Sara and Patrick

Italy

 

 

Photography | Matthew Moore Photography | @matthewmoorephotography

Venue | Villa Catureglio

Event Designer | BW Theory | @bwtheory

Gown Designer | Monique Lhuillier @moniquelhuillier

Gown Salon | Mark Ingram Atelier | @markingrambride

Headpiece | Gillian Million @gillianmillion

Bride’s Shoes| Ferragamo | @ferragamo

Men’s Attire | Lanvin | @lanvinofficial

Men’s Attire | Hackett @hackettlondon

Ring Designer | Fred Leighton | @leightonjewels

Hair and Makeup | Katie Moore

Cake Designer | Bride’s Father

Caterer | Galateo Ricevimenti | @galateoricevimenti

Stationery Designer | Bellwether

Calligraphy | Perch Paper Co

Stationery Letterpress | Publicide | @publicide

Favors | The White Company | @thewhitecompany

Favors | Lucca

Vintage Furniture | Floralia

Transportation | Alfa Romeo | @alfaromeousa

Registry | Williams Sonoma | @williamssonoma

Officiant | Sophie Epstein

Local Event Planner | Sapori e Saperi | @saporiesaperi

NAMES

Sara Cunningham / Patrick Johnston

 

GUEST NUMBERS

56

 

HOW WE MET

We both attended the London School of Economics and were initially introduced through a school society. One of our society friends invited each of us to his wedding in Rome. We were both flying solo and found ourselves trying to spend time together during the pre-wedding events and during the wedding itself. After the wedding, we made an excuse to see each other again in London and have been together ever since through Sara’s move back to the States.

 

OUR ENGAGEMENT STORY

We had been talking about getting married from really early on – it really felt inevitable. Patrick asked Sara’s father for her hand on a visit to her family about 6 months before he proposed, and Sara found the ring she loved not long thereafter. In early September, after a big project finished at work, Patrick pulled together a surprise plan to fly over to New York and whisk Sara away for the weekend. He nearly succeeded in surprising her, but was foiled by a thunderstorm that landed him prematurely in Boston, and her womanly intuition that inspired her to get her haircut and a manicure while he was in the air. He proposed during a walk of the grounds at Blue Hill restaurant just north of the NYC.

 

MARRIAGE TO US MEANS

Since we spent nearly all of our courtship apart, marriage means being together, always. Marriage is togetherness in mind, body and spirit.

 

WEDDING LOCATION

Villa Catureglio, near Borgo a Mozzano, Tuscany, Italy. We wanted an intimate villa-style wedding and looked all over France and Italy for the right spot. From the start, we wanted a destination wedding where we could host a large group of family and friends to host a huge four day party. Catureglio was a wonderful fit and exactly what we were looking for.

 

THEME/STYLE

Once we had the location, we tried to take inspiration from what was local, from food and wine (this was Tuscany, after all), to where we wanted to take people, what we wanted to do and what the favors would be.

 

PHOTOGRAPHY

Matt and Katie, of Matthew Moore Photography, photographed the whole wedding weekend, including vineyard tour, mushroom hunt, rehearsal dinner, and the brunch the day after. They have such a candid, relaxed, and unobtrusive way of shooting – we don’t love really posed shots – and the results were spectacular. There are plenty of photos that we don’t recall them being around for, but they clearly got!

 

BRIDE’S DRESS

Sara wore the “Valentina” from Monique Lhuillier, which she found at Mark Ingram. The skirt was five layers including grey chiffon, lace and hand-beaded overlay. The dress was stunning, but also comfortable and effortless.

BRIDE’S SHOES

Nude peep-toe Ferragamo wedges. Perfect for comfort and not sinking into the grass.

 

WEDDING RINGS

We both wear slim platinum wedding bands. Sara’s engagement ring is from Fred Leighton, an estate jeweler in New York City. It is a vintage old mine cut center stone and cluster design based on an art deco piece that they had in their collection.

 

JEWELRY/ACCESSORIES

Sara found Gillion Million online, when she was looking for a headpiece in lieu of a veil. She visited Gillion’s store in London to design a custom piece. Patrick then surprised Sara with a custom bracelet for her wedding gift.

 

GROOMS’ ATTIRE

Patrick wore a dark navy Lanvin tuxedo, very classic. His accessories were from Hackett.

 

HAIR and MAKEUP

Katie Moore did Sara’s hair and makeup. We had a practice session for our engagement pictures in Austin, Texas. Katie understood what Sara wanted and created an effortless but editorial look, with a bright red lip. Sara’s hair was done to highlight the headpiece in a modern, undone chignon. Essentially, she let Katie do what she thought was best, which was best.

 

STATIONERY/INVITATIONS

We sent out really simple save the dates that were our own design from a scan of Sara’s writing. The invitations were a group effort, with design advice from Bellwether and calligraphic elements from Heather Colley at Perch Paper Co, and letterpressed by Publicide in NYC.

 

FAVORS

Chestnuts are abundant in the area around the villa, and chestnut flour is a specialty of the Garfagnana Valley. We placed local chestnut flour in muslin bags with tied with tags handwritten by Sara, alternating English and Italian, “Chestnut Flour” or “Farina di Neccio”. We also prepared welcome boxes for the guests staying at the villa with The White Company and other toiletries, with local biscotti from Lucca. The boxes were tied with twine and sealed with our initials in silver wax and decorated with olive tree branches.

 

FLOWERS & BOUQUETS

We wanted really natural looking arrangements, as if you walked through a meadow and picked a few stems as you went.

 

PREPARATION

We wanted a really small and intimate wedding, so we chose to not have any attendants. Rather, Sara got ready with her mom and a few girlfriends in her room. The girls toasted with Prosecco and danced around the room to girl anthems while Sara had her hair and makeup done.

CEREMONY DÉCOR/ RECEPTION DÉCOR

The villa itself was most of the decoration, apart from the flowers, and anywhere that we could stick a candle we did. Bellwether came up with a few set pieces, like the backdrop for the ceremony, seating chart, and the most insane cake stand area. They also had a painting made with the colors we wanted to work in, which we chopped up and used as the backing for the invitations, we printed on pillows and used on the table runner over the length of the table.

 

Floralia helped us source some vintage furniture, rugs and tables to turn one area of the villa into a speakeasy type atmosphere, which we filled with sweet things and cigars for our guests to stumble upon. Sara and a few friends sewed pillows to tie everything together.

 

WEDDING PLANNER/ WEDDING STYLIST

We had been trying to design most things ourselves, but Elyse Shumsky and Katie Moore of Bellwether Design came in and raised the level of everything to amazeballs. They helped tremendously with refining our design ideas, worked with the other suppliers and made sure all of the little details were covered perfectly.

 

CAKE

Sara’s father baked us a delicious spice cake with mascarpone icing – a traditional cake for Sara’s birthdays growing up. The cake plate was decorated with olive branches from the groves surrounding the villa. The cakes (and other deserts) were presented on four tables of differing heights and surrounded by dozens of candles from the cake cutting.

 

WEDDING SONGS

Processional: Better Together, Jack Johnson

Recessional: Only Love, Ben Howard – this recommendation came from The Lane!

First Dance: Love is a Verb, John Mayer

Father-Daughter Dance: Over the Rainbow, Israel Kamakawiwa’ole

 

ENTERTAINMENT

We ended up creating our own playlist and DJing the party from an iPad.

 

FOOD & BEVERAGES

We served cocktails and champagne with small bites in the garden immediately following the ceremony. For dinner we tried to keep things local and seasonal (a huge reason to have a wedding in Tuscany in the autumn), with flavors like zucchini flowers, wild boar, and truffles. Sara’s father prepared a spice cake like the one she had for her birthday growing up, and we left sweet goodies for people to find with drinks and dancing after.

 

TRANSPORT

We self drove and rented a beautiful red 1960 Alfa Romeo Osso di Seppia for our time in the area.

 

HONEYMOON

We only had time for a mini-moon, but had a few key requirements for the destination. The location had to be within two hours’ flight of Italy, a country that neither of us had ever been to and warm. We landed on Greece, and spent a day in Athens exploring the ancient ruins staying at the King George. Then a few nights in Oia, Santorini at the fabulous IKIES Traditional Houses. Beautiful sunsets, perfect weather and completely relaxing.

 

GIFT REGISTRY

As we lived on separate continents, we opted for a small gift registry at William Sonoma.

 

A MEMORABLE MOMENT

After a week of great weather, the heavens opened up right at the end of dinner, cutting power on site for a few minutes. Everyone was having a great time, thanks to the marquee that was the best expense of the wedding!