Under the Tuscan Sun – a Wedding Story

Why A Tuscany Elopement?

It is a fair question, and most of our friends have posed it in recent conversations. Since she was a little girl, our daughter has known exactly what she wanted, including how she would be married. ‘Six people on a beach’ was her standard until she grew up and started traveling the world with the man who is now her husband. Somewhere along their journey to true love, they realized that any one of the beautiful destinations they have traveled to would be the perfect place to make a lifelong commitment to each other. Where and when became an easy choice as they considered their options.

In 2006 we took a family vacation to France and Italy to celebrate Malcolm’s retirement and as it happened, our stay in Tuscany coincided (on purpose) with our daughter’s 16th birthday. We remember fondly the hugs and giggles we shared, opening a bottle of wine on a hilltop at sunset while watching the valley slowly disappear.

We like to think that her wanderlust and talent for bringing fairytales to life originated from those early travels and her strong sense of family. Tuscany, in late summer at Borgo Santo Pietro was indeed a fairytale brought to life.

Oh My……

This three-hundred-acre property is unparalleled in luxury and accommodation and has a working farm, vegetable garden, vineyard, flower shop, and cooking school. There are two restaurants, a spa, a pool, an outdoor theater, and multiple lawns and gardens throughout the property.

A unique labyrinth of hedges creates intrigue and privacy between outlying guest suites, the main villa, and common areas. Service is nothing short of perfection and our comfort and enjoyment was an obvious priority. To say that this was a fairytale wedding would be a vast understatement. It was an exquisite romantic experience that we will remember and celebrate for a lifetime.

Our daughter chose three garden suites, away from the main villa for our stay. Our suite is pictured below. The proximity was great for the garden ceremony and we quickly discovered shortcuts through a maze of intricate pathways.

In addition to the wedding day festivities, we enjoyed spa treatments, a pizza-making class, gelato by the pool, and a private farm-to-table dinner during our stay at Borgo Santo Pietro.

Dough making and foraging in the garden for pizza toppings was a big hit with everyone. Eating tomatoes fresh from the vine was my favorite part, while Malcolm earned high marks for his dough kneading technique. Morgan, not so much! Apparently, the secret to success is finishing with no mess on your hands.

Pizza Making

It is pretty obvious that we loved this activity. Each of us made our own dough and designed our individual pizza with vegetables picked from the garden, but we were not allowed to use that amazing oven. Our Chef/Instructor, Marco cooked the pizzas for us in just 90 seconds each. Yes, it is that hot. They were as good as they look and we ate them at a picnic table set up just for us, complete with a bottle of Prosecco. Just what we needed, more wine!

Farm to Table

On one of our four nights at the boutique resort, (20 rooms) we opted for dinner at a private table overlooking the vineyard. On this particular night, dinner was prepared exclusively using ingredients from the farm. Our choices included a variety of vegetables, meats, and cheeses. We supplied the wine this evening from a couple of vineyards in the region that we had previously toured.

After Dinner by the Fire

The fire pit just outside Trattoria sull’Albero is a great after-dinner gathering place. The weather was perfect for a fire and we lingered there well into the evening on more than one occasion.

Play Time

When we weren’t participating in a planned activity, checking in with the on-site florist, or getting ready for a wedding, we explored the property and simply enjoyed being together in this peaceful, nurturing environment.

My daughter has always been my favorite subject to photograph and inspired by her joy, the beauty of Tuscany and Borgo Santo Pietro, I was in heaven. I will use most of the photos to create a photo album for us and one for each of the grandmothers. I had originally intended to post ‘real-time’ photos on Instagram, but Morgan did such a wonderful job telling our story through ‘Reels’ I decided to forfeit that task. You can check out her Insta reels here.

Just Us Two

Malcolm and I stole a few minutes each day to relax and enjoy our surroundings. The cigar he is enjoying was a welcome gift from the bride to her dad. My gift from her was an aromatherapy candle with an inscription under the lid. She knows us well.

‘You know you’re in love when you can’t fall asleep because reality is finally better than your dreams’.

Dr. Seuss

Gelato Time

It is impossible to visit Italy and not have Gelato. We indulged at every opportunity, including our own poolside Gelato extravaganza. I will admit that I did not know this is a thing, but apparently, Gelato carts are for hire for special events, like children’s birthday parties, or well, fantasy weddings. Morgan chose three flavors and had enough for 50 guests – we were six people! After we had our fill, (and that was a lot), we invited the other hotel guests and the staff to help themselves.

Exploring Outside the Gates – Florence

We spent an evening and one-half day in Florence before driving to Borgo Santo Pietro. Dinner at Giostra and a brisk walk around town the following day provided a quick reminder of this beautiful city. We have all been to Florence before, so we didn’t feel too guilty about not allowing more time here. If you go, not to be missed, are the Uffizi Gallery, the Accademia Gallery (David), Ponte Vecchi Bridge, and the Piazza Duomo.

Are you inspired to visit?
Ponte Vecchi Bridge – the only one of 6 bridges to survive WWII
Piazza Duomo from a scenic overlook

While staying at the resort, we took one day to explore the countryside, visit a couple of wineries, and take in the most beautiful sunset location in the region.

San Polino

Our son-in-law researched local wineries, and he introduced us to San Polino where we tasted some delicious Brunellos. We bought a few bottles and served them at the ‘farm to table’ dinner mentioned earlier. The tour was quirky and fun, and the owner is obviously passionate about her work. At times she sounded more like a mad scientist than a winemaker. We highly recommend this winery for both the experience and its wines.

‘At San Polino we believe that harmony in nature creates excellent wines’

Not only do they ‘believe’ it, but they also encourage harmony through their practices and academic study of the land. If you would like to know more about their philosophy please visit the link above.

Monteriggioni

Tuscany has an abundance of beautiful walled villages but Monteriggioni seems special even before you reach the medieval gates set high on a hilltop. We spent our time here admiring stone buildings that date back to the 1200s, shopping for picnic items and yes, we ate more gelato. The valley below the wall in the third photo is the famed Chianti region. The drive to Monteriggioni with its undulating hills was breathtaking. The two strong cypress trees at the top of the hill inspired this shot.

Inside the city walls

People come to Crete Senesi (search Google Images or Instagram) to witness the sun setting beyond a serpentine road lined with magnificent cypress trees. It is an amazing sight, but I preferred the golden glow of two beautiful young people about to be married.

The sunset was pretty good too…

Speaking of Cypress trees, which seem to be as common to the Tuscan landscape as terracotta rooftops and cobblestone streets, we tracked down one of the most Instagrammed locations in Tuscanny – isn’t it a joy to travel with young people? Don’t answer that. I have to admit, it was very beautiful and worth a few bumps in the road – literally.

I know you were expecting wedding pictures, but alas, the ‘professionals’ won’t have them ready for another two or three weeks. Until then, I will offer these ‘preview shots’ released to us a few days ago, along with a few candid cellphone shots from dinner.

With the wedding ceremony behind us and about to cut the cake, we all let loose – just a little…..

If you stayed with this post until the end, thank you. I know it is long and self-indulgent, but if you can’t indulge a little at a time like this, when can you? Our joy cannot be fully conveyed here, but I hope this attempt to share our experience has left you feeling the warm glow of a Tuscan sunset and the happiness of two people in love.

I have loved the lyrics of this song since the first time I heard it. It expresses every parent’s wish for their child as they make their way in the world. It thrills our hearts to know that our daughter has found the one she wants to dance through life with. Our hearts are full….

‘And when you get the choice to sit it out or dance.
I hope you dance… ‘ Lee Ann Womack

‘Love at first sight is easy to understand; it’s when two people have been looking at each other for a lifetime that it becomes a miracle.’ Sam Levenson

Shared with Natalie’s Weekend Coffee Share and

Marsha’s Writer’s Quote Wednesday – sight

51 thoughts on “Under the Tuscan Sun – a Wedding Story

  1. I LOVE THIS! Absolutely beautiful. What a beautiful setting. Congratulations! Your daughter couldn’t have picked a more wonderful place, and l love the fact that it was exactly what she wanted, a small intimate one. We were just talking with our friends that we meet up with in Florence often ( l refused to go the past 3 years as l was jaded) but now, l would like to check out this awesome villa. You must be so proud, and yes…it’s long, but absolutely delightful to read. Damn… Those pizzas look awesome… Farm to table is so much fun,.
    Thanks for sharing this with us. Congratulations once again!

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    1. Kem, the whole week went exactly as planned and we could not have been more pleased with the venue. It is a destination unto itself. We only had two days in Florence (one before and one after Tuscany), but next time I’d like more of an immersion experience there. I think a full week would give us time to really get to know the city. And the food…..!!! Thanks for reading. I have never written a post this long!

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    1. Thank you Dawn. My camera crashed on day one (I think it’s a censor issue) and I had to use my daughter’s Sony. I like it a lot though and might make it my next camera. We also shot a lot of cell phone pics and videos. There can never be too much coverage of a once-in-a-lifetime event!

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      1. I’ve seen some good stuff in my Milky Way class shot on sony. I have a Nikon z6ii which is OK but not totally sold on it. We debated between Sony and Nikon Z6…decided I’m so hard on cameras maybe go with Nikon which was supposed to be more rugged and weather tight.

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  2. Hi Suzanne – that was all just lovely. Very European, but also very intimate and joyful. The happiness just leaked through my screen. It must have been the experience of a lifetime for all of you and so special that the lovely couple wanted to share it with you. And I love the song you mentioned at the end – one I’ve heard many times over the years and still feel a little bit sentimental about when I hear it. Congrats to you all and thanks for sharing it all with us.

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  3. Leanne, it was a joyful experience and one that will evoke wistfully nostalgic feelings forever. That song has always been my wish for her and it came to mind again as I was writing this post. It says so much about what is truly important in life. Thanks for stopping by and have a beautiful week.

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  4. What a perfect setting for a wedding and a perfect blog post to celebrate it! The Tuscan light makes everything look even more beautiful and the happiness of all involved shines out of your photos. It also looks a wonderful place to stay at any time! And yes, gelato is a must in Italy of course 🙂

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  5. Sarah, it was such a relaxing place. Four days was not nearly enough to fully explore our surroundings. Malcolm saw much more of the property than I did since he continued his morning walks. I didn’t get much farther than the gardens and pathways, which I couldn’t get enough of. There was something interesting to see at every turn.

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  6. Oh my gosh, what a beautiful setting for your daughter’s wedding! I had to laugh when I read, “Our son-in-law researched local wineries…” because I knew instantly that he’ll fit right in your family. What a joyful time you had. Thank you for sharing your wonderful pictures (Malcolm got some good ones too 🙂 ).

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  7. Suzanne, Everything and everyone at the wedding look so gorgeous. Congratulations to the happy couple and family! Florence looks beautiful and timeless, just as I remember the city from my visit a long time ago. The venue looks amazing. Thank you for sharing your family’s special occasion and stunning pictures with us at #weekendcoffeeshare.

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  8. I have been to that part of the world and it is gorgeous. You got a lot of great shots. Florence we found to be way too noisy – too many motor scooters and tourists but we did enjoy the countryside.

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    1. Jan, driving in Florence was scary, mostly because of the scooters. It wasn’t too crowded and one more day there would have been nice. We did enjoy the tranquility of the countryside. Among my daughter, her friend, and myself, we shot about 1500 photos. Organizing them has been like taming a beast.

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  9. A wedding and vacation of a lifetime, Suzanne! How wonderful for everyone involved. When my Stepdaughter got married in Sedona last year, it was a small parent wedding only and we got spa treatment in L’Auberge. Amazing! Gorgeous images of your beautiful family. Everyone looks so happy! Love the Dr. Seuss quote–so sweet. Cheers!

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  10. Congratulations to the young couple in love and to the proud parents. Amazing destination, activities, and main event, Suzanne. Those moments were precious and you will savor them for a long time to come! Love is on the air! 🙂 (I wish I could have an ice cream right now.)

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  11. rawsonjl

    Oh wow; this whole post sounds incredible. That suite and that site is amazing!! My son and I took a pizza making class where we cooked out in a brick/clay oven and we had such a great time making dough, assembling our pizzas and were also surprised at how quickly they cooked up. Your daughter looks just lovely! What a wonderful celebration filled with memories they’ll have to look back on!

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    1. Borgo was impeccable in every way. The pizza-making class was a highlight for all of us and I am glad you’ve also had that experience with family. The whole week was a wonderful celebration of love that we will never forget. Morgan was a lovely bride, thank you for your kind acknowledgment.

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  12. Wonderful photos! Your daughter looks beautiful and her joy radiates off the screen. I love the idea of gelato by the pool– which sounds like perfection. I also like Cyprus trees in general, and to see them in formation tickles me. And as for your suite, such sweet digs. Very nice

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  13. Suzanne,
    What a lovely and incredible experience…a vacation AND a wedding! Wow! You did an awesome job sharing it with us; I felt like I was there. Probably better that I wasn’t. I would have arrived as a guest, and after wine, food, and gelato, I would go home as cargo but would enjoy it all! Wow, once more!

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    1. Joe, it was by far the longest post I have ever written, but I wanted our happiness to translate. I am glad you saw that. It was hard to pace ourselves through the week, but we managed. We crashed for about four days after we returned. Combining a family vacation and a wedding was pretty awesome.

      Liked by 1 person

  14. Wow, just wow. I’m almost embarrassed to admit I’ve never been to Italy. This makes me want to fly off to Tuscany tomorrow. What an absolutely lovely time you had. The joy jumped off the page – in both the words and the pictures. So glad you shared it.

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  15. Suzanne, I can’t even begin to imagine how many hours it took you to choose photos for this post. And you did a fabulous job. What a gorgeous wedding…and a fun celebration! Not only was everything absolutely exquisite (yes, fairytale!), but the joy of everyone involved shines through. The happy couple certainly knows how to live well. Wishing them all the best in their life journey together.

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    1. Laurel, understanding that life doesn’t have to be ordinary is one of the many things that I admire about Morgan and our SIL They have their priorities sorted and don’t mind breaking with tradition. A traditional wedding would never have suited them and for us, it was the experience of a lifetime.

      Sorting photographs is another issue. The three of us (the ladies) have a combined album of 1500 photos! It was difficult to choose which ones best tell the story, but sifting through them all has made creating the Shutterfly album so much easier.

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  16. Tuscany could not be more perfect as the setting for this beautiful wedding. Your photos are gorgeous. Huge congratulations to the Bride and Groom!!
    Wedding arrangements can be so stressful, I think they have made a great choice to elope with the people who really mattered.

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  17. Thank you Gilda. We think it was a perfect choice for them and we were happy to have been included. Funny thing, Morgan is a bride’s maid for a friend who is having a big wedding next month. She says all the drama has validated her decision to elope a thousand times.

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  18. Hi Suzanne, (again – delayed comment since we were/are off the grid camping)

    Exceptionally beautiful wedding and photos! I have mentioned to you in the past how I have been following your daughter on Instagram the past few years. As you say “a fairytale brought to life.” The food and your cooking adventures look like tons of fun and beyond tasty. I love the intimacy and how their love and you and your husband’s love leaps from the pages. I also appreciate the Dr. Seuss quote.

    I can see where your daughter’s beauty and creativity comes from…inside and out. The apple does not fall far from the tree. XO ❤️

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    1. Hi Erica, no worries. I knew you were off to somewhere beautiful. Thanks for your kind comments here and on her Insta page. I love the way she curates her travels and I thought she did an especially good job with this one.

      It was a beautiful week. The atmosphere at Borgo Santo Pietro is very intimate and romantic and at times we felt like their only guests. They certainly know how to provide hospitality.

      I hope your camping trip provided lots of contemplative time and you returned home refreshed. Life is good, celebrate every day.

      Liked by 1 person

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