Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Vintage Lace Wedding Inspirations

Phunkey Photography

I went to a craft fair last week and found myself gazing at all the beautiful laces at one of the haberdashery stands and even more amazingly, a group of ladies sitting at a table, spinning their magic with their lace-making bobbins. A truly magical craft that I wonder at each time I see it. I was actually looking for something different to use on my new collection of cards (another hobby), but the sheer beauty and wealth of choice and the talent of the lace-makers got me thinking about weddings...So what's new?!
Lace says it all for me. It's elegant, it's vintage, it's rustic chic, it's stylish. The epitome of a Country Weddings Italy type of wedding.

Dresses by: Peter Langner, Melamela, The English Department, Monsoon

Italy is actually one of the birthplaces of lace-making, along with the Flanders, so perhaps the lace-making ladies shouldn't have surprised me so much. It is still possible to see women making lace in Italy, sometimes sitting out on the street in remote villages, maybe catching a cool evening breeze but not wanting to lose a chance to work their magic and spin their lace "webs" with their "fuselli" or bobbins.
Lace can be incorporated into any part of your wedding. If your dress is fairly simple, why not try an elaborate lace veil, lace-covered shoes or headpiece, or even a lace bridal bouquet? No bride must forget her garter on her wedding day, so why not a special lace one?

Clockwise from top left: Garter  and birdcage veil by Silver Sixpence in Her Shoe, lace headdress
 on, lace bridal bouquet by Emma Line Bride, Lace gloves found on a

Lace used at your wedding reception can grace the dining table, your table plan or even be a decoration on your wedding cake. If you prefer not to use real lace, your wedding cake creators can weave their sugar-art magic and create edible lace decorations. There are some amazing ones around. 
Finally, if lace is really your thing, use it in your wedding stationery and wedding favours too. Never has there been a better moment to use lace as a theme throughout your wedding, with the general trend favouring lace, vintage and traditional crafts after years of minimalism. Here are just a few examples that I have found on the internet and from some of my favourite wedding suppliers. 

Clockwise from top left: vintage lace and sparkle-trimmed invitation by Vintage Bespoke stationery,
 Chair back by Lacey Events Services, "Merletto" dinner service by Arte Italica, .com, lace place name,
table plan and tea party recipe cards by Vintage Twee, cake by Sugar and Spice Creations.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Getting Married in Italy...the Perfect Choice

Hi everyone. Today I thought I would provide you with some personal thoughts about why couples decide to get married in Italy. I'm very happy that they do, of course (!!) but making that choice can be so tricky, with the plethora of beautiful destinations worldwide to choose from. In spite of that number of alternatives, Italy has become a very popular choice with couples opting for a “Destination Wedding”, especially with British, Irish, American, Australian and Canadian brides and grooms.
So what is it that makes Italy so attractive, the choice as the perfect place to take your vows and hold the celebrations for your new life together? The first thing that comes to mind is that Italy is such a romantic place. Italian lifestyle itself, the Dolce Vita, is the perfect atmosphere for any type of celebration, and the scenery that you find almost anywhere can be the perfect setting. Just think of all that money saved on styling!! I often spend hours just gazing out of my living window, thinking about how beautiful this place is, and that’s after living here for 22 years, so the novelty has kind of worn off by now! Anyway, let’s say that the canvas is already there, all it needs is painting a little bit more with your favourite colours and style. 

The sun and light in Italy is also so special, and you get a chance to add a little colour to your skin before the big day, if you want to. Wonderful food, fantastic wines, friendly-natured people……I could go on and on, but I think Italy’s magic ingredient is just that…magic. Something that has no name, something that you can’t quite put your finger on, but you know it is all around you. One phrase that always immediately pops out of somebody’s mouth when I say that I live in Italy is “Oh! You lucky thing!!” And my answer is always “Yes, aren’t I”. And I mean it.

In spite of some negative aspects of living here all the time (is any country perfect?), Italy is a wonderful place, even more so if you plan to spend only a temporary period here.  The Latium countryside is rolling hills, lush vegetation and filled with archaeological and architectural wonders. To watch the video I put on the blog a little while ago, about this superb area of Italy, Latium, where Country Weddings Italy is based, click here.   We can also add the excellent food and wine, amazing locations, beautiful churches and town halls, unique venues with breathtaking views. Italians are certainly creative and stylish too. In fact, we dedicate a lot of time to our supplier searches,  so that the presentation of the food for your wedding breakfast, your table decorations, your wedding flowers and your photographs will be out of this world, even when planning a wedding on a smaller budget. Your wedding will be an event that stays on all your guests’ lips for weeks afterwards. You will have lifetime memories of your wedding in Italy to cherish forever.

Couples choosing to marry in Italy and invite their family and friends often turn the experience into a celebration that lasts for more than one day. The special occasion becomes an opportunity to meet relatives and friends that you may not have seen for some time, and spend some quality time with them, all staying in the same location. At Country Weddings Italy we organise pre and post-wedding events too, which can also be incorporated into your official wedding programme, and be included on your wedding invitations. We can sit down together and organise a whole progamme of events for you and your guests. For example, how about a pre-wedding barbecue by the pool of your hotel the night before the wedding? How about inviting all your guests to have a late brunch with you the day after your wedding, to look at some of the photos (the magic of digital photography is that it is immediately visible on screen) and talk about some of the most enjoyable moments of the day?  How about spending a day before your wedding in the kitchen with your friends, learning authentic Italian cooking while sipping a glass of full-bodied red wine (or two…).

 Or, to make the men (or the women, of course!) in the wedding party happy, how about learning to drive a Ferrari or a Lamborghini around an Italian racetrack for the day?

Daniela and I always make sure that we have excellent accommodation to offer you, if it is not already available at your wedding venue, and if we don’t have immediate thoughts on the matter, we will do the searching for you, until we find a place where you will be happy staying for your wedding holiday.  Some of the excellent hotels and country villas that we have visited and chosen to offer to our couples have offered to organise cookery classes, wine-tasting evenings, and even sightseeing tours around Rome.

Add your wedding ceremony in a frescoed wedding hall, a beautiful church or in a country garden, spectacular food and wine at your wedding reception and a mild climate almost all year round, and……well, maybe we’ve got the answer as to why Italy is a very popular choice for couples planning their wedding.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Romance, Loving Endearments and Saint Valentine - Italian style!

This poster hangs on my wall at home.  Roman Holiday is such a hugely romantic film that still gets me reaching for my hankies even though I've probably seen it about 20 times. Living so close to this wonderfully romantic city also has its attractions and advantages of course. AND I confess that I have spent more than one lovely evening riding around the city on the back of a Vespa, thinking that I was Audrey Hepburn. It's something that everybody should do at least once in their lives.

Yes, I know, romance, love, and all that stuff. Yes, once a year, on and around February 14th, it is all we read about! Nothing wrong with that of course. Saint Valentine is a worldwide household name, and keeps the postmen, florists and jewelers (hint hint!!) in business at this time of year. And no matter how commercialised the celebration has become, there is nothing like a bit of true romance to warm the old cockles.

Heart on sale at

However, it is strange to think that Saint Valentine, who was renowned for his chastity, became the patron saint of lovers. The historical antecedent comes from two sources. During classical Roman times, Emperor Claudius II decreed marriage forbidden for soldiers. A priest named Valentine ignored this decree and encouraged young people to be united in holy matrimony. For this, he was sentenced to prison and executed on February 14th.
In 1465, Pope Paul II authorized the distribution of marriage gifts to poor women. The first ceremony was set for February 14th, and Saint Valentine, whose sainthood was celebrated on this day, became known as the protector of lovers.

In this land of romance and good food and wine, it only makes sense that the patron saint of all lovers was born here too, although I confess it took me years of living here before finding that little fact out!  The church where Saint Valentine is buried is, in fact, in Umbria, less than an hour north of where we at Country Weddings Italy are based.  

Boxes on sale at

I thought it would be fun today to provide you a list of Italian endearments to practice, so that you will be able to whisper them in your that special someone's ear,  while getting ready for your trip to Italy, of course! ;- And yes, corny as though some of them may sound, Italians really do talk like that!
 One thing to note though: in English, the expression "I love you" is ubiquitous, while in Italian "Ti amo" is used only between lovers, never with friends, family, or inanimate objects. Instead, in those cases, the expression   "Ti voglio bene" ("I love you" in the sense of "I care about you") is preferred. 
Have fun!

  1. Ti amo - I love you
  2. Ti penso sempre—I think of you constantly
  3. Mi manchi—I miss you.
  4. Sei bellissima —How beautiful you are.
  5. Voglio vederti stasera—I want to see you tonight.
  6. Tu sei la mia stella—You are my little star.
  7. Cara mia, sei stupenda—My darling, you are wonderful (one for the boys to learn, this one!)
  8. Mio tesoro - my treasure/darling/sweetheart
  9. La mia dolce metà - my other half
  10. Mi vuoi sposare? - Will you marry me?

Monday, February 6, 2012

Country Weddings Italy Location Focus: Formello, Veio Regional Parkand the Via Francigena

I admit it: I think I live in a gorgeous place! Daniela and Nicola, a.k.a. Country Weddings Italy, both moved to this area a few years ago, and we both truly appreciate its beauty, with the additional advantage of its proximity to the bright lights of the Eternal City, while being able to joy the peace, beauty and harmony of the wonderful northern Latium landscapes.
These thoughts were some of the first that brought us to think about setting up our business here. Wedding planning and styling is surely helped when the surrounding landscape is already something fantastic to work with. Wedding venues here are spectacular, but often overlooked by overseas couples, who maybe do not know what beauty lies outside the much publicized Tuscany, Rome city centre itself or the much-talked-about Amalfi Coast. All spectacular, rest assured, but why not come off that beaten track a little and try something different? Here’s a little history, info and photos about the village we live in and the surrounding area.

Formello village centre is still a medieval masterpiece, a walled settlement, with a grand stone gateway entrance and breathtaking little lanes and squares that cascade gently down the hillside , one after the other. The village square is dominated by Palazzo Chigi, a former aristocratic country home of the Chigi princes, now the village’s library, museum and town hall offices, and a splendid civil wedding venue!

Formello lies inside the Veio Regional Park, 15,000 hectares of natural parkland which also contain several medieval towns and villages. Formello looks onto a part of the Park, the Sorbo Valley with its parkland open to all who want to wander awhile through nature. The area is magnificent and would make a lovely setting for wedding photographs.

Formello is also the last stopping place before reaching Rome - the final destination on the Via Francigena, a pilgrim route from Canterbury to Rome, officially established in 990 A.D by the Archbishop of Canterbury of the era, Sigeric, who travelled this very route to visit the Pope to receive his Archbishop’s cape. 

All this to help you get an idea of the area where you could be planning your Italian wedding this very minute!  Gorgeous countryside, beautiful villages full of historical interest, just a short 20-minute drive from Rome. The photos speak for themselves, but we can provide you with any information you may need about wedding venues and accommodation in the area. Visit our website to read about what we can do for you, and contact us at . We would love to hear from you! 

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Country Weddings Italy Website Online!

So very excited and happy this week. Our new website, is now online! That's the equivalent of a shop's opening day, a birthday celebration and Christmas all rolled into one for Daniela and myself! We are ready for business. So much work has gone into setting up the business ready to take on its first couples. We will carry on searching for the best suppliers, wedding venues and ideas for our brides and grooms, but we have met so many lovely people in the businees in the last few months, we feel truly privileged to be a part of this exciting world.
Please take a look at the website and get in touch, even if it's only to say Hi. We can also be found on Facebook as "Country Weddings Italy" and on Twitter as "Country Weddings Italy" or "@countryweditaly".
A huge thanks goes to Massimo Bertuola at RomaNordWeb for all his hard work, late nights and patience while setting up the website, and as always, many thanks to photographer Fabrizio Vinti for allowing us to use his wonderful photographs.