We believe the best Wedding you can have is an Authentic one. As you know, I am a big fan of the entire green revolution. So when I started planning our Wedding, I knew it had to be an ECO friendly one. I always fantasised about an Italian wedding. Sitting in between olive trees with our families. Having a vintage dress and a live Jazz band in the back. We did it. In 6 weeks. So I thought it would be nice to share how we made that work. Paying it forward since it turned out so well, all of it. Like a fairy tale to be honest.
Because I believe ‘normal’ weddings can be really stressful for our planet, for you as a couple, for your guests ánd your wallet. ECO Weddings are a fantastic alternative for all Bridezilla’s to be. We wanted to do things differently, which meant every wedding knot could be broken. No rules, just three musts; LOVE, Pizza & (lots of) Prosecco.
Below you’ll find my 7 Tips for having an awesome wedding. If you click on the text below each tip, you’ll find much more personal insight with more tips & links. Looking for a great Weddingplanner? Glorious place to stay in Tuscany? Read on, there is LOTS!
NOTE: If you’re just looking for more extreme handsome groom pictures (and more), just scroll down!
Getting married in Tuscany is like a dream coming true. I pinched myself all day long. You want to share that with the ones you love, right? The guest list is an important factor on your wedding. We thought very careful about it. To be on an airplane for your wedding location is not that ECO friendly. So we came up with the idea to just bring our family to our wedding in Tuscany and have a great pizza picnic party later on, for our closest friends after our return from our honeymoon in Bali. So we did. Both of the events were extremely intimate, sunny and lovely. To complete the vibe at our pizza picnic I put on the dress again and my husband looked incredibly stunning as always in his black suit. (Sorry girls, he’s married now.)
I am so glad we didn’t book a fancy hotelroom. It would have broken the spell. Agriturismi are farm like places to stay in Italy, but cheaper and much more romantic. We had the most romantic weekend ever and I genuinely believe that it was above all because of Osteria Il Canto Del Maggio. We rented 6 of their 7 delightful apartments for the weekend in beautiful Tuscany. With its old and romantic setting it is the perfect place for a wedding. What is great about an agriturismo like this one, is that you don’t have to amuse your guests in any way. They have a beautiful pool, a cosy terrace, a vegetable garden and fantastic food. Host Simona Quirini, stole my heart, when she came up with a magnificent location in the middle of nature for our ceremony. She genuinely made it a wedding to remember. Simona speaks English pretty well and makes insanely good desserts. It’s a family business, her dad is an incredible chef and her husband makes delicious pizza’s and barbeques (ever tried pear on a grill?). If you’re looking for a great place to stay in the heart of Tuscany. Visit Simona and her family. You won’t be sorry.
Imagine yourself in the middle of Tuscan nature.. next to an olive garden. With a live Jazz band and tables of organic fresh food. Yup. We had that dream wedding. Being in these surroundings was way more important to us than a fancy 3 course dinner. We had a great lunch instead accompanied with lots of Prosecco & bottles of red. For the kids I asked for organic home made lemonade with fresh strawberries, amazing as well. What do you want more? A Mille Foglie Italian wedding cake perhaps? Simona, made us the best ever. Incredibly rich and fresh. We kept going back for more. When we returned to Simona and her family at their agriturismo, we had fresh Pizza from their oven. (My plan all along. Divine!) The rest of the weekend we had simple meals like pasta and salads. The day after the wedding we drank even more prosecco at their organic barbeque. If all this is made by a great organic real Italian kitchen like we had.. you’ll lick your fingers afterwards. Even if it is just spaghetti. Absolutely no need for fancy dinners, though Il Canto Del Maggio is perfectly capable of preparing these. Extra Tip: We had no serving at the tables at lunch (and our wedding party back home). I did this on purpose to make sure people would walk around, dance and mingle. Worked great!
I bought a true vintage Great Gatsby inspired dress from LA circa 1970/80 in a size 42 (I am a 34). We found it at Laura Dolls in Amsterdam at a vintage wedding dress sale. I looked like a clown in it, but I loved the lace in the top dress and figured the bat sleeves could be altered. It had a cheap shiny underdress with ruffles.. get the picture? Now look at the end result! I was very fortunate to be introduced to the talented Loes from Studio Loose. She totally understood what I wanted and made it happen. She made a new long underskirt and altered the lace top dress into a tiny and beautiful wedding dress. I looked for small vintage buttons and ordered a perfect opaque bra, which was just right as the top underneath the beautiful old lace. I still have dreams about my dress, I felt really pretty that day. Thanks to Loes.
Want to make a white Bra (like I had) or your dress more vintage? Loes gave me a clever tip: Just dip the ultra white fabric in strong tea for the vintage off-white colour.
We went to a cute antique store and fell in love with the most beautiful rings. Though the owner kept coming up with all kinds of diamond rings, I choose a very old gorgeous citrine classic (No blood diamonds for me) and my husband had a perfect masculine golden band. Nice little details: the rings fitted instantly and i.o. engraving our names or dates inside the rings, we secretly engraved each others rings with a sweet note and it turned out to be identical afterwards.
‘Something Old, something new..’ I dyed one of my toe nails blue, just to make sure this ‘extremely important’ detail was taken care of. Oh and I borrowed a fantastic antique ring from my mom for the day. I wore golden sandals instead of heels and they were new.
When we thought of thank-you-gifts for our guests we wanted the planet to benefit. So we came up with a win-win. I bought big box of flower seeds especially for bees. As you all know, the bees are vital on this planet and they’re dying. I put little flowerbombs in empty tea bags and attached a card: ‘For you and Mr. Bee’
As for the gifts for the happy couple. We have all that we could possibly wish for and we’re not big fans on collecting even more stuff. That’s why we specifically asked our guests not to bring us actual gifts. Instead we thought it would be nice to ask our guests to write/draw a card or letter for a stranger. Just to make someone smile. We got personal stories, nice drawings, quotes and poems. We collected many cards at the wedding party and will post them to strangers on a special day to celebrate our wedding anniversary. Making someone smile, that’s a true gift. Our guests loved making the cards, doing something for the greater good is something to smile about too. Everybody happy!
For the wedding invitations in Italy we kissed each other on a photocopier at a great expo, wrote the details on it and made copies. Just put your face on the glass. It’s hilarious! Best wedding invitations I ever saw. Great effect. Try it! For our wedding party back home we needed lots of invitations so we created a website at SittingInATree with all the details. That saved our planet over 50 paper invitations. A website really comes in handy with all the RSVP’s too.
Although we did have a meeting with a lovely styling company we choose not to hire a stylist. It can be expensive and I personally loved doing all the thrift-shopping/styling myself. Thrift shopping saves the planet unnecessary (one time use) stuff and is way nicer for your wallet. I personally am a big fan of the vintage look at our wedding, which made thrift shopping absolutely perfect. I bought some vintage picnic carpets and 2 very old hand made doormats (for us and our ‘official’ to stand on). Found a 6 feet lace curtain of which I cut off the top, that transformed it in a 30 feet carpet (for 6 dollar) Perfect with some rose petals (and a proud dad to drop me off at my future husband). I also got lots of knitted coasters, different handkerchiefs, some old trays and a couple of old books. With those I made my own garlands and cones for the rose petals. Our wedding planner Mirjam (read more on Mirjam at point 7) set the tables perfectly. In the Netherlands (at the wedding party for friends) we had the fabulous assistance of Nina Weddings. She had great input, made a fantastic host and decorated everything wonderfully.
No wedding car for us. We don’t give a sh*t about cars. We rented 3 small busses at Pisa airport to drive to the wedding location.
We skipped the bridesmaids & groomsmen. We had some lovely men and women at our wedding, but to let them walk around in a matching suit and (lilac) dresses? No thanks. To be honest I’m not a big fan on matching anything on weddings. We figured people feel much more comfortable wearing whatever they feel best in. So much for the dress code. To make the atmosphere laid-back and relaxed and to prevent everyone from running to the store to buy NEW stuff.
Rehearsals? You walk down the aisle and say yes. What can possibly go wrong? We fully enjoyed our weekend and trusted everything would go smoothly. It did!
What about Hair & Make-up? Doing make-up and hair is a great little adventure on itself on your wedding day. Make it a cosy experience! I am not a big fan of ‘wedding-hair’ and didn’t want anyone to do my make up. So I did it myself, though you could also let your sister(in-law) do your hair. I am in LOVE with (real) flower crowns, so I tested it at home with a dear friend and it turned out to be great fun. So I made another real flower crown myself 30 minutes before the ceremony. Tip: Use strong flowers! Carnations are very strong and can last a full day on your head and are so pretty!
Do you really need a bouquet? I had a wonderful pink peony (available in Italy) in my hand and when I lost it (typically me) I just picked another one up from our lunch table. A bouquet was totally unnecessary for me. I constantly had something in my hands! My dads arm, my husbands hand, prosecco, cake, pizza.. Or I was dancing. Who wants to dance with a bouquet? I preferred my husband. He didn’t want a bouquet either, he had a few green leaves in his pocket as a decoration. Handpicked at the spot by my brother. Perfecto.
A first dance. Skipped. We danced all day long and had many spontaneous (very romantic) dance moments without any pressure. My husband is an insanely good dancer by the way. But please remember.. VITAL information >>> GET yourself an amazing live Jazz band! Our weddingplanner knows the best in Tuscany.
Getting married abroad officially.. or not? Since we wanted to get married on paper you need an official. We found out that our wishes for our nature wedding did not go well with an official marriage in Italy. Since an official marriage in Italy is limiting your options substantially; You cannot get married wherever you want and it takes a lot of paperwork (not do-able in 6 weeks). Personally we like to keep things simple. So we did it differently. We officially got married on paper on the 6th of May at city hall in the Netherlands. Just the shortest version they had. Say yes and go, only the formality. For our wedding in Tuscany, we asked our great wedding planner/interpreter Mirjam to help us out. She is fluent in Italian, English and Dutch and interpreted many weddings so she knew exactly what to say.
Mirjam told us a great story in Italian and Dutch on the meaning of romance in Italy and then left room for my husband and me to look each other in the eye. Tell one another the personal, most important stuff, ourselves. Why we wanted to get married to each other. It was a tearjerker. Totally worth doing. Plus it is much cooler than a ‘stranger’ telling you ‘How you met’ and ‘How very special you are for each other’.. If you ask me. Maybe regular weddings are just not my cup of tea.
First, a Weddingplanner is a MUST! Mirjam Boerwinkel was introduced to us by a wedding company. As mentioned she speaks all the languages, lives in Tuscany and as a bonus, she is a great florist. Mirjam did a lot of communication for us and arranged tables and crutches and a beautiful altar (Well sort of, I didn’t want an exact altar but a nice background). She did the table settings and applied all the decorations I made/bought myself and helped cleaning up. She did the ceremony all by herself in 2 languages and made the whole wedding setting in the middle of nature. She did all of the flowers and thank-you bouquets and arranged the best dixieland/jazz ensemble in the country to play at the lunch. Truly beyond! These 3 guys (and Mirjam herself) are an absolute MUST! Otherwise all these things would have been on my plate. Getting married should be amazing, not a job. As you can read Mirjam was not only the host for our guests, but much much more. She made our day perfect, without her it wouldn’t have been the same. Wonderful help, highly recommend her: firstname.lastname@example.org
Having a great photographer is essential too. Otherwise I would not be able to ever go back to our little fairytale, or show it to you guys now. We wanted to make sure we didn’t get posed wedding pictures of perfect smiles. Airbrush filters. You know the drill. So we had the lovely Cleo Goossens doing her thing. She is very good at documentary photography and captured beautiful authentic moments. We are very grateful for all that she did. All the pictures on this article are made by Cleo, aren’t they pretty?
My brother helped out making pictures at different angle on important moments like THE kiss. Great! We were lucky to have had some tips from Simona’s friend, for great shooting area’s; like the river at Loro Ciufenna only minutes from our wedding location. Fun Tip: At our wedding party back home we also rented 5 vintage analog camera’s from The Vintage Photo and gave them to 5 of our friends to make pictures. Really funny and awesome shots were made.
Honeymoon.. Say YES! Though the destination and length is really not that important, I can highly recommend taking some time off together and fully embrace the married feeling. Take that Honeymoon, honey! We didn’t plan anything in advance except for the plane tickets. The next day, when we arrived home from the wedding, we packed our bags and went to the airport again. Off to Bali for 3 weeks. (Thanks to our dear friends who took care of our two headed zoo in the meantime.) It was insanely good, the people in Bali are incredibly friendly. Everything was great..the food was great, our rooms were lovely.. Hey, we even had a swimming pool into the jungle and took hot showers with animal sounds. Just so you know. But all of that would not have meant a thing if I wasn’t there with my tremendous husband. Best holiday ever! Tip: To be more environmentally friendly it would be better not to fly over to another continent of course, but you HAVE to see Bali. Do NOT SKIP the honeymoon. But even if it would have been at a local campsite for 2 days.. Honeymoons can be utterly romantic which is kind of the cherry on top of a splendid wedding.
Let me finish off with this. Of all the tips you’ve found in this extensive article. Authenticity is really it. Do whatever you always dreamed of, just think a little different. Ask yourself what you think is the most important for you as a couple. Thats essential. Are you doing it to please the guests or for yourself? Do you want it because all weddings have a first dance and bridesmaids? Think about it. It has to fit you and your spouse. If you can be yourselves in every single decision you make, you’re wedding will be miraculous. Your guests will be mesmerised by all of the love on YOUR special day. That’s the true secret of a dream wedding.
Now I’d love to hear from you. What can YOU do different on your wedding day to make sure it will be absolutely authentic & a bonus for this planet? The best ideas are born after the actual posts, so leave me a comment now!
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Keep up that great work you do, use your authentic gift. Remember, you can make a World of Difference… and that’s exactly what we need!
Thank you so much for reading all the way to the end. I’m utterly thankful for your help.
Note: I don’t get paid for telling you all this, I just felt it could be really helpful and I am truly grateful to the people that helped us out. This is the very least I could give back. Even if I read it myself I can hardly believe how ‘fantastic, wonderful, amazing and incredible’ it all was. Truth is there’s absolutely no exaggeration in this article whatsoever. An ECO Wedding is an absolute win-win-win situation!