“We selected a bottle of wine and [during the ceremony] put it in a box with letters from one to the other, all to be opened in 10 years.”
The couple: Valerie & Evan
Length of engagement: 8 months | Wedding date: 23rd August 2014
Wedding location: Dogliani, Italy | Photographer: Luchino Photo
Wedding planner: Extraordinary Weddings Italy
We met… I was on a wine tour in Piemonte. The expat tour guides had taken our group to lunch in the little Barolo village of Serralunga d’Alba. Evan worked at a small Barolo producer nearby and had come by to reserve a table for the night. Evan first joined us for our Champagne aperitivo. Then, he stayed for lunch (all expats know each other in Piemonte, so they knew Evan). We spent the week together, then visited each other a couple times after I returned to Denver, Colorado. I moved to Italy nine months after we met and we married 14 months later.
Our proposal… Evan took me to a Michelin starred restaurant in Barbaresco, La Ciau del Tornavento. He surprised me with a room after dinner and had a single red rose with the engagement ring on the bed. It was perfect.
Our ceremony… The ceremony took place in the barrel room at the Marziano Abbona winery in the Northern Italian wine region of Piemonte (Piedmont in English). We live about 40 minutes away. The set-up included wine bottles with candles and corks outlining the aisle. Evan’s sister officiated and my cousin/best friend escorted me down the aisle. We incorporated a wine ceremony recommended by Extraordinary Weddings Italy into the proceedings. We selected a bottle of wine and put it in a box with letters from one to the other, all to be opened in 10 years.
Our wedding theme/colours... We had a wine themed wedding – we selected and paired all the wines. The colours were pink and yellow.
We chose Extraordinary Weddings Italy as our wedding coordinator because… Barbara came highly recommend by a friend in the area who does a lot of events. At our first meeting she had great ideas and was ready to get right to work. I was comfortable immediately as I needed help with the Italian language and the cultural differences. Barbara made it very easy. One of my friends is a wedding florist in Denver, Colorado (Fleur Décor) and she came over to do our flowers. Barbara helped us identify options for sourcing the flowers. It worked out perfectly and the flowers were gorgeous. We bought them fresh from the market the day before the wedding.
We chose our venue because… We fell in love with the barrel room on our first visit. We were there for a wine tasting and immediately asked if they do weddings. On the site visit to discuss the wedding we were reminded of how beautiful and dramatic the outside space is as well. So, we opted to do the ceremony in the barrel room and the reception outside, surrounded by vineyards.
My favourite part of the wedding day… We had folks from all over the world in attendance, the US, Canada, the UK, Italy, and other parts of Europe. That meant that most tables had people who had never met and were from very different cultures. We started by specially selecting a wine quote for each guest’s name card. That got everyone at the table talking as they all read their quotes out loud. Then just before dinner we had a friend who is the Cellar Master at a Barbaresco Winery lead a blind tasting. Each table filled out one tasting note as a group and they had to make it creative, not technical (we didn’t want anyone intimidated). We wanted to get everyone talking. It was so much fun watching and talking to everyone as they played. Each table had one person stand up and read their note. It made it feel very intimate and personal with 70 guests. Not a huge number, but big enough.
My piece of advice for other brides… Being that our wedding was abroad and most of my friends and family are in the US I really felt bad about folks who could not make it. I understood the difficulties with vacation time, childcare, and the financial constraints of a trip to Europe, but I was still a bride who wanted to share my special day with loved ones. I know that most brides feel bad as the RSVPs come in and people can’t make it – even if they live in the same city. People told me it doesn’t actually matter when you get to the day. I didn’t believe them, but I can now affirm that the day was about Evan and I. I wouldn’t have changed a thing. Don’t worry if people can’t make it. They are sending their best wishes to you. Just enjoy the planning. It’s amazing.
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Former editor, current contributor, (she just can't let go!) Karen enjoys writing fashion but is known to dabble in decor from time to time. Her favourite section on the site is the Real Wedding section, followed closely by the Health & Fitness forums.