A Villa Cora, Florence, Italy Destination Wedding With Gold & Sage: Hayley & Joe
Those of you brides-to-be dreaming of an utterly romantic and opulent wedding in a grand Italian villa will fall in love with today’s destination wedding.
The gorgeous Hayley & Joe married in an incredible villa in Florence that had a very special meaning to them as a couple, it was the place they became engaged!
With a gold and sage colour theme, their intimate wedding in Italy is so inspirational, and I just love the edible gold and champagne idea. Any excuse for an extra bit of sparkle is a must!
Words by Hayley. Images by Jake Baggaley .
When we got engaged in Florence in August 2013, we stayed at Villa Cora and were blown away by how beautiful it was, we had never stayed anywhere quite like it before.
When we were planning the wedding we did look at local venues in the UK but we both loved the idea of getting married somewhere that meant something to us both. And of course the idea of getting married in Italy was a big bonus.
We also never wanted a big wedding so it was amazing to be able to have our immediate family and closest friends see where we got engaged.
I only visited one bridal shop as I found my dress on the first visit. It was actually in the window when I walked in and it caught my eye. I loved that it wasn’t traditional white or ivory.
After trying 4 other dresses initially I asked to try it on (I didn’t try it first as I knew it would be faff for the shop assistant to take it off the mannequin, and as I hadn’t booked an appointment I didn’t want to put her out). I knew pretty much the moment I put it on in the fitting room that it was my dress.
The shape was really flattering and the detail as well as fabric (although not what I thought I wanted) looked amazing.
I always thought I would go for something with a low back and beaded or with lace in a 1920’s style but this felt like a wedding dress (if that makes any sense).
Joe and the groomsmen wore traditional tuxedos, which he purchased and had fitted from a shop in Savile Row. He wore a white bow tie to differentiate him from the best men.
I bought Joe a set of cufflinks as a wedding gift from Tateossian. I chose them because the gold leaf matched our wedding favour idea. I figured they would make a memorable keepsake
Joe also wore a gold pocket watch I gave him as a gift for our 10-year anniversary.
My 8-year old flower girl wore a beautiful gold and ivory dress from Monsoon.
As my dress had quite a bit of detail I went with the less is more approach to accessories.
I wore a beautiful hair slide from Debenhams that had pear-shaped crystals, which matched the shape of my engagement ring.
I also wore a simple tennis bracelet as my something old, which Joe gave me as a 5-year anniversary gift.
My drop earrings were a wedding present from Joe, which i got as a surprise on the morning of the wedding. They are from CARAT and the pear-shaped stones also match my engagement ring. A really thoughtful surprise.
We stuck with a cream and sage green theme for the flowers. I love peonies and garden roses so we requested them in a cream colour for the bouquets and the centrepieces.
We also had soft green hydrangeas mixed in the centerpieces. Sandra at Fiorile did a great job at adding a mix of other flowers that filled out the bouquets and looked stunning.
Originally I had intended for all of the girls to wear the same colour dress but in slightly different styles, however, I struggled to find 4 sage green dresses that we all really liked. When I found this dress, I knew it would suit everyone.
I had heard horror stories about buying bridesmaid dresses online but Light In the Box was recommended to me. Customers also post photos with their reviews so I trusted I would get what I paid for.
The villa’s rooftop, where we held the wedding ceremony, has incredible views over Florence. Our amazing florist decorated the permanent shade structure up there with draped cream fabric and a green floral garland. It framed the view and ceremony perfectly.
I sent a lot of images of bouquets, centrepieces and draping ideas for the ceremony altar that we liked. Sandra was incredible at putting it altogether. The flowers were truly breathtaking and I only wish we could have brought them all home with us.
My mum walked me down the aisle but we decided against incorporating the formal giving segment in the ceremony. We just felt it’s a little old fashioned.
We both agree, as cliche and cheesy as it sounds, that meeting at the top of the aisle was the most memorable part of the day. There’s so much buildup to that moment and heightened emotion.
After 12 years together it was something we had looked forward to for so long. It’s the first memory I think of when I talk about the wedding.
Joe and I met at an under 18’s night in a local club. I was 14 and he was 16 at the time. We’ve pretty much grown up together and have never been apart since.
I went to uni with our wedding photographer Jake and always admired his work, so I asked him pretty much the first few weeks of planning whether he would be available to photograph our wedding.
We were over the moon that both Jake and George were available and up for making the trip to Florence. It was great to have someone I know there, it made the day so much more relaxed.
We needed something that was lightweight for travel and spent quite a while looking at lots of cool ideas on Pinterest.
In the end we purchased miniature corked bottles from Amazon and ordered edible gold flakes. We filled each bottle with the gold and placed them next to the empty champagne glasses on the table.
Before the end of the last speech our guests were instructed to empty the gold into their glasses and the champagne was then poured on top. It was a great way to add a little extra sparkle to the toast at the end.
The mirrored ballroom where the wedding breakfast was held is breathtakingly beautiful, so we didn’t want anything too fussy.
Each table had a few tealights and stunning floral centrepiece that was similar to the bridal bouquets with a cream and green colour theme. We specifically asked for cream peonies, roses and soft green hydrangeas.
Finding a suitable first dance song was pretty tricky. We spent quite a while changing our minds and listening to songs till we were was sick of them.
The week before the wedding Joe played ‘Crazy Love’ by Van Morrison to me, the lyrics were beautiful and really fitting so we knew then that that would be our song.
If you could impart any words of wisdom to a future brides planning their wedding day, what would they be?
Don’t get het up over the little things, no one really remembers the finer details, which can quickly add up.
We could easily have blown our budget on that one day but we kept each other grounded during the planning as we had both agreed that we wanted to spend a little extra on an incredible honeymoon.
We got engaged after 10 years in Florence. Joe had organised to take me there as a surprise for my birthday. We stayed at Villa Cora during our trip and the day before my birthday we went for a morning walk through Bololi gardens next door.
Once we reached the viewpoint at the top (where you can see the city rooftops through the trees) Joe decided to set his phone up to a picture of us both. I left space to my right for him to stand but when he came over he was on my left on one knee.
I thought at the time that he was tying his shoelace, which confused me as the camera was about to take the photo. It wasn’t until I really looked that I saw him holding out the ring and telling me how much he loved me and wanted me to be his wife. We spent the next few days in a bubble, I actually missed most of the sights as I couldn’t stop staring at my hand.
wedding credits / photographer: jake baggaley / wedding venue: villa cora / brides dress: sophia tolli / grooms suit: saville row / brides shoes: debenhams / bridesmaid dresses: light in the box / bridesmaid shoes: oasis / hair: bride / makeup: natasha clark / florist: fiorile / wedding cake topper: capola / rings: etsy