Civil Ceremony

An Italian Destination Wedding


February 11, 2019
Words by Lauren Marshall
Photos courtesy of Melissa Brewer Photography

Bailey and Mattia believe in the Italian proverb that says, “La famiglia è la patria del cuore.” Which means: home (or in this case, family) is where the heart is.

Naturally, the couple who met and fell in love in Cortona, Italy decided to have intimate destination wedding in the groom’s Italian hometown and then have a larger one back in the US for the bride’s family. We at DID felt this couple was so well spoken and interesting that you would like to learn about their love story and destination wedding straight from the couple themselves:

DID: Why did you choose to do a destination wedding?  
BRIDE: We met when I was studying abroad in Cortona with the University of Georgia two and a half years ago. We fell in love through lots of homemade dinners (by Mattia of course), long walks around Cortona and in the mountains around, traveling, and more! Since we are having a big wedding in the US and in a more traditional American fashion, we really wanted to try to keep our wedding in Italy really intimate, local and sweet. We are pretty non traditional (we moved in together after only three months of dating, and I didn’t have an engagement ring until just a few weeks before the wedding), so we wanted our wedding to be like us- non-traditional but sweet and special. You never think you would find a husband in Italy and I definitely did not, but he is the best person and loves me so well and I am so excited to marry him! The best experience of living here [Italy] is to be able to connect and get to know his family. They are so deeply connected with their country and cooking and culture and to be a part of that and to be welcomed into their family is a real blessing.

DID: How/why did you choose the location/destination? 
BRIDE: Civil ceremonies in Cortona always take place at the “Palazzo Communal”, which is a stunning medieval palace located in the heart of town. The room where civil ceremonies take place is known as the “Sala dei Consiglieri”. The reception location is stunning and it overlooks vineyards and olive groves. The restaurant on site was perfect for what we had planned.

DID: Did you use any resources when planning your destination wedding that you feel would be helpful to other couples? i.e. books, a wedding planner, referrals?
BRIDE: Mattia’s family is deeply connected to the area and that was our biggest resource!

DID: Did you include any do-it-yourself projects in your wedding/reception? 
BRIDE: Since we wanted this wedding to be simple, our goal was to use the natural beauty surrounding us instead of a lot of decor. Even my hair and makeup was done by myself and my friends, but it was all so perfect!

DID: What were the travel logistics like for your guests? 
BRIDE: My parents and their friends rented a large apartment to stay in for the weeks prior to our wedding, and that’s also where we got ready for the wedding. Our guests and photographer stayed in the Hotel San Luca, which is walking distance to our villa and to the ceremony location. The entire city of Cortona is very walkable if you have good shoes and don’t mind a lot of steep hills!

DID: How were you able to coordinate with vendors from afar? 
BRIDE:  Melissa Brewer  (our photographer) was our only vendor coming from afar, and she was very easy to communicate with via email and Facebook messenger. I basically told her which train station to come to, and she had no problems getting from the airport in Rome to Camucia-Cortona station and then taking a taxi to the hotel. She and her second photographer were even able to meet us for drinks and dinner the evening before our wedding!

DID: Do you feel you spent more or less money by choosing to do a destination wedding?
BRIDE: With the simplicity of our wedding, and everything being local to us, it honestly wasn’t outrageous! I’m sure it would have been different if we had done a larger event like our American wedding in Georgia.

Vendors: Photographer: Melissa Brewer Photography, Day-of Coordinator: Massimo Azzuro, Ceremony: Cortona courthouse (Comune di Cortona), Reception/Cake: Tenimenti d’Alessandro, Gown Designer: top from Watters, skirt from Nordstrom, Groom’s Clothing Designer: Sartoria Rossi, Bridesmaids/Groomsmen’s Clothing Designer: Sartoria Rossi & Anthropologie

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