The rolling hills of Tuscany made an idyllic setting for this classically romantic big day
Childhood sweethearts Grace and Rob have travelled around the world together, including Cape Town where Rob proposed at the top of Table Mountain. But it was the beautiful surroundings of Tuscany that the couple chose as the backdrop for their big day.
The pair were married by a close family friend at the Church of Santa Maria, Monteriggioni before heading to nearby historic property Borgo Stomennano.
“For us, Tuscany is the most romantic place in the world,” says Grace. “It complemented our wedding style because of its history and beauty, and also our love for food and wine. We wanted our wedding to be intimate, romantic and elegant – and it was exactly that.”
“Ever since I was a child, I’ve always dreamed of wearing a long veil”
The bride shopped for her dress in Morgan Davies Bridal in London and loved every minute of it: “I could have chosen 10 dresses, but neither Rob or my bank account would have allowed that,” she laughs. “In the end I designed my own dress because there were certain elements I liked from each one I tried on,” she adds.
Grace’s design comprised elements from two South African designers, Anna Georgina and Kobus Dippenaar, and the result was a stunning, long-sleeved lace dress.
“I also added some lace to my veil – ever since I was a child, I’ve always dreamed of wearing a long veil,” Grace recalls. “Probably because I was obsessed with Grace Kelly and Maria von Trapp’s veil in The Sound of Music! Clichéd as it sounds, I felt like a princess as soon as I put my dress on. It was classic yet sexy, and the fabric of the skirt moved beautifully.”
Grace gave an edge to her look with a pair of Valentino ‘Rockstud’ heels and a bespoke headpiece. She also flew over trusted hair and make-up artist Zoe from Knot Your Average Bride to assist her and her bridal party with their looks. “She listened and customised everything the way I wanted it – I knew I could sit back and relax and she would do a great job,” recalls Grace.
The bride’s friends Alexa and Sophie supported her on the day as bridesmaids. “The three flower girls were my nieces and my two nephews were pageboys,” she adds.
The maids looked great in their dresses from American label Reformation. “The dresses actually helped me with my colour scheme, as I purchased these shortly after buying my own dress,” says Grace.
Candlelight and flowers created the perfect mix of rustic style and romance
The couple agreed that food and drink was one of the most important elements of the day for them and had the joy of creating their dream menu from scratch. Canapés included bruschetta, cheeses, salamis and fried zucchini, while mains featured everything from wild boar ragu and pappardelle pasta to truffle risotto and Tuscan pork, all paired with local wines.
Guests enjoyed the feast in the panoramic setting of Borgo Stomennano, where candlelight and flowers created the perfect mix of rustic style and romance. The couple used fairylights and rose petals along the main pathway to the villa and set a long banqueting table amongst the willow trees.
A chandelier decorated with blush-coloured flowers hung above the scene and a line of foliage ran down the centre of the table. “We desperately wanted peonies but they weren’t in season, so our florist, a local lady called Anna, chose garden roses that had a similar feel,” adds Grace.
“We were able to eat and dance under the stars”
A live jazz band welcomed guests as they arrived, and an old-fashioned gelato cart served up lemon sorbet and chocolate and hazelnut ice cream. The cake – a traditional Italian millefoglie featuring several layers of cream, pastry and fresh fruit – was made fresh by the chef in front of the wedding party, and for favours, all guests were given a miniature bottle of olive oil that had been made recently on the same site.
With the sunset softening the rolling hills in the background, it was everything Grace and Rob had ever imagined. “We were incredibly lucky with the weather actually,” recalls Grace.
“An almighty thunderstorm rocked our villa the night before and we had to make the decision mid-morning the following day whether or not to host our wedding breakfast outside. Someone was definitely looking out for us as the rain stayed away and we were able to eat and dance under the stars.”