Early on in our relationship David had a meeting in Firenze, I flew out to meet him for the weekend. We stayed at Le Villa Maschere in the Tuscan countryside, with its stunning architecture and tranquil grounds. The hotel was once a grand family home that fell into disrepair and was abandoned. The Villa was brought back to life and lovingly restored, becoming a stunning example of original features with a modern flair. As our love blossomed, so did our connection to Italy. We returned to Florence a few times over the years as this became such a special place to us.
I know Villa Le Maschere is a place of luxury and we needed an exceptional wedding planner to help us with creating the vision. Camilla introduced us to Simona Coltellini from Above & Beyond Tuscan Weddings. Before we met in Florence we exchanged emails and we started to build a vision together using photographs form Pinterest. I was very impressed with Simona’s work from her website, social media and our emails. With Simona I felt very safe planning a wedding in another country with another language and laws. Everything was clear with Simona if I was ever unsure of anything I could just ask her and she would guide me through everything.
In the coming months we would send Simona inspiration and she would track down the perfect vendors and give us the very best options. It all came together smoothly.
In October we arrived at VLM to meet with Simona, she was warm, friendly, fun, creative and professional, I felt so at ease she really understood our vision. Simona arranged a visit to Stiatti Fiori to look into the floral displays, and wow the possibilities were just endless. Simona found the perfect florist for our wedding. I just loved the experience of visually pulling the ideas tougher. We had so much fun decorating the sample tables together.
During this visit I was lucky enough to have a trial hair and make up that Simona organised with the talented make up artist Giulia Cresci. We talked through what looks I liked and what she thought I suited. The result was amazing. The make up look was stunning and so light on my skin. My hair was perfectly styled and lasted all day and night.
During our visit the plans formed very well. Simona began planning our whole wedding events, down to the minute, with every detail covered and made possible by her total dedication and hard work.
Our wedding was booked for 6th June 2017, this was a four day (3 Night) stay for our guests and we wanted to have three days of celebrations. Simona worked closely with the hotel to ensure we had all the dinning experiences covered. She worked out all the logistics for everything, the vendor contracts, the time lines for the days, the deliveries, just everything she had fully in control. This took so much pressure and stress away from us and meant we could enjoy our celebrations fully.
On the guests arrival day Simona organised the transfer, everyone arrived happy and stress free on the smooth transfer. Arrival evening was celebrated with a traditional tuscan style BBQ on the lawn. I am so grateful for Simona for creating this dining experience, she created three different days for our guests and the styles just made each experience unique. Our guests were just so excited to see the garden set up with beautiful rustic tables brimming with lemons, herbs, candles and glowing lighting. Watching chefs prepare all the food from the outdoor bbq was entertaining, and oh so delicious! Our guests were delighted by the whole setting, and with some marvellous live traditional tuscan musicians performing, well it was just a feast for the senses! It was a pretty magical evening and super relaxed. We didn’t even think about the next day being our wedding day, we just got lost in the atmosphere!
To end the night we had a spectacular fire work display, which was bigger and better than we had imagined. As guests left, they commented on how much they enjoyed the night. I cannot thank Simona enough for making a suggestion to have our chosen wedding photographer at the arrival dinner, it really was a spectacular evening and we have the photographs to enhance the memories we made. Having Francesco Spighi take our photographs at the bbq before the wedding actually made me feel more at ease on the wedding day.
The morning of our wedding arrived and I was so excited. Simona was ensuring everything was running smoothly. I didn’t have to worry about anything. Anything at all! She made sure I had something to eat, directed the hair and make up team to my room. While about 13 of our guests had their hair and make-up create in room downstairs. There was a flurry of photographers, videographers, we got the amazing Gattotigre, florists, music and lighting teams by Alma Project 247 . All taken care of by Simona. I had time to relax, breathe and enjoy the bustle of excitement surrounding our wedding day. I can’t imagine how much behind the scenes work went on, it was so well organized.
With my bouquet in hand and my father by my side I was ready to walk up the aisle to marry my David. As I arrived at the Gerini Hall, the Villa’s ancient chapel, I saw David waiting for me. I was bursting with happiness. With the string quartet playing, I walked down the aisle which was beautifully adorned with white flowers, down to the dramatic floral installation. I felt so blessed to marry my wonderful David. The ceremony was very moving, romantic, we had tears of happiness and love. We released some white butterflies which was delightful. The whole ceremony was enchanting. The day had so many elements which just flowed so smoothly and effortlessly – thanks to Simona and the team. After the canapés we went back to the hall which had been transformed for a fascinating performance by Ella Shaw and ballerinas from Alma Project 247 The ballet dancers dazzled with a breath taking series of contemporary pieces, it was beyond our dreams. Stunning Ella Shaw sang flawlessly, she was sensational. It was truly a magnificent performance by all the artists.
We sat down for the wedding breakfast on the beautiful terrace of the hotel. The table and balcony were so exquisitely decorated, the food was magnificent. The lighting was subtle and the atmosphere was incredible. Our cake cutting took place under the flowers, it looked like a fairytale. The lighting had been changed, the cake was gorgeous and it tasted out of this world! In the wedding spirit we prepared to throw the bouquet outside the hotel, this was lots of fun. My bridesmaid and friend of 22 years caught the bouquet! As the night continued we had a dancing, drinks and more food. It was such fabulous day, so much romance and joy. Simona orchestrated our day immaculately, so much attention to detail, the timeline of the day ran so efficiently but without any moments being lost or rushing to next moment. It was very relaxed and exceptional. We couldn’t have wished for anymore.
We had our absolute dream wedding come true, I cannot thank everyone involved so much and Simona for truly making our vision a reality, she enhanced our wedding day a thousand fold. In the future I will plan to renew our vows, and I know just how to make the perfect day – with Simona’s inspiration, creativity and drive! Thank you again Simona for making our whole wedding experience so memorable for us and all of our guests.
Melanie Secciani (wedding cake)