A Romantic Destination Wedding in Florence, Italy

Real Weddings
Italian Destination Wedding Vespa Ride

Photo: Mel Barlow and Allan Zepeda

Although Lindsay is a third-generation Italian-American, no one in her family had ventured back to their native land. So when she got engaged to Michael, she knew it was time for the trip of a lifetime--with her whole famiglia! Tuscany seemed especially fitting for the couple, who were introduced by a mutual friend when both were waiting tables at neighboring Italian restaurants in New York. Four years after they met, Michael (now an advertising copywriter) proposed on the balcony of his childhood home...in Hong Kong. Yes, their passports get a workout: "We've been traveling and looking for adventure for our entire relationship," Lindsay says. "A destination wedding was the obvious choice." With help from her colleagues at the Wedding Library, an event-planning company at which she's now sales director, Lindsay organized a small gathering outside Florence, at the Villa San Michele--the facade of which was designed by Michelangelo. On October 11, the couple, both 28, pulled off a masterpiece of their own: Fifty guests joined them at a traditional Jewish ceremony on a hilltop overlooking the city and then a sunset dinner on the terrace, where long tables were decorated with olive branches, vases of local herbs, and native fruit and flowers. After dinner, Lindsay changed into a short dress and her dancing Choos so the newlyweds could take a spin around the floor to the classic Italian love song "Via Con Me." (Michael says it was practically the soundtrack of his tenure as a waiter.) "Being with my family and friends in this exquisite place was like a dream," says the bride. "That was the absolute best gift of all."

A jaunt on a Vespa was just the thing to calm the bride and groom's last-minute jitters. "It was a risky thing to do right before the wedding," the bride admits, "but we love being spontaneous, so we just went for it."

Italian Destination Wedding Scooter Wreath

Photo: Mel Barlow and Allan Zepeda

A wreath of hydrangeas and crab apples decorated the scooter.

Embossed Wedding ProgramsOutdoor Wedding Chuppah

Photo: Mel Barlow and Allan Zepeda

The embossed programs by William Arthur were printed on textured organic paper bound with twigs. Michael's family rabbi officiated beneath a chuppah whose columns were assembled from thousands of hand-tied olive sprigs.

Groomsmen at Italian Destination WeddingOutdoor Italian Wedding Vows

Photo: Mel Barlow and Allan Zepeda

The guys in the bridal party struck a pose on the cobblestone streets of Florence shortly before the ceremony. During the vows, "it felt like we were the only two people in the world," says the bride.

Italian Bridesmaid's Bouquets Rice and Petal Cones at Outdoor WeddingArtist's Palette Wedding Sign

Photo: Mel Barlow and Allan Zepeda

Bridesmaids' bouquets captured the essence of Tuscany with rosemary, sage, olive sprigs, rose hips, and "Coffee Break" roses. Hand rolled paper cones filled with rice and petals decorated the backs of chairs at the "I do's."

As a tribute to Michelangelo, the couple used an artist's palette as their wedding sign.

Map Wedding Guest BookCanvas Menus and Sage Leaves at Italian Wedding Reception

Photo: Mel Barlow and Allan Zepeda

A large canvas map of Italy that served as the guest book now hangs in the couple's home. Canvas menus and sage leaves reflected the local culture.

Italian Wedding Reception Wild Greens and Capers-SaladPear Decor at Italian Wedding Reception.jpg Jordan Almonds at Italian Wedding Reception

Photo: Mel Barlow and Allan Zepeda

The wild greens with capers and Parmesan was "honest to God, the best salad of my life," says Lindsay. Local pears added a textural element to the decor. In Italy, confetti (Jordan almonds) signify good wishes for the couple; there were plenty to go around on the dessert bar.

Jimmy Choo Wedding Shoes

Photo: Mel Barlow and Allan Zepeda

"I'm not usually a shoe girl, but how can you not go all out for your wedding?" says Lindsay of her strappy Jimmy Choos.

Venue and Caterer: Villa San Michele || Planner: Jennifer Zabinski of The Wedding Library || Florist: Tuscany Flowers || Programs: William Arthur || Menu & Wedding Sign: Arak Kanofsky Studios || Calligrapher: Emily Snyder || Bride's Dress: Amsale || Veil: Bride's Head Revisited || Photographers: Mel Barlow and Allan Zepeda

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