Black and White Rustic Elopement in Tuscany

A great idea to get married, or better to elope in Tuscany, Italy this year 


“How does one go about planning a wedding in Tuscany thousands of miles from your home, in a place you’ve not ever seen, and where you know no-one?  Very happily , as  it happens.  No opinions or limits or preconceived ideas about what a wedding ought to be.   I found a short linen dress I liked and had it made by a woman in  Lithuania.  We found a jeweller that worked with local beach  gold.  The most important thing we found was a photographer and as it turned out  – a coconspirator.   


I found Beatrice through Instagram.  Her use of light and shadows, movement and blur made my photographer heart skip.   


One evening while whispering together about running away and getting married in Italy I sent a message.  I said I would be flying into Rome in September and on Wednesday September 18th (our 1 year anniversary and my late fathers birthday) we wanted to get married in the Tuscan countryside.  We didn’t know where.  We didn’t know who would officiate.  We doubted there would be any guests but we did know we wanted Beatrice to photograph.


Over the next 6 months Beatrice was the only thing we were certain about the event.  When I found a potential location, Castello di Valle in San Donato in Poggio, a Tuscan treasure 15km far from Florence  I would send it to her and say “how  about here?”.  It was Beatrice who suggested the officiant (Carina Pop – I can’t say enough good things about this lovely woman) .  

With these few and simple plans we hopped on a plane after that late night pact and left the south island of New Zealand for the city of Rome.  


For a week we wandered ruins and tailors shops, eating and drinking and, for me at least, feeling a little drunk with butterflies. And then on September 17th my baby sister (our one guest) flew down from Dublin and we drove together to find the Castello di Valle.  We got in, put down our bags, and made our way to the local village of San Donato in Poggio where we ate pizza at the only place open at 11pm on a Tuesday. The next day,  just before sunset,  we would get married.  Just us. In this place we had never been. 


The elopement day


The next morning we woke up, went to the village for lunch, shopped for flowers and ingredients for a making a large  dinner after the  ceremony.  We stocked up on wine and made sure our clothes were ironed and met Carina and Beatrice for the first time outside of the house.   After this I can say honestly that I had what was ,without a doubt, the favourite afternoon of  my life.  Not a moment of stress or rushing or expectation.  


I got dressed with  my best friend and my sister (and Beatrice behind the lens).  We went in to the garden and read our handwritten vows , we signed the beautiful wedding contract on tuscan vellum (and Beatrice signed as well because we only had one guest!).  After  that we toasted, wandered the tiny village for a  bit , drank copious amounts of wine, and cooked a pasta feast while laughing and dancing.  It was exactly  what a wedding ought to be for me – not  an event but  a promisea night spent with my very best friend in the world secretly conspiring together and committing to continuing to do so.  


When  I look back at these images,  all in black  and white and full  of light and shadows,   I  can feel the feeling of that day.  It was the feeling of being so sure of something and so certain of myself.  I didn’t want to get married.  I had been married at 21 and grew up in a marriage.  I didn’t want a relationship.  Every time I found myself in one of those I lost myself completely in the finding.  Even so one night after hours of eating and drinking and dancing my best friend and I decided we would get married.  It was the best decision I have ever made