When I started specializing in destination weddings, I don’t think I could have dreamed this itinerary. This wasn’t just a wedding. I was able to explore Florence alone and capture the city to my heart’s desire in my “down” time. I’m not sure I will be able to wrap up these events into a couple paragraphs… But here we go:
This group of family and friends traveled from all over the world to celebrate in Florence, Italy. All to savor the love of the soon to be Mr. & Mrs! Travel plans carefully orchestrated, details down to a personalized (and delicious!) menu at Caffe dell ‘Oro for their rehearsal dinner. The Ponte Vecchio was the backdrop for the many stimulating conversations, which made my “fly-on-the-wall” take on photography hard to stick to. It’s a good thing I love seeing life through the lens or I might have just sat back, sipped wine, and gazed off while learning so many incredible stories about these two. The adventures these two have already been on in life can only be described as incredible. After the final round of dessert and fine wine came a walk around the Piazza Della Signoria. The celebrating was already getting loud so we took to the balcony of the suite penthouse Palazzo Vecchio at the Gallery Hotel Art to watch a firework show across the city. A group toast rang in the New Year and the events were just getting started.
The wedding day was filled with blue skies and brisk, cool air- which was welcome after having snowfall the day before! Just collecting the details to photograph for the day got me so pumped, it didn’t matter that I was a little jet lagged. The Bride wore Badgley Mischka shoes and a gorgeous fitted gown. We were able to do a first look session at sunrise on the Ponte Vecchio… Who gets to do that?! It was like they owned the city and you can just imagine my creative side was just itching to go everywhere. And we did. Then enjoyed the best hot chocolate I have ever had in my life. We took time to regroup before the events of the day began.
The guests started filling in their seats that afternoon at the Palazzo Capponi on Arno which was a dream in itself, but as the string quartet filled the halls with music it pushed my senses into overload. The ceremony was personal in a way that most couples hope for, when the trip they were taking through Italy was tied beautifully into their relationship. If it was possible that the amazing food was just beginning, the hors d’oeuvres were passed around just before horse and carriages came to take each group to the reception. Being a vendor so long, I am used to being excluded from “guest experiences” but I got to jump right in and enjoy the carriage! The reception was on the rooftop level of the Westin Excelsior, and even getting to the lobby was an event. A hand crafted drink met the guests as they made their way from their carriage and through the hallways that were draped in Christmas ribbons. Christmas trees reached the highest ceiling. As each guest made their way to the top of the hotel and stepped out of the elevator you could hear a deep breath drawn in as they looked to the left and saw the sun setting over the Duomo. How they found the most awe inspiring locations in Florence is beyond me. Accomplished Italian band Note Noire set the tone for the evening playing softly in the background as the four course meal was served. On every seat at the table there was a handcrafted holder filled with gifts found and familiar to Florence. Limoncello, honey, art calendar, local candies, and more were graciously given to everyone who attended. Before the decadent round of creme brûlée (should not have had my first one in Italy, probably all down hill from here!) made it’s way to the tables, Clinton and Sheri took time to address their friends and family. They went around the table and shared a story of what each guest meant to them in their lives. Sheri’s daughter Skye gave such a moving toast that between all of the sentiment and wine flowing there was hardly a dry eye in the house! The Duomo lit up and the dancing began… and all too soon it was time to cut the cake and say goodnight. Museums, meals, and music filled the rest of the itinerary as this entire group got to know each other and truly experience an event of love.