Tuscan villa weddings never cease to inspire. There’s something so magical about that fragrant Italian air, the rich history, and the gorgeous architecture. And Italians seem to host weddings with such an air of simplicity, like it’s no big deal to host a dinner party for fifty or sixty people outdoors, under the clear Tuscan sky. Sara and Patrick’s wedding at Villa Catureglio has us all in total fantasy land over here, what with the Chestnut hunt in the mountains, vineyard tours, and the gorgeous meals they celebrated with.
Sara and Patrick recently filled us in on all the details of their wedding planning from afar. They worked with the creative and brilliant duo, Elyse and Katie, at BW Theory in Austin to make all their great ideas into a reality.
It’d be impossible to ignore the location and the beautiful Florentine culture and traditions in a place like this. To incorporate some of the local bounty, this couple took their wedding crew on a chestnut hunt in the mountains. “The area is huge for picking chestnuts and famous for all of the goodies made with them,” explained photographer Katie Moore, “the wedding favors of Chestnut flour with a recipe tucked inside was a really nice touch. And the leather name cards at the dinner table were special -- we were 30 miles outside of Florence, after all.”
Tell us a little about the venue and why you chose it.
Patrick’s family is in Western Canada and mine in Hawaii and when we were engaged he was living in London and I in New York City. No matter where we held it the wedding would be a destination, so we focused on finding a place where we could host a group of family and friends to have a multi-day party. An intimate villa-style wedding really appealed and we looked all over France and Italy before we found the right spot: Villa Catureglio, near Borgo a Mozzano, in Tuscany, Italy. The setting – a large fifteenth century villa on expansive grounds up in the hills – was perfection. It also gave us a great jumping off point to explore local vineyards and the beautiful local towns.
The villa itself is a rather blank canvas, offering up the opportunity to transform it according to desires of the couple. We saw this possibility when we happened upon the incredible work of Matthew Moore Photography and a wedding they had captured at the villa a few years prior. Because of Matt and Katie, we actually booked Villa Catureglio sight unseen.
How did the location influence the design of your wedding?
With our Tuscan location set, we wanted to embrace the rustic feel of the surroundings, and add a vintage feel with modern elegance. We had the amazing insights of Elyse Shumsky and Katie Moore (also of Matthew Moore Photography) at Bellwether Design who took our scattershot ideas and developed a cohesive style and vision for the wedding.
We couldn’t be happier with the work they did – the results were simply stunning and they were a blast to scheme with.
Did you incorporate anything special from the surrounding area into your plans?
Because of the remote location of the villa in northern Tuscany and how far most of our guests would be travelling, we organised several events so that they had something to do and a chance to get to know each other. We arranged a vineyard tour, starting with a tour and lunch at Fattoria Cercatoia Alta provided by Angelo and Sao Fornaciari. The tour continued at Fattoria di Fubbiano and Fattoria Maionchi Tofori. Each vineyard had a special character and offered a different taste of the region.
The following day we went on a mushroom hunt high up in the valley with the help of Heather Jarman at Sapori e Saperi. She planned a hike through the woods and village of Trassilico led by David Saisi, the mayor of neighbouring Gallicano, followed by lunch prepared by the town’s producers in the local theatre. Mushrooms were elusive, but we found loads of chestnuts and got a taste of a rural Italian village.
At the villa, we held a welcome dinner with pizzas baked in the forno on site with help from the villa staff, as well as a brunch the day after the wedding.
Did you eat/drink anything during the week that was especially memorable?
My father made us a delicious spice cake with mascarpone icing – my favourite birthday cake growing up. The cakes (and other deserts) were presented on four tables of differing heights and surrounded by dozens and dozens of candles for the cake cutting. The cake plate was decorated with olive branches from the groves surrounding the villa.
Is there anything special you incorporated from the venue or surrounding area into the design?
Katie Moore: Yes, the leather name cards/ tags at the dinner table, we were 30 miles outside of Florence, after all. Also with the area being huge for chestnuts and all of the goodies made with them along with the group being taken on a chestnut hunt way up in a tiny mountain village, famous for hunting and harvesting chestnuts, the favors of Chestnut flour with a recipe tucked inside was a really nice touch.
We love a venue that’s so full of natural beauty that it visually changes with the seasons and this Tuscan villa is no exception. As Katie put it, “The whole place is incredible. Depending on the time of year and day (we have shot there multiple times), the opportunities for what photographs beautifully changes and provides so much variety.” Well, we’re sold. Next stop: Tuscany.
Any fun stories or moments that stand out from the week?
After a week of great weather, the heavens opened up at the end of dinner, cutting power on site for a few minutes. The whole villa was plunged into darkness, but the table stayed lit with the countless candles, making for a gorgeous scene. Everyone had a great time, thanks to the marquee that was the best expense of the wedding!
Are there any standout venue features that were especially great for photos?
Katie Moore: The whole thing is incredible. Depending on the time of year and day (we have shot there multiple times) the opportunities for what photographs beautifully changes and provides so much variety.
Venue: Villa Catureglio | Photographer: Matthew and Katie Moore of Matthew Moore Photography | Planning and Event Design: Elyse Shumsky and Katie Moore of BW Theory | Floral Design: Floralia in Florence | Stationary + Invitations: Designed by BW Theory, Printed by Publicide | Calligraphy: Heather Colley at Perch Paper Company | Catering: Galateo Ricevimenti
MEET THE CORRESPONDENT
Matthew and Katie Moore