Renae and Jimmy

If there is one place I dream of a destination wedding- it’s Tuscany! Today’s destination wedding of Aussie expats Renae and Jimmy is my kind of way to spend a warm evening. Photographed by Simon Peter Taylor, it’s all about dancing under the stars, enjoying the view and celebrating love.

Renae tells their story “Despite both being originally from Brisbane and having mutual friends also living in London, we didn’t meet until a friend brought me to a farewell party at tequila bar, Crazy Homies in Notting Hill. Her words to me as she introduced her friend Jimmy were – you are running the London marathon next month, he is running the Edinburgh marathon in May. You are going cycling in Provence next week and so is he – I’ve got nothing to add here, please chat amongst yourselves! After trying to unsuccessfully set up a few cycling rendezvous over the following weeks, he eventually asked if he could take me out for dinner and the penny finally dropped that he was interested in more than just a cycling buddy! ”

Wedding planner Gillian Fantoni at Weddings in Tuscany by Imperial took care of all the details, the couple choosing Tenuta di Sticciano for their wedding venue.  Renae remarking “The venue is a typical ‘agriturismo’ – working farm producing wine, olive oil and honey along with providing accommodation for tourists in the summer. The villa and surrounding farmhouses are situated on top of a hill with views of cypress trees and rolling fields of olive trees and vines stretching out as far as the eye can see in all directions. A truly stunning backdrop! ”

Renae describes the wedding as “The Tuscan dream – a celebration of love and friendship with great food and wine in a romantic, rustic setting! ”

Renae walked down the aisle to Muse’s cover of the Nina Simone classic ‘Feeling Good’. She wore a lace gown from Maggie Sottero.

“One of our ceremony readings was a passage from Paulo Coelho’s classic, The Alchemist. As our friend Amelia commenced the reading, out of nowhere an eerie wind started blowing around the grounds, getting stronger and stronger until it almost blew over the outdoor furniture. It certainly grabbed everyone’s attention. As soon as she finished the reading it suddenly stopped. If you’ve read the Alchemist you’d appreciate the impact of something like that happening! ”

“We loved writing our own vows and making those promises to each other in front of our nearest and dearest.”

Of their photographer, Renae remarks “Next to picking a venue, the photographer was the most important decision on the to do list, particularly for our own avid amateur photographer (aka the groom!). For years we had been admiring Simon’s work from afar in London. His unique and artistic style and his ability to break the mould when it comes to wedding photography left us in no doubt that we wanted Simon to shoot our wedding. And on the day, he exceeded our expectations. As you will see, he worked tirelessly from very early in the day to well into the night. He was there from start to finish and has produced some beautiful shots of the whole event. His ability to have a bit of fun along the way, to put everyone at ease for the formal shots and to capture candid moments have given us a huge selection of amazing photographs to choose from.”

“We had the bridal party hard at work the day before the wedding, collecting olive branches and rosemary from the villa gardens to make fragrant bunches for each guest’s place setting.

Renae and Jimmy used the silver champagne flutes that Renae’s parents had used at their own wedding.

“The Tuscan countryside provided the perfect backdrop for our ceremony and wedding reception so elaborate table decorations and venue styling were just not required. Jimmy was also quick to point out that we had to be mindful of how much we had to bring over from the UK as our vintage car wasn’t going to have the most generous space for luggage! With that in mind and trusty Pinterest providing some ideas, we scoured the Portobello road markets in Notting Hill and found a selection of vintage medicine bottles which held individual flower stems as the table centrepieces.”

Renae tells of their first dance “I get goosebumps thinking about it – an al fresco wedding reception was always in order given the beautiful weather and views from the villa. So we planned to have our first dance outside during dinner and timed so the sun had just started setting over the rolling vineyards. The words of Florence and the Machine’s ‘You’ve got the love’ remind me of all the things we’ve been through together over the last 8 months after I was diagnosed with ovarian cancer late last year and it was such an emotional moment! Despite having 75 guests watching on, it felt like it was just the two of us. ”

“Instead of having a guestbook, we had a time capsule envelope for each table and asked them to leave us their messages / words of wisdom that we would open on a specific wedding anniversary. It will be very difficult not to peek before each year!”

” It was wonderful getting all our friends and family from the UK and Australia together over four days for a huge celebration together – we had the venue all to ourselves and had so much quality time with everyone ”

Congratulations on your marriage Renae and Jimmy! Thank you for sharing your stories with us! Thank you to Simon Peter Taylor for sharing today’s wedding with us!