Hamish & Alexandra
La dolce vita… We are taking you right into the heart of Italy today with Hamish and Alexandra’s countryside wedding in Umbria. This gorgeous couple travelled to Italy a couple of years ago and fell in love with the country (understandably!) and had their hearts set on a destination wedding pretty quickly after Hamish popped the question. A destination wedding in a country where you don’t speak the language is no easy feat to arrange, but these two took on the challenge and made it look easy. Hamish and Alex enlisted the help of the wedding planning pros Italian Wedding Dream who helped the couple organise everything from the styling, the band, catering, through to the marquee, and more. Lifesavers! Photographs by Dan Soderstrom.
Hamish and first I met through mutual friends about ten years ago. In 2010 we were both in Thailand with friends when we crossed paths again and that’s where our story began.
We got married on the 6th of September 2017 in Umbria Italy. After we became engaged Hamish and I quickly decided on a destination wedding. We travelled to Italy a few years ago and fell in love with everything about it. It is such a beautiful country with amazing scenery, incredible food and beautiful wine. We wanted to share an amazing experience with our loved ones.
We had a full week of celebrations and activities that everyone could be a part of. We stayed at Borgo Di Bastia Creti in Umbria for seven nights.
As we were married in such a beautiful location we wanted the church, town and villa to be the focus. Our wedding style was fresh, green and Italian countryside. Our ceremony was held in a beautiful town called Montone in Umbria. We were fortunate to be married at a 13th Century deconsecrated Church called St Francis, it was beautiful and we were very lucky to be married there.
Our reception was at our Villa Borgo Bastia Creti and was held in three areas of the grounds. The appetisers were held on grassed outdoor space in front of the old chapel with amazing views of the valley. Our dinner was under a marquee and our dance floor was in the courtyard with hundreds of fairy lights. The Borgo’s stone building is covered in ivy which was beautiful and looks amazing in photos and video.
My dress was designed and made by the amazing Sonia Cappellazzo in Melbourne. As soon as I met Sonia I knew she would create a beautiful dress for me. I thought I knew exactly what I wanted but after our first appointment I completely changed my mind. Sonia herself is Italian and lived in Italy so it was so much fun talking all things Italy with her during my fittings. She was brilliant to work with and created something so special that I will treasure forever.
Hamish wore a classic black tie suit from MJ Bale.
We decided that we wouldn’t have an official bridal party. My niece Edwina was our flower girl and our two closest friends were our best man and maid of honour. They were with us when we were getting ready and made fantastic speeches at our reception.
We used a classic palate of white and green for our flowers. We had a mix of dahalias and different varieties of roses. We also used a mix of traditional olive leaf and ruscus.
Our wedding was in both Italian and English. The mayor of Montone officiated our ceremony and the translator interpreted into English. Hamish and I wrote our own vows and had our close friends and family do readings. I walked down the aisle to Songbird by Fleetwood Mac.
Our first dance was to Sam Smith’s Latch and Coldplay’s Sky Full of Stars.
Before we left for Italy my wonderful friend Elise helped me design keepsake tea towels for all of our guests. We hand painted 60 tea towels with matching olive leaf from our wedding invitations and our initials. They were on each place setting at the table. I wanted everyone to have a small gift from a beautiful day that was flat and easy to pack.
Hamish and I wanted there to be a real focus on great food and wine. We had an amazing appetizer station at our villa and traditional Italian feast for dinner. We had pasta as an entrée, lamb with roast vegetables. The best part was that we were served seconds of everything, no one went hungry. We also had a traditional Italian wedding cake which was demolished!
There were so many amazing moments from the day and week but if I had to choose my favourite detail, it would have to been when I first saw Hamish at the end of the aisle. We were both trying to keep it together. It was such a special moment and something I will cherish forever. After we were married, Hamish and I walked to the edge of the wall from the church and we were looking out towards the most incredible view and just couldn’t stop smiling at one another.
Special traditions or heirlooms included on the day…
My cousin gave me my nana’s engagement ring to wear on the day. It was such a beautiful gesture. Our wedding rings and my engagement ring was made by JGS Jewellers.
Favourite photograph of the day…
There are so many, it’s so hard to choose! There is a photo of Hamish and walking out of the church down the cobbled path into the town square just after were married. That is one of my favourites.
Last minute logistics… In the few days leading up to the wedding our planner suggested we hire a marquee as it was forecast to rain on the day. I was insistent on not having a marquee and having open dinner reception underneath the trees. Two days out from the wedding I came to my senses and we hired one which I am so glad we did. Even though it didn’t rain the marquee brought another element of sophistication to the reception.
Our friend Dan Soderstrom from Dan Soderstrom Weddings was our photographer. He was amazing! From the very beginning he was professional and genuinely so excited to capture our wedding. This was Dan’s first time photographing a wedding overseas and he did a brilliant job. He made us and all of our guests feel so comfortable. He captured some amazing photos that we will treasure forever.
Highlight of the day… Even though our wedding was overseas and I didn’t speak the language, I really enjoyed planning. It was fun and exhausting at times, however I never regret one moment of the planning or experience. I would do it again in a heartbeat! When I think back and reflect on the week of our wedding it was exactly what we and our families wanted. My mum and sister also played a huge role and I am so grateful to them both for what we managed to organise.
Five things that made your wedding special to you…
Marrying the most kind, loving, generous and beautiful man.
Celebrating for a week in Italy…who wouldn’t want to do that?!
Having our families and friends travel so far to share our special day with us.
Having a dream destination wedding.
Having the best time of my life (so far).
Gorgeous guests and feel good moments…
Any advice for engaged couples planning their wedding…
Be organised, have a budget, and be realistic. Don’t sweat the small stuff. Identify the main things that are important to you for the day and invest in those rather than trying to do a million little things. Don’t over-commit with doing things yourself – enjoy the weeks leading up and delegate!
Planning a destination wedding…
For anyone getting married in a foreign country and you don’t speak the language, I suggest a lot of visual references! You have to be very organised and across all administration documentation.
As guests are travelling far I suggest organising an itinerary for a couple of days either side of the wedding. We had such a fun time at the events we organised around our wedding, which included a pre-wedding dinner, a winery tour, and recovery lunch by the pool.
It’s hard to control things when overseas, so you just need to roll with it and enjoy every minute. Everyone that came to Italy said it was a once in a lifetime experience.
Highlights from the groom…
“Marrying my best friend. After all the hard work, it was the most incredible week celebrating with everyone.”
Sash, our cinematographer, from Apertura in Melbourne was amazing. He and our photographer Dan worked so well together. At first we decided that we wouldn’t have a video. Then I found Sash on Instagram and saw that he was in Europe around the time of our wedding. After multiple emails and a coffee catch up we decided that Sash had to film our wedding and it was the best decision! We absolutely love our video and Sash captured our day perfectly. He was a true professional and went above and beyond to make sure the day went perfectly.
Ms Zigzag says: Ahh-mazing! Amazing, amazing. Thank you Hamish and Alex for sharing the best day of your lives with us. We felt like we were right there with you. We appreciate all of the detail you shared with us and wish you so much happiness in your lives together. Thanks to Photographer Dan Soderstrom for the dreamy pics too!