I don't even know where to begin. I must say this was the very best experience and surprisingly non stressful wedding imagined. It began with the countless emails I sent to Marco and his team for over the past two years. His and his staff's timely response showed his great work ethic in the very beginning. I sent hundreds of emails and I ALWAYS was answered by the next day unless it was Friday. I would understandably get my response the following Monday. They made the entire process so easy by their 8-step program. No detail was forgotten because of how organized and simplified this budget tool was. I knew exactly what we were spending at any given time.
When I arrived in Italy I was overwhelmed by the beauty but nothing prepared me for the beauty of the villa. I felt like a princess staying in my bridal suite and my guests gasped as the bus pulled up to the villa, and they were over joyed by their living quarters for the week. We had wonderful cooking accommodations and the guests centered around the kitchen as we enjoyed shared meals.
Our first day we decided to be adventurous and walked to the town. We became lost, but Marco came and found us and sent a staff member to bring us to his restaurant where we enjoyed delicious and authentic food from from this region. He then instructed his staff member to take us back to the villa. If ever hungry he will provide transportation to and from the villa to his restaurant which we found extremely convenient.
As the week progressed, we met several times with Monica his beautiful assistant, who with Marco planned each and every detail. They made sure all my wishes were carried out and they helped solve any problems (although there weren't really any problems other than me not creating our wedding program which they solved).
The villa is conveniently located, but I suggest you rent a car (a couple of cars if you have a big group, because they are typically very small cars in Italy). The train is very close by and by taking a short trip you can travel and see all of Italy while on your trip. Although my group was extremely athletic they spent several hours going to and from town on foot for groceries until we rented a car. It would be easier if you had a car. I will say some funny and great memories were made on our daily trips to town and I wouldn't change it for anything!
We had our wedding day on Thursday, so our rehearsal was on Wednesday. We spent the morning in Cortona and it was beautiful. The excitement was in the air and everyone was thrilled with this town in Tuscany. I met with my florist Mario Berti. I highly recommend. He knew exactly what I wanted and prepared my centerpieces and bouquets as I dreamed. The local priest was excellent! Marco fulfilled my husband's desire to have our ceremony both Italian and English. My husband is Italian and it was important to have this in our wedding as part of his culture and many of our guests did not speak English. The priest agreed and was so sweet and more than obliging to fulfill this request. Later that day we had our rehearsal dinner which was prepared by caterer Renata. It was delicious and so very special!
The wedding day was so beautiful. Milo was our hairdresser and his personality and drive for perfection was more than expected. I love him. He spent several hours with us on our hair trial that he told us "we were the longest trial he ever had and he would never forget us"... I'm not sure if that was a good thing, lol. We spent so much time with him that we were worried about our taxi. He took the time to call our taxi and make sure that he would not leave us or charge us more than planned. He waited for over 3 hours!!! He didn't and I was touched that Milo would go out of his way to ensure we were not left behind and that we safely would get home. He did not disappoint on our wedding day! He had more than 7 people to do and each and everyone of us loved our hair/makeup (He brought an incredible makeup artist) which I regret not using. She was more than good and my girls loved their looks!
We were late for our wedding and instead of getting angry Marco calmly told us so and never allowed us to get in a fluster. I was so happy for him trying to keep us calm and keeping the situation under control. We we arrived to the Church it was more than amazing. The bells rang, music was on point and everyone was gorgeous. It was a whirlwind.
Music-Opera Singer and string: EXCELLENT! So beautiful and played everything I requested
Flowers-Mario Berti: EXCELLENT! Used all my flowers that I requested and created the look I dreamed of!
Hair-Milo: EXCELLENT! Spent hours trying to get my hair right and my bridesmaids. He went above and beyond to make us happy.
Caterer-Renata: EXCELLENT! Made us breakfast the day of wedding, rehearsal dinner, and reception dinner. Delicious!!! Guests are still talking about her pasta dish and cake!
Videographer-Elle and Be Blaye: EXCELLENT! Flew from Canada and is the best money can buy. He shot an MTV video! You know you are getting the best! Just watch some of his videos and you will fall in love. He is why I chose the villa in the first place because of his videos!
Photographer-Detitophotography: EXCELLENT! Family friends used him for a destination wedding in Italy before and they have flown him to the States to do work. You can imagine he is the very best and not near as expensive as some, and his work surpasses most. Im more than thrilled with my photography so far.
Transportation- Matteo: EXCELLENT! He provided transport to and from Rome, to the rehearsal and back, on the wedding day. We used him to move our group by bus for each occasion. He was excellent. We received excellent drivers, that was always on time, and a very clean and luxurious bus.
DJ- Alexander: EXCELLENT! He had everyone dancing and he knew exactly what music to play and when to keep everyone happy.
Paperwork-Elana: Made sure all our paperwork was filed correctly and done exactly right. We spent part of a morning with her in Florence. We spent the morning at the Embassy and different places but it was streamlined and effortless. The remainder of the day we enjoyed with our guests touring Florence. She is awesome!
I hope I didn't forget anyone, but if I did I apologize. I had a dream wedding and was happy with everyone that participated to make it a dream.
Thank you so much to Marco and his team. In just a week you managed to make us feel like we were family. I am genuinely so grateful as I dreamed of this day since I have been a little girl. I didn't think you could surpass my dreams but you did! I felt like a princess and Carlo was over joyed with the outcome. Its weird to feel so much affection for people that were doing a service but you and Monica went beyond like family. We miss you all and hope to stay in contact. My heart will forever be in that region of Italy. I hope to visit next year.
Thank you, thank you, thank you, I can not say that enough!