I love speeches! I often work with British and American clients, and I find their tradition to dedicate a few words to the newlyweds during the wedding reception something very special. I like to listen to them and, through them, imagine the story of the couple. But did you know that in the Scandinavian tradition, wedding speeches are hours long? I found that out last year, on the occasion of the marriage of a Norwegian couple in Tuscany! I do not speak Norwegian, and to be honest, I was profoundly bored during the reception. And, although the couple I’m talking about today is also Norwegian, it was exciting to photograph them during this phase!
The location of this wedding is one of the nicest I’ve ever been to during my career as a photographer. It is the estate of Quercia al Poggio, which is in the middle of Chianti, between remote hills of olive groves, dirt roads surrounded by cypress trees, and ordered expanses of vineyards. Michela, the owner, is a friendly and professional lady with a great taste and a huge passion for well-set weddings. Her estate is an old stone village, lovingly restored in the name of simplicity.
It is rare to find places to live an authentic Tuscan experience like this; here man is part of nature, integrates into it, and enjoys the fruits of the earth and the warmth of the sun that colors and wraps everything. Each villa on the estate and each apartment in the village centre has been renovated to respect the old rules that sustain the balance between man and nature. You will not find televisions and the latest generation of ultra-fast Internet connection. People come here to enjoy the sound of the cicadas, the colourful sunsets, and the scents of the fields in bloom. Catherine and Nils could not have chosen a better location for an authentic wedding in Tuscany that their guests will remember for a long time.
The ceremony was held in the large garden in the village centre, where florists had set up a simple and elegant setting. On a hot afternoon in early September, Nils and Catherine exchanged rings and promises accompanied by bird songs and the sound of violins. It was a joy to attend the ceremony! It was great to see family and friends moved during the most intense moments, before a liberating applause during the final kiss.
How do you imagine your wedding photos in Tuscany? I suggested the couple make the photo shoot along a dirt road that passes through olive groves and vineyards on the property. It did not take long to get there; only a few steps and I had already started to shoot. It was great to see Catherine and Nils walk around while they shared their first impressions and retraced the critical phases of the just-celebrated wedding. During the photo shoot, talking helps both parties to get distracted and smile, and this allows me to take relaxed and intimate pictures. A few photos among the vineyards with swollen grapes, some portraits with lush green plants in the background, and it was already time to join the guests for the reception.
The first part took place near the pool; while I took the photos of the bride and groom, guests enjoyed a cocktail overlooking the hills of Chianti.
As soon as the light fell, the whole wedding procession had moved within the central courtyard for dinner. It was a sight! A large T-shaped table, decorated with plants and fresh-colored flowers, was the perfect protagonist of this part of the wedding. The sky became more and bluer while the yellow light of the candles took over; all amidst an ancient court, which smells of history and passing seasons, while the guests tasted delicious food and great wine. I could not wish anything better for an intimate wedding in Tuscany. Friends and family pronounced their wedding speeches, a bit at a time. Also on this occasion, they did it in Norwegian, and I did not understand anything. But it does not matter. What was clear is that Nils and Catherine are a happy couple in love, surrounded by people who love them. Photographing them in this historic setting was very pleasant also for me, and I can assure you, I see a lot of weddings.
I hope to meet them in Tuscany, perhaps for their anniversary, here again, at Quercia al Poggio.