There’s no better way to kick off the week than with a destination wedding in Italy. The dream team of Les Amis Photo and Il Profumo Dei Fiori worked together on this beautiful wedding for couple Barbara and Michele. Barbara is a wedding planner herself with Four Nineteen Weddings, so it comes as little surprise that her day would be gorgeous from beginning to end!
From the bride, Barbara: When you are a wedding planner specializing in destination weddings, planning your own destination wedding is actually quite an experience! For us, Italy was, without a doubt, the place to celebrate our marriage. Michele is Italian and I, well I just love everything about Italy. At the time of our engagement, we had been considering planning a trip with friends to the Puglia region, which is by far, one of my favorite places in Italy, and not as known as other Italy wedding destinations (like Tuscany or the Amalfi Coast). When looking for a place to rent for this trip, we came across the most stunning masseria in the Salento region, Masseria Torre Ruggeri, and upon seeing photos of it, we just knew, that that was where we had to have our wedding. Sight unseen, we booked the masseria before even telling anyone we were engaged. At first, I truly thought about handling every single aspect of the planning myself, against the most important advice I give all brides considering a destination wedding. About two months into the planning, I realized that I should actually follow my own advice if I wanted to really enjoy my wedding day (and not have it feel like work). I did not want to have one of Four Nineteen Weddings other planners have to work either, so I needed to find someone local that understood my vision and was OK with the fact that I was going to handle pretty much everything about the wedding except for the day-of logistics. I also needed them to help us finalize some details that were pending, and was so happy to find Katia and Francesco at Lecceventi, who were absolutely fantastic (and so very sweet)!
During the planning process, one of the questions my clients asked the most was “How did you decide how you wanted your wedding to be with all the inspiration and images you see every day for work?”. Truth is, it was very simple for me (I must say, my sweet husband let me do what I pleased in this regard). I knew that I wanted something simple but lovely, and to have the venue itself, the buildings, the citrus garden, the olive trees, the courtyard, the sky, be the center of attention. I was craving to doing a lot of DIY (mostly because doing all these little projects was, belive it or not, a bit of “therapy” for me in the midst of our crazy Costa Rican wedding season). I wanted to incorporate some blue printed fabric in the design and found some vintage blue batik textile on Etsy that became our design inspiration. After buying 40 meters of the fabric (and getting it shipped from Indonesia to Costa Rica), I went from considering making napkins out of them to finally deciding on using them as runners. Being a fan of mixing patterns, the fabric inspired me to buy every piece of blue hued patterned fabric I could get my hands on (pillow covers, scarves to use as highboy overlays, wraps to use as throws for the lounges…) The better part of a day was spent dip dyeing sixty plain cotton napkins in a not so subtle blue ombre design (this was probably my favorite project and also the one I loved the outcome of the most). Michele and I spent days making little wood signs and table numbers from scratch and actually worked on the wedding day making a tulle backdrop for the ceremony spot and hanging ribbon from chairs and trees in the citrus garden. I also designed all the paper goods, and with the help of Michele’s family, made the favors (little bottles of olive oil from olives grown in his uncle’s property, that double up as seating cards).
I really wanted our vendors to be inspired and not feel like they were having their creativity thwarted with a set idea of how I wanted thing to look. I truly believe that if you pick the vendors that are perfect for you, or those whose work you love, or with whom you feel a special connection (or let yourself be guided to those who are, which is the case of destination weddings, when you really have to trust your planner to find the perfect vendors for your vision), then you really can’t go wrong. We truly lucked out in that between our research and Katia & Francesco’s help, we had some pretty talented vendors on our side. The catering was absolutely spectacular (there was actually a guy making bocconcini LIVE at the cocktail hour); our sweet officiant, Victoria, who delivered a custom ceremony that left no dry eye in the house;, the live musicians were fabulous; our lighting designer/DJ did an awesome job with illuminating the already lovely space and an even better job of getting everyone on the dance floor… Last but not least, I am lucky that two of my best friends are a talented stylist and a fabulous makeup artist and that they so graciously gifted their time to me on my wedding day – believe it or not, I did not ask for a hair and makeup trial and the only direction I actually gave them was “braids” and “yes, I do want those fake eyelashes”.
We had the good fortune of having a quite a few of our family and close friends join us for the wedding, and most of them actually spent the whole week (or a good part of it) with us at the Masseria (we also rented the house next door, the lovely Masseria Fondo Paolo). In the end, what we wanted was our wedding to be more than just the wedding day itself (although that was one of the high points); we wanted it to be a unique experience for everyone, something that was not the typical Italian vacation but something that really put Italy, and more so the Salento region, in everyone’s hearts (which it most certainly did). We also opted to step away from tradition a bit. We did not have a wedding party or a wedding cake, my son walked me down the aisle, and I actually decided on using my engagement ring, that I love, as a wedding ring (and in the emotion of the moment, I actually gave my husband the wrong hand to put the ring on; and did not realize it until we were doing portraits!)… Ultimately, I think that the choices you make regarding your wedding day have to feel right for you, regardless of whether or not they adhere strictly to tradition or expectations. While a beautiful wedding is one of my favorite things in the world… I think the most important thing about a wedding is love… not only that shared by the you and your husband but that love that radiates from everyone around you.
And don’t miss the wedding film from Les Amis Photo: