Jasmine and Tom’s Italian Wedding at the Castello di Vincigliata in Florence, Italy

In the hills outside Florence, Italy at a castle overlooking the city, Jasmine and Tom exchanged their vows.

The best way to tell you about this courtship, relationship and wedding is through the eyes of the bride, so grab a cup of jo or a glass of champagne and get cozy with this love story.

Tom and I had known each other since junior high school, during those early years we were both rather indifferent to notions of romance or each others existence really. We ran on the same eighth grade cross country running team together, little did I know I was running around the track with who would become the greatest love of my life and my soul mate.

We became engaged after ten years of friendship, dating and growing into ourselves together. No matter how prepared I thought I was to say yes to Tom when the time came, it was one of the most exciting and overwhelmingly happy moments of my life and I can still remember the feeling like it was yesterday. Tom proposed and I said “yes!” at the bridal boutique that I had opened a year earlier and co-own called ‘The White Dress‘…fitting I know! We celebrated that evening with family and friends and called loved ones who couldn’t be there to announce our big news. There were tears of joy all throughout the evening, and an overwhelming feeling of calm, that after all these years together I was actually going to marry the man I had always wished I would, the person I called my soul mate and my best friend since our first kiss at 15 years old.

After the excitement of our engagement settled down, it was time to plan our wedding. It was a task I found a little daunting as friends, family and clients seemed to expect a wedding out of a fairytale from us, due to the fact that I had been in the wedding industry for about five years and we had such a long history together to celebrate. Time passed and the pressure mounted. Tom and I were busy building our businesses and the months seemed to fly by. After perusing a few venues in Ottawa, we still felt undecided and somewhat uninspired, I love so many of the beautiful Ottawa venues so many of my brides had held their weddings at, but none of these shoes seemed to fit us.

One evening during a girls dinner, after fielding many questions about, where is this wedding going to be, and what exactly are you looking for!? I blurted out, “if it were up to me we would get married in Italy”. To my surprise everyone in the room seemed intrigued, interested, even excited! Italy is a country that Tom and I had both always wanted to visit, as food and wine lovers and residents of Ottawa’s little Italy, it was first on our list of destinations we hope to travel to one day. Momentum began to build and we received more and more support to live out our dream day.

The next year was a whirlwind of planning an incredible experience in Italy, our friends and family were 100 percent behind us and despite our slight disbelief that we were actually doing this, we moved things along, hired a fantastic wedding planner and began to dream up the fairytale wedding we had succumbed to throwing. We wanted to offer a truly memorable and authentic experience for our guests in Florence, and spend as much time with all those who travelled such a long way to be there.

Our vision for the wedding was romantic and elegant, which basically describes picturesque Florence, Italy. We were captivated by the city’s beauty immediately, the proximity of Firenze and its rolling green landscape and ancient castles & estates was just the icing on top. Without any hesitation we chose Castello di Vincigliata in the hills outside of Florence by about 25 minutes, this castle had a beauty about it that mesmerized us, it also had an ancient love story to go along with it.

I chose a wedding gown I felt suited me, my personal style and the vision of our wedding day I was sure would be magnificent. Monique Lhuillier had long been my preferred bridal designer, with a reputation for her feminine and elegant designs, exactly how I would describe my personal style. It was a little surreal to be on the other side of the special experience of choosing a gown. I certainly gained perspective and understanding about what my customers are feeling and now recognize just how significant the big decision is in a woman’s life. After some contemplation I chose a beautiful two-piece gown that I felt was fit to be donned in a historic castle, it had a traditional and romantic feel about it that I knew I would always look back and love. I threw in my own personalization’s in by adding a removable lace collar and a knee-length lace pencil skirt that could be worn at the reception for dancing. I felt fantastic in the gown, it brought tears to Tom’s eyes as I had hoped, and I wouldn’t change a thing about it - all notions I hope all of my bride’s get to feel when they reflect on their wedding gown after the big day.

Mid-May was always planned to be our wedding month, as I have a love for floral design and knew I wanted our wedding to be bursting with seasonal Peonies and Dahlias to compliment the soft colour palate I chose of creams and pale blush pinks. May 16th allowed for four days of fun with friends and family leading up to the wedding day. It was also almost exactly two years after we became engaged.

We toured vineyards and olive oil mills, took a cooking class and wined, dined and danced in the piazza’s with our loved ones until the big day arrived. We were so full of love, excitement and gratitude at that point it didn’t seem like things in Florence could possibly get any better. And then it did, with the fairytale wedding we had been dreaming up for nearly a year. It was more magical that my wildest dreams. Nothing but the fond memories of being at the castle and looking out over all of picturesque Florence with those who are dearest to us, and who had travelled all that way to celebrate our wedding with their beaming smiles and wide eyes, can do it justice.

It was an emotional day full of laughter and lots of ‘ooh’s and awes’ from our guests. We made toasts to those who made the journey with us, both to Italy and throughout the course of our relationship. After a spectacular meal, which was accompanied by the tranquil sounds of rain pouring down on the tented ceiling-the most romantic soundtrack imaginable, my father played as we danced our first dance to ‘wonderful tonight ‘by Eric Clapton, a moment I had been awaiting since I was a little girl.

The day flew by and eventually the evening came to an end, we all trekked up to the second story look-out of the castle to take in the view for one last time. All fifty of our guests shared that final snapshot with us, of the most beautiful city we have ever visited, strewn with lights behind the rolling lush Italian hillside… the Duomo punctuating the scene in all its grandness.

 We had never felt more full of love in our lives than in that moment, realising every second of the adventure of planning a wedding in a city that we had only ever dreamt of was well worth it.

Venue: Castello di Vincigliata; Wedding Coordination by Sonia Gallina of Wedding Italy; Florals by Florum Floral Decoration; Hair & Make-Up (bride & bridesmaids) by Gabrio Staff Salon; Bride’s Jewellery by Elsa Corsi; Bride’s Gown by Monique Lhuillier from The White Dress; Bride’s Veil by Sara Gabriel; Bridesmaids Dresses by Dessy Collection; Catering by Class Ricevimenti; Stationary by Paper Studio; Music & Furniture Rental from Alma Project; Grooms Tuxedo by Indochino; Groomsmen Suits by Zara; First look photos taken at Boboli Gardens.