Saturday, October 29, 2011

Fairs and fair promises

Daniela and I left respective husbands, partners and children at home last Sunday and went off to visit a Bridal Fair. It was most interesting noting the new wedding trends for next year - bridal dresses, wedding favours, invitations and stationery, wedding cakes, venues, musicians, photographers – you name it, we saw it!  We also had the opportunity to speak to several people working in the wedding sector who seemed to fit our vision of how we’d like to develop our business and who were located in the area we intend to work in. They all seemed extremely interested in our plans and as a result, the last few days have been filled with telephone calls, appointment books in hand, arranging visits to each of the companies or people that we hope to work together with in the future.
Living in the very area that we operate in is a great advantage. We actually already knew many of the venues that we are planning to showcase and offer on our website. We have enjoyed meals or special events at several of them. We have had direct, personal experience in the past of working with a couple of our new suppliers. 
One thing that we promise to future Country Weddings Italy clients is that we will personally have visited any venue that we propose as part of any wedding, and will have seen, tried and/or used  any services that we suggest.  We believe in the personal touch, which is why we don’t want to offer ready-made packages to our couples and also why we have decided to work within a limited area, where we know we can keep our finger on the button at all times. Each couple will have their own idea about what their big day will be like, and we will live up to their expectations, and maybe surpass them too!  We believe that this is only possible if our work is carried out “hands on”, getting to know suppliers personally, watching them at work and conveying to them what our clients really want. 
I’ll be telling you more about our meetings in the next few days, so watch this space.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Vintage, Shabby Chic, Italy

I know that vintage-theme weddings are already a big hit in the UK and the USA, but here in Italy, the trend has only just started to arrive. All the wedding magazines are talking of “vintage, traditional and princess-like” wedding dresses for next year, 2012, after a good  few years of minimalist fashion, straight lines and no lace for the bride!
I personally ADORE the vintage look, be it clothes, interior design or just bits and pieces. I treasure my grandmother's bone china tea service, embroidered tablecloths, cut glass vases and all the old black and white family photographs, which are all spread around my home in the countryside north of Rome. I am also an avid crafter and vintage themes are a constant in my creations, some of which are now becoming extremely popular among friends and acquaintances as the vintage trend takes hold.
Daniela, my friend and business partner, is also a lover of everything vintage and “shabby chic”. Her house is a true treasure trove of her family heirlooms. I don’t think I have ever seen a house filled with so many fantastic pieces of furniture and finishings, all authentic! How, therefore, could we not envisage weddings with this type of slant to them? The very area where we have based Country Weddings Italy just cries out for ceremonies and receptions with an authentic vintage, bucolic or shabby chic theme. The farmhouse gardens filled with sunflowers, paeonies, hydrangeas and roses, the restaurants and country house hotels with their rustic chic furnishings, the castles and noble country homes filled with antiques and vintage drapes and about cutting costs, half the styling is done for you already in this setting!
I never got the chance to wear my mother’s or grandmother’s wedding dress, but as I have got older (alas!), I have often thought that it would have been an amazing opportunity. Many wedding dress collections for next year in Italy have that “vintage” look. Below is a dress from the Errico Maria collections, a company based in the south of Italy that has been creating masterpieces for brides for over 30 years and a dress from Rosa ClarĂ , the Barcelona-based international wedding dress makers. I have also rummaged around and found some authentic vintage dresses for sale in Italy too, on the Tara Vintage website, (with a bricks and mortar shop in Bra – yes, that’s the name of the town - in the north of Italy), as well as the several vintage dress websites that have sprung up in the UK and US (one of the photos below is from, the California-based online vintage dress shop).
 Alternatively, for anyone who is a dab hand with a sewing machine, my searches have opened up a whole world of authentic vintage sewing patterns to me (unfortunately, I'm not one of the afore-mentioned "dab hands"). I recently spent hours enthralled by all the patterns available on, and have included a couple of their treasures below for you. For example, imagine a real 1930s dress pattern to be made using the wealth of fabrics on offer today, which can so closely resemble the gorgeous handmade silks and laces of yesteryear, but are maybe a little easier to sew, and more resistant to wear and tear.

Photos left to right from:,,, and

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Olives Galore! Olive Green Wedding Inspirations

Talking about organising a wedding in this area got me thinking last night. I know, I should have been sleeping, but I told you a few days ago that my mind is awash with wedding thoughts!
The prime feature in the local countryside here is the olive tree. I used to own 22 of them myself, and experienced the pure pleasure of making my own extra-virgin, cold-pressed olive oil each year, but alas the trees belonged to my previous abode, and were sold along with it three years ago.
Olive oil is an absolute necessity to Italian cooking. It is in just about everything, and I know several people who make cakes with it too, rather than butter or margerine. The colour of freshly pressed olive oil is amazing, a golden-green colour that reflects light perfectly. True eye candy (not to mention the palate!).
My dream wedding would be in the middle of an olive grove, with a picnic to follow, guests accommodated on large cushions and rugs, shaded by the trees, caressed by a lovely later summer breeze.
What better colour to use for my first Italian-style, Country Weddings Italy inspiration board for the blog? Olive green can be combined with white, gold, yellow, brown and various hues of pink,whatever takes your fancy, and would be a fitting tribute to your chosen wedding destination.....the countryside of northern Lazio.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Where it's all happening

An expat friend here in Rome once told that choosing where to live in Italy had been a bit like pushing her nose up to the corner sweetshop window when she was a child, having to make that choice and knowing that however mouth-wateringly delicious the sweets you chose were going to be, you were always going to have to leave something else behind. There are just so many amazingly, stunningly beautiful places in Italy. I think I live in one of them, but I’m biased, of course!!
The choice is probably the same when couples decided to plan their destination weddings here. Just one look at the many websites offering weddings in Italy produces a myriad of images of perfect locations to suit just about everyone’s taste. When I decided to travel down the path of creating a wedding coordination and design business for overseas couples, there were a couple of tough decisions to take. How could I possibly cover all the possibilities? What to showcase and what to leave out, whether to go for the ever-so-popular locations, more likely to attract the crowds, or doing something a little different, more personal and in detail. I decided to follow my instinct. A limited area, less popular than the popular wedding destinations of Tuscany and Umbria, but, in my opinion and in that of so many of my visitors, just as, beautiful and breathtaking.
This area is wonderful, full of gorgeous scenery, history, archaeological site, interesting towns and villages to visit. I still love wandering around the streets of small towns on a Sunday morning, stopping at market stalls, and then onto the café for a cappuccino. So where is it, you ask. Stop being so vague, Nicola! The northern part of Lazio, or Latium as some call it, spreads from Rome to north of Viterbo, another splendid historical town. The whole area is filled with stunning scenery and amazing locations for a memorable holiday, or wedding. You can choose to stay in a castle or in a farmhouse, walk around olive groves or manicured gardens....
I know I’m starting to sound like an advert for the local tourist board, but I actually adore this place! I wouldn’t have stayed here for 21 years (and counting) otherwise, would I? If I were getting married, I know exactly what I’d want. To get married here, in my adopted region, with lots of shabby chic touches to the whole day. What more could a girl want??  Oh yes, Country Weddings Italy as my wedding coordinators!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Awash with Weddings

After a few days of unexpected, unusual autumn storms, rain lashing my windows and the garden awash with debris floating in huge puddles, today is a bright sunny day, the perfect inspiration for my first post on my brand new blog. Finally putting my thoughts down on "paper", the ones I've been carrying them round in my head for several months now. I sometimes have the feeling of being awash with wedding thoughts, never mind torrential rain, and none of them are about my own, although I suspect that was the true starting point!
The Country Weddings Italy blog is an idea that goes hand in hand with the enterprise also sporting this name, which is currently in its teething stage. Instead of professing to be something we are not, the intention is to ask you to accompany us on this new exciting adventure, sourcing, testing and showcasing wedding venues, suppliers and ideas for couples wishing to get married in Italy.
It is not, however, intended to be a blog solely for the business. What I would like to do is tell you about how weddings work in Italy, what the latest fashions and trends are, what sort of things you may wish to look for and choose if you are planning on getting married in Italy. You may want to bring your home traditions with you and stage them in breathtaking settings, or you may wish to combine them with touches from the area that you have chosen for the most important day of your life. Traditions and trends tend to differ from country to country, even on the same continent. That is indeed the case with Italy and the UK. I often find myself comparing my home country and my adopted one, preferring one thing here and another thing there: put together they can be an amazing combination!