Ben & Lucy’s charity shop wedding in Tuscany

Fancy a wedding in a 17th century theatre followed by a reception in the Tuscan countryside? So did Lucy, a marketing manager for Oxfam and her husband Ben, a Graphic Designer, who were married in August 2014 in the stunning surrounds of Teatro Ciro Pinsuti in Sinalunga, followed by a reception in a villa nearby.

“The theatre we married in was built in the 1600’s and only one other couple had got married there before us. We found a loophole in the system and went for it! We held our reception nearby, in a villa in the Tuscan countryside. Luciano, the owner of the villa, hadn’t held a wedding there before, so it was very kind of him to let us have the reception at the house. We chose this area of Italy as we got engaged while on holiday there and it held special memories for us.”

We wanted our wedding to embrace as many Italian influences as possible so we chose a yellow colour scheme in homage to the lemons and sunflowers that were in season and opted for a rustic theme in keeping with the setting. Ben, who is a graphic designer, incorporated this theme in our invites, menus and order of service.”

“”My dress was the first one that I tried on. I knew instantly that it was right, I just felt so comfortable in it.”

Ben and Lucy met at work, but didn’t become an item until they were brought together while travelling separately in South America. Romantically, Ben came to Lucy’s rescue in Venezuela when she and her brother faced some difficulties. “Ben travelled across three countries, taking three flights to get to us. From then on I knew that I HAD to be with him forever. We continued to travel as a three and had an amazing time in Brazil.”

Lucy’s gorgeous Johanna Hehir gown, sourced from one of Oxfam’s bridal departments, had never been worn and was a donation from Johanna herself. “My dress was the first one that I tried on. I knew instantly that it was right, I just felt so comfortable in it. Because of my frame, and the heat in Italy, I knew that I wanted a simple strapless dress. Coincidentally, my veil was also from a charity shop. On my hen do in Clapham, we were challenged to source various items. My mum’s team found the most beautiful veil for just £4!” On her feet, Lucy wore a pair of flat Jimmy Choo sandals, in her hair she wore fresh flowers and she accessorised with a pair of pearl earrings from her mum.

“Our Italian ceremony was short and sweet and quite different to a UK one. We made promises to each other that were about looking after each other and our future family.”

The groom wore a suit he had tailor-made during a trip to Vietnam. “My husband and I travelled to Vietnam earlier in the year. We found a tailor that we loved and asked him to make Ben’s suit. Ben’s 6ft 7, so it’s quite hard for him to find things that fit well and the tailor offered the perfect solution at a very reasonable price. It also meant that we could choose everything about the suits, including a yellow lining to match the colour scheme!” The bridesmaid’s lovely yellow dresses were also purchased from a tailor in Vietnam whilst her flower girls looked very sweet in Ivory Monsoon gowns, paired with sunflower bouquets.

Ben and Lucy opted for an Italian civil ceremony and chose to write their own vows. Lucy’s friend, Bob, played Dog Days are Over by Florence and The Machine on the guitar as the bride made her way up the aisle with her father. “The ceremony was my favourite part of the day. Surprisingly I wasn’t nervous at all, I felt so calm, so, so happy and warm – it was an absolutely incredible moment. Our Italian ceremony was short and sweet and quite different to a UK one. We made promises to each other that were about looking after each other and our future family. We both wrote our own vows which we read through tears to one another and one of my bridesmaids read the words from the song ‘All I want is you’.”

In a lovely, personal touch Lucy and Ben added the story of their wedding to the order of service, including details of how they got together and also how they knew each guest. “I wouldn’t change anything about the day, but I do have a funny story…when Ben arrived at the theatre to set up, just twenty minutes before the ceremony, the door was locked. The caretaker had taken the key home and wasn’t answering his phone! This meant that our wedding started thirty minutes late while the locals (including the fire brigade!) tried to source the key. It didn’t matter to us as it was so ‘Italian’ and our guests were enjoying a beer and a glass of prosecco in the sun. Classic Italy!”

After the ceremony, Ben and Lucy’s guests enjoyed an ice cream in a bar in the town square. They gave each guest a ‘gelato ticket’ so that they could claim their free ice cream! At lunch, Ben and Lucy gave their guests mini bottles of Limoncello as favours, and Lucy arranged all of the flowers herself “We decorated the tables with lemons and olive branches and I arranged sunflowers and foliage in tomato tins for the tables which took a whole day but it was worth it! We used material from the local market to make cushion covers for our chill out area, created all of our signage using scraps of wood and our guest book was a collection of postcards that Ben designed, incorporating our travelling photos.”

As for Lucy’s top tip: “Each time I felt a little flustered I would say ‘this is your wedding, it’s meant to be fun’ and it’d all fizzle out again… Stay calm and you’ll enjoy everything a lot more, even if things (inevitably) don’t go quite to plan.”

Photographer – Ed Peers
Planner – Danielle Wiskow of Wiskow & White