Italy was not initially on the map for Stefanie Knights and Frank Caldarola’s destination wedding, but after attending a friend’s wedding in the Caribbean the two decided a European location was more their style. “We come from huge families and our guest list would have been around 400,” Stefanie explains. “When we got engaged we decided on a smaller list. Since we didn’t want the traditional venue, we thought, why not a destination wedding?”
After hours of online research the pair pared down their spots to two locales: Greece and Italy. “Frank’s Italian and his parents haven’t been back since they were kids, so it was an easy choice to go with Italy,” Stefanie notes. What ultimately sold them was Fattoria Casa Sola, a rustic winery located in Tuscany surrounded by 150 acres of lush vineyards and two estates filled with apartments—perfect for all 26 of their guests.
After eight months of planning Stefanie and Frank jetted to Italy with their guests. Arriving a few days ahead of their actual wedding date, guests had time to enjoy and indulge in all of Fattoria Casa Sola’s amenities, like a sprawling private pool and game area. “We had the entire location to ourselves, so when we arrived the first thing we did was hop in a car, order 15 pizzas and enjoy Italian beer,” Stefanie laughs.
Come wedding day, everything from the silk rose petals sprinkled across the ceremony aisle to the floral centrepieces was in picture-perfect place. “My mom’s friend decorated everything for us. I just handed her the decor and let her do her thing,” Stefanie reminisces. “I had no idea what it would look like. When I walked around the corner to see everything for the first time I almost burst into tears—it was so beautiful.”
Walking down the aisle to the tune of Train’s “Marry Me” in a beautiful strapless gown with a sweetheart neckline and wearing her nana’s pearls, Stefanie was the epitome of a relaxed and happy bride. “That’s a memory I’ll never forget,” Frank observes. “I won’t forget the tears of joy I was able to share with everyone.”
After a 30-minute ceremony the bridal party had photo ops amidst Tuscany’s stunning vineyard views, while guests sipped on Bellinis and feasted on cheese, meats, and deep-fried zucchini. Dinner then took place alfresco, with a gourmet meal including dishes like gnocchi with pesto sauce.
Stefanie and Frank ushered everyone onto their makeshift dance floor (a grassy area by their reception) and brought in two hired choreographers who taught a traditional Italian dance. Thanks to a stereo system, an iPod playlist curated by Stefanie’s cousin Matt and some locally made vino, the fun lasted into the wee hours.
“The party went until six in the morning. Some people walked back and changed into their regular attire—I kept my dress on but kicked my shoes off,” Stefanie confides with a laugh. “At the end of the day, Frank and I could not be more happy. Our guests were the same people we see during the holidays—an extended version of our family. We wouldn’t have had it any other way.”
Stefanie Knights and Frank Caldarola, July 2, 2012, Barberino Val d’Elsa, Italy.
Photography courtesy of Julian Kanz.
Ceremony and reception location: Fattoria Casa Sola
Bridal gowns St. Patrick at Mona Richie
Bridal party attire: Bari Jay at The Gown
Caterer: Terra di Siena Weddings
Flight & car rentals: Loretta Sellars CTC (905-551-0667)
Groom’s attire: Hugo Boss
Hair: Hailey Knights
Jewellery: Holly deWinter
See more of this intimate destination wedding in Tuscany, Italy.