Even before Mister Ruffles and I were engaged we loved discussing our wedding and what it might be like. These chats usually happened whilst we were driving and after a song had come onto the radio – most likely an 80s power ballad whilst listening to Heart FM – that I would hear and then bounce up and down in my seat screeching “This! Yes this! We are definitely having this one played at the wedding!” After chatting about what music the DJ would play (it’s actually become a bit of a joke that my wedding playlist has around several days worth of music on it), we would chat about what we would eat, who would come and even what decor we’d have, yet we always came a cropper when thinking about where it would actually happen. Neither of us wanted to get married in the places we had spent our childhood and as much as I liked the idea of a London wedding we wanted to create a bit more of an event that would allow us to spend longer than just a day with our guests. Mainly becaus eof the afore-mention wedding playlist! We’d both uhmm and ahh over various locations we’d each suggest and it was usually around this point that the conversation about our fantasy wedding would tail off and we’d end up discussing something a bit more pressing like whether to have a cheeseboard in lieu of dinner that night or disagree on whose turn it was to iron the bedding.
Earlier this year when it came to having the conversation For Real and having to make an actual decision we were both still stumped. I even remember typing “where to get married” into Google and being simultaneously underwhelmed and bamboozled by some of the suggestions. Luckily two of my best friends got married last year and were on hand to give me some sage advice. They suggested that Mister Ruffles and I both separately compile a wish-list of wedding day wants – from how we wanted our wedding day to look and feel, to anything and everything that we wanted to happen during the event. After pulling our lists together we would then meet and figure out what we had in common, what we didn’t, what were deal-breakers and what were the things we definitely couldn’t afford. Essentially it was a list of everything we needed to look for in a venue. For the first time in the seven plus years we’ve been together we actually agreed on pretty much everything on our lists which was nothing short of a miracle. Our fantasy wedding chats had essentially made that bit easy. We both knew that we wanted a wedding that would be held outside from beginning to end, where we would get married in the sunshine, enjoy dinner at dusk by candlelight and then dance beneath the stars – which pretty much ruled out holding it here in the U.K! Eventually our decision ended up being Italy – Tuscany to be precise – and considering at that particular point I had never been to Italy before, it came as a bit of an unexpected surprise even to us. So why Italy? We’re both passionate about great food and wine which Italy has in abundance, we wanted somewhere that felt like we were in the countryside and the scenery there is as incredible in real life as it is in photos – lush greenery and rolling hills as far as you can see – and we also wanted somewhere that wasn’t too far from the U.K so as many people as possible could come. Tuscany ticked all of the boxes for us.
After looking at around a hundred places online (no joke) we finally selected a shortlist of eight and made our first visit in May to hopefully find our venue. Armed with a clipboard and a TomTom we spent a jam-packed four days driving around the Italian countryside visiting Bogos, Castellos and Villas in the hope we’d find The One. When we did we knew instantly and fell deeply and madly in love with it. Last weekend we paid our venue a visit again and spent three days in Tuscany eating ourselves Christmas Day full in the name of wedding planning, menu tasting and restaurant trialling which meant that on the flight home I sat typing this post with a belly so full and bloated that I had to have the top button of my jeans undone so my seatbelt didn’t cut off the circulation to my lower half. At the time this was mildly alarming as the next day I was going shopping for a wedding dress and I had visions about not being able to fit into any of the sample sizes and/or getting stuck in a dress and/or getting cut out of it and/or busting a zipper. To update you – I didn’t end up getting stuck, cut out of or busting any wedding dresses. Phew.
Inbetween the decisions about how many metres of tables we needed and how much ice was required we managed to squeeze in a little site-seeing in Siena. It was a gorgeously sunny day and we spent the afternoon walking around its cobbled streets bathed in the honeyed golden light that Tuscany is renowned for, eating gelato and taking photos of the locals lazily enjoying their Sunday, admiring plenty of stunning doors and all whilst singing “ohhhhhhhh Siennnnnnna” to each other. We’re now pretty much done with the wedding planning for now which I’m quite relieved about as the forward planning has meant I can now concentrate on everything I’ve got in store over the next few months – like a new job for example that I start on Tuesday – eee!