Meg and I are not fancy. Oh sure, sometimes we like to pretend that the Sartorialist and his camera are stalking us through the streets of Florence (he never is), and occasionally, you may notice our pinkies raised as we sip our cappuccini (we aren’t even fancy enough for tea). But for the most part, we are two American girls who still believe in the validity of Easy Mac as a complete meal and opt for pj’s over party dresses 9 times out of 10. So, although two weeks ago we attended (per invitation) the fanciest, classiest, most heart-breakingly beautiful Tuscan wedding that ever existed, we consider ourselves official wedding crashers.
That night at the wedding, while munching on cheese and honey and watching the sun set over the countryside, Meg and I brainstormed. What exactly did we do in life to get us here? We deciphered the road map and rules we must have subconsciously followed to bring us to the Villa Montefiano that magical September evening. We then decided, that it would simply be a sin to not share it with you, our fellow Florentine enthusiasts, in hopes that you too can one day soiree your night away in the hills of Tuscany. Without further ado, how Meg and Hannah crashed a Tuscan wedding, and you can too.
1. Move to Italy. We don’t care how, we don’t care why. Just do it.
Meg and I moved to Italy for graduate school a few years back. As a group of young Americans, eager to embark on our adventure, we were sure to fall under the spell of at least a few Casanovas.
2. Choose Your Friends Wisely. Don’t be afraid to ask your new friends the question, “Do you hope to marry an Italian one day?” If the answer is no, don’t waste time cultivating a friendship that will lead you to a wedding in Ohio.
Really, it’s a miracle Meg is still my friend. Meg’s American boyfriend severely threatened her chances of finding Italian love, and consequently, my chances of attending a Tuscan wedding. I would lie if I said I didn’t question if our relationship was worthwhile. Luckily, our common love of pretty much everything else prevailed.
3. Actively Participate in Your Friend’s Italian Romance. This should guarantee at least a guilt invite, cause you’re kind of responsible, right?
Suzanne, bride of said fantasy wedding, enlisted my company in a night on the town our first week in Florence. After setting her sights on her future groom that very first night, a couple more chance encounters, and one bizarre realization that they had met over five years prior, these love birds were flying high. As I Meg and I wing-womaned hard at those initial encounters, we like to insert ourselves into Suzanne and Tommaso’s love story as vital players.
4. Encourage and Support
Just as we all do, relationships are analyzed, over-analyzed, and regurgitated 6,000 times with your friends. Be a good pal, be the rock, and mostly – DON’T LET THEM BREAK UP.
5. Expect an Invitation
Once you get wind that the diamond has been dropped, make sure your friend knows HOW EXCITED you are to come to the wedding. No need to wait for invitations, invite yourself.
Confession Suzanne – plane tickets may or may not have been booked before receiving invitations.
6. Drop Everything in Your Life and Go
Like everyone else, Meg and I have jobs, families, friends, and dwindling bank accounts. According to the world most of us live in, there is never a “good time” to up and travel around the world. So sometimes, as Meg and I did a few weeks ago, you just have to throw caution to the wind and go. And what better excuse to tell the world it can wait, than the Tuscan wedding of a close friend?
….and there might be a cheese buffet waiting for you. And everything in life can wait for cheese.
8. Ask if the Groom’s Parents Live in a Castle
While not essential to your Tuscan wedding experience, a rehearsal dinner at a castle certainly adds a nice touch. Lucky for us, Tommaso’s parents live in the beautiful Castello Torregali (that’s right, it has its own Wikipedia page!) and hosted a dinner that, for the 24 hours before the actual wedding, was the most elegant night of my life.
We arrived at the castello just as the Tuscan sun cast its perfect golden light on everything it touched. After several minutes of fumbling with the complicated doorbell, the gate opened and we practically floated up the cyprus-lined path to the 15th-century castle. As we entered the courtyard we were greeted with baci, abbracci, and white-gloved waiters with trays of prosciutto-wrapped everything! Dinner was served in the frescoed grand sala of the castle. Glasses clinked, laughter resounded, and every bite of the home-cooked meal (by Tommaso’s miraculous mama) was savored for hours. Yes, the wedding was tomorrow, but could it really get better than this?
8. Go to the Wedding.
The wedding came. September 7th, 2013. Our years of dedication to Summaso, as we so affectionately named the duo, culminated in the most beautiful thing I had ever seen in my life.
Meg and I shared a cab with our friend Megan and our dates, Matt and Matt (of course they have the same name, would you expect anything else?). As we left Florence and ascended the switchbacks up the hills which frame it, the view became more stunning with every turn. After the driver requested the boys get out of the cab for the last hill, so we could accelerate up the steep pitch of the gravel road, we arrived at Villa Montefiano.
Camerieri greeted us with finger foods I had only seen from behind glass. A gentle breeze cooled off the hot Tuscan day, as the sun descended steadily behind the hills. Old friends reunited, and new friendships blossomed. The love in the air was pervasive, and, remarkably, it had nothing to do with the sun setting over the olive groves, the string quartet, or even the cheese buffet. Two people were about to get married who were, despite the important role we convinced ourselves we played, undoubtedly made for each other. Vows were exchanged as the sun set behind the two, the string quartet swelled, and all 100 guests witnessed an absolutely perfect moment that left not a single dry eye.
Once we regrouped, we sat down for a meal that brought tears to my eyes almost as quickly as the vows. After more courses than I could count, we were ready to dance the Tuscan night away. I can’t help, however, but to choke on that word away, as Meg and I can agree that we would make that night last forever if we could. The cheeses, the sunset, the dancing, and more cheeses made the night fabulous. But it was the friends, the family, and the love of Suzanne and Tommaso that made the evening unforgettable.
So that’s it. That’s how 2 years of graduate school, 2 master’s degrees, and a lifetime of memories later, Meg and I crashed a Tuscan wedding.
Suz and Tommaso, we could not be happier for you. Although it’s hard to imagine a day better than your exquisite wedding, we know that your love will grow and each day of your life together will be better than the day before. Auguri! This one’s for you!