As a wedding planner it’s always lovely when a couple ask you to write about their wedding, Claire & James got married in Siena in July 2008.
I first met Claire and James when they came out for a visit in January of 2008 after a few months of emails they had finally narrowed down their list of potential venues for the wedding and came out to have a look at the short list. As soon as I met them I knew instantly that they would be fun to work with and we spent a wonderful couple of days travelling round the Tuscan countryside looking at venues.
As soon as Claire saw Il Palazzaccio in Asciano, I knew that this was the place that she wanted, the breath taking views and the beautiful infinity pool area and the honeymoon suite complete with a jacuzzi bath were enough to clinch the deal and although the other venues were lovely they all paled into the background.
In the months leading up to the wedding, Claire and I exchanged lots of emails and phone calls and had more than a few laughs during the planning process, the owner of the Palazzaccio became affectionately known as Mr R and he and his staff couldn’t do enough to make sure that their wedding would be a fabulous event. Claire and I laughed a lot during the planning process she was so laid back about it all and was a joy to work with. One particularly funny experience which we agreed that we have to share with you is the menus for the wedding dinner having decided on chicken for the wedding breakfast we waited patiently for something exotic from the chef, after weeks of chasing them, they came back with chicken thighs!!! Hardly exotic I know and with all the wonderful things you can do with chicken they suggested Chicken Thighs! I offered to lend them a cook book a 1000 and 1 things you can do with a chicken but the chef finally came back with chicken breast wrapped in Proscuitto cooked with sage, thankfully we were agreed that that was much better than chicken thighs, I don’t know about you but I don’t like the brown meat!
Finally the day of the wedding arrived, Claire & James came out with their family and friends and stayed at Le Podere Vigne in Siena a wonderful family run B&B where Claire & James had stayed on their previous visit and meant that all the guests could stay together and as the wedding ceremony was going to be in the Palazzo Publicco they decided that they would keep the wedding venue for themselves and give the guests the chance to explore and enjoy everything that Siena has to offer.
The night before the wedding Claire & James organized an informal BBQ at the Podere where Carla cooked up a wonderful meal and everyone had a thoroughly great time. Claire then went with Hannah her bridesmaid to the Palazzaccio to stay the night before the wedding so as not to break with tradition of seeing the groom before the big day.
On the day of the wedding I went up to see Claire with the hairdresser and check that everything was running to schedule and then headed back to Siena for a quick change and into Siena to meet James and the guests outside the town hall. Slight problem though the bus driver decided that he was going to drop James off somewhere else and so there was a panicky moment when Claire arrived before him and I had to tell her to drive round the block and I’d call the driver when it was safe to come back….usually it’s the poor groom that is waiting for the bride to arrive but thankfully James hadn’t got cold feet he came panting into the piazza and after taking a breath and getting himself together and even time for a little joke of being the condemned man we headed into the town hall to wait for Claire to arrive.
Claire looked absolutely stunning and made her entrance into the beautiful Sala Di Razze to the “Feather Theme from Forest Gump” played by Aldo on the piano and James just grinned from ear to ear and continued to do so all day, he’d finally got his girl. Pier Paolo Fiorenzani who married them insisted on having his photo taken with the happy couple after the wedding.
After the wedding, Claire & James headed off with the photographer to get some shots around Siena…
…and at my request they stopped off on the way to Il Palazzaccio for a photo in a field of sun flowers, no mean feat in high heels!
They arrived back to be greeted by their guests that were tucking into some prosecco and apetizers before sitting down to the veritable feast, with not a chicken thigh in sight! Claire had had these beautiful biscuits made as wedding favours which also cleverly doubled as a place name. I think that James quite enjoyed the tasting of all the biscuits before they decided on the ones they wanted!!
And so as the sun went down over the wonderful Tuscan countryside they moved down to the swimming pool…
…for the cutting of the cake and after dinner drinks.
And then it was time for us all to board the bus and head back to Siena leaving this wonderful couple to start their married life in this wonderful part of Tuscany, where the following they day they chilled out by this fabulous pool. As Claire said a truly magical day which she is still talking about today.
To Claire and James thank you for allowing me to be part of your wedding and for the friendship that we have continued long after the wedding. Claire & James have a beautiful son George who I hope one day they will bring to Tuscany and show him where his parents had their dream wedding.