Italian “I Do’s”: Why nothing can beat a destination wedding

Traveling is fun. Weddings are joyous. When you combine those two, you are in line for something truly special.

I had the honor of attending the wedding of Britt and Steve. Steve was someone who I went to high school with, though he was a couple of grades ahead, and we had run track (and may or may not have been in the 2004 middle school production of The Music Man) together. However, at this affair, I was but a +1 for my good friend Joe, who was my travel companion across Europe, and one of the best men for Steve.

Photo by Harry Ehrlich

The reason we were in Italy was because of Britt and her amazing family, who had lived in Italy when they were all younger. Britt’s father was in the army and had been stationed there for part of his service, so the venue was a place close to their families’ hearts, a setting that felt like home.

Right off the bat, these two elements created an incredible energy that emanated throughout the five-day affair.

I won’t go through every detail, but I do want to highlight a few of the key factors that made this wedding one of the most genuine and special events I’ve had the privilege of being a part of.

The People

When doing a destination wedding like this, Britt and Steve knew that the majority of the people who would be attending would be friends. Indeed, moe than half of the guests were either people I knew from my hometown or Britt’s childhood connections. We had three days together as a large group prior to the actual wedding, so we were able to become familiar with one another. We drank, ate all the pasta, and danced in the small square of San Quirico d’Orcia, bonding in the moonlight as a live band played.

It was a key element that this group was able to come together before the wedding truly began.

The Setting

Photo by Harry Ehrlich

Set in the Tuscan region of Italy in late July, the scene was magical. Hot days in the Tuscan sun led to warm evenings in this cute, quaint, cobblestoned village of San Quirico d’Orcia. The wedding party occupied almost the entirety of a mid-sized bed and breakfast inn, and it truly felt like we were all staying under one roof, which made group bonding easier.

The Food + Wine

Photo by Harry Ehrlich

Nothing brings people together like amazing food and amazing wine. If there was ever a place to have that combo, it was in Italy. Every dish of pasta was declared, “the greatest thing I have ever put in my mouth!” and the bottles of table wine went faster than you could blink, (probably because they tasted better than a $40 bottle in the states).

The food wasn’t just good, it was exquisite; each piece of pasta truly had the texture of its hand-made origins and the ingredients were so fresh and alive as they danced on our palates.

The Wedding

Photo by Harry Ehrlich

The wedding was perfectly timed. After three days of laughs, relaxing, and reminiscing, everyone was ready for the main event: the wedding of Britt and Steve. It took place in the tiny town church, a beautifully preserved stone building, like something you might see out of a Disney movie.

True to cliché form, the skies opened up the morning of the ceremony, pouring down huge raindrops that made a deafening sound. When it was time for the wedding party to make their way to the venue, the sun came back out and shined through until the ceremony was over and the newlyweds were riding away in their little chariot love-buggy. You had to see it, it was cute. 

The evening continued with good food, loving toasts, and an absolutely earth-shattering dance party. I mean, people were going all-out, as we danced and drank and sang into the early morning. None of us wanted to part ways that next day, none of us wanted to believe it was over.

The Couple

Photo by Harry Ehrlich

You know how some weddings just feel different? Sometimes, you look at the bride and groom and say to yourself, “yeah, they are ok, I care about one of them and I hope that this makes them happy and that it works out.”

And then there are weddings where you say, “I have never been more convinced of anything in my life other than these two people are meant to be together forever and I’m lucky enough to be here to see it.” 

This was one of those times.

The love between Steve and Britt was something special to see. The way that their personalities radiated on each other and across their friend-groups was something I could barely fathom. Could two people really be this in love? Even after being together for over five years through college and the beginnings of adult life, in the age of infinite choice and distraction…I was shown that yes, it is more than possible and I was fortunate enough to be there to witness it.

Photo by Harry Ehrlich

I’ll forever be connected to this special group of people because of the love of Britt and Steve and because of my main dude Joe, who, without his invitation to best man in Italy, perhaps our European adventure wouldn’t have come to be.

I guess what I am trying to say in all of this is that, if you have a friend who invites you to a destination wedding, and your immediate reaction is, “well it’s far and it’s X and it’s Y, etc etc” think about an opportunity to be part of a special group, in a special place, where time could slow down, and maybe, just maybe, you could get lucky enough to witness true love, and also partake in some amazing pesto gnocchi!