Having just arrived back in the country after an amazing few weeks I finally have a moment to myself to reflect on one of the most special days of my life..... my wedding.
I loved every minute of it. I loved traveling with friends and creating memories that will last a life time. I love that I had no expectations because I wasn't one of those girls who had fantasised about the wedding my whole life and so it was an amazing moment that was gone too fast but is now a beautiful memory.
My husband (it still feels so weird to say that) is Italian and he decided he wanted us to elope in his home country. I agreed so long as anyone who wanted to come could. So in the end we eloped with 41 other people beside us which totally blew me away. In fact my parents come and it was the first time my mum had ever left New Zealand!
We chose an old property which was 1000 year old village on a hill top in Siena and basically hired the village out with its own church, a dining hall, pools and beautiful grounds. It really couldn't have been a more perfect location. Unfortunately an electrical storm came through the night before the wedding and it was raining on the day but they do say that is good luck right? I didn't mind after all the marriage is more important than the wedding day to me.
I would highly recommend a destination wedding as it really makes for a more intimate and special time even though I was sad I didn't get to celebrate with all my friends.
The planning part was so much fun, I booked AirBnB houses in Rome, Florence, Venice, Naples and Amalfi. Having overseas adventures with those you love is the best.
We arrived in Rome at night and went straight out for a walk around the neighbourhood to get some dinner and ended up at the Vatican which is beautiful at night but evidently we were not meant to walk around at night as we nearly got arrested which was hilarious as the Italian cops were chasing us yelling in Italian.
After a few days in Rome we all headed to Florence where we were staying by the markets which are so good if you like leather jackets, bags and other accessories. The best thing to do in Florence is to hire bikes though and ride around along the river and across up to Michelangelo's Lookout. The view is worth the workout. And you can always stop for Gelato half way up if you get hot. Another spot to check out in Florence is the Mercato Centrale which has the most amazing food court upstairs with all sorts of delicious food for lunch.
Venice is one of my favourite spots, Luca (my husband) actually proposed to me on the Rialto Bridge which was so cute, he had decided on a trip around Italy in his early 20s with a mate he was going to come back and propose on the bridge. We were even staying in the Giulietta e Romeo Hotel! Cant get much cuter right? So to be back with most of my best friends was pretty special. We hired this amazing grand Palazzo which was totally haunted, but that just added to the vibe. One of my favourite days from the whole trip was taking everyone to the Mercati di Rialto and getting everything to make a yummy dinner. Each couple was in charge of a course and we had a dinner party in the grand dining room complete with silver goblets! So much fun.
After Venice we traveled to Tuscany to Borgo di Castelvecchio where we were staying for a week for the wedding. We chose this location because it had a church on the property and it was important to Luca that we get married in a church. It was such an amazing location with several houses around the property as well as the main building. Plenty of room for 43 guests to have their own space, go for walks, swims, sunbathing, cooking. We had an amazing meal in Montepulciano which is known for its red wine and wild game. A couple of days before the wedding my best friend and I drove to a near by township to the closest florist which was still an hour and a half away and managed to order all the flowers and have them delivered to the Borgo at the right time on the right day with my broken Italian and the non english speaking florist that was a small miracle! The night before the wedding the boys drove back to Rome to watch a soccer game in the middle of the storm! On the day of the wedding the weather started clearing by lunch time. We had two ceremonies because I was baptised Christian not Catholic I was not allowed to actually get married in the church! So to get around that we had a blessing ceremony in the church and then did the rest of the ceremony in another part of the grounds. We had a harpist playing after the ceremony while we went off and did photos and then had dinner at one long table (another of Luca's musts) in the Granary. Our wedding cake was a traditional Italian Wedding cake called a Mille Feuille - meaning a thousand layers - which was made in front of the guests. I even organised a DJ to come and play and we danced into the night.
After Tuscany we made our way to Naples for a night and went to Da Michele Pizzeria, the place where Julia Roberts eats the pizza in Eat Pray Love, so Luca could try the masters pizza. They were insanely fast taking just over a minute to cook a pizza and you had 2 options - Margherita or Marinara (No cheese just tomato sauce).
We then headed to Amalfi where I had booked a house in Positano, we were in a taxi and when we got to the turn off to go to Amalfi the road was closed with no clear reason why, leading to arguments with the taxi driver as he wanted to kick us out on the side of the road! We ended up getting him to drop us to Sorrento where we managed to find accommodation for the night (thank god) then in the morning caught the boat around to Positano where the rest of our friends met us and took us back to our house. The bonus out of that was we discovered Sorrento which is now where we plan to retire with a bed and breakfast. It is our favourite place in Italy with enough happening to be busy and fun but still at the start of the Amalfi with the amazing views coastal vibes.
Positano is the cutest with a one way road around the mountainside with shops and restaurants.
The drive back to Rome with 4 adults plus suitcases in a tiny car was one I wont soon forget! Several hours sitting on top of a suitcase!!