Rustic Charm and Elegance

Sarah and Alistair were married on 31st August 2016 at Chiesa del Carmine in Umbria, Italy

How did you meet?                                                                                              

We met in an indie nightclub, “The Venue”, in Manchester.  In hindsight it’s a miracle our paths never crossed sooner.  We were both born in the same hospital, grew up less than a mile apart, liked going to all the same places and studied law at the same university.

How did the proposal happen?

At my parent’s home. We both live in Australia and travelled home for Christmas.  A few weeks before we left Alistair booked a surprise weekend away in a spa hotel for my birthday and arranged champagne and strawberries in the room.  It was all very out of character as he’s not the romantic type and we had talked about marriage a lot in the year leading up to it so I was certain it was going to happen then.  Much to my surprise it didn’t and apparently I had put him off by telling him he had to ask for my dad’s permission first and he wanted to do this face to face.  In the end it was just the two of us on Christmas morning and it was perfectly simple.  We were then able to celebrate with our families.  It was just the loveliest Christmas.

Where did the wedding take place?                                                          

Chiesa del Carmine in Umbria; a beautiful ancient church and farmhouse set in a valley amidst olive groves and vineyards.  The property has been restored into a holiday villa and the attention to detail is impeccable.  It was everything we were looking for; intimate and rustic but also incredibly luxurious.

What did the bride wear?                                                                                    

I wore a blush coloured gown by Emily Riggs Bridal.  Emily is based in Portland and I took a bit of a risk ordering my dress online but when I saw her designs nothing else could compare so I went ahead and ordered it.

What did the rest of the Bridal party wear?

My bridesmaids wore sage green Two Birds gowns.  I wanted something that would suit all of them and for them not to be too hot.  The Two Birds gowns were perfect for a destination wedding as they were so light and could be tied in all different styles.  The girls loved them and looked so elegant on the day.  My three gorgeous flower girls wore blush dresses from BHS – they were an absolute bargain.

The groomsmen wore blue trousers and matching waistcoats with brown shoes.  We didn’t want them to be too hot either and we also wanted the wedding day to have a relaxed feel.

What was your theme?                                                                                

“Simple rustic elegance” – we looked to the church and surrounding countryside for inspiration.  We wanted the whole place to be covered in candlelight and collected what seemed like hundreds of brass candlesticks and vases for months before.  Even Alistair got into it and would scour EBay for the best deals.  We had candles everywhere; in the church, hung in the trees and all around the gardens. Our colour scheme was greens, pinks and creams and my main criteria was lots of olive foliage.

Describe your cake                                                                                           

We had a traditional Italian wedding cake.  The caterers prepared it on the day and it was layers of puff pastry, chattily cream and fresh fruit.

Something blue?                                                                                                    

My something blue was my groom.  He wore a stunning royal blue suit with a polka dot tie.

What were the highlights?                                                                                

We had a “wedding week” and so got to spend a lot of time with our closest family and friends, which made it very special as we now live in Australia.  My favourite part of the day was the ceremony which was a little unexpected as I thought it would be the party.  There was so much love in the room and those moments of anticipation leading up to and walking down the aisle with my parents and best girls were just incredible.

How did it end?                                                                                                    

It ended with the survivors jumping in the pool for a very early morning swim.  We had an acoustic guitarist play at the party and he succeeded in getting everybody up dancing.  It was so much fun.

Is there anything you wish you’d done differently? 

I wouldn’t change a single thing but wish I had delegated a bit more, especially in the days leading up to the wedding.  I am a bit of a control freak so wanted to control everything but it’s impossible on the day and you really do not care about the small things anyway.  My wedding planners were amazing too so I definitely should have let them take more control.  It rained on our wedding day and we had planned an outdoor ceremony so had to change everything last minute but my wedding planners, Chrissie and Alessandra, moved everything into the church at very short notice and everything looked so beautiful that we were glad it turned out that way.  Everybody thought I would freak out about the rain but I really didn’t care.  I was about to marry the love of my life surrounded by the people I love the most in the world.  Nothing else mattered.

Where did you go on honeymoon?

To New York.


Photography: Paola Colleoni 

Dress: Emily Riggs Bridal

 Venue: Chiesa del Carmine, Umbria (

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