An Elegant Tuscan Wedding at Castello di Vincigliata in Florence, Italy

Erin Phillips (27 and a former recruiter) and Winston Bennet (36 and an entrepreneur) had planned to say their “I dos” in their hometown of Toronto, Ontario. Then the pair, on a whim, visited Florence, Italy, where they connected with planner Sonia Galliana to visit potential wedding venues. “We are both passionate about Italian food, wine and culture, so it seemed like the perfect place to get married,” Erin says. Once the couple saw Castello di Vincigliata, they no longer wanted an at-home wedding. With its innate elegance and old-world opulence, the 13th-century Tuscan castle needed little in the way of decor. In keeping with the setting, the couple chose a rustic elegance theme, complete with lush greenery, natural wooden accents, an abundance of candlelight and a soft pink, white and dove-gray palette. Taking advantage of the site’s architecture and breathtaking scenery, Erin and Winston held the entire soiree outdoors. The ceremony took place on the terrace, overlooking acres of rolling hills dotted with Cyprus trees. The couple kept the decor simple, letting the natural beauty of the landscape take center stage. Rose petals lined the aisle leading to a romantic wedding arch adorned with full blush blooms. A string trio filled the air with the soft sound of classic and modern tunes. After saying “I do,” the couple led the way to the cocktail hour and reception to the beat of Lionel Ritchie’s “All Night Long.” The reception was an alfresco affair, complete with dinner and dancing under the stars. Guests gathered around a long U-shaped table draped in ivory linens, green garlands and warm candlelight for a decadent Italian dinner, which included dishes such as truffle arancini, veal and sage skewers, zucchini pasta and steak in a Brunello wine sauce. “One of the many benefits of throwing a wedding in Italy is the access to incredible food,” Erin says. “Our caterer, Guidi Lenci, did not disappoint with delicious and gorgeous Tuscan dishes.” After dinner, the newlyweds ushered their guests onto the dance floor for a full-blown dance party that went straight into the wee hours. A tip from Erin: “Try to enjoy the experience. If you stay on top of things, there's really no need to be stressed. If you're planning a wedding abroad, make sure you employ an amazing wedding planner who gets your vision. Sonia was incredible for that.” —Libby MacCarthy