Many of you have asked about MY wedding. Well, it was beautiful and amazing and I would never in a million years do it that way again! Little Miss Type A, professional wedding photographer holding a destination wedding in a country I had never visited, speaking a language I don’t know, on a continent an ocean away… Yeah, it was stressful but so, so fabulous. (And I admit it was pretty cool to say I was having a destination wedding in Tuscany, Italy.)
Here is my story of the day and some of the snapshots from myself and our 25 guests. You can see the professional pictures (by the oh-so-talented Alison Conklin Photography team of Alison and Geoff) on Martha Stewart Weddings.
As one of the very few things I could do myself, I really wanted to create my own invitations and paper suite. With the expert advice of Paper Rock Scissors, I came up with something I’m pretty proud of for the save the date, invitation, ceremony program, menu, and even the invite for our post-wedding open house back in the states.
Against everyone’s advice, I was checking the forecast every hour from ten days out (and about every 10 minutes from 3 days out). There was a high chance of rain every time I checked. Of course. We arrived in Italy a few days before the wedding, finally got a look at our venue, and made plans A-D in case of rain.
The day before the wedding we filled olive oil bottles, helped Tanti with some greenery, treated our guests to a walking tour of Florence. I don’t think I took in a single word our tour guide said. We chowed down at a quaint pizzeria down a windy street for our all-guests-on-deck rehearsal dinner.
I woke up to a wet Italy the morning of the wedding. My best friend and maid of honor made our way along the cobblestone streets to our hair appointments. My incredible new sister, Nora, is an experienced professional makeup artist and made us look fantastic.
By the time we went back to the agritourismo to get ready, the sun was out in all its glory. That gorgeous lace-trimmed mantilla veil was my something borrowed (thanks, Ashley!). I loved my jade necklace and earrings.
Tanti created my bouquet to work in a piece of my father’s kilt and two little charms I had made to honor my late father and step-father. I adored the mis-matched bluesy/greeny/lacey ribbons that trailed down the loose green and white bouquet. I made a charm of us for my maid of honor’s bouquet too.
Andy and I met in the city and did our first look on the steps of Santa Maria Novella and spent time wandering around Florence, eating gelato, and having celebratory rice thrown on us by shopkeepers.
We exchanged gifts. Andy hails from Elmira, NY, which holds claim to a big part of Samuel Clemens’ life. As a Mark Twain fan, I got him a first edition copy of The Innocents Abroad. He got me a Victorian-era locket that coincidentally has our initials on it, A&L.
We arrived at Castello di Vincigliata to bagpipes. Both of my parents are Scottish and Andy went to graduate school at St. Andrews so a piper was something that had always been on our wedding day list.
The castle looked phenomenal. Tanti, my very good friend and blow-your-mind florist of Papertini created the florals and put together the decor for the day. She arrived in Italy before I did, worked with local distributors, and created the bouquets and boutonnieres, arch décor, eucalyptus aisle runners, farmhouse reception table florals, they ivy hanging from every chair, and set up the custom hankies, guest sign-in dictionary, ceremony programs, and olive oil favors. I have no doubt she was running around like a madwoman that entire day.
Our ceremony was something truly special. Andy is Jewish, I am Presbyterian/Unitarian, and we came from Pennsylvania so we created a ceremony that felt 100% us. We wrapped together all of the traditions and pieces of a wedding that felt most meaningful to our vision of a wedding. My father passed away several years ago so my mother honored me by escorting me down the aisle. The bagpiper piped us in to Dumbarton’s Drums and, as is Italian tradition, Andy met us part way down to walk us to our places as we held our ceremony in the round (a last minute decision).
Andy had asked a family friend, a judge, to officiate the wedding for us but he was too ill to make the trip. We officially self-united and gave some of our friends and family marriage themes and asked that they speak to us about them through quotes, readings, or their own words during the ceremony. They covered humor, change, loss, and family. There were tears and laughter as we heard them for the first time that day.
Andy and I read our vows to one another. We had these hand written on our quakubah (Quaker license + ketubah) and sealed up so we couldn’t sneak any peeks before the big day. As in Quaker tradition, everyone in attendance signed it to symbolize their support of us and the marriage.
We exchanged rings, both smashed glass (hey, it looked like fun!), and did our own chest bump/fist pump move before our kiss and recessing up the aisle as husband and wife.
A yichud (the time after Jewish ceremonies when husband and wife have time alone) always seemed like a great idea so we watched our guests mingle from a balcony above the garden.
We came back to the party on the castle lawn for some group pictures and were spun into a rousing dance party, led by our fabulous piper! He taught us some classic Scottish country dances and even got us into a hora! And here I thought he was just going to play a few lines of “Scotland the Brave” and then bolt.
The dinner during reception was dreamy. The sky (which never spilled a single drop since that morning) gave us the most incredible purples and pinks and blues as we ate by candlelight and café lights. Tanti created magic with a runner that spanned and overflowed down the long, wooden farmhouse table. It was eucalyptus and accented with some of the biggest white dahlias I’ve ever seen, freesia, sweetpeas, moss, fern, ivy, and astilbe. Super skinny, tall taper candles delicately sprinkled light onto the table.
And the food… Oh, the food! The dinner with speeches lasted long past sunset. We started with a buffalo mozzarella caprese-type salad, then went on to homemade ravioli with tomatoes, asparagus, and pecorino, with a filet of wild boar with bacon in a prune and brunello red wine sauce as the main. Tiramisu rounded out the meal.
Andy and I shared our first dance under the Italian night sky to Simon and Garfunkel’s “Bridge Over Troubled Water.” Guests showered us with the petals that were to be used for the recessional but leftover once our ceremony was set up in the round. Andy, a die-hard Neil Diamand fan, shook it to “Cherry Cherry” with his mom and I surprised my mom with Fievel’s “Somewhere Out There,” a song we shared together so, so long ago.
Then we rocked it out. I am seriously impressed that such a tiny group kept the dancing going until 1:30am. I had been certain that it would fizzle out and we’d have to head to an afterparty at a local bar.
Italians have a traditional wedding cake, a millefeuille, that is a flat and round with lots of super-thin puff-pastry layers with French cream and strawberries. It was delicious but massive. Upon finding out that there was no way to take the extra ¾ of the cake with us, I admit a food fight might have ensued.
It was a marvelous day though I am thankful for the honeymoon and so glad that my only upcoming weddings belong to my friends and clients. There are certainly things I would have done differently (not have it in Italy, make sure the video was set to record during the ceremony, look longer for a wedding dress I loved, veto the “dance club” lights used during the reception). The entire trip was spectacular. Perhaps when I get the energy I’ll do some posts of the honeymoon when we ate our way around the country. Until then, considered this photographer one very happy, married lady who just happens to have a new last name – Rachlin (pronounced Rock-lin) (don’t worry, the business will always be Lindsay Docherty Photography).
When you’re down and out,
When you’re on the street,
When evening falls so hard
I will comfort you.
I’ll take your part.
When darkness comes
And pain is all around,
Like a bridge over troubled water
I will lay me down.
~ Simon & Garfunkel, “Bridge Over Troubled Water”
Wedding Photography in post: Lindsay Docherty + guests
Getting Ready Location: Residenza del Palmerino, Firenze, Italy
Wedding Ceremony: Castello di Vincigliata, Firenze, Italy
Wedding Reception: Castello di Vincigliata, Firenze, Italy
Floral Design and Décor: Papertini
Makeup: Pretty Owl Makeup
Catering: Preludio Catering
Bagpiper: Nick the Piper
Reception Music: the Alma Project
Reception Lighting: the Alma Project
Wedding Bands: Bario Neal
Engagement Ring: B&C Jewelers
Handlettering: Kate Farley Designs
Watercolor artist: Carole Poole Gallery
Wedding Dress: custom
Mantilla Veil: something borrowed
Wedding Shoes: Calvin Klein
Bridesmaid Dress: Adrianna Papell
Groomsmen Attire: Calvin Klein
Wedding Favors: olive oil from Residenza del Palmerino
Invitations and Paper Products: yours truly
Professional Photography: Alison Conklin Photography