Wedding of the Week: Rebecca McCarthy and Alex Clayton

30 Apr 2018

Rebecca McCarthy and Alex Clayton's hessian and lace wedding in Tuscany was filled with celebrations, shared by their nearest and dearest

How did you meet?

Working at IKEA as students.


Tell us about the proposal.

Alex surprised me while we had a trip to Venice. He proposed on a bridge over the Venice canal.


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

The theme was hessian and lace with burlap and florals. The colour scheme was nudes and blush tones with soft blue and teal accents.


What venue did you choose and why did you choose it?

We chose Tuscany as we knew we wanted to have a wedding abroad. We chose Italy as my grandmother is Italian and we love the place. We found Villa Belsole as we wanted somewhere big enough for the reception but also were we could have 18 people stay. We then found the town hall nearby in the old town of Certaldo. We then had a UK reception when we returned home, local to where we live.


When did you know when you’d found ‘the’ dress? 

I found the dress very quickly while i was out just looking for styles. I wasn't expecting to find it so quickly but it was the fourth dress I tried on and it just fitted the style of Tuscany. The designer was Justin Alexander and the alterations were made by Debbie at Paradise Grove, Horsforth. 


What did the bridesmaids wear?

The dresses were TFNC from ASOS with a slash neck, V-cut back and sateen bow.


Where did you find your suits?

The suits were from Next. They were blue with fleck details. Alex added a waistcoat and his late grandfather's pocket watch.


Did you hire a wedding planner? How did they help?

Only for the legal side of the ceremony in Tuscany. The company was called Infinity Weddings and Sandra looked after us so well. She really took the stress out of the paperwork and she was more than helpful with any questions or information that we needed. She helped us to sign all the forms prior to the wedding day too and she was there to translate the ceremony in to English.


Tell us about your floral arrangements.

We used artificial flowers from Country Baskets and the Alex's brother made the bride and bridesmaids' bouquets and the buttonholes.


Often the aspect that makes a wedding original to the couple is the detail – tell us about the details of the day. 

  • Our favours were sugared almonds but instead of wrapping them in tulle we used small hessian bags. There were five almonds in each bag, which in Italian tradition represent health, wealth, happiness, children and a long life. They were handmade by the bride and the labels were personalised with the wedding date (bought from eBay).
  • We also took hessian bunting, fairy lights and paper pom-poms to decorate the villa. Everything was simple and we used jam jars with hessian and lace again at the UK reception. We also had 2cl bottles of Jagermeister as favours in the UK that were personalised with the wedding date and our names.
  • We had a Lego wedding cake topper.
  • We also had our wedding rings made by a local jeweller in Leeds so that they were unique to us.


How did you feel as you walked down the aisle?

Amazing, I loved the time I spent with my dad before and it was so special to have him walk me down the aisle. I couldn't stop smiling.


How did you make the ceremony personal to you?

We didnt have any readings as it was a short ceremony, but we picked the song I Won't Give Up by Jason Mraz for me to walk down the aisle to.


What was your most memorable moment?

Stood on the balcony of the villa as bride and groom, looking at the amazing view and watching the party below.


What was the most challenging aspect of planning this wedding?

Organising the legal side of the ceremony in Italy while we were in the UK.


What was the most important investment for you?

The villa and having our family and friends with us.


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

Al Green - Let's Stay Together. We love that style of music and the lyrics are very special.


Did you have any evening entertainment?

In Italy we played a playlist that my sister's partner put together; we asked everyone for requests and we just danced all night. In the UK we had a DJ provided by the Hoilday Inn in Tong, Bradford.


Tell us about your wedding cake.

In Italy we went to the supermarket and bought as much as we could so that Alex's brother and wife could create our wedding cake. In the UK we had a three tier cake with floral, hessian and lace details. We used the lego topper here too.


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

Taking it all in. It was such a magical whirlwind of a day that we wish we could have taken it in a little more.


Did anything go wrong on the day?

Nothing at all and if it did, we didn't notice.


Where did you go on honeymoon? 

We did a fly drive of the west coast of America. We started in San Francisco then drove down to LA and then ended in Vegas. We waited until three months after the wedding before we went on honeymoon. 


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

If you are planning a wedding abroad make sure you have someone to help you with the legal side of it all and just do as much research as possible. 


Steal their style: 

Photography: Matt Nicholls,
Catering & reception venue (Italy): Villa Belsole, Tuscany,
Dress alterations: Bridal Design,
Wedding planner (Italy): Sandra at Infinity Weddings,

For more real wedding inspiration, pick up the latest edition of Bride magazine and click here for destination wedding inspiration

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