April Showers and Spring Romance in Tuscany at Castello Di Petrata

April Showers and Spring Romance in Tuscany at Castello Di Petrata

[section title=”The Planning”]
[field title=”Wedding Colors”]White, blush, baby blue and green[/field]
[field title=”Design / Vibe / Vision”]Garden looking, romantic, fun[/field]
[field title=”Proposal Story”]I had grown quite close to one of Randy’s cousins, Westie, and her 13th Birthday was approaching. We had made plans to drive down to the Panhandle of Florida (where we now live!) to celebrate Westie’s birthday with family. Thankfully, I had gotten a manicure that day! We all gathered on the beach for a bonfire with Randy’s cousins, parents, grandparents, etc. There had been a running joke in the family for years that Randy was the last one (he has 3 brothers) to get married. The younger cousins had been asking “when are you going to engage Ariel?” for years at this point. Well, just as we got settled at the bonfire, the cousins chimed in: “When are you going to propose?! When are you going to propose?!” To which I replied “I did not put them up to this!” Randy, then, turned to the cousins and asked “Well, do you think right now would be a good time?” As soon as I heard the words leave his mouth, I turned to find him on one knee with the most stunning ring staring at me. I was in complete shock! So much so, that I forgot to say yes! After saying yes and crying hysterically, I turned to find my parents leaping toward me – Randy had flown them in to surprise me! We all spent the rest of the night celebrating together and beginning to plan our dream Italian Wedding. It was the best day ever![/field]
[board_carousel title=”Getting Ready”]

[board_carousel title=”Bridal Portraits”]

[board_carousel title=”Flat Lays”]

[section title=”The Fashion”]
[field title=”Wedding Gown”]Custom design by Sherri Hill. I met with Sherri several years ago when I was preparing for the Miss South Carolina America pageant, and I knew I wanted something spectacular for the stage, but also recognized it as an opportunity to have a custom gown that I could someday wear at my wedding. I hadn’t even met Randy at the time, and wasn’t dating anyone – but I had dreamt of my Italian wedding since I was 5 years old… And what better to wear for my dream wedding than a custom long-sleeved gown covered in Swarovski crystals?
After becoming engaged 5 years later, I worked with Britt Wood of Atlanta (@jhbrittwood on instagram) to create an Oscar De La Renta Overskirt to add a more Bridal flare to the already-breathtaking gown. Britt also had the idea to add some vintage-inspired buttons to the sleeves and back of the dress to tie the Old-Hollywood inspired gown together with the timeless, luxe overskirt. [/field]
[field title=”Bridesmaid Dresses”]The Bridesmaids wore Amsale Sonia Dresses in the color ‘ice’. My bridesmaids live all over the US, so working with Bella Bridesmaids was extremely convenient for fittings and orders. I chose the Amsale Sonia dress because I wanted something classic and timeless that would flatter all different shapes & sizes. The Bridesmaids ranged from 5 foot 2 inches to 6 feet tall! Yet, I didn’t want different styles to distract from the detail of my gown. The Amsale Sonia dress was PERFECT! It photographed beautifully, was comfortable, and looked stunning on all 7 of my bridesmaids ranging in shape, size, and height![/field]
[field title=”Groomsman Attire”]The Groom wore a custom-fitted Bonobos Tuxedo with mini-polka-dotted suspenders and vintage velvet loafers. As a former Collegiate American football player, finding clothes to fit his Athletic build can be difficult. We have found that Bonobos Athletic-Fit line provides enough stretch to fit over his muscular quads while still fitting his waist without appearing too tight or fitting uncomfortably. [/field]
[board_carousel title=”Bridal Party”]

[board_carousel title=”Ceremony”]

[section title=”The Details”]
[field title=”Food & Drink”]The Food & Drinks at Castello di Petrata were truly unbelievable. Another reason we fell in love with this venue was the true farm-to-table experience. We could look out and see the vines from which the wine was made, the fields from which the vegetables grew, and the freshness was evident in every bite. On the night of the Rehearsal Dinner, the servers brought out more Gnocchi for the guests to have seconds, and so many people requested seconds (and even thirds!) that the chef finally just brought out a large vat of Gnocchi for everyone to help themselves! The venue later told us that they were stunned by how much Gnocchi we ate. We are both proud and ashamed of how stereotypically American that is.

Petrata was also wonderful about organizing meals for dietary restrictions and allergies. We had several folks with dietary restrictions in attendance, and they all raved about the food, too! [/field]
[field title=”Florals & Decor”]Spring flowers, garden vibe, elegant decor.
For the welcome dinner – wooden tables, blue color, lemons
For the wedding day – more elegant, shabby chic[/field]
[field title=”Wedding Cake”]Traditional Italian millefoglie with berries[/field]
[field title=”Readings, Ceremony Music, Reception Songs”]Peter Decker, one of the designers of our rings and a close family friend, read a toast to us that he wrote entirely in Italian. No one in attendance spoke fluent Italian, and he gave a translation only to the Bride and Groom. It was an incredibly special moment for us that we will always remember. It felt like a sweet secret that only we knew. [/field]
[field title=”Special Detail #1″]We loved the ability for our guests to stay in the venue – we wanted it to feel like Adult Summer Camp and spend as much time as possible with our guests. Castello di Petrata provided just that! Another big factor was their ability to move the wedding inside without much notice and no extra cost – this was huge! And we are so thankful we chose Petrata, because 2 of our 3 nights ended up having to be moved inside due to weather! Their ability to make changes quickly & efficiently with the help of Happy Moments Collector was spectacular. Our “Plan B” was better than any Plan A we could’ve dreamt of![/field]
[field title=”Special Detail #2″]We enjoyed performing our dances during meal courses. That way, guests could enjoy their meals while watching our dances, and it didn’t take away time from the after party. Randy danced with his mother and step-mother, and also danced with my mother. This was extra special because we lost my brother, Alex, 15 years ago, and my mother never got the chance to dance with him at his wedding. Mother/Son dances have always been hard for her, and when Randy asked her to share a dance with him, she was beyond honored & excited. The Bride & Groom also danced to an unusual first-dance song: “Found You” by Kasbo. We took dance lessons to learn basic skills, but didn’t choreograph the dance, and it turned out perfectly! After that, the Mother of the Bride & the Bride performed a surprise choreographed dance to a compilation of fun & silly Country Songs that had been special to us throughout our lives. It was a blast! That was the perfect way to invite the rest of the guests onto the dance floor for the reception!
[field title=”Special Detail #3″][/field]
[board_carousel title=”Couple Portraits”]

[board_carousel title=”Reception”]

[board_carousel title=”Wedding Weekend Events”]

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Photography: Julia Kaptelova Photography | Cinematography: Cladio Sichel | Event Planning: Happy Moments Collector | Floral Design: Flowers Living | Reception Venue: Castello di Petrata | Band: Griffith Hill Farm | Make-up and Hair: Bezal

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