Well a lot has happened since my last post (hard to believe that was August of last year). I’m not quite sure where the time goes and, equally, how I manage to share so little on here when there are so many exciting things going on. Side note: one of my many resolutions is to actually blog this year otherwise there is literally no point paying to keep website alive! Anyway, that’s for another day. Let’s dive in…
Our Tuscany Wedding Venue Visits
When I last updated you, we were in the middle of planning our wedding venue visits in Italy. My mom ended up flying over from California to join us in October, which was a really lovely experience. We spent a much needed few days together in London before the three of us jetted off to Tuscany for the week.
There was a bit of a drama around that actually — we had originally planned to do three nights in Sicily so we could visit a few venues down there and then spend the final few days in Tuscany visiting the remaining venues on our list. But due to last minute airport strikes in Italy, we had to cancel the Sicily leg of our trip and ended up spending an impromptu few days in Chianti at Castello Di Meleto instead.
While I was initially quite heartbroken to miss out on visiting the gorgeous Sicilian venues we’d earmarked, Rory and I were in agreement that the Tuscany venues, and one in particular, should take priority. Months later I can tell you we absolutely made the right decision. While each of the venues we visited were beautiful and unique in their own right, the venue that was top of our list ended up being even more incredible in person. It’s hard to put into words and I definitely don’t want to give anything away at this stage, but suffice to say seeing it IRL sealed the deal for us. We headed back to London with one very clear favourite.
Choosing Our Date
With a priority venue in mind, we were in a position to start considering the date for our wedding. I think I’d always imagined we would get married in late summer, perhaps around September, but Tuscany can be a bit tricky from a weather perspective. By mid-June it can reach the high 80s. August is usually pretty unbearably hot. And September, well, it turns out it is often hot but overcast with a higher chance of rain than other summer months. Of course you never know with these things do you but we were keen to try to strike the right balance: warm but not too hot; earlier in the year so the venue is as colourful and lush as possible; as little risk of rain as we can muster. June is where we landed and, given that’s my birthday month, we opted for an early June date so I can still technically say that I was 33 when we got married.
Finding My Wedding Dress
My mom was able to accompany me to a few wedding dress consultations while she was here visiting and although I didn’t think I would find the dress with her, I was keen to get her thoughts on the range of shapes, styles and designers I’d had my eye on. One such appointment brought us to Phillipa Lepley‘s beautiful west London studio where Rory’s mom met us for our first mother and mother-in-law-to-be wedding dress experience. I cannot overstate the quality and craftsmanship of Phillipa’s gowns. There were like nothing I had ever seen and wearing them confirmed for me that I did not want something patterned and colourful after all. I didn’t decide on a favourite that day, but I narrowed it down to three and knew that was it. I was going to get a Phillipa Lepley gown.
I went back a few weeks later with one of my best friends and Face Timed my mom in the dress. And I didn’t ever think I would cry but there I was in tears. She was too. It was every bit as special as I imagined even over the phone.
Recruiting a Wedding Planner
I am pretty sure that by the time we’re done with it, our wedding will have been the most heavily researched (and planned) day of my life. We’ve spent months googling everything under the sun to do with weddings including destination and Tuscany-based wedding planners. After many emails and a handful of initial consultation calls, I am thrilled to say that we’ve secured our planning team — Sandra and Sara of Bianco Rosa Weddings. We’re still in the very early stages of planning, but we have some big decisions coming up including planning our menu and booking the catering, confirming our photographer/videographer and getting a hair/makeup trial booked. Effectively, we need to get all of the vendors booked so we can secure our top choices.
Writing Our Guest List
There’s no easy way to say this but you can’t invite everyone can you? The budget only goes so far and you’d be surprised how quickly you can rack up 100 guests. Rory and I have been aligned on almost everything but the guest list is one area we having differing perspectives. He’s a “the more the merrier” type while I’d rather err on side of “bougie and intimate”. Needless to say, I was hoping to keep it on the smaller side, around 100-120 max. But… when you get down to it, it’s really difficult to whittle the list down. We’ve landed quite a bit above the 120 mark and while we have no idea how many of our guests will actually be able to attend, it’s likely to be a larger gathering than I’d originally planned. And I’m okay with that — I want us both to have all of the most important people there. Save the dates/invites haven’t gone out yet but after several iterations we’ve finally gotten to our final guest list.
Building Our Wedding Website
This is probably where I’ve invested the most time after wedding venue research. Our wedding website has been a labour of love and I’ve thoroughly enjoyed retelling our story and creating a digital experience for our guests that gets them excited about the big day. We explored a number of different hosting options and ultimately settled on The Knot. There are a number of considerations to account for, but ultimately, we found a design we loved and weren’t bothered about having matching invitations (The Knot doesn’t ship internationally currently). I had originally wanted to design and build our wedding website, but The Knot (and several others) will host it for free, so it felt like a no-brainer way to save some budget and time.
The big priority for me (Rory seems less fussed) is for us to make a decision on our wedding stationery ASAP. I want to get save the dates out the door and put the finishing touches on our wedding website so we can share it with guests. In addition to booking key vendors, I am keen to lock down our colour palette with our wedding planners and get started on a mood board. You know I’ve got my own Pinterest mood board going, but I am ready to take it to the next level with the help of Sandra and Sara.
Those are the next big things, but I’m an open book so let me know if there are any parts of the process you’re keen to hear more about!