While planning your wedding, you are faced with hundreds of questions, some more fun than...
Today’s wedding sees us head over to Florence for this beautiful destination wedding, courtesy of the very talented Gabriel Gastelum. Christine and Zach, although from the US, both have strong family connections with Florence so it seemed the natural choice when they were deciding where to get married. The whole day is an elegant, yet rustic chic affair. Starting off with their gorgeous first look, onto the beautiful outdoor ceremony with the stunning flower arch, which was followed by their amazing reception, with long tables covered in greenery garlands to give it a modern look. The jaw dropping view over Florence is the real star of the show though, what an amazing backdrop for their portrait photos. A wonderful day I’m sure you will agree.
Christine and Zach were married on 24th May 2018 at Villa La Vedetta in Florence, Italy. ‘My father was born in Florence and lived there until his late 20’s when he emigrated to the US. He passed away a few years ago so it meant a lot to me to get married there. My parents also got married in Florence in the 70’s. Also, Zach’s family on his mom’s side is Italian and his mom always wanted to go to Italy. It was his parents’ first time out of the county. We had 50 guests, we booked the venue in August 2017, so it took about 9 months to plan.’
How they met
We like to think a series of very fortunate events brought us together. It was May 2013 – Zach was in grad school in Tacoma, WA and completing one of his internships in the Bay Area, where I, a native Washingtonian, was living at the time. He walked into San Francisco Crossfit, where he immediately became a gym favorite. We bonded over our passion for weightlifting and explored the city together enjoying the summer in SF and its surroundings: picnics in Alamo Square Park and Stinson Beach, weekends in Tahoe and Santa Cruz. After a year of long distance, we decided to make a home in Tacoma, bought a dog, and still reside (now with two dogs!)
Zach wanted to go to SF for a weekend and planned all of my favorite things: We stayed at a fancy hotel, had porchetta sandwiches at the Ferry Building, cocktails on patios, spikeball in Golden Gate Park, and then a sunset hike at Land’s End. He completely surprised me with an Ocean Beach proposal in the sand in front of the friends that brought us together.
How did you allocate your budget?
We knew what we wanted to spend and kept it around there.
Where did you splurge and where did you save?
Venue, food and photographer. As for saving, we had modest flowers and décor, because we knew the venue would be the stunner.
How did you choose your photographer?
He is one of our dearest friends and the most talented at capturing love in the moment.
My dress was Blush by Hayley Paige, accessories were all rose gold pieces I found on Etsy, and my shoes were Alexandre Birman.
The suit and bridesmaids
Zach’s suit was from the Men’s Warehouse and the bridesmaids wore navy blue from various designers.
I told Nadia from Stiatti Fiori, that I wanted mostly white, non-scented flowers with a lot of green, and she was incredible. She added pops of color to accentuate the rooftops of Florence, and everything turned out better than I imagined.
We had rustic touches, the place cards were individual names laser cut from wood. The long green garland spanning the whole table was a vision I wanted from the beginning. We knew nothing would compare to the view, so we kept it very simple. We moved the arch from the garden to the terrace after the ceremony, and it was perfect.
The food was amazing. The cocktail hour had mini pizzas, bruschetta, asparagus wrapped in ham, mini brugers, crostini with truffled goat cheese and caramelized onion, meatballs. For dinner we had an aubergine and marjoram flan, risotto with mushrooms and truffles and guests chose between a filet or a sea bass.
The wedding cake was to die for. It was a traditional Italian wedding cake, called millefoglie. It was layers of custard and pastry with chocolate chips and we served it with coffee, pistachio and dark chocolate gelato.
We had a DJ.
Who supplied the stationery?
We used Minted for our Save the Dates and invitations.
Our cake topper had a Cavalier King Charles spaniel on it along with the bride and groom that made it extra special. I did my own hair and make-up as well as make-up for all my bridesmaids! We also gave 5 jordan almonds as party favors, an Italian wedding tradition, with a note: Five sugared almonds for each guest to eat, To remind us that Life is both bitter and sweet, Five wishes for the new Husband and Wife..Health, Wealth, Happiness, Family and a Long Life! My wonderful friends trekked all over Florence in search of white Jordan almonds!
It’s impossible to pick one, the whole day was perfect and so special. From being in the city where my father grew up, to looking up and seeing all our loved ones sitting at one table, to the view, it was all so magnificent.
We took a short walk together, just the two us, after the ceremony to soak it all in, and that was really special.
I will always remember the music playing during cocktail hour and dinner, it was a mix of Italian songs and lounge music that created the perfect ambiance. I walked down the aisle to Tony Bennett’s version of What a Wonderful World, because he was a favorite of my father and I felt his spirit in all of the music.
I was adopted from Korea as a baby, and recently met my birth family. Two of my sisters came from Korea and to see them dancing and laughing with my lifelong friends was definitely a highlight. We also facetimed my birth parents in Korea, who had woken up at 5am to speak to us.
We took a group picture at the end of the night, which will forever be one of our favorite memories.
Advice for other couples
Don’t stress the small things and enjoy the moment. You hear it all the time, but the day goes by so fast.
I am based out of Los Angeles and the world and i would consider my style fresh, young and bold.