This time last year I had arrived! I’d landed in Tuscany for a wedding adventure that I will remember for a life time. A year on I’m still thinking about those views that greeted me each morning, the quietness of the Tuscan hills, OK and yes, the delicious Italian grape!
I’ve been following Jacqueline Bradshaw (Marry Me Tuscany) on Twitter for a while now, I enjoy her tweets, I stare at the Twitpics of the landscapes and scenery that surrounds her, dreaming off and wishing I was there too! So I had to know more about the lady, Marry Me in Tuscany, so I asked if she’d answer me a few questions on how she arrived at living and working in Italy and a few tips for those wanting to marry overseas.
I’ve enjoyed reading about Jackie’s journey …… I hope you do too! x
I’m intrigued, how did you end up living and working in Italy?
I originally came out to Siena in 2001, with my now ex-husband, we’d originally planned to stay for 2 years while he studied for a MBA, we’d always fancied the idea of living in Italy and so we sold up in the UK and lived the dream, well almost! During the first year things started going a bit wrong between us I think we tried to change too many things and grew apart, he decided that we were moving back to the UK, I did go back for 3 days and then realized that I didn’t want to be in an unhappy marriage and hot footed it back to Italy, did the whole of France in a day with my worldly goods in the back of the car. haven’t looked back since.
When I first came out to Italy I ended up teaching English as I couldn’t speak the language as with everything I do I gave it 100% but was always looking for something that I could do that would use both languages and which would suit my personality better than teaching. Before leaving the UK I’d been self employed so found the long teaching hours and having a boss to be a bit of a drag. I did meet some wonderful people though that helped and encouraged me to put my ideas into practice for my new venture, working for myself though I probably put in more hours and wedding days can be long sometimes a 14 hour day, but it’s something that I love so I’m happy to give it my all .
What was the spark that led you to becoming a wedding planner?
I’d organized a few friends weddings in the UK, which was easy being so organized and I saw that there was a gap in the market here for an English wedding planner that understood the culture and wedding scene in the UK and the USA, as is always the way there’s usually a friend of a friend, and I had a friend that had some friends that desperately wanted to get married here so I rolled up my sleeves met with them and pulled all the pieces together for a fabulous wedding, my first wedding was a catholic church wedding, masses of documents and bureaucracy, I realized that if I could do that I could do anything.
Jackie Supports her clients with Italian to English Translation …..
Are your clients Brits looking to enjoy an Italian wedding or do you plan weddings for anyone coming to Italy to marry?
My clients, come from all over the world, predominantly Brits, but I also do weddings for Irish, Americans, Australians, Canadians, New Zealanders, South Africans, anyone that speaks English and needs help through the minefield of Italian bureaucracy and dealing with Italians that don’t speak English. I have also done weddings for Italian couples who are slowly coming round to the idea of having a wedding planner.
Are there many Italian traditions that differ from a wedding here in the UK? and do many of your brides follow them?
Couples tend to go for the traditional Italian wedding cake which is a Millefoglie, layers of puff pastry with chantilly cream and strawberries light and absolutely delicious, we’ve adopted the Italian tradition of giving favors to the guests from the Italians and couples continue to that when they have a destination wedding often giving guests a gift that is sourced locally, wine, olive oil, ceramics which is a great memento for guests. Couples haven’t quite got into the idea of having rice thrown at them as they come out of church and the town hall and opt for the softer English confetti (confetti in Italian is the sugared almonds and they’d hurt!) and rose petals, can’t say I blame them on that one to be honest.
This is Rebekah & Richard’s Millefoglie wedding cake, it tasted devine!
Do you have any advice for couples thinking of marrying overseas, and particularly in Italy?
If possible come out for a visit first, the internet is great but you’ll really get a sense of the place if you come and see the venue, towns and cities first. Italy is coming round slowly to having civil ceremonies outside, so do be prepared to get married in the Town Hall, some of these are so beautiful that your day will not only be truly special and unique but your guests will be blown away too. Do give your guests plenty of notice for the wedding, that way they can not only save up for their trip but also may be make a holiday out of their trip to Tuscany.
How about brides who are travelling to an overseas wedding destination any advice for them, any packing tips?
There was a time when airlines used to let you carry your wedding dress onto the plane and they’d hang it up for you, but those days are sadly over, your bridal shop will usually help you pack your dress so it can be carried on in your hand luggage, consider vacuum packing your dress if they can’t give you a wedding dress box that can be carried on. I have specialists that will steam your dress when you arrive so don’t worry about wrinkles, or the old trick of hanging it in the bathroom with a lots of steam usually works a treat. Don’t forget your sunscreen and if your dress is strapless then lots of strapless dresses/tops so you don’t get those strap marks leading up to your wedding!
What do you think is the most amazing thing about what you do?
At times I feel like a fairy godmother, that has waved her magic wand, each wedding is special and it’s wonderful to see all the elements come together to make the day even more special than the couples could possibly imagine, I love seeing couples that are so in love get married without having to worry about anything other than having the best day of their lives.
Thank you Jackie for sharing your story, pictures of Jackie supplied by Jackie too.