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A Romantic Wedding in a 500-Year-Old Grotto at Villa Gameraia in Florence

By Shayna Seid | Photography by 

Divine Day Photography

|Planning by 

Weddings in Tuscany

Two years after first swiping right on Bumble, Charles Edward Lee proposed to Lauren Faith Hutchinson on the beach on Maui. Once engaged, there was no better wedding destination for the pair than Italy, and they fell in love with Villa Gamberaia in Florence. 

“We wanted a wedding that was timeless and elegant with gorgeous flowers and amazing food,” Lauren shares. “The theme was ‘Italian garden party meets [the] Renaissance,’ and I think we nailed it.” To help them bring their vision to life, the couple hired Chiara and Francesca of Weddings in Tuscany. 

“I wanted to wear a dress that was timeless and wanted a silhouette reminiscent of the 1950s,” Lauren says of what she wanted for her wedding gown. When at Le Spose di Giò, the bride pulled up a photo of a design she’d found a few years back and never forgot. Together, they made her custom ivory silk and tulle bridal vision come true. Lauren completed her ensemble with gold foil Schutz platforms and a silk tulle veil. 

On the morning-of, Lauren got ready with her girls and makeup and hairstylist Liza Samokhina. “We listened to music, ate paninis from a sandwich shop in town, and popped on last minute sheet masks,” she remembers. Then, it was time to get glammed up. “My wedding makeup had a ‘me-but-better’ approach. I wanted to keep my makeup minimal but elegant and my hair down in waves and my makeup artist, Liza, nailed it.”

On August 20, 2022, guests gathered in a 500-year-old grotto. The fountain was beautifully covered in delicate greenery and pastel-colored roses and hydrangeas by Il Giardino delle Fate, setting the romantic scene. “The minute I put on my dress and saw my entire bridal look come together, I was ready to walk down the aisle,” Lauren shares. “Seeing Charles at the end of the aisle was a moment I will never forget. He looked so handsome, and I couldn’t wait to say, ‘I do.’” Charles sweetly adds, “I was just so happy and excited that I was marrying Lauren. The day was perfect.”

After being announced as officially married, the cocktail began and was an ode to Italia with Aperol Spritzes and bites of truffle and potato, bruschetta, and beef tartare. The reception was the couple’s “garden party dream come true.” Crystal chandeliers dangled over the guests, while pastel blooms tucked into greenery and crystal candlesticks lined the tables. 

The couple’s pastor, Bob Bender, traveled all the way from South Florida to marry them and delivered a pre-diner prayer. Then the delicious meal from Rolands’s was served, consisting of tomato and burrata pappardelle, cacio e pepe, and sea bass and filet. 

Once every last morsel was had, dancing commenced. Lauren and Charles had their first dance to Nat King Cole’s Italian version of “L-O-V-E.” “It was supposed to be to ‘Can’t Help Falling in Love,’ but the deejay accidentally played that for the mother-and-son dance,” Lauren laughs.

Since most of the guests was staying at the property, after the reception, people sat on the stone wall telling jokes, enjoyed cigars, wandered through the gardens, or retired back to their rooms—a truly “La Dolce Vita” ending to a magnificent wedding weekend.