There’s no doubt wedding details and decor require intense planning, ample creativity and almost always some last minute flexibility. Especially weddings in the Italian countryside where the locals are stubborn and the only way to communicate your vision is through Pinterest photos.
With the church and reception booked, the real detail planning began back in January. I ordered some of the items I knew I’d want but wouldn’t be able to get in Italy – like personalized cocktail napkins, reception dinner menus, mini olive oil bottles, burlap welcome bags and limoncello scented soaps. When the time came to pack, I filled an entire suitcase with wedding things. Arriving in Italy one week before the big day gave us time to pull together the final details, meet with the florist and pick up last minute items -like candles and vases- at the Rome Ikea.
The wedding reception was held at a small estate owned and operated by an adorably stubborn Italian who reminded me a lot of Papa Smurf. Ricardo was a 72-year old Italian Renaissance man – a chef, gardener, photographer and retired newspaper journalist who single-handedly orchestrated our reception dinner.
Our big day went off almost without a hitch. Unfortunately, the unseasonably cool weather forced us to move the reception dinner inside but with a bit of brainstorming and table rearranging, we were still able to seat all of our 50 guests around one long table in the estate’s rustic and cozy dining room. After an early morning wedding day run, the girls and I put finishing touches on the dinner table. A few DIY floral arrangements, twentyish candles, wired burlap ribbon napkin rings and mini olive oil bottles gave the table a natural but still elegant feel.
I have Martha to thank for the rosemary-infused olive oil idea, which doubled as both place cards and wedding favors. I hand carried the bottles from San Francisco to Italy, purchased the olive oil in large tins at an Italian grocery store and snipped fresh rosemary from the massive rosemary hedges surrounding the villa where Rob’s family was staying. And I only spilled about one-third of the oil while attempting to fill them. Apparently I’m a little too impatient for funnels.
Despite the wind, intermittent rain and hail shower on our wedding day, the details and decor made our space warm and inviting – though I’m sure the red wine helped a bit too. But what I remember most, and what truly made the day so special, was the tremendous amount of love we felt, not just between one another but from our friends, family and even the local townspeople we met along the way.
To wrap up wedding week, tomorrow I’ll be sharing my five favorite moments captured on film.