Our Italian Airbnb wedding

On May 2, 2016 at the Philadelphia airport, James got down on his knee and asked me to spend the rest of my life with him after three years of dating. I cried like a baby and said yes, and then got on a flight to Colorado to celebrate with friends. Not the typical engagement story, I know.

On April 19, 2018 we got married in the hills of Florence, Italy and till this day I still don’t know how we pulled it off.

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We always knew we wanted to elope, first it was Spain, then maybe the Amalfi coast, we really couldn’t decide on a destination. I know it sounds introverted but a big wedding just wasn’t appealing to us, we wanted an intimate day that would reflect who we are and what we value as a couple-If you haven’t noticed tradition isn’t really our thing. After telling friends and family the time frame of when we wanted to do it without even a set location a bunch of our friends told us they were coming, no invites needed. I thought Florence would be cool, rent a house on a decent size property and hire a chef. Sounds great in theory but while planning I had a lot of “no’s” or no answers from vendors and got completely discouraged. 

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After searching Airbnb I found this beautiful yellow villa with blue shutters, it definitely didn’t scream wedding venue like some of the other options but I loved it. I thought in photos the yellow surrounded by all the greenery with my florals and dress would be a great contrast. I booked it for four days, messaged the host my idea and that was that. 

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I contacted countless caterers and never got a response. I was seriously worried about what we were gonna do and I had James in my ear, “we can just eat pizza somewhere!” 🤦🏻‍♀️. Luckily my friend Britt, who attended the wedding, had a friend who was a chef in Florence, who she’d met while living there years ago. I had a 2 minute phone conversation with our chef Edo and we made the menu the next day, score.

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The day before the wedding we visited this huge supermarket that had countless aisles of wine and spirits. We got a bunch of barolos, etna rossos, Prosecco (€3 a bottle) and supplies to make some specialty cocktails (James and I are both bartenders). The night before we infused Beefeater gin with strawberries and let it sit overnight. The morning of the wedding we strained the strawberries and made a big batch of Americano (equal parts of Campari and sweet vermouth). Below is a photo of our cocktail station where our guests could’ve made an americano,  strawberry negroni, or boulevardier.  

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The plan was always to get ready together. It was so much fun sharing the same excitement of this high we’ve never been on together. It made for such amazing photos and I’ll never forget the butterflies in my stomach seeing James get dressed in his suit! 

The plan was always to get ready together. It was so much fun sharing the same excitement of this high we’ve never been on together. It made for such amazing photos and I’ll never forget the butterflies in my stomach seeing James get dressed in his suit! 

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While most couples usually hire a driving service of some kind, we chose to torture our good friend + photographer Claire and had her drive us around Florence for photos in a stick shift Fiat. Ideal? Nah. Memorable/scary/uncomfortable? You have no idea. 

Our vows. I can honestly say I’ve never been so overwhelmed with happiness in my life. I was in the most beautiful place, with some of my favorite people in the world, marrying my best friend. I sobbed the whole time.

Our vows. I can honestly say I’ve never been so overwhelmed with happiness in my life. I was in the most beautiful place, with some of my favorite people in the world, marrying my best friend. I sobbed the whole time.

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Chef Edo prepared a 5 course meal for us. The consensus was the wedding day was the best meal of the trip.

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I’ll never forget this day with these 12 friends. I am forever grateful to them for taking the trek to witness the best day of our lives.

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The view from the front door of our villa. The drive from the city center of Florence to our place was seriously majestic.

The view from the front door of our villa. The drive from the city center of Florence to our place was seriously majestic.

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Days before the wedding we told our photographers that we wanted a photo with one of these flower trucks. We were on our way back to the villa for the ceremony when we randomly found one. We hopped out and stopped traffic in a busy intersection for this photo. * (somehow) no one was hurt in the taking of this photo. 

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Our florist, Vivi, of Il Profumo dei Fiori, Wherever you are GRAZIE MILLE. 

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I walked down the aisle to Bon Iver’s “Holocene” a song near and dear to James and I when we first started dating. Our best friend Chris Loupos married us. His words were funny, real and emotional. It was the perfect ceremony tailored to who we really are. Forever grateful to him. 

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The day after the wedding we all went to get pizza + see the David + eat gelato (all 14 of us). 

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James and I spent our honeymoon traveling northern Italy + Slovenia. It was all truly a magical experience, and I’m so incredibly grateful for all of it.  

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credits + thank yous: 

photography: Pat Furey + Claire Hudson  

flower design: Il Profumo Dei fiori  

chef: Edo Fondi  

dress: Rue de Seine 

suit: Suit Supply  

wedding band: Anna Sheffield  

rentals: Tableset Rentals