Italy Destination Wedding Gala Inspiration: Engage!16 Italy

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We’ve got one more magical event to share from the Engage!16: Europe wedding business summit I recently returned from.  Set in beautiful Puglia, Italy at the famed Borgo Egnazia property, on the final night, the team at Engage hosted a gala in full masquerade style.  The black tie party was dripping with deep red tones atop a neutral palette, giving the tent plenty of drama before even the first guest stepped inside.  But this party was more about the entertainment than even the flowers.  Elan Artists brought in bands to rock the night away, Italian opera singers to fit the setting, and even ballerinas to dance between courses!

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If you’re in the destination wedding business, going around the globe to one of the Engage Summits is the best investment you could make for your business (and your clients!).  And this is something you feel and know by the time the week ends and you get to celebrate together at the gala.  The decor is so special, but the people, the friends you’ve made and the business you’ve built is that much more special.

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This tented fete was the perfect blend of a little bit of country chic (the rustic twine and small details reflected the area we were in) paired with the grand centerpieces, well-dressed bars, and beautiful tent to remind us of the black tie affair we were a part of.

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And just like at the previous Engage parties this week, each guest was invited to partake in the fun and the theme by dressing the part.  As we entered the party, we were each given a lace mask to wear at the ball.  This is a great idea for a themed party when you want your guests to immediately immerse themselves in the experience!  And it makes for great photos too!

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These are our fabulous hosts, Rebecca Grinnals and Kathryn Arce, the brains behind the Engage Summits. They have been teaching us in the wedding industry for years to better ourselves, our brands, and our events to serve clients at the highest level possible.  If you’re in the wedding industry, this is an event not to be missed.  Any day now they will be announcing the 2017 lineup of dates and locations, so stay tuned as they sell out FAST and rumor has it, they’re going global again.  I know I’ll be there!  This trip to Italy was once in a lifetime and this event I will never forget.  Thank you to Kath and Rebecca for including me in such a magical experience and thanks to the entire Engage team for wowing us like I never thought possible, even for you!  To see who produced this incredible event, check out the vendor credits below.

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Event: Engage Summits, Photography: Betsi Ewing Studio, Location: Borgo Egnazia, Florist: Giuseppe Armenise, Entertainment: Elan Artists, Audio Visual: Light Tracks Service, Branding, Gifts, Accessories: Gifts for the Good Life, Event Stationery: TPD Design House / Two Paper Dolls, Videography: Elysium Productions, Linens: Nuage Designs, Floral Support: G Fresh, Roses: Meijer Roses

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Retro Beach Wedding Party: Engage!16 Italy

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Getting married on or overlooking the beach in Europe?  Then this retro beach party is for you!  The second of the spectacular parties hosted by Engage!16: Europe was one at the Borgo Egnazia beach club, just a few minutes bike ride from the main hotel compound.  And when in Rome, or in Puglia, Italy in this case, it was only fitting that a beach celebration with style was held over the lunch hour of this incredible wedding business conference.

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The event kicked off by getting every guest in the color palette, with beautiful silk scarves and matching sunglasses so we could all become part of the festive theme.

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Then fresh seafood stations could be found lining the boardwalk around the water’s edge, filled with a bounty of local selections from the sea.

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Even cars, bikes, and Vespas helped to complete the decor, making the perfect touch to fill the large grass area that we celebrated on.

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Elan Artists, the entertainment and music company for the event, brought in dancers in picture-perfect retro wardrobe to get the party started in full “swing.”  They brought over 100+ musicians, dancers, and entertainers for the Engage Summit in Italy and wow did it make an impact.  Wedding entertainment is no longer just about music, but professional dancers with that music to get the party started, to keep the party going, and even to entertain guests during dinner.  Try it, your audience will be dazzled like we were!

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Elan Artists even brought in synchronized swimmers whenever there was a place for them to dance in water!  This retro beach party at Engage!16: Europe was perfect for a post-wedding brunch, a wedding welcome kickoff party or even a big day abroad where you want to have a little cheeky fun.

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Event: Engage Summits, Photography: Betsi Ewing Studio, Location: Borgo Egnazia– Cala Masciola Beach Club, Florist: Giuseppe Armenise, Entertainment: Elan Artists, Audio Visual: Light Tracks Service, Branding, Gifts, Accessories: Gifts for the Good Life, Event Stationery: TPD Design House / Two Paper Dolls, Videography: Elysium Productions, Bikes: Ecorent, Catering: Traetta Catering

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Picture Perfect Destination Wedding Dinner: Engage!16: Italy

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Earlier this fall I set off for Puglia, Italy to attend the first European Engage Summit, a luxury wedding business conference that takes place in a magical destination around the globe a few times a year.  This time it was held at the famous Borgo Egnazia, which was also the wedding location of Justin Timberlake and Jessica Biel.  Each conference showcases talents in the region, shares new wedding trends, and teaches us to be better at our businesses for couples going through the wedding planning and destination wedding planning process.  And Engage!16: Europe showed us just how incredible a destination wedding in Italy can really be!

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With the best talents hand-picked from around the world, the parties were over-the-top, unbelievable, and frankly, down right magical.  Beginning with this spectacular opening night party in a piazza of the hotel, it was an open-air market-like party complete with hanging flowers flanking the long tables and candlelight just about everywhere.  The look from day to night was simply stunning!

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The detail in the decor of this party was unparralleled!  The design makes for a perfect destination wedding welcome event but also a fantastic wedding reception.  The feeling that you were in a local Italian market surrounded by the best of everything was overwhelming.  They did a fantastic job of weaving in the location, something you want to consider when hosting a wedding away from home.

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I’ve been to a lot of parties in my almost thirteen years in the wedding business, but this may have topped them all.  The pictures show you just how pretty it was, but the feeling we had being at such a special event could never be fully described.  Engage and the team left no detail undone, right down to the buckets of twinkling lights on the rooftops surrounding us!

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Boardering the dinner tables were oodles of interactive food and drink stations where guests got to engage with chefs who were making fresh mozzarella, tossing pizza, and dishing up gourmet gelato.  Talk about fresh!  The food was to-die-for!

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Then local dancers performed to entertain our audience before a finale of fireworks were set off overhead.

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What a way to kick off Engage!16: Europe!!  We’ll be sharing more amazing images from the week in Puglia in the coming days so stay tuned for more destination wedding inspiration to come.  And thank you to Engage and everyone on their team (vendor credits below) for creating such a special scene and setting for us to celebrate in!  This is a party and event I will never forget!

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Event: Engage Summits, Photography: Betsi Ewing Studio, Location: Borgo Egnazia, Florist: Giuseppe Armenise, Entertainment: Elan Artists, Audio Visual: Light Tracks Service, Branding, Gifts, Accessories: Gifts for the Good Life, Event Stationery: TPD Design House / Two Paper Dolls, Videography: Elysium Productions, Additional Entertainment: Terraross Entertainment, Marino Rana, Artists: Compagnia Stabile Di Alberobello, Wine: Coppi, Fireworks: Pirosud

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Destination Wedding Inspiration Shoot in Northern Italy

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Today’s beautiful photo shoot comes to us from Northern Italy, at Villa Bria in Gassino Torinese, Italy to be exact! Destination wedding photographers Ludovica Lanzafami and Valerio Elia, shared this wedding inspiration (complete with a fabulous pup) with us.

The goal of this shooting was to recreate the special feeling of an Italian style luxury wedding blended with newer wedding concepts: the result is a wild and romantic wedding, somewhere between tradition and modernity. This is why we chose as location Villa Bria, an ancient Neoclassical villa located in Piedmont, and we gathered some of the best and most experienced wedding suppliers of Northern Italy.

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Simmi provided the flowers and the decorations: Camilla Marchetti, the mind behind Simmi, chose roses, a traditional flower which represents love, ivy – standing for marital loyalty, statice – which means union, rice flowers and berries – which represent plentiness and good luck. The colours of the shooting were ivy green, gold, peach and a light cyclamen white. Camilla arranged the bouquet in a natural and profuse way: she bounded it with an ancient brooch which once belonged to her grandmother, a lovely and precious detail, full of memories of the beloved relative. The head-table was chosen for the great impact that it could have in a long 18th century gallery. We wanted to recreate an exclusive romantic scene crossing the past of the Villa and the present wedding style and trends. Daturi e Motta, an Italian excellence in catering service since 1923, arranged the table with stunning hand made glasses decorated one by one with pure gold, and simple plates decorated with pure gold leaf. The menu, designed by Simmi, was bounded with a green lace and a lacquer seal, a very appreciated detail in Italy. Menus and typography (invitations) was designed in the same way, and the invitation was wrapped ina beautiful silk envelope, closed with a green lace and a personalized laquer seal.

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The decorations of the table were mainly glass and silver: the candlesticks were made of Boemia’s crystal, the vases in Murano’s blown vase glass, the candelabra were authentic antique pieces. The flowers in the mise en place were positioned one by one in order to magnify its beauty; more than 200 candles illuminated the gallery to recreate a breathtaking atmosphere, captured by the photographers at sunset first, then in complete darkness.

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Daturi e Motta realized a wonderful white cake which was insert in a stunning cake buffet realized by Simmi: a lot of silver plates, glass vases, candies, sweets and candles make the cake buffet absolutely gorgeous.

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To see more of the day, check out the video by Pier Angelo Carchedi here:

Destination Wedding Photographers: Ludovica Lanzafami and Valerio Elia

Photo Shoot Vendors: Location: Villa Bria, Floral Design: Simmi Event and Floral Design, Dresses: Il Sogno Atelier, Models: Sabrina Siciliano and Diego Converso, Jewels: Giverso Gioielli, Make up and Hairstyle: Erika PXA Make up Artist, Dog Trainer: Itaca Addestramento, Catering: Daturi e Motta, Video: Pier Angelo Carchedi

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Vintage Styled Destination Wedding in Tuscany

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Stef and Roog live in Eindhoven, the Netherlands but traveled to Tuscany for their destination wedding away from home. The couple gave us a peek into their oh-so pretty big day in the countryside of Italy. But the planning wasn’t always as easy as pie…

We actually had another location we preferred; we’ve been in Tuscany before during a trip to Italy a couple of years ago and we stayed at a wonderful romantic place. But unfortunately the contact wasn’t going very smooth and they weren’t very cooperative, so we decided to look for another venue. After a long search on the internet I found 3 possible venues and decided to write them all 3. Within an hour I got a very enthusiastic and detailed response (in good English, also very helpful!) from Ginevra from Tenuta di Papena. We had a skype-session a couple of days later and we immediately felt a personal connection with her. So we came over last September to visit the location and there it happened; we where in love with the venue! We eventually choose this one, not only because of the good contact with the owner, but also because it’s such a beautiful place, they have experience with weddings and it was affordable. 

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At first I was really looking for a bohemian-styled dress. But once I had a ‘princess-dress’ on, I thought “you can only do this once Stef”. So I went for a beautiful dress with lots of lace, so it would still have a little bit of a vintage look. The florist helped me making it a bit more vintage by designing a beautiful wrist-corage, filled with lovely flowers. Along with the flowers in my hair, it gave perfection to my outfit.

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We often ask couples about their favorite moments from the day.

My god, what a difficult question! We had so many!

When we had the moment of seeing each other for the first time in the Abbey of San Galgano, there was a drone flying over the church. A friend of ours ran outside and asked to the guy if he could make some footage of us. So now we have a video of us with all our guests, outside the abbey, from the sky! How cool is that!

The ceremony was just beautiful. We where in an open grain field, with the sun low and my biggest love on my side. The moment you say ‘yes’ to each other will always be very special. 

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How darling is their little nice, Patou?! She certainly stole the show for a moment or two!

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We really wanted a country chic wedding with a bohemian touch. We got our inspiration through Ginevra itself (pictures from weddings she done before) and pinterest. 

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During dinner (which was amazingly tasteful, my mom gave a (15 min!) speech. The wedding planner was afraid that it would be too long, but each and everyone was ‘hanging on her lips’. 

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Our friends made a video at home, where they took ‘a trip down memory lane’ and visited places where we lived, went to school etc. It ended with a hilarious sketch of our 2 best friends (pretending to be us) while camping. Tears of laughter!

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The party was awesome! We brought a DJ with a sax-player with us from the Netherlands, and they made it a party to never forget! We had the party outside, next to the swimming pool. We had a full moon and we had the best party-people in the world (where from the Netherlands ;). Everybody was going out of their minds and it ended up with us jumping into the pool (with suit and dress), followed by our friends. Luckily we have a lot of film-footage from the party :)

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Everything on this day was just perfect. For us it was the most beautiful day of our life. But it’s very special to hear from family and friends that it was also one of the most beautiful days of their lives! Francesco Spighi just captured every (little) thing perfectly and in such an artistic way. We experience the day over and over again, just by looking at all those beautiful pictures.

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Congratulations to the newlyweds!

Destination Wedding Photographer: Francesco Spighi 

Wedding Vendors: Wedding Venue and Planning: Tenuta di Papena, Floral Design: Mag Florist, Catering: Terre di SienaWedding Dress: White One – Barcelona, Groom Attire: Magee – 1866 Suit Supply, Wedding Rings: Wim Meeussen, Celebrant: Renske Riemslag from Mooitoscane

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