How did you meet?
We met through work although we didn’t actually get together until after I’d left the company.
Describe the marriage proposal.
There never was a formal ‘down on one-knee’ marriage proposal. It all started with a stroll on Clapham Common. Having already made our commitment to each other with our baby daughter Hannah, we knew one day we would get married but we just didn’t know when we would do it. We chatted about friends who were about to get married in the Caribbean and decided that wasn’t for us.
We love to travel so we chose Italy – romantic, sunny and not too far for family and friends to travel. Once we’d decided that, I started to search the net. There were many websites offering marriages in Italy but none that stood out so much and seemed as well put together as Helen Lord’s get-married.co.uk. As it was Sunday I waited until Monday to call her. On Wednesday evening, we met with Helen and the rest is history!
How long did you spend preparing for the day and how was it?
The wedding preparations were a breeze as we had Helen Lord to relieve us of the stress. She showed us various venues that would suit our relaxed style and numbers of guests for hotels, ceremony and reception venues. From the start Helen was clear about costs and budgets – there were no hidden extras!
As the day drew nearer Duncan and I were tied up with selling our house. Knowing that we had Helen making all the arrangements and just contacting us if anything needed deciding was fantastic. It really did take all the stress out our wedding plans. We gave Helen a short timescale – we met her in February and were married in June – but this really wasn’t a problem.
What type of wedding ceremony did you have and where?
We chose the Commune in Certaldo Alto, Tuscany for our ceremony followed by the reception, next door, in the Osteria.
We only visited the ceremony and reception venues shortly after arriving in Tuscany (one week prior to the wedding) and it was all perfect. The setting, the surroundings, the views – the photos we had been shown really didn’t do the place justice. Everything was exactly how Helen had described it.
The Commune was in a beautiful setting: a medieval courtyard area which was the perfect backdrop for photos. The ceremony went without a hitch and it was lovely that people were free to walk around and take pictures during the proceedings. It was very romantic having the ceremony conducted in Italian (with a translator of course!)
Where did you hold the reception and what was it like?
The reception was held in the Osteria, next to the ceremony venue. Following the ceremony Duncan and I left in a 1950’s vintage Citroen to have pictures taken in the countryside looking back on Certaldo Alto. We had fun and shared a bottle of champagne kindly supplied by the driver. The guests went next door to the Osteria where they were entertained by Duncan’s father’s band.
We returned to join the guests for aperitifs and then sat for dinner – what an extravaganza! The food we had chosen was superb, extremely tasteful and immaculately presented. The wines that had been recommended were also superb. The flowers on the table were just as I had requested. After speeches followed the best cake I have ever tasted – a real Italian treat. We danced, sang and drank late into the night and truly enjoyed our special day.
Is there anything you’d like to change, with hindsight?
Nothing at all – everything was perfect.
What advice would you give to couples currently planning their wedding?
Get yourself a good wedding coordinator – it really does take the stress out of the arrangements. You get to make all the important decisions but you leave the running around to someone else. We really couldn’t have done it without Helen. It would have taken us months to research venues and all the contacts from flowers to hair that she already had. With the language barrier for us it would have been impossible! Italians are sticklers for paperwork and Helen was meticulous in ensuring that it all ran smoothly, with no hiccups on the day.
Is there any other detail that you would like to share?
The whole event from start to finish was fantastic (and totally stress free – an important point for brides-to-be!). So many of our guests are still saying it was the best wedding they’d ever been to – including their own!