Home » A Classic Garden Wedding in a 13th-Century Italian Castle

A Classic Garden Wedding in a 13th-Century Italian Castle

by Staff

Oliver and Veronica Milani Norton’s courtship was several years in the making, proving that good things truly come to those who wait. Veronica first met her now-husband when she was interning at a bank in London during the summer of 2014. However, the pair didn’t really connect until she accepted a full-time offer from the same bank the following year.

“My office desk ended up being very close to his and we became close over the following six months,” Veronica says. “I even convinced him to sign up for an exam so that we could study together for it!” But, it wasn’t until they were getting after-work drinks on January 8, 2016 that Oliver finally made a move on Veronica, who says “the rest was history.”

Oliver made a move once again in September 2020, when he proposed to Veronica while they were visiting her parents in Italy. “We strolled [through a vineyard on the island of Burano] until Oliver found a suitable spot, stopped, took my hands, and knelt to propose,” Veronica gushes. “He is very creative and good at writing rhyming poems, and surprised me with one he had composed for the occasion just before he popped the question.”

When it came to planning their special day, Veronica and Oliver wanted a celebration that was “timeless and romantic.” Since the couple wanted to honor their American and Italian roots, they had their sights on an idyllic wedding in Italy. To help simplify the planning process, the London-based duo relied on planner Laura Bravi and Veronica’s parents to scout venues. Fortunately, everyone was “blown away” by Castello di San Salvatore, a hilltop castle in Susegana with sweeping views of the Prosecco wine region.

“I had always imagined having a summer garden wedding with lots of beautiful flowers and al fresco dining, followed by a banging party,” Veronica shares. On July 10, 2021, the couple experienced just that with 86 of their family members and friends. Read on for an intimate look at their special day, planned by Laura Bravi and photographed by Jessica Mangia.

Veronica and Oliver gave guests a sneak peek into the festivities with a soft, sophisticated stationery suite from Paradise invitations. “We chose to go with a variety of delicate pastel tones to be painted over a foundation of neutrals like off-white and natural wood,” Veronica shares. “All of it was bathed in a light patina to be reminiscent of the old world setting of the castle.”

In addition to its ornate appeal, Castello di San Salvatore was spacious enough to socially distance when necessary. “[We could] move around during the day and host each part of the wedding—be it the ceremony, the cocktails, the dinner, or the party—in a different area within the castle’s estate, which kept it fresh and exciting,” Veronica explains. “Guests were able to discover different parts of the venue with each step.”

The bride stunned in an off-the-shoulder matte satin gown from Sareh Nouri. Though Veronica lives in London, she sourced her gown from A Little Something White in Darien, Connecticut, where Oliver’s sisters found their respective wedding dresses. “It immediately made me feel excited about wearing it, while no other dress had got me excited before,” the bride says about her gown. “I didn’t want to take it off!” To complement her “clean” look, Veronica accessorized the dress with Manolo Blahnik heels and diamond earrings she borrowed from her newly minted sister-in-law. A braided updo showed off the beautiful neckline.

Evelina Florence Flowers delivered the perfect finishing touch with a bridal bouquet made of pastel and white peeled roses, seasonal greenery, and touches of light blue flowers.

As for the groom? He looked handsome in a custom Hackett Suit imagined in Loro Piana Wool. “Oliver wore an ivory Hermès tie, which I gifted him ahead of the wedding,” Veronica adds. “It perfectly matched my dress!”

It was such a private and special moment that I’m glad we could treasure it just for ourselves.

Though Oliver and Veronica didn’t intend to do a first look, they realized it’d be a great opportunity to carve out a private moment for just the two of them. “I will always remember Oliver’s look immediately after seeing me in my wedding dress,” the bride shares. “I am usually the one always getting teary-eyed, but instead it was him this time around! It was such a private and special moment that I’m glad we could treasure it just for ourselves. Having the first look also made us much more relaxed prior to walking down the aisle, and it was only smiles from there onwards!”

For their outdoor ceremony, the couple opted for a freestanding arrangement of roses and greenery that framed the altar. Meanwhile, the aisle was lined with meadow-style arrangements that brought the eye towards the focal point of the ceremony.

To help beat the July heat, each seat had a personalized hand fan as well as a pouch full of petals to toss when the couple said, “I do.”  

Veronica and her dad walked down the aisle to James Horner’s “The Ludlows” from Legends of the Fall, which has a special meaning for the couple. “We worked with a very talented trio of musicians called Swing Job to have them play a specific song that Oliver and I had always wanted for the processional,” she shares. “I am still unable to keep a dry eye whenever I hear it!”

The couple wanted to give their ceremony a personal touch. However, they didn’t want to stress over writing their own vows. Fortunately, they were able to work with their officiant from Tuscan Pledges to get the best of both worlds. “She was able to capture our request really well, incorporating our story as well as many other details in her speech,” Veronica says. “Additionally, we had Oliver’s three sisters read a poem that Oliver’s mum [wrote], and one my childhood friends read a passage that she had chosen for the occasion.”

Once they traded rings—his was designed by Veronica and the Mother of the Groom, while hers was vintage—the couple shared a kiss and recessed down the aisle as husband and wife.

After the ceremony, guests enjoyed la dolce vita with a live jazz soundtrack, idyllic seating areas, and wine sourced from the castle’s vineyard. “We had a vast a selection of canapés served during the cocktail hour, as it is typically done in Italian weddings,” the bride details. “All [of them were] made with seasonal ingredients and showcasing the local cuisine.”

The happy couple reimagined the typical seating chart by affixing escort cards to gilded frames with wax seals.

After the cocktail hour, guests moseyed over to the courtyard for a night of dinner and dancing. The couple brought the ceremony’s romantic, garden vibes to the reception with light table linens, tapered candles, and pastel petals. “We chose to break up guests in small groups of six to nine to facilitate the required social distancing and to make the best use of the space available,” Veronica adds.

Fuori Rosa Catering whipped up a mouth-watering menu of stuffed ravioli with parmigiano sauce and balsamic vinegar reduction; a white risotto with burrata, basil cream, and cherry tomato; slow-roasted beef sirloin; and melanzane alla parmigiana for vegetarian guests. “Oliver and I are both big foodies and winos, so those were also two other areas where really wanted to showcase our passions,” she shares.

Veronica and Oliver shared a first dance to “Right Down the Line” by Jerry Rafferty, which was one of the couple’s favorite moments. “While we did feel a bit nervous about our ‘performance,’ it was so rewarding and fun to ultimately get to do it that day with all our friends and family there,” the bride shares. “The first dance is not traditional of Italian weddings, so it was something that my family and friends really treasured and enjoyed.”

Cake, anyone? I Love Sugar for Fuori Rosa Catering provided a three-tiered vanilla sponge cake with whipped cream and red berry filling, a fresh-yet-decadent pairing that was a major hit. “We were hoping to have leftovers, but it was so good that it got all eaten,” Veronica shares.

What better way to end the perfect day than with a private firework show? Pirotecnica Castellana provided the glitzy show, which was followed by a lively after party.

The celebration moved indoors as the party really got started. “We worked with [DJ Andrea Martini] Andrea to create a fun playlist which kept everyone dancing until early morning, with a mix of ‘70s, ‘80s, and ‘90s; some throwback punk rock songs; and more modern tunes,” Veronica shares. “We felt like going back to our college parties!”

Though their wedding went off without a hitch, Veronica and Oliver admit that those pre-wedding stressors started to creep in closer to their big day. But, according to them, the secret to having a truly great day is to lean on your inner circle. They reflect, “Our parents and siblings were the sweetest and really supported us even when our nerves took over.”

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