Happy 4th of July to all our American readers! What are you all doing to celebrate? Jetting off on a quick getaway to, say, Tuscany, by any chance? No? Us neither. But we are doing the next best thing, living vicariously through Helen and Jared’s oh-so-romantic Jewish wedding at Villa Grabau #swooooooon
And what a wedding it was. Can we talk about bride Helen’s out-of-this-world Ines di Santo gown? That train! That tulle! And that’s not even mentioning the painfully delicate beadwork on the bodice. It’s just the absolute perfect blend of sweet and sexy, dramatic and effortless. We are such massive fans of Ines di Santo – you may recall our Facebook Live with her last year– and it’s always a privilege to feature one of her brides on STG.
And once Helen had chosen it, she was pretty much good to go. As busy attorneys, Helen and Jared didn’t have much time to devote to wedding planning, and they were so thrilled that their trusted wedding planners, Benedetta and Elena from Lucca Organizza, were able to give them the dreamy Tuscan day they wanted with minimal guidance.
Benedetta and Elena helped the couple pick everything from their venue(fun fact: it was once featured on the Bachelor), to their phenomenal photographer, Alessandro Colle.
In Helen’s words, “Our planners made everything SO easy for us that I have to pretend to understand what other brides are talking about when they refer to ‘wedding planning stress.’” That’s some serious praise! Now over to the bride herself, who’ll fill you in on all the details of the day…
How we met
Helen, the bride: We are attorneys in Los Angeles – as most tales of romance go, we met in law school at UCLA. Little did we know, despite only crossing paths for the first time in law school, our parents lived mere minutes from each other our whole lives and my sister and one of Jared’s younger brothers were in the same class together in high school! Truly a small world.
A Tuscan Villa
We got married at Villa Grabau – our very trusted wedding planners Benedetta and Elena from Lucca Organizza recommended this venue to us and we really didn’t bother looking elsewhere once we saw it (photos only!). It’s a beautiful lemon house located on a stunning property. In fact, the pictures did not do it justice – we were not disappointed when we arrived. The gates open to a sprawling Tuscan estate worthy of a Bachelor one-on-one (seriously, it was featured on Ari’s season of the Bachelor where he and Lauren had their Italian one-on-one).
The property also offered houses where our family and bridal party could stay during the wedding week.
Wedding Planners to the Rescue
We could not have made our amazing wedding happen from thousands of miles away without the help of Benedetta and Elena. I created a Pinterest board with my idea of what I wanted our wedding to look like and they executed it perfectly!
Hair + Makeup
Benedetta and Elena offered up some stylists and I ended up choosing Adrienne Aereboe after scrolling through her past work on Instagram. We did a trial run when we arrived at the Villa Grabau house a few days before the wedding. Adrienne made me feel at ease and did a great job assisting me, the bridal party, and the two moms!
An Ines di Santo Dress
I went to a handful of bridal dress shops and had a really fun time shopping without actually settling on a dress. I randomly ended up picking out my dress (Whisper, Ines by Ines di Santo) at Lovella after a casual drop-in after walking by the store with my mom. What really sold me on the dress was how much my mom loved it.
BHLDN Hair Combs
My aunt gifted my hair accessories at my bridal shower – they were BHLDN hair combs and they were beautiful (and sturdy, because they kept my hair from completely falling apart during all the dancing).
Stuart Weitzman Shoes
I love shoes so I think I spent the most time shopping for these – I picked the Stuart Weitzman Hijinx platform heel. I love Stuart Weitzman for making really comfortable (and high-heeled) shoes and these did not disappoint. I didn’t take them off all night!
The handsome groom
Bridesmaids in Emerald
My bridesmaids wore Reformation dresses (Balboa dress in emerald green) and my sister, the maid of honor, chose to wear a Dessy Collection dress in the same color. The green looked really great against the lush green Tuscan backdrop and turned out even better in photos.
A Chuppah Designed by the Planners
Despite not having planned many Jewish weddings, Benedetta and Elena created the most beautiful chuppah for us. All we did was send them a Pinterest photo to give them an idea of what it should look like!
My favorite part of the ceremony was managing to find not only a rabbi who could officiate our wedding, but a cantor too! Finding a rabbi in Europe from Los Angeles was a hard feat but after a series of unfortunate events (our first rabbi canceled on us!), we were immensely fortunate to find a rabbi who coincidentally happened to be a family friend who was going to be in Italy the week of our wedding! We were lucky that our rabbi also happened to be married to a cantor, and they conducted a very beautiful ceremony.
Our fabulous Photographer
Again, all we had to do was pick from a handful of photographer recommendations provided by Benedetta and Elena. Based on Instagram, we chose Alessandro Colle. He did a phenomenal job with the photos – everyone who saw our pictures commented on how impressed they were with the aesthetic quality of the pictures. We chose not to have a videographer.
Rather than a cake, which neither of us are huge fans of, we opted for something we were huge fans of – ICE CREAM. We had a gelato cart accompanied by a girl who served gelato to our guests. Benedetta and Elena once again chose our catering – endless rounds of pasta followed by a main course of vegetarian, chicken, or salmon. Of course I am butchering the designations as the Italians would prefer to call them primi piatti, secondi piatti, etc.
He may not love that I chose to share this, but Jared started to get a bloody nose during the ceremony – we escaped during the ceremony without any guests realizing what had happened and it went on beautifully. But I will never forget looking into his eyes and knowing the slight panic creeping into both of us hoping there wouldn’t be a full blown downpour!
Overall, our entire wedding week was so memorable – our guests arrived a few days early and we spent the days biking around the walls of Lucca, taking a walking food tour of the best eats in the city, touring the artist town of Pietrasanta, and spent the night before the wedding eating and dancing away at a local Luccan restaurant with our nearest and dearest.
Watching our friends and family get to know another during these few days and to have it culminate in one big party to celebrate our wedding is an experience neither of us will forget.
Advice to couples currently planning their wedding
Honestly, we couldn’t have done our wedding stress-free without our planners. They made everything SO easy for us that I have to pretend to understand what other brides are talking about when they refer to “wedding planning stress.” We are both attorneys with very busy and high-stress jobs, so to have someone else plan such a beautiful wedding with little interference, stress, and time, was truly the greatest gift.
My greatest advice to future brides is to try to let go – pick the things that are important to you and try to execute those according to whatever “vision” you have in your mind. Forget the rest! Things do and will go wrong and your ability to roll with the punches is what allows you to enjoy the day. It’s already such a blur because you are so focused on making sure your guests are having a good time – the last thing you want to be doing is stressing or moping about something that didn’t go your way. Fewer expectations make for great impressions!
Helen & Jared’s little white book
Photography – Alessandro Colle
Wedding planner and catering – Lucca Organizza
Venue – Villa Grabau
Bride’s dress – Ines di Santo purchased at Lovella
Bride’s shoes – Stuart Weitzman
Bride’s accessories – BHLDN
Groom’s attire – Indochino and Tie Bar
Bridesmaids – Reformation and Dessy
Hair + Makeup – Adrienne Aereboe