Olivia & Mark

If there ever was a place that was ripe for a destination wedding, we’re pretty sure Tuscany would be it. Today, we’re specifically talking about the Italian town of Chiusdino, and it’s stunning Italian villas (14th century!) and historic Abbeys (13th century!) because it turns out? They’re just the most amazing spot to tie the knot Just ask these two Aussie, Olivia and Irishman Mark!

Enlisting the help of photographer Pixel and Halide, the pair planned a fun-filled holiday for their guests (their invitation, of course, worthy for inclusion in The Invitation Issue), all culminating in an outdoor reception under the Italian sky. With seeing their venue only 72 hours before the wedding, and not speaking any Italian, I’m pretty sure these two nailed it (and can we talk about Olivia’s blush pink gown?)

The pair first met at a house party, in the bride’s words “I was taken along to a house party – I almost didn’t go. Mark lived there and was half-heartedly participating in the festivities. I asked him out afterwards and the rest is history.”

Mark popped the question on a romantic picnic. “I was studying for a University assignment one weekend when Mark suggested we go for a picnic to the Botanic Gardens in Brisbane so that I could study outside. Once we got there, Mark waited for a couple of hours, with the ring burning a hole in his pocket, because he knew that there would be no study done once I said yes!”

Carefully considered invitations were packed with information for travelling guests. Of their decision for a destination wedding, the bride recounts “Italy chose us!. We just wanted a destination wedding that would make a nice holiday venue for all those who made the trip. Once we started looking into locations in Italy, it’s beguiling beauty meant that we couldn’t shake the idea.”

“We didn’t have a theme per se, the beautiful postcard-perfect Tuscan countryside provided the vibe and would have outshone any theme if we had chosen one” notes Olivia. “I did carry over the blue and gold detailing from the invitation to the place cards, but they were definitely secondary to the beautiful brickwork, rolling hillsides, olive branches and regional wine.”

The groom, set on wearing a suit, chose an ensemble by Wil Valor.

Olivia opted out of dress hunting, instead, she worked with Suzanne Spicer to create her beautiful blush gown. She shares “I didn’t try on a single dress (too scary/too itchy/too much pressure/too much lace) or venture into a single bridal-wear store. I chose to have my dress made because I knew what I wanted. I was nervous about my decision. These nerves made me second-guess my ideas, but I was well supported and kept steadfast by a lovely, talented dressmaker; the ladies at Fabric Collection with legendary fabric fitness; and my beautiful friend. My favourite part about the experience was playing dress-ups with beautiful silk, and my favourite part of her dress was the pink layer and how the silk flowed and moved.”

Olivia walked down the aisle with her mother to “Ave Maria” by Schubert. “We had a different idea of what we wanted” explains Olivia. “But the gentleman who was hired to play let us know what song would ‘create more feeling’; we chose to trust his expertise and are glad we did.”

“The ceremony was held at Abbey San Galgano; it’s a roofless gothic style XIII century ruin of a monastery,” remembers Olivia.

Siena Flowers styled the floral details of the day. “Simple greenery decorated the tables” remembers Olivia. “The only other flowers were my bouquet. The groom had sent, via email, a rough idea of what I wanted. It turned up on the morning of laden with beautiful, chubby peonies and then I never wanted to put it down!”

And of course, what better to serve up at an Italian wedding than gelato? Gelato Frullalla coming to the party for delighted guests.


“One in a million. A tireless artist, cheerleader and friend” tell the newlyweds of their photographer.

Tenuta Di Papena hosted a beautiful outdoor reception for the newlyweds The bride telling “We wanted a reception venue that family and friends could stay at. Tenuta Di Papena is a converted XIIII century monastery that is not only beautiful but also had room for family, was close to other accommodation, and is a short drive from what turned out to be a beautiful venue for the ceremony. The team was so supportive and even helped us complete all the paperwork!”

“I’m sure it is particularly difficult for any bride and groom to choose just one favourite moment”  notes Olivia. “We were particularly moved by how many family and friends made the long journey to Italy to celebrate with us.”

For their first dance under the Italian sky, the newlyweds chose The Cure’s “Friday I’m In Love”. “We are not and will never be good dancers” explains Olivia

A big congratulations to you both Olivia and Mark! Thank you for sharing your beautiful day. Thank you also to Pixel and Halide for sharing today’s celebration.