Michael and Angela hosted an intimate destination wedding in Italy in Florence and Fiesole. While guests stayed and celebrated in Florence, the couple hosted the actual wedding in ancient ruins outside of the city.
We asked Angela to share their magical Italian I do experience with us and here’s what the beautiful bride had to say:
As we both hail from Italian decent, Italy has always been a special place for both of us. It was important to us to host a small, intimate destination wedding where we could spend quality time with all our guests, only the closest of our friends and family, making them truly a part of the celebration. And the beauty of our destination wedding was that all of our guests were able to create their own mini-vacations out of it.
Florence was hands down the city we both loved and in which we agreed marry. I wanted a location unlike anything anyone had ever even seen, and one that I never thought possible. It was a simple Google search for “wedding venues in Florence” that lead me to one particular overhead shot of a stunning location dating back to the 11th century; Castle Vincigliata. My heart was set on it instantly. This highly coveted venue books years-out during their high-season. We planned our wedding date around its availability; landing on a Tuesday in early October. This ended up working out to our benefit as all of the top vendors were available and prices were more favorable versus the typical weekend, high season rates!
Walking into the welcome dinner the night before our wedding, seeing all of our guests with the magnificent Florence skyline in the background, was truly a humbling experience for both of us. Realizing that all our invited guests had actually made the trip and that we were about to share the most special time of our lives with them, in one of our favorite cities in the world, was simply amazing. The intimacy of it all set the tone for our celebrations!
As guests entered the castle, they were greeted by a live string quartet playing both traditional Italian love songs mixed with new hits. They played “Cavalleria Rusticano-Intermezzo” by Pietro Mascagni as I walked down the aisle.
Two long-time family friends, both hailing from Italy, served as our officiants for a ceremony that was read in both Italian and English.
We went through the full process and actually got legally married in Italy.
It consisted of appointments at the US Consulate with our witnesses (our maid of honor and best man), translated legal declarations, a translator, etc. We were married by the Mayor of Fiesole, in the town hall, for our legal ceremony two days after our wedding. Our incredible wedding planner, Eleonora Ciliberti, had a beautiful custom-made flower purse delivered to hold as my bouquet. The mayor in his Italian sash, the over-sized wooden chairs – traditional to all Italian ceremonies – and our marriage certificate in Italian made it all more special than either one of us expected or could have imagined.
Dinner was originally supposed to be served outside on the castle terrace, but a last minute rain scare ended up moving the dinner inside the castle. This proved to be the best last-minute decision ever as we were all able to enjoy the warmth and intimacy of the castle that much longer. Dinner was served family style, with what seemed to be endless courses of traditional/regional Italian dishes. Guests enjoyed the Florence-based staple (& last name of my husband) “Vivoli Gelato” cart along with the traditional Italian wedding cake, milliefoglie.
The goal was to keep our colors very subtle, soft, easy & classy. We went with a blush palette; such a romantic color that turned out to have endless options and variations. Other than our bouquets, flowers & candles at the dinner table, the natural beauty of our venue served as our dream décor.
The highlight of the whole celebration was when we surprised our guests with a carefully choreographed fireworks show.
We started the fireworks off playing David Guetta, “When Love Takes Over” and ended with Calvin Harris’, “This is What You Came For”. For the finale, we had “VIVOLI” light up in sparklers for the ultimate of grand finales.
Planning a destination wedding is challenging enough, but adding the 8-hour time difference and language barriers to our communication with vendors it proved to be daunting at times. There were many early morning emails and text exchanges, “rough translations” of my requests, even FaceTime sessions at 2am (U.S. time) for a virtual walk-thru of my venue!
Congratulations to the newlyweds! Your destination wedding in ancient ruins in Italy was truly spectacular and we wish you an equally magical marriage!
Destination Wedding Photographer: Andrea Pitti
Wedding Vendors: Venue: Castello di Vincigliata, Catering: Tuscan Bites, Wedding Planner: Nora Event Designer, Hair + Makeup: Antonella Macaluso, Transportation: Italy Chauffeur Service, Accommodations + Welcome Dinner: Grand Hotel Baglioni, Fireworks: Pirotecnica Soldi, DJ: Wedding DJ Italy di Roberto Palma, String Quartet: Trasimeno String Ensemble, Post-Wedding Brunch: Ristorante Il Porcospino