish and Anna is half Italian, so it had already been decided that they would marry in one of the two destinations. After a few visits to Tuscany, they found and fell in love with the stunning Castello di Modanella, a grand authentic 12th Century medieval Italian Castle in the rolling hills of Tuscany – a truly serene setting. With a small chapel and plenty of villas and apartments on the 645 hectare estate scattered with the picturesque vineyards and olive groves, they knew this would be the perfect place to exchange vows for their dream Tuscan Wedding. When Anna first spoke with me about the photography, she was hesitant to ask me. She wanted me there as a guest, but at the same time, having had me as her tutor (and knowing how much of a perfectionist I am) she didn’t want someone else capturing the day. I didn’t hesitate, I was flattered, and just look at them, who wouldn’t love to photograph such a gorgeous couple. At the last minute, they booked Tim, my second photographer, to come and capture the day with me. This was the best decision they could have made, as Tim was able to document the getting ready stages of James and the guys, as well as capture details while I concentrated on group photos, not to mention Tim being another pair of eyes and perspective on the day! James took so well to Tim and was so glad Anna had convinced him to bring him along. We arrived on the Friday and after getting lost and having a giggle with Anna’s family on the roads of Tuscany, we finally found the amazing Villa Sanita, where we stayed next to the lovely couple and friends. With a BBQ, pizza night, prossecco, and everyone sunning themselves to the sounds of Jubel, we made the most of the extra time we had, chilling by the pool and getting creative with ring and dress photos.
I have to admit, having taught Anna so much, letting her in on trade tricks secrets and showing Anna what not to do in photography, suddenly me and Tim realised the pressure we now had on us!
The tuscany Wedding
Entering Anna’s bedroom, where she and her four bridesmaids (all her sisters!) were getting ready, there was a great sense of calm. While her sisters fanned themselves, snuggled on the bed and painted nails, Anna was relaxed having her hair and make-up done by the excellent Consuelo Cardella at Titolare di me stessa arranged via Anna’s wedding planner. Consuelo works around Europe covering weddings and fashion events and has even been the hair/ make-up artist to the Kardasians at fashion week!
Tim on the other hand was by the pool taking some great photos of the boys… well, being boys!
Having photographed so many weddings with me Anna had picked up on everything in regard to details, she knew what looks nicer in photos, even down to the dress hangers. Anna’s sisters, the bridesmaids, wore blush pink maxi dresses from the Debut range at Debenhams in Nude. Lisa, the Maid of Honour looked beautiful with her pregnancy bump and spent a lot of time in front of the fan, bless her. I simply love the getting ready photo here of all the girls.
Anna wore a ivory white lace dress from the La Sposa range by Pronovias, which she found at a boutique bridal shop in Marylebone called Bridal Rogue Gallery. The dress design was called Mullet (pronounced mull-le) and Anna fell in love with it straight away, well nearly… she wasn’t too keen on the princess sweetheart tulle neckline the dress originally came with, and so had the it customised, bringing the guipure appliquéd lace right up to the top to create a softer neckline and full lace design. The dress had a stunning soft fishtail shape to it, which snugged Anna’s gorgeous figure perfectly, showing all her curves in the right places! She topped this off with a gorgeous headpiece by David Design, customised with added pearls (with help from the fab designers at Bridal Rogue Gallery) and a classic pair of 1920’s style T-bar Rachel Simpson shoes called Ginger in Vintage Gold to get that true Vintage look.
James and his two best men wore blue suits, the colour so unique, Tim and I loved it, so different from the norm, and it looked sensational with their Soft pink Gieves & Hawkes ties from Savile Row which James bought for each of his Groomsmen as a gift. James paired his bespoke tailor made 3-piece Cad & the Dandy suit with a pair of tan ‘Heston’ Loake brogues, he was looking dapper to say the least!
James certainly made the most of being a Groom and spoiled himself with the details including some Tom Ford shades.
The Catholic ceremony took place at 4:30pm in the cute little San Giovanni Evangelista chapel next to the Castello and despite it being insanely hot, the wedding ran smoothly with James and Anna looking extremely chuffed with themselves. I’m still wondering what the maids were giggling about??! Anna’s Mums singing I think!
After the ceremony, we headed to a nearby vineyard for some photos with the newlyweds. They hired a pristine vintage (1969) Jaguar E-type that came in the most beautiful vintage gunmetal grey with deep cheery red seats. After loads of great photos in the vineyards, olive groves and beautiful grounds, followed by group photos by the car as the sun was setting, in some overcast weather. As the guests found their seats in the castles open air courtyard, the weather took a turn for the worse and the heavens opened! Now there is that old saying in Italy – “la sposa bagnata, la sposa fortunata” which loosely translates as “if it rains on your wedding day then it brings good luck to your marriage” and whilst not expected or on Anna’s “plan of the day” list, it made for quite a fun twist to the day. Anna and James made a dash for courtyard arches with the guests in tow (and the wine from the table!) and just laughed it off as they waited for it to pass. The staff at Castello di Modanella were excellent, running to cover the table and chairs and putting out the candles. Tim and I took full advantage of this break to capture fun photos of everyone sheltering from the rain.
Thankfully it was just a short shower that cleared the air and after 10 mins, everyone was seated again and enjoying the
start to their medieval banquet! The rest of the evening went amazingly, the speeches were superb. James’s best friend James Honeyman and his brother, David excelled with their “Best Men” speech.
Everyone partied into the early hours, in fact I think until sunrise. Anna and James were “in the zone” dancing to their hearts content. It was a fantastic wedding and I wish they could do it all over again!
Thank you so much guys for having us there to capture the best day of your life. A huge congratulations to you and I hope you like these many piccies, I can’t wait to show you the rest of your photos and we look forward to catching up again soon.
Xox Nicci & Tim xoX
Oh yes Anna and James definitely spoiled each other. James bought Anna some gorgeous pearl Tiffany earring and stunning Dower & Hall pearl bracelet, whilst Anna blew James’ sock off with a huge surprise… a ROLEX! Bless, his face was the sweetest when he opened this, it was definitely a “cat that got the cream” moment! Don’t they look lush?! I LOVE James’ suit, particularly the detail on the lush Duchamp shirt.
Big Tip here from James & Anna – To hire this pristine Jag, it worked out cheaper to hire from Nice for a week than it was to hire in Italy for one day. See here
LOVE LOVE LOVE these giant balloons from …. They really make this photo something special.
These fabulous Chefs are part of the award winning team at Castello di Modanella, using local produce much of which is grown on their land including Olive Oil, Wine and Wild Boar. The Castle had been decorated with Candles, cork place name holders and Gypsophilia Flowers (baby’s breath) by Roberto arranged by Bea the wedding planner from Bea Alfresco Wedding and wow did she do an amazing job! She was at Anna’s beck and call in the lead up to the wedding and did so much more than required. An amazing wedding planner who has worked with Castello di Modanella for many years, knows the area and industry extremely well. *Highly recommend.
If you are interested in this beautiful Tuscan wedding venue, you can find more information by clicking here. Why not get in touch with James & Anna’s wedding planner Bea at Alfresco Weddings (based in Tuscany) to help you plan your perfect wedding in Italy.