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Nina & David’s Italian wedding

Palazzo Vecchio, Florence, Italy

Nina & David’s Italian wedding – the couple

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The couple

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Nina, a bank manager, and Dave, a police officer, met for the first time in March 2003 in their local bar, but had actually attended the same school. “Dave banked with the branch I work for and we have a number of mutual friends but, surprisingly, we had never been introduced!” says Nina. “On that night in March, we noticed each other and I felt compelled to go over and ask if I knew him. We spent the whole night talking and realised how much we have in common – after a couple of dates it was clear we were falling in love and we’ve been together ever since!”

Dave proposed after two years, while the couple were on holiday in Ischia, Italy. “We were having a drink after dinner overlooking the bay of Naples. It was a complete surprise and I couldn’t answer because I kept thinking he was going to say he was joking,” says Nina. “So I sat there shaking and crying for what seemed like forever until Dave said ‘is that a yes then?’ at which point I threw my arms around him and said ‘yes’. Just after he proposed and we’d ordered champagne, fireworks exploded in the air over the bay which was beautiful – it felt like it was just for us!”

Photography: Domenico Constabile

Nina & David’s Italian wedding – the ceremony

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The wedding ceremony

In keeping with their Italian proposal, the couple decided to marry at La Sala Rossa (The Red Room) in the Palazzo Vecchio in Florence, one of the most famous Medieval buildings in Italy. “We had our first weekend break together in Florence and it’s such a romantic city. La Sala Rossa embodied that romance perfectly as it’s so ornate,” says Nina.

“I arrived with my three bridesmaids and my mum. On reaching the front of the room, we followed Italian tradition where my mum, Eileen, kissed Dave to pass me over and then she lifted my veil. Dave and I were already in tears!” says Nina. “The service was conducted in Italian by the mayor and translated by our wedding planner, Luce. Our vows began ‘I love you – you are my best friend’ and we both cried again saying them.”

Guests were then taken to a nearby bar for drinks while the bride and groom walked around Florence for the wedding photos. “Everywhere we went, people stopped and applauded. We felt like film stars!” says Nina.

Nina & David’s Italian wedding – the wedding style

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The wedding style

“The wedding theme was romantic but with a touch of vintage,” says Nina. “It was a blend of champagne, chocolate and rose colours, which fit perfectly with the romantic feel of Florence and with both our venues.

“The look and feel of the day was down to me although Dave was involved in major decisions like the reception and food.”

Nina & David’s Italian wedding – the dress

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The wedding dress

Nina’s dress was a champagne-coloured Pronovias creation called Joana, with a full-length champagne star-shaped veil.

“Just after booking the venues, I went shopping with a friend and decided to try on some wedding dresses. I wasn’t expecting to find anything, just to get some ideas of styles I liked. Dan Kerr was the second shop we went into and when I saw the Pronovias gown I immediately felt there was something special about it. When I looked in the mirror and the assistant brought me the matching veil I burst into tears. It was perfect! The dress felt very Italian – even though it was Spanish – and fit perfectly with the wedding theme of vintage romance.” 

Nina & David’s Italian wedding – the wedding accessories

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The wedding accessories

The bride wore oyster-coloured Moonbeam shoes with pearl detail by Diane Hassall, which she bought from Elegantsteps.co.uk. Nina’s handbag was made from dress fabric with pearl beading and she wore champagne-coloured earrings and a bracelet cuff, handmade by Euphoria Couture. “They used vintage jewellery to make these so this was my something old. I also borrowed a handkerchief that used to be my dad’s,” says Nina. “I finished my wedding-day look with pearl pins in my hair and a spritz of Vera Wang perfume!”

Nina & David’s Italian wedding – the wedding flowers

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The wedding flowers

“I had a hand-tied bouquet of champagne and pink roses with trailing ivy and pearls scattered throughout,” says Nina. “The flowers were wrapped in some of my dress material with pearl pins. Smaller versions were provided for the bridesmaids with grass interlaced over the top. We had coordinating centrepieces for each table, one for the fireplace at the Villa and two large arrangements for the blessing which were moved indoors and framed between the dining room and dance floor later on.”

Nina & David’s Italian wedding – the bridesmaids

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The bridesmaids 

Nina chose her daughter Jodi and her friend Kath to be bridesmaids, while Dave’s daughter Sicily was the flower girl. The adult dresses, from Raylia, were a copper colour and some of the material was used to make a sash for Sicily’s champagne-coloured dress, which was bought from Tie the Knot in Blackburn. All the bridesmaids wore silver spiral flower grips in their hair from Anna Clifton jewellery.

Nina & David’s Italian wedding – the wedding blessing and reception

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The wedding blessing and reception

Nina and Dave held their reception at La Villa Massa, a five star hotel along the river Arno, just outside Florence, with magnificent views over the surrounding area. The couple then exchanged traditional church vows at a blessing outside the venue, accompanied by music on a harp and violin.

“We chose to have our blessing on the lawn outside the hotel facing the river, which was a beautiful setting,” says Nina. “La Villa Massa also has a reputation for it’s food – Dave loves his cooking and so this was one of the deciding factors when looking at reception venues.”

Guests were treated to champagne and canapés by the pool while musicians played ‘Perfect Day’ and ‘Wonderwall’. A band called Guty e Simone delivered the evening entertainment, including the couple’s first dance to ‘All the right reasons’ by the Jayhawks. “This has always been our song,” says Nina. “The band were brilliant and even though there was only 32 of us, everyone got up and boogied the night away.”

Nina & David’s Italian wedding – the wedding details

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The wedding details

“We created flat luggage-style place names with pink ribbon, which were wrapped around each napkin on the tables,” says Nina. “We had square favour boxes at each place setting, which matched our original invites, containing small boxes of chocolates from a Tuscan company called Amedei. We also had table names to match the romantic theme of the wedding – each table was named after a Renaissance artist, including Da Vinci and Michelangelo.”

Nina & David’s Italian wedding – the wedding cake

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The wedding cake

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The cake was a traditional Italian layered cake and guests were given champagne when the couple cut it. “It’s Italian tradition to serve champagne at this point – it’s a salute!” says Nina.