Australian natives, Renee and James, were intentional with every detail of their wedding and all the little parts leading up to it. Their story is beautiful and their wedding day was nothing short of the same. From the luscious deep greenery to the fairytale reception tables – this Italian wedding was nothing short of a dream. For inspiration on a destination wedding or just to simply indulge in the whimsical feeling of this couple’s big day, do yourself a favor and keep scrolling.
How did you meet?
On Tinder when it first launched. We had our first date in September of 2013. James has asked me on a date, but I had previously had a not so great experience on Tinder, so to ensure I had backup on this date, two other friends arranged first dates at the same location on the same night–throughout the night the girls and I had check ins in the bathroom to ensure everyone was having a great time and we all did, although James and I were the only ones that ended up together in the long run! James and I spoke about the most interesting things that night and it was like no other date I had ever been on.
What is your proposal story?
James is a big romantic.. always very thoughtful and organizing amazing things, so I did not suspect anything on the day of the proposal as it was our 4th anniversary and we were in Italy. We had been staying in an amazing old Castle-style building, https://eremodellagiubiliana.it/, and on the day of the proposal, James had checked us out, not telling me where we were going. We packed our bags and spent the day out exploring including a lovely lunch in a classic Italian seaside village in Sicily. Later that day, we drove up back to the same hotel and you can imagine my surprise upon returning. If I’m honest, I was a little frustrated that we had packed our bags on our anniversary only for James to bring us back to the same hotel. What I wasn’t aware of, though, was that this hotel also owned land down the road. James returned to the rental car and we set off back out the gates again and down the road. A few hundred meters later, James turns off into an open gate and we drive straight on to a runway!
James parked in front of a flight control tower and I was speechless. The flight control tower had been converted into an exclusive suite style accommodation and James said he had upgraded our room which was just mind blowingly cool! https://eremodellagiubiliana.it/camere-suites/villa/ – pictures don’t do it justice. James had arranged massages and wine and cheese platters. Post massages and whilst in our private outdoor spa, overlooking the runway, at sunset, James proposed (I think he was a little nervous as we hadn’t spoken about marriage that much and he told me he wasn’t sure what my answer would be although he knows me very well, so I am sure he knew in his heart that I would say yes). After a private dinner, we took some pillows off the bed and just lay on the empty runway looking up at the night sky filled with stars. We spoke about our excitement to spend the rest of our lives together and started calling close family and friends-many of whom asked if we were literally laying down on a runway in Italy, so we shared Google Maps satellite shots of where we were. All so cheesy I know!! James and I love to travel and flying to new found corners of the world is one of our favourite pastimes so proposing at our very own exclusive airport for the day was out of this world!
Tell us a little a bit about your wedding (your vision, color, style, and location choices).
We went on a mini road trip around Tuscany. During this trip, we did video diary entries of each venue so we could remember what we saw at each location and what we loved. When we got to Borgo Stomennano, we just knew it was the one, my first words from the video at Borgo Stomennano were “so we have found the one!”. The wedding was classic, Italian summer feel, it was classy, very fun. Very simple, not too many decorations as the venue and location was the real star. We wanted black-tie, but a fun summer party in Italy and that is just what it was.
Tell us about your attire choices.
I really wanted something that was me and that wasn’t the standard status quo. I wanted to design it, I wanted structure and I wanted texture and after many hours searching, I found Silvana Tedesco who ended up working with me to design the perfect thing to wear on a such a special day.
What was the most important to the two of you while planning? Was there anything that you chose to splurge on or skip?
That we created a relaxed vibe where people felt they could just enjoy the day and everything was taken care of. It was important to us that the were different ‘sections’ of the day that forced people to change locations which encouraged more people to connect and not just stay in the same area talking to the same people throughout the day.
What were your favorite parts of the day?
Being announced husband and wife and saying our vows to each other in front of all our families andfriends as our witnesses. And the most unexpected part was when James started SINGING. James is not that musically inclined at all so when he busted out a song in his speech, I almost fell off my chair! It was the Andrea Bocelli and Ed Sheeran song that is half in Italian and half in English that James was trying to convince me to have as our first song. The reason is because it was a representation of my Italian background and his family being English speaking (He is a New Zealander but with British heritage) so it was the bringing together of both families.
Tell us about your wedding flowers.
The flowers were long stemmed roses, there were candles on the two long tables and complemented with olive branches to fit in with our Tuscany location.
What did you do for favors?
For the guest gifts, we had locally sourced dice from San Gimignano, that we had found when we were there the year prior. With the dice, we added a little note to explain their relevance: in Italy the dice represent luck. These dice are individually handcrafted unique pieces (made from Italian marble) and we hoped they’d bring you all the luck in the world.
Please describe any DIY, handmade, or personal details.
James’ wedding ring was a custom signet ring from Rebus (London) that we had designed as our own united family crest when we were there the previous year. We had designed a family emblem for James’ ring that would represent both families that we will use moving forward. James’ last name is Fogelberg meaning mountain bird and Renee’s mothers maiden name is bird, so we selected a strong bird image, wings open to represent our love of flying and travel, with an arrow in its mouth pointing upwards and to the right that symbolized always growing and making the future a better place. The bird is standing on a brick wall to represent the building of our life together.
Do you have any advice for couples planning their weddings now?
Don’t stress and make the event a real party; a celebration for all. If the bride and groom are stressed, everyone picks up on it. As long as you have all your favorite people there, then that is all that matters. Enjoy your day, it flies by so remember to make time for a couple of special moments with just the two of you throughout the celebrations.
The below wedding pros made this amazing event happen. See more of their work by visiting their website.
- Ceremony Venue
- Abbazia dei Santi Salvatore e Cirino