The thing that sold them on their venue? The chance to have their ceremony amidst a grove of lemon trees. Lemon trees! It doesn’t get much more idyllically Tuscan than that, does it?!
And the favors? Lemon soaps from none other than Lush, thanks to a connection at Lush HQ. Even better, the couple opted to tag them with guests’ names and table numbers, making them do double duty as a table plan. This is one favor I personally would’ve been very happy to receive – if you guys have any leftovers, you know where to send them!
Photographers Rhapsody Road delivered the natural, relaxed photos the couple hoped for – and then some. From the emotion to the details to the rolling Tuscan hills in the background, it’s all there.
Beautiful Federica claims to have hated dress shopping, but you’d never know it from how effortlessly elegant she looks in her modern, chic Pronovias gown. She’ll fill you in on the rest of her fab day…
A Destination Wedding in Tuscany
Federica, the bride: Our wedding planner, Silvia from Infinity Weddings, provided us with a list of venues in Tuscany. We shortlisted the venues, jumped on a plane, and went to meet Silvia. We then visited all the venues we liked the look of and narrowed it down to two that we loved. From there we did a lot of research into local hotels, distance from airports, coach hire, etc.
Finally, we made the decision to go with Villa Grabau. We loved the lemon house and surrounding grounds; it just had a relaxed aura about it that we picked up on immediately. When Silvia showed us the lemon house we instantly realized that that was where we wanted to have the wedding.
A Relaxed Day
Justin and I are not ones to be the center of attention. We avoid it like the plague, so we wanted to make the wedding relaxed and easy as possible for us and our guests. We spent time thinking about themes but in the end went for something that was simple and elegant, which was mixed metals (gold and silver) with white seasonal flowers and lots of greenery.
A Fab Stationery Designer
Linda was so good at helping us work within our budget and was always realistic about materials, postage, menus, and other stationery that goes with the invitations. Linda took away the stress of talking to printers, designers, etc. She was literally our one-stop-shop and she knows so much about this field.
A Familiar Face for Hair + Makeup
My good friend Sam Frankel is a hair and makeup artist. She knows me so well and just nailed the hair and makeup on the first trial. I showed her a couple hair examples and the dress, and she came up with a few hair styles that would work well, suggesting accessories too – something I hadn’t thought about.
We spoke about makeup in detail, from skin type, weather conditions, color palette, etc., and came up with something that wasn’t over the top and withstood all the Israeli dancing… which went on for 20 mins!!
I am very lucky that Sam was with me the whole day. She was able to keep an eye on my hair and makeup and touch up when I needed it. Sam is remarkably calm and professional in every situation and her calm aura kept me relaxed from the moment we started getting ready all the way to the end of the day. I would absolutely love for everyone reading this to consider her for any makeup/hair opportunities.
A Pronovias Dress
I was not your typical bride: I absolutely hated dress shopping. By the 8th store I was done! I had enough. I was frustrated that I couldn’t find exactly what I was looking for and became worried I would never find what I had envisaged.
Then one day a Pronovias advert popped up on my iPad. I clicked and started looking at the 2016-17 collection. I loved every single dress but started to question the cost. So I made an appointment to visit the New Bond Street store and tried on as many dresses as I possibly could (that were within my budget) and took the one friend I knew would give me honest, constructive opinions.
In the end, both my friend and I fell in love with the Tatiana dress. The dress was a simple modern beauty that wasn’t over the top, and very comfortable. It worked perfectly for my height and shape too.
Our wedding was during the summer so I didn’t want a heavy dress with too many layers. I didn’t want my movement to be restricted either, and this dress ticked all the right boxes.
The next step was to find a Pronovias stockist close to home so it would be easier for me to attend fittings. I found a cute bridal store in Enfield, The Boutique, run by two gorgeous sisters. They offered me 10% off my dress if I ordered with them. They also stock a large collection of designers.
A Borrowed Veil
My sister from another mister got married 4 years before me. She has been a part of my family since I was 2 years old and I wanted her not to only be my bridesmaid but a part of the process. So my something borrowed was her veil. It was such a lovely way of us starting a new tradition. So, in the future, if we have daughters they will hopefully wear the same veil we both did.
John Lewis Shoes
I wanted to be comfortable. Knowing how many hours I would spend in heels, I didn’t want to go over the top, plus no one was able to see my feet 😉 I opted for satin white peep toes from the John Lewis Rainbow range. They also offer a dye to order service too.
The handsome groom
He tried one suit and that was it – not like the 8 stores I went to! It was a suit from Hugo Boss that he had fitted – no stress!
Bridesmaids in ASOS
All 3 bridesmaids were of different shapes, sizes, skin tones, and ages, so it was important to me that they were all comfortable on the day, but I also wanted them to wear the same dress. ASOS have a great range of bridesmaid dresses now, and that’s where I found the girls’ dresses. We kept it in theme and opted for grey dresses. I also bought them mixed metal bangles from Oliver Bonas.
A Simple Chuppah
We wanted something quite straightforward. The ceremony was outside in a magnificent garden, so to try to do too much with flowers on the chuppah would have been pointless. The roof of the chuppah was put together by the florist using the groom’s grandfathers’ talleisim. This was really important as we had no grandparents there and we thought it would be nice to do this to feel like they were looking over us.
A Meaningful Ceremony
I converted, so I developed a really great relationship with our rabbi in the year or two before the wedding. We couldn’t imagine anyone else performing the ceremony so we flew him out with his wife.
He’s known the groom’s family for over 30 years and officiated at the groom’s bar mitzvah; it simply wouldn’t have been the same without him. He was well aware that a number of our guests weren’t Jewish, and he performed the ceremony in such a clear and open way that there was no chance of anyone feeling like they didn’t know what was happening or why anything was happening. His words to us under the chuppah were simply beautiful.
An Eclectic Musical Mix
The groom‘s entrance was to Boi Beshalom, to the Andrea Bocelli Time to Say Goodbye tune; how could we not have mixed Traditional Jewish and Italian when we had the opportunity? It’s a family favorite too. My entrance song was Guns & Roses, Sweet Child Of Mine, but a classical version… Axl Rose was busy on the day!
Gardens and Lemon Trees
As the wedding was set in the beautiful gardens of Villa Grabau during September we didn’t want to overdo it with the flowers. The garden was covered with colorful flowers and lemon trees. It just didn’t make sense to spend more money on something that was already there. So we opted for seasonal white flowers with lots of greenery for the bridal bouquet, chuppah, and centerpieces.
Our Fabulous Photographer
Rhapsody Road were recommended to me by a photographer friend, Hugo, who I have worked with for many years. We told them we wanted natural, relaxed photos. Couldn’t bear to look at pics that are stiff and forced. After meeting Emma for the first time I had a really good feeling she would know what we were looking for and just nail it on the big day… and she did! We weren’t too fussed about filming the entire day so we asked Emma and Hugo to just film the ceremony and speeches. The filming was a gift from Hugo and I wasn’t involved in this side.
We didn’t want a cake. It’s not something you traditionally have at a Jewish wedding, plus we had so many dessert options available that it would have been a waste.
An Italian Klezmer Band
NOK (New Old Klezmer) are based in Italy. It was a struggle finding a Jewish band in Tuscany. We didn’t have the budget to fly out UK bands, but these guys played all the traditional music for the ceremony as well as what you need to kick start all the Jewish dancing. Once that part was over we switched to a DJ and saxophonist to get the party going. We provided them with a playlist and they took it from there!
Best. Favors. Ever.
I’m a big fan of Lush products, and we were really lucky to have a friend’s brother working at Lush HQ, so he helped us source some gorgeous lemon soaps, which we thought went nicely with the venue. We wrapped each one and attached guests’ names to the soap with their table number. This became our table plan as well.
A Fingerprint Tree
We bought a fingerprint tree from Not On The High Street and had our initials printed on the tree. We bought finger ink pads and asked all our guests to place their fingerprints on the canvas and sign. We created a bespoke guest book and created a lovely piece of wall art. Everyone loved it and it was a little different from the norm.
Advice to couples currently planning their wedding
Simply… enjoy the day. Take it all in because it’s over within minutes. Don’t worry too much about doing the rounds and walking to every table to greet your guests. Dance with your guests, enjoy your food, stay hydrated, and take every second, moment, minute in!
Federica & Justin’s little white book
Photography and videography – Rhapsody Road and Hugo Photo Art
Wedding planner – Infinity Weddings
Venue – Villa Grabau
Bride’s dress – Pronovias
Bride’s shoes – John Lewis
Groom’s attire – Hugo Boss
Bridesmaids – ASOS and Oliver Bonas
Band – New Old Klezmer
Stationery – U Name It
Favours – Lush
Guest book – Not On The High Street