Some of you may not know this but Dominique is actually half Italian! Her mother, although never living in Italy, is very proud of her Italian roots. In fact, Dominique’s Great Aunty Mary, at 93, still lives and works in Rome and she visits her at least once a year.
So, in 2008 Dominique was so excited to be asked to organise her first wedding in Italy. It was for the daughter of Dominique’s first boss in London, Peter Crystal. She began working for him way back in 1991 and over the last 23 years she has organised many of his private, family events, including; a Venetian Ball; his daughter Carla’s Bat Mitzvah, and in December 2013 his daughter Anna’s wedding at the Connaught Hotel, Mayfair.
The wedding in Italy was for Emma, Peter’s eldest daughter, and Manuel. They designed an elegant wedding in beautiful Tuscany in an historic castle, Castello di Modanella. 120 guests joined them for a 4 day event and enjoyed the wonderful food and wine of the region. Dominique worked on the wedding with the fabulous Italian wedding planner, Giulia Bono.
So naturally when we were given the opportunity to travel to Puglia, Southern Italy for a study trip with fellow UKAWP members, we jumped at the chance!
We love being a member of the The UK Alliance of Wedding Planners (UKAWP). In case you don’t know, UKAWP is an organisation which promotes professionalism in wedding planning. They organise training workshops, annual events and study trips. In this case, the lovely Isabel from Isabel Smith Wedding Design together with the help of the fabulous Bertrando Di Renzo (our Italian tour organiser) arranged this fabulous trip, with a packed itinerary from start to finish. The aim of our visit was to see amazing venues in the region and to see (and taste) first hand what this area of Italy as to offer – and we were not disappointed.
In Part 1 of “Italian Dreams” we take a close look at 3 of the venues we visited in Puglia. Part 2 of our adventures will be published in a few weeks, when I return from my holiday.
Our first stop was the breathtaking Borgo Egnazia. This modern yet, as the same time, traditional resort is the perfect backdrop for an elegant wedding. The wonderful Marcella who heads up the events team certainly looked after us and we were treated to a delicious dinner, a complimentary, luxurious nights stay in one of the Borgo’s magnificent rooms, and of course a guided tour of this magnificent venue and it’s almost endless selection of glorious wedding locations.
Now we don’t like to name drop, but…… this is where Justin Timberlake and Jessica Biel got married.
(Image courtesy of Hello magazine)
We cannot wait to return to Borgo Egnazia and show some of our couples how perfect a wedding can be here.
(Images courtesy of Borgo Egnazia)
The beginning of day two began with a coach journey up a very steep and, at times, precarious hill. It was worth it though as we arrived at Tenuta Monacelle. Located on the outskirts of Delva di Fasano, we reached a set of cone-roofed “Trullo” houses and tufa-stone “Masseria” villas, surrounded by gardens, orchards and spectacular hill top views.
This venue is a more traditional Puglian country venue, but as our host, Antonio Ladisa pointed out there are many options for a stunning wedding here, including having your food served from market stalls along the avenue of Trullos. We particularly loved the pool area, which would make a great party venue.
(Images courtesy of Tenuta Monacelli)
Our next stop was the beautiful Castello Monaci, which is a truly enchanting venue with so much to offer. The ivy covered towers, palm trees, luscious greenery, bright flowers and stone staircase in the courtyard makes for one of the most stunning outdoor wedding ceremony venues we have ever seen.
Our host, Luigi Ancora, gave us a fantastic tour of this lovely venue, guiding us through the history of the of the castle and the spectacular outdoor space that Castello Monaci has to offer.
This venue is set within 3000 olive trees and 200 hectares of vineyards and has its own winery, which we were lucky to get a tour of and even luckier to sample some of their fine wines over a lovely lunch.
(Images courtesy of Castello Monaci)
Dominique and I would like to say a huge Thank you to Isabel and Bertrando for organising such a wonderful trip!