Before I dive into the details of our big day I thought I would share some memories from our pre-wedding festivities. As everyone was traveling all the way to Italy we felt it was important to try and spend some of the days leading up to the wedding with our guests.
Wednesday - 26.09.18
David & I really wanted to see Florence and as our venue was only 1/1.5 hours away we thought we would start the festivities there. Thankfully my sister, her family, and a group of our friends were able to join us on the Wednesday for drinks and dinner. David booked us a night at Ad Astra and we loved it! This boutique hotel is not only in a great location but is so beautiful. Each room has it’s own theme and is beautifully decorated.
Unfortunately our time was limited in Florence but one thing we made sure to do was to book a tour to climb the Duomo. Whilst it may not be the ideal tour for people with vertigo (aka Dave) it is so worth it as there are the most exquisite views at the top. Also, you get to skip all the lines and are guaranteed to get inside (I would be shocked in peak season that everyone gets to go inside as the lines were super long when we were there at the end of peak season). The tour was around $25 so you aren’t really breaking the bank to see one of the most beautiful landmarks in Florence. I so wish we had more time there as I would have loved to really soak in the culture but I guess this just means we will have to go back another time. That evening everyone came over to our room (which perfectly had a balcony attached to it) and joined us for drinks followed by dinner just down the road. Unfortunately I don’t think the restaurant was equipped for large groups but we had a lovely meal regardless.
Thursday - 27.09.18
The next day we filled (read - rammed) the car with our bags and made the journey to the venue with 3 of our friends. Needless to say the drive up to Castello di Meleto was everything and more. We had not seen the venue in person up until this very moment…I know…we are crazy! It was a big risk but so worth it!! Castello di Meleto is a large vineyard with plenty of accommodation. I think in total we had 63 people stay with us. We took advantage of every sleeping space possible but it meant we had nearly half our guests staying with us which was a requirement of ours when choosing our venue. If you haven’t already, check out my post about how we decided to choose Castello di Meleto.
Thursday afternoon consisted of everyone checking in and stopping by the wine shop to start trying out some of their wines whilst grabbing a bite to eat. We decided to have a pool party that afternoon/evening and invited all of our guests. Around 80 of our guests were able to make it which was a great turnout. We had an open bar with lots of food (the Italians do not play around when it comes to food - my kinda people!). It was so much fun and a great way for everyone to meet. We were also able to catch a gorgeous sunset which was even better. If you are having a destination wedding one thing to note, which I felt like I knew going into it but didn’t fully appreciate, is that everyone is on vacation mode which means they are ready to relax and have a good time. I had not fully anticipated how late we would stay up that night but it was so worth it as it was the BEST way to start our wedding festivities! This day also happened to be one of our bridesmaid’s 30th birthdays so we wanted to make sure she had the best night as well!
Friday - 28.09.18
Anticipating that guests may be a little tired from the night before, we didn’t schedule anything for the morning. Breakfast was provided if guests were feeling up to it. If not, they could have some well deserved rest. We then planned two group tours which consisted of touring the castle and having a wine tasting. This is one of the great perks of booking Castello di Meleto - the tours were free! Such a great way for everyone to learn more about the history whilst seeing the grounds (if they had not yet explored it). If you are having your wedding at Castello di Meleto I highly recommend doing this!
That evening we had the rehearsal with just our families and wedding party which was then followed by a dinner in the picnic area for everyone staying at the venue. The area is enclosed by gorgeous trees but still has a beautiful view of the surrounding landscape. We decided to keep the decorations to a minimum and to be honest it didn’t need much. The space itself was so lovely! We also kept the food casual and decided to have a pizza and pasta buffet. Our total amount of guest for the wedding was 143 so it was so nice to have some time with a smaller group of people. Whilst we would have loved to have had everyone there, it meant we would have more time for other guests the night of the wedding (time management is key at weddings - more of this to come in a future post about my wedding advice - watch this space!). Even with the actual wedding the next day the festivities carried on late into the evening but the best part was we were making memories!
One of great things about Castello di Meleto is that the property is big enough to host various meals and events all around the property. Not one of our events, including the wedding ceremony, cocktail hours (yes hours…again the Italians know how to do it right!), the reception and party, were in the same space. I felt like we took advantage of the whole property! I cannot recommend Castello di Meleto more. It will forever be one of my favorite Sweet Spots!