Guest post by the groom.
In the 1980s, my uncle, who was born in South Africa but lived in the US, bought a ruin on a hillside in Tuscany. Ruin is the right word for it; the locals called it Il Disastro. It was a former monastery, wrecked by wind and rain and sun. Over two decades, he built it up into a truly extraordinary house, perched on the hillside, with a magnificent semi-circular window looking out onto the valley. Even to this day, getting there feels like an odyssey, winding up through single-track roads above the village of Bagni Di Lucca.
Villa Fronzola holds special memories for us. It was where my wife and I stayed on the first international trip we took together, a year or so after we met. On that trip, Nicole suggested to my uncle that we be married there, by him. I doubt he thought she was being serious.
When I finally proposed to Nicole in 2014, there was only one place we were going to hold the ceremony.
Italy presented some interesting challenges. Not just in planning a wedding from another country - thank god for local planners - but in actually getting a marquis, waiters, booze and guests up the tiny single-track road. We also had to take into account a wedding held in 38 degree heat - let’s just say the sweat pouring down my face wasn’t entirely down to nerves.
We were married under a traditional chupa by the pool. My uncle Jonathan masterminded a wonderful ceremony, perfectly judged in length and tone. The real joy came after the ceremony and photos were completed; my groomsmen decided they’d had enough of the heat, removing their suit trousers for boardshorts and joining the rest of the guests, who by that point were dangling their legs in the pool. It made for good photo opportunities, which Duccio took full advantage of. He was, by the way, an excellent photographer. Highly recommended.
It was a fantastic day, truly special, not just for us but (so we’ve been told) for our guests as well."