Wedding of the Week: Amy Hansen and Keith Deaney

20 Feb 2017

The destination wedding of Amy Hansen and Keith Deaney in Tuscany is our simply stunning Wedding of the Week

How did you meet?

We met at Portsmouth University where we were both studying Architecture.

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Tell us about the proposal.

The proposal was a little unusual. We had travelled out to Vietnam on holiday as my parents were living out there while my Dad was running a sugar factory. Unbeknown to me, Keith planned to propose while we were there. One Sunday, we visited a very remote beach with my parents and a few Vietnamese friends and while we were there, Keith presented me with a teddy bear in which he had concealed my engagement ring. We then celebrated with snails and beer, sitting on miniature plastic stools Vietnamese-style – much to the amusement of the few local fisherman and children who were sharing the beach.

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What was the theme for the day, and did you have a colour scheme?

As the wedding was held in Tuscany, we decided to go with a rustic theme which suited the style of the Abbey and 18th century villa we had chosen for our reception. We wanted all the colours to be soft and muted so opted for a soft heather/lilac shade for the bridesmaids’ dresses and for the bouquets and floral decorations at the Abbey and villa.

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Tell us about the dress.

I had a certain style in mind before starting out on the dress search and visited a few shops but still hadn’t found 'the one'. My mum suggested Minster Designs in Wimborne and as soon as I tried on the dress by San Patrick I knew it was the one. It felt great on, very comfortable and suited the location and climate perfectly.

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And the suits?

We purchased rather than hired the suits as they had to be taken out to Italy. Keith chose a blue checked suit with grey checked waistcoat for himself. The best man and two dad’s suits were in grey checks, matching with Keith’s waistcoat. 

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What did you choose for the floral arrangements?

Our wedding planner, Diana, suggested a very good florist who created all the bouquets, buttonholes and floral decorations for the Abbey and Villa Podernovo. I sent them some photos of my ideas and colour scheme. We chose lavender, pink and cream roses as the main flowers for the bouquets, accented with statice flowers, olive and eucalyptus leaves, which gave everything a very Tuscan feel.

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Tell us about the details of the day.

We both enjoy being creative, so designed and produced all our wedding stationery, including the invitations and menus. We made our own wedding sign and the 'A' and 'K' letters which stood on the table next to our cake. We also made a guest book Jenga which everyone enjoyed. We put together goody bags – with Italian treats, and a programme of events for the guests, which we placed in their rooms on arrival, with special games included for the kids. We didn’t have favours, as such, but everyone had a carved wooden place name which fitted in with our rustic theme. We also organised for a donation to be made to Cancer Research in memory of Keith’s mum and gave each guest a pink ribbon pin.

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How did you feel as you walked down the aisle?

Excited, a bit nervous and I remember thinking it was a very long way to where the guests and the Mayor (who officiated) were standing. I was also extremely relieved that it wasn’t raining as the Abbey has no roof.

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What was your most memorable moment?

It might sound a bit strange, but one moment I’ll never forget is leaving my bouquet behind in the room where I got ready. My dad drove me very slowly to the Abbey in an open top vintage Alfa Romeo (so as not to mess up my hair in the wind). After about 10 minutes, I realised I’d forgotten the bouquet so back we went – not so slowly this time.

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What was the most challenging aspect of planning this wedding?

The fact that it was in Italy and we weren’t on hand to sort out the finer details. Although we did go over to have a menu tasting and sample all the delicious Italian dishes. Also, the ceremony was in Italian and although we had a translator, we had to wade through all the legal stuff which was a bit challenging. We put our trust in our wedding planner, who was fantastic throughout and arranged everything beautifully. 

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What was the most important investment for you?

The location – we wanted the beautiful setting of the Abbey of San Galgano in Tuscany for our wedding ceremony. We knew we wanted to get married in Italy and once we’d found the Abbey we felt it couldn’t be bettered.

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What song did you choose for your first dance and why?

We chose the acoustic version of Stellar by Incubus. We wanted something different for our first dance and one of our first dates was at an Incubus concert.

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Tell us about your wedding cake.

It was a two tier cake; chocolate orange on the first tier and lemon and white chocolate on the other, decorated with fresh flowers. We did things Italian-style and cut the cake after the main course, before eating dessert.

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If you could go back and change anything, what would it be?

I wouldn’t change anything, but it would have been nice if we could all have stayed a bit longer at the villa. Some of the guests arrived quite late on the evening before the wedding due to travel delays, so didn’t really have time to enjoy the pool and beautiful surroundings.

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Was there anything you wish you’d known before?

It would have been nice to speak Italian. 

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Where did you go on honeymoon?

We spent a few days sightseeing in Tuscany and then went on a South African safari and visited Mauritius.

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Do you have any advice for couples in the planning stage?

If you’re thinking of having a destination wedding, it’s well worth using a wedding planner - especially if you don’t speak the language.

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Steal their style:

Dress: Minster Designs, Wimborne, www.minsterdesigns.com
Photography: White Dove Photography, www.whitedovephotography.co.uk
Venue: Villa Podernovo, www.villapodernovo.it (supplied the flowers, caterers, music etc)
Shoes: Rainbow Club, www.rainbowclub.co.uk
Rings: Goldsmiths, www.goldsmiths.co.uk

For more real wedding inspiration, pick up your copy of Bride magazine.

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