San Gimignano Wedding
So it’s a freezing cold February day today and I’m sitting here listening to Lionel Ritchie and working on some beautiful wedding photographs, when suddenly my mind is cast back to the time I spent in Italy at Jess & Tony’s amazing destination wedding in the heart of Tuscany.
To Heidi’s amusement I’m not a huge fan of flying, so deciding that I haven’t seen enough of Europe I proposed that we would drive to San Gimignano, stopping along the journey to take in some of the sights. So we set off, crossing under the channel and driving across France. Our first night was spent in Dijon – we found the mustard and carried on our journey, crossing over the magnificent Alps at the Mont Cenis Pass. I wanted to travel over the Alps rather than taking the much quicker route through the tunnels as I’d always yearned to see the beauty of that mountain range, and we weren’t disappointed. Finding ourselves at the top and completely alone on the road which Napoleon had built to bring his armies over the mountains, we watched the last warm rays of the sun dip below the mountains with only the solitary sound of cow bells hanging in the air. That night we descended the switchbacks in to Italy and slept at a Convent in a valley just over the Italian border, waking early to the most awesome view of snow-capped mountains surrounding us (we’d arrived in darkness), and a lovely breakfast courtesy of the Nuns!
The road I followed along the west coast of Italy was a crazy experience, so I decided to push towards the coast and go for a quick swim in the warm Mediterranean waters before pushing on inland to San Gimignano.
The next day was so exciting as we met up with Jess & Tony in person for the first time for lunch in San Gimignano. It’s not unusual for us to actually meet our lovely clients for the first time on their wedding day, and with Skype and Facetime it’s so easy to go over all of the details and planning without having to make a journey, but it was great to ‘share pizza and hug’ ahead of their wedding.
It was our first day in San Gimignano itself and after lunch Heidi and I made a thorough walk through of all the planned locations for their wedding ceremony and photo shoot planned for the next day, as well as checking out the car parks (and back-up car parks). San Gimignano is a hill top town and is ‘pedestrian access only’ and filled with lots of tourists, so it was important to work out our timings by walking the routes in advance to ensure it all made sense. I can’t stress quite how rustically beautiful and romantic San Gimignano is, and we were completely spoilt for photo opportunities. With the shot location plan finished and having memorised the streets of San Gimignano, I checked the cameras and kit bags one last time and we hit the hotel pool!
The morning of their wedding was just gorgeous. The sun was shining and the short drive through the Italian countryside to the villa where Jess & Tony were getting ready was like a clip from a film. We made our way through the vineyards and up the dusty long drive to the villa at Il Rosallatio where we hung out with Jess, Tony, their family and gorgeous little daughter as they got ready. Jess’s wedding dress was hanging in the open doorway of their room and blowing gently in the warm breeze which blew up the valley, covered in vineyards.
Their wedding ceremony was the stuff of fairy tales. Tony waited patiently in the 13th Centaury Palazzo courtyard as Jess checked her makeup one last time in the town square, just out of sight, before making the short walk on her Father’s arm to join her fiancé.
So what do you do when you’ve just enjoyed your amazing destination wedding ceremony in rural Italy? You wave farewell to your friends and family for an hour as they make their way to your equally awesome reception venue, Il Rosalatio, and go and have ice cream with your photographers! As it turned out, this wasn’t just any ice cream shop and Jess had ‘inside knowledge’ that none other than Michelle Obama had enjoyed their frosty delights and even had a cone named after her!
We wandered the ancient cobbled streets and alleyways of San Gimignano, making memories with our cameras before driving back. It was a gorgeous balmy evening in valley leading from the medieval hilltop town of San Gimignano to their wedding reception venue at Il Rosolatio and we stopped briefly enroute to photograph them with the towers of the town in the distance.