In Italy all the good stories start with a cup of espresso. But all the best stories start with a cup of espresso in a magnificent ancient villa and that of Jessica and Jonathan is certainly one of the greatest. For their fairytale destination wedding, this lovely couple chose one of Tuscany’s most exclusive properties: the highly celebrated Villa Gamberaia. This historically 17th century villa is just a thirteen-minute drive from the center of Florence, very close to Fiesole. I have lived and worked as a photographer in Tuscany for many years and I can say without a shadow of a doubt that Fiesole is the most enchanting place among the thousands of treasures that this region holds. A real pearl among jewels, as well as perfect location to celebrate a wedding. I do not hide that my dream is to be able to one day celebrate here my wedding too. An enchanted village perched on a lush hillside overlooking Arno valley.
The cups of espresso were soon followed by goblets of delicious prosecco. Not caring about the pouring rain, all the hundred guests enjoyed the preparation period: the charming groom in the company of his excited brother and his many friends, the chic style bride with of her sister, her mother and all witnesses. As soon as it stopped raining and everyone was ready, we moved into the typical “Italian gardens” that surround the villa, the real flagship of the entire estate. The design of the gardens has been studied and celebrated over the centuries by historians of architecture, landscape architects and, of course by photographers from all over the world. Walking through its tree-lined avenues is just like a daydream.
This destination wedding at Villa Gamberaia was a continuous succession of emotions, but the ‘first look’ allows me to capture the couple together perhaps in the most touching and meaningful moment. There’s nothing like the groom seeing his bride for the first time in a wedding dress with the light of love shining in their eyes.
That was just magic, a magic that a skilled photographer cannot miss out. Just long enough to catch the intimacy of the moment that it’s already welcome cocktail time! And I must confess that I was impressed by the elegance of all the guests: everyone wearing high fashion outfits, in perfect Italian style. Jennifer and Jonathan had their wedding ceremony behind the villa, in a “grotto”, a typical Italian artificial cave filled with white and pink flowers. It was simple enough but at the same time genuine and heartfelt, brilliantly officiated by one of their closest friend, whose speech everyone barely managed to hold back the tears. But his was just the first of many speeches for all tastes, both moving and funny, that have followed one another throughout the evening. An intense and exciting wedding evening at Villa Gamberaia, in which a lavish aperitif was followed first by dinner — obviously faithful to the most authentic Italian tradition — and then by the real party, with wild dances in the courtyard.
The crescendo of emotions was marked by the setting of the warm August sun, which faded until it exploded into a breathtaking sunset over Florence and the surrounding hills. Nothing better for a photographer! Of course, the immense amount of romance that filled the air around us that day is certainly beyond words. But I hope that my shots can succeed where words cannot, and echo for eternity just like the love that Jessica and Jonathan feel for each other.
Images by Guido Andreoni. “Event made as a second camera for Stefano Santucci Studio“