Lisa Bengtsson and Niklas Hammar first crossed paths as teenagers, but it wasn't until 2006—when she was 25 and he was 26—that they saw each other in a romantic light. They reconnected at a mutual friend's birthday party and have been together ever since. "We have been a couple since 2006 and have three children together," Lisa says. In 2013, after seven years together, Niklas surprised Lisa with a low-key proposal in their hotel room in Stockholm (while their kids were sleeping!). The Sweden-based duo officially tied the knot on August 18, 2018 in a location inspired by one of their first dates more than a decade prior. "On one of our first dates, Niklas showed me the film 'La Vita e' Bella,' and we realized that we both love Italy," she explains. So much, in fact, that they chose to marry there in a gorgeous villa in Siena. (They even incorporated a song from the film into their ceremony!) "We felt that we wanted to celebrate the love we feel for each other with friends and family that we love in the country that we love," explains the bride.
And they did indeed! The events kicked off the night before with a welcome dinner at Villa di Geggiano. "My best friend Annie Fredriksson, who is an opera singer, performed," says the bride. "The feeling of sitting at a long table with your soon-to-be husband and all the people you love around you with the beautiful Tuscan sun on your back and your best friend singing opera in front of you—that's magic. And this was just the first day!" The magic continued the next day with a ceremony and reception and the nearby Villa Catignano, where the bride, who is an interior designer, felt inspired by the rustic buildings and rich colors. Lisa admits that planning a wedding has always been a dream project of hers so she teamed up with Sabrina Carbone of The Extraordinaire to pull all the details together. "We wanted a Dolce & Gabbana-inspired theme, where more is more," Lisa explains. "We planned for a year and a half and worked carefully to find the exact colors, flowers, parasols, menus, lighting, and details that we wanted."
It all came together in a truly romantic event that was complete with all those carefully-selected details alongside Italy's iconic views, food, and sunshine. Keep reading to see how Jules Bower captured Lisa and Niklas' long-awaited romantic celebration, below!
The bride worked with designer Frida Jonsven to create a custom gown. "When we met, I just saw the fabric with all those flowers and fell in love. It was like my name was on it," Lisa recalls. From there, they worked off of the "more is more" theme to design a floral dress that featured hand-embroidered flowers on the arm, chest, and train. Adds the bride, "The back is stunning but my favorite part is the sleeves...yes I'm in love with my dress!
The couple included their children in every part of the day, from getting ready to the ceremony itself. Lisa dressed the boys in tuxedos and sneakers (inscribed with the word "Love") and her daughter in a pale pink gown with a flower crown. That said, she admits that the flower crown "didn't go over well" so they switched it out for a red bow just before walking down the aisle.
"Our wedding planner came up with the idea of a very flow-y, organic, loose, and colorful bouquet to compliment my dress," says the bride. "I especially loved the bougainvillea touch."
The groom wore a navy suit by the Swedish brand Rose & Born.
The ceremony took place outdoors in a manicured garden just before golden hour. The scene was decorated with hundreds of dried rose petals, pots of colorful blooms, and baskets filled with lace parasols (so guests could shade themselves from the sun).
The bride walked down the aisle hand-in-hand with her daughter and father.
Lisa and Niklas worked with their officiants to create a memorable ceremony that celebrated their love story. To do that, the officiants interviewed the bride and groom separately to weave in specific elements and stories from their life together into the script. The music was also carefully selected with Lisa's best friend again singing opera alongside a string quartet.
After their first kiss, Niklas and Lisa exited to "All You Need is Love" by The Beatles.
After aperitifs, local wines, and a few rain showers, the reception followed in the villa's courtyard. "We liked the idea of an outdoor room, and our wedding planner came up with the idea to use lights and greenery to best enhance the courtyard of Villa Catignano," Lisa explains. The couple sat on a striped sofa (along with their daughter!) that was surrounded by tables decorated with an assortment of high and low arrangements, vessels of lemons, and local "Sicilian head" pottery.
The night was filled with plenty of toasts, dancing, and surprise performances. Most notable: "My mum dressed up as one of my favorite Swedish singers from when I was young," Lisa explains. "And at the end of the meal, we all stood up waving Swedish and Italian flags while an Italian song played in the background."
Niklas and Lisa ended their night on a sweet note but cutting into a heart-shaped cake decorated with colorful fresh fruit. Looking back on their carefully curated celebration, the designer bride has this to say: "Choose a planner who can truly understand who you are and what you like," she says. "I believe all vendors were truly happy to be working at my wedding, and I left happy that I was going to be in capable hands."
Bridal Preparation Venue: Villa Catignano
Bridal Preparation Venue: Villa di Geggiano
Wedding Planner: The Extraordinaire
Floral Design: Stiatti Fiori
Bride's Dress: Frida Jonsvens
Hair & Makeup: Daniela Delia
Bride's Shoes: Rebecca Björndotter
Rings: W.A. Bolins
Earrings: Caroline Svedbom
Groom's Attire: Rose & Born
Stationery: Lisa Bengtsson
Officiant: Giuseppe and Diane Rossi
Catering & Cake: Preludio Classe Catering
Music & Lights: La Semicroma
Rentals: Preludio Divisione Noleggio
Photography: Jules Bower
Videography: Tiziana Billi