Elegant Destination Wedding in Italy

We’ve shared a number of destination weddings on Once Wed recently, several of them taking place in Italy. There’s many good reasons for this: the breathtaking views, inspiring architecture, the food…and one of the things that we like the best about Italian destination weddings is that a couple can still maintain an elegant, chic style in their event design. Jessica and Josh’s wedding is no exception.

The couple knew they wanted a small, very intimate wedding, allowing them to spend as much time as possible with their loved ones, creating lasting memories. They did just this: with La Bandita, a private country home in Tuscany, as their venue of choice, and with the help of wedding planner Laurel & Rose, they were able to absolutely pamper their guests with special details. From a welcome gift with a bounty of local treats – cheese, wine, biscotti, an Italian phrase book to name a few – packaged in a wine box, to a perfectly packaged box of freshly baked cornetti (Italian croissants) that were hand-delivered to each guest in the morning, and the surprise lavender oils that were left on each pillow at turndown, this couple made sure each guest felt appreciated around the clock.

Read on for more!

More from the Planner, Laurel & Rose:
“In addition to the couple’s thoughtfulness and class, they also cared deeply about creating a wedding landscape that felt organic and timeless. Complimenting Jessica’s exquisite blush Watters gown, we worked closely with the florist to design a look for the wedding ceremony and reception that was sophisticated yet playful. The flowers and décor were meant to compliment the undeniably stunning centuries old country house that is La Bandita – but never stealing the spotlight from the golden Tuscan countryside and the intimate gathering of family and friends celebrating this timeless love. Not even the pouring rain could tarnish this ethereal Italian wedding.”

More from the bride, about her destination wedding planning experience:
“We found exactly what we were looking for at La Bandita, a stunning private country house set up high on a beautiful hilltop in the Val d’Orcia region of Tuscany with 360 degree views of the Tuscan countryside; however it was not just the beauty of La Bandita that sold us. We learned early on that planning a wedding anywhere was challenging, let alone half way across the world. The added challenge of a language barrier, time difference, and different cultural traditions made us concerned that we couldn’t pull off our dream wedding in Italy. These concerns were quickly erased after meeting John Voigtmann, the owner of La Bandita. John Voigtmann moved to Italy with his family to open La Bandita after living in New York working as a Sony music executive. John has impeccable taste, is incredibly personable and organized, and was easily able to understand and execute our vision with ease. John worked in tandem with the insanely talented Jolene Peterson of Laurel and Rose, to create a magical wedding weekend, something straight out of a fairytale. We can honestly say, planning a wedding in a remote area of Tuscany was stress free which allowed us to enjoy the moment and focus on each other.

We used La Bandita as a home base for the long weekend with our guests, touring a nearby winery, exploring the countryside and nearby towns, relaxing, sharing meals, and drinking wine late into the night. We brought in Kate Holstein from the States who perfectly captured every moment of the long weekend. Put simply, La Bandita is a little slice of heaven and was the perfect place for our intimate dream wedding.”

Photography: Kate Holstein Photographs | Planning & Design : Laurel & Rose (Jolene Greenbaum Peterson) | Flowers: La Puscina | Wedding Venue: La Bandita Countryhouse | Rehearsal Dinner Venue: La Bandita Townhouse | Hair & Makeup: Rock & Rose Italy (Rosy) | Calligraphy & Invitations: Manzanita | Bride’s Gown: Watters

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02.15.16 / Featured, Real Weddings Blog

Custom Destination Photography from Adam Kealing

Wedding photography not only has the wonderful ability to capture the most important day of your lives, but it can also turn your cherished moments into works of art. That’s what our Once Wed Premium Vendor Adam Kealing does.

Adam is an award winning photographer with an itch for adventure and a gift for telling epic stories. Through his lens he sees drama, scale, and perspective and transforms a real life moment into artwork. His weddings have taken him all over the world from Bhutan, Antigua, London and Paris, to Alaska, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic, and Mexico. He loves to travel and explore, but more importantly, he loves to open up his arms for his clients to join him.

The connection between photographer and couple is so important. You’re spending a majority of your wedding day with one another after all, and sharing some of the most special and intimate moments of your life. Adam focuses on getting to know his clients and helps them to enjoy their day.
With his warm personality and a spirited heart, he creates a one of a kind experience for his couples.

Are you ready for a wedding adventure whether in your own backyard or across the globe? Don’t hesitate to reach out to Adam to discuss your 2016 or 2017 date. No distance is too far.

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02.15.16 / Featured, New Sponsor Blog

2016 Wedding Dress Trends from Truvelle

Truvelle, one of our most-watched small bridal designers, recently made their way to Spain to shoot the new 2016 collection, which was inspired by cool tones and subtle, silvery details.  While exploring some of Barcelona’s winding alley-ways, the team captured these stunning images amidst some of the city’s gorgeous architecture.

Since October, 2013, Truvelle has been creating effortless, made-to-order gowns for the modern bride. Creative director and designer Gaby Bayona offers her designs through Truvelle’s online shop, as well as 35 boutiques globally. Beyond bridal gowns, Truvelle offers accessories which compliment the existing collections, but also pair with other pieces beautifully. The accessories include jewellery, headpieces, belts, lingerie, and veils – all of which can be ordered online. Even better, Truvelle has many new projects scheduled to launch within the next year, so stay tuned!

Currently, all three Truvelle collections are on the road for trunk shows in the USA, and Europe to follow. All information on retailers, trunk shows and products can be found on Truvelle’s website.

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02.13.16 / Featured, New Sponsor Blog

Creative Reception Ideas


Your reception is the party – the place where you celebrate your vows with your most beloved friends and family. And just as planners work to make the reception space perfect for their clients, anxiously awaiting the reveal to see the joy and love on their faces, it’s also important to ensure the receptions sets the tone for the evening for guests as well.

Sarah Chancey, founder and creative mentor behind Chancey Charm, shares with us some tips on how to achieve a memorable guest experience.

Create a cozy and inviting space

When guests enter the reception space, you want them to feel inspired and encouraged to dive in and participate. In order to create a welcoming and memorable reception, consider incorporating a few homey items that are out of the ordinary for a reception space. For example, we love to bring in lounge seating, complete with specialty lighting and side tables. A lounge creates an unexpected gathering place for guests, apart from the dance floor and table settings. It encourages intimate conversations and interactions uncommon to the standard wedding reception. It’s also a fun spot for candles, pictures and a beautiful floral installation.

Get creative with conversation pieces

We also love to have custom pieces built for a reception space; think round bars to fit perfectly under a chandelier or (my new favorite) a hanging installation. We just completed a custom installation over a dance floor, covered in florals and hanging votives. It was the focal point of the reception and a conversation piece that set the mood for the reception. An added bonus – a custom built piece is the perfect way to distinguish your wedding reception from the dozens held in the space before yours.

Tie your wedding design into your guest tables

Since your guest tables take up a majority of the room in the reception area, use them to your advantage. We recently worked with a bride looking to create an outdoor garden feel in a ballroom. It is possible! To transform the space, we brought in huge leafy branches that extended toward the ceiling and filled the space, grass table runners and lots of candlelight.

Creating a statement with your guest tables is an easy way to create impact upon arrival into the reception space. If you would like for your tables to feel intimate and full, we recommend long rectangular tables. Nothing creates a wow factor like 30 place settings carefully laid out down a long table. I also encourage you to mix up the flow of the space, rethinking your layout, perhaps even adding in a few high rectangular tables and bistro sets to keep the space visually interesting.

Offer late night bites instead of traditional wedding favors

Think beyond the typical wedding favor options and opt for a midnight snack instead. Some couples have food trucks come at the end of the reception for guests to grab something to snack on for the ride home. Donuts also seem to be a treat that all of our clients and their guests are currently loving, and we can see why. We’ve even had clients order customized donuts in the shape of their last initial. Any easy-to-grab treat is a hit on the dance floor near the end of the night and something that your guests will fondly remember.

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02.12.16 / Featured, Wedding Ideas, Wedding Ideas Blog, Wedding Planning