“There’s a pure raw happiness in Italy, something we wanted to shine through at our wedding,” says Laura Fairchild, a blogger and entrepreneur. “Every single detail of our wedding day felt incredibly personal and intimate.”
Laura and Julian Williamson, a portfolio manager, threw a four-day celebration in Tuscany for friends and family from around the world, spanning Atlanta to Asia, to come together and celebrate their love. The couple, who reside in Hong Kong, chose Italy for its natural beauty but also its sentimentality: the two were engaged at a hotel on the Amalfi Coast, and Laura’s paternal grandfather hailed from the Mediterranean country.
Though it was challenging at moments to plan from afar—the time change alone was no easy task—Laura says it was all worth it to spend a long weekend with their closest loved ones. “Family is our top priority,” she says. “It gave us time to really connect and spend quality time with our friends and family beyond the wedding day.”
To put it all together, Laura (and her helpful mother!) collaborated with their venue, Villa Cetinale, in Sovicille, Italy, and their local planner, Silke Hechler, from Weddings by Silke. Together, they created a simple, elegant aesthetic that felt like a natural extension of the surrounding landscape and old-world setting. It was completed with Italian touches like Tiramisu—also Julian’s favorite dessert—and bottles of Tuscan wine and olive oil. To further add to the authenticity of their Italian nuptials, the couple hosted a pizza party in lieu of a traditional rehearsal dinner. “It was my dream come to life,” Laura says.
Read on for all the details of Laura and Julian’s romantic Tuscan wedding, planned by Weddings by Silke and photographed by Kurt Boomer.
Since many of the couple’s guests would be meeting for the first time, they wanted a location that felt intimate enough for the wedding but would also accommodate their 75 guests onsite. They landed on Villa Cetinale, a 17th-century home in Tuscany known for its lush gardens. Laura says her jaw dropped the moment she saw the venue.
Laura and Julian wrote their own vows to one another on the wedding day morning. Laura calls it one of her favorite memories from the day, pouring her heart (and tears!) onto the paper while getting ready.
Laura’s Inbal Dror ball gown was the first dress she tried on—but she didn’t buy it for months. Though she first encountered the tulle and lace dress in Hong Kong, she later picked it as “the one” while dress shopping with her mother in New York City at Mark Ingram Atelier.
Laura’s bouquet included a feminine mix of white flowers and greenery.
“While I was getting ready with my bridesmaids, Julian and his groomsmen were all drinking whisky and getting ready together in another part of the villa,” Laura says of her groom, who donned a navy tuxedo, custom-made by his Hong Kong tailor. “I don't know much of what they got up to, but I’m sure it involved a lot of banter, good laughs, and many words of encouragement.”
Laura and Julian declined a first look so that Laura could have a grand entrance, escorted by her father. “It meant the world to me that my dad walked me down the aisle,” she says, noting she is the only daughter in the family.
The ceremony took place on the villa’s property surrounded by cypress trees. The couple exchanged vows in front of a greenery-filled arch accented with white blooms. It all felt whimsical enough for the romantic moment.
Laura and Julian shared heartfelt, personal vows. “I’ll never forget those words he said to me and I hold them near and dear to my heart every day of my life,” the bride says.
“Seeing the big smile on [my grandmother] and my grandaddy’s faces after Julian and I said ‘I do’ was one of my favorite memories,” Laura says of her elderly grandparents making the trip from Georgia to Tuscany. “She knew just how much Julian meant to me. And I know how happy she was that we were lucky enough to find each other.” Her grandmother also gave the pair one major wedding gift: she purchased their wedding bands from Tiffany & Co. for the couple.
Our wedding will forever be ingrained in my memory as one of the best days of my life.
Laura calls the search for their wedding photographer both the hardest and easiest parts of the planning process. She had a very distinct idea in her head, which took some researching, but when she happened upon Kurt Boomer’s work, she knew he was the right photographer for the job. “I was instantly amazed by the way Kurt captured such light, elegant and timeless images with film and how the emotions of those he photographed seemed to jump from the screen,” the bride adds.
After the ceremony, the guests headed inside for cocktail hour, which included Champagne and Italian canapes like prosciutto-wrapped melon.
Guests were then led to the villa’s garden for the formal reception, where they were greeted by escort cards stamped with a gold seal on sage-green doors. The couple named the sections of their table after their favorite cities, like Rome and Amsterdam, instead of traditional numbers.
Dinner took place at one long table under a whimsical white tent in the villa’s garden. Chandeliers hung among the white drapery and a long garland ran the length of the table.
“I’d always envisioned one elegant continuous long table in an open-air setting, with Julian and I placed in the middle surrounded by our bridal party,” Laura says of the setup. The place settings included gold-rimmed chargers, gold flatware, antique gold candle holders, and plenty of etched glassware for the many bottles of wine.
Julian is a self-proclaimed foodie and, jokingly, an aspiring food critic so he ran point on the menu. It featured minestrone, tagliata with Chianina beef, calamari skewers, and an octopus risotto, to name a few. Along with Tuscan wine, the pair served two signature cocktails, a G&T and peach bellinis.
No Italian wedding is complete without a foodie favor. Guests took home mini bottles of olive oil that their wedding planner makes from her own personal property.
Laura and Julian cut into the cake with a very special server: “My mom had given me the sterling silver cake cutter she and my father had used at their wedding as a wedding present,” Laura says. As for the cake, well, little did guests know that it was secretly vegan and gluten-free!
“At the end of our wedding night, Julian and I went to bed together, and my heart had never felt so full in my entire life,” Laura adds. “Just being able to hold Julian’s hand as his wife made me feel the greatest sense of belonging. We were right where we needed to be.”
Venue Villa Cetinale
Planner Weddings by Silke
Officiant Rev. Tim MacQuiban
Bridal Gown Inbal Dror
Veil Jennifer Leigh
Bridal Salon Mark Ingram Atelier
Jewelry Spina Bridal
Shoes Jimmy Choo
Hair Frank Giacone
Makeup Ana Matanovic
Bridesmaid Dresses Jenny Yoo
Mother of the Bride Dress Alfred Sung
Flower Girl Attire Isobella & Chloe
Engagement Ring Haywards
Wedding Bands Tiffany & Co.
Floral Design Siloh Floral
Stationery & Paper Goods Nicnillasink
Printer Copper Willow Paper Studio
Other Paper Goods Kate Turner Studio; Paper Birch Designs; Swoozie’s
Guest Book Paper Birch Designs
Ceremony Music Olive in Love
Reception Music The Jets
Catering Preludio Catering
Cake Sugarcup Cake Design
Rentals Alma Project; Preludio Noleggio
Favors Weddings by Silke
Transportation Andiamo Taxi & Trips
Accommodations Villa Cetinale
Videography 2 Become 1
Photography Kurt Boomer