candids by Jo » a lifestyle blog that centers on food, travel and leading a creative life.

A magical Tuscan evening in May

Before I begin this tale let me set the scene:  a Tuscan destination wedding, held high up in the Luccan hills, at Casale de Pasquinelli and captured by my talented friend, Alison Chang Photography.

Tuscany_destination_wedding_Alison_Chang_Photography-Casale_de-pasquinellipintopinterestTuscany_destination_wedding_Alison_Chang_Photography-178pintopinterestTuscany_destination_wedding_Alison_Chang_Photography-bride_and_groompintopinterest There were 42 of us that evening on the 17th May 2014 to mark the last celebration of our union.  Mark and I held our private civil ceremony in Cambridge, UK, Chinese tea ceremony in Boston, MA and now our wedding reception in Lucca, Italy.  But let this story not be about our wedding; rather I want to talk about a party, that was centered entirely on the notion of sharing our love for food & travel with close friends and family, and the people responsible for such a memorable event.Tuscany_destination_wedding_Alison_Chang_Photography-277pintopinterestTuscany_destination_wedding_Alison_Chang_Photography-205pintopinterestTuscany_destination_wedding_Alison_Chang_Photography-269pintopinterestTuscany_destination_wedding_Alison_Chang_Photography-240pintopinterest That evening we sampled simple Tuscan fare, complemented by a view overlooking Lucca that varied in intensity as the sun began to set, casting a splendid glow all around us.  Both Gabriele, proprietor of the villa and our wedding planner, Glenda Marradi, were instrumental in realizing our vision and guided us through all the details.  They also led us to the caterers, Convivium Firenze, the geniuses who know how to throw down a spectacular spread.  Tuscany_destination_wedding_Alison_Chang_PhotographypintopinterestTuscany_destination_wedding_Alison_Chang_PhotographypintopinterestTuscany_destination_wedding_Alison_Chang_PhotographypintopinterestTuscany_destination_wedding_Alison_Chang_PhotographypintopinterestTuscany_destination_wedding_Alison_Chang_Photographypintopinterest After a week of stalking the weather and praying for no rain our wish was granted but at the cost of a chilly evening.  Thankfully there was much food and prosecco around to distract us.  So we ate and we ate while our Italian singer serenaded us until it was time for dinner. Tuscany_destination_wedding_Alison_Chang_Photographypintopinterest Tuscany_destination_wedding_Alison_Chang_Photography-202pintopinterestTuscany_destination_wedding_Alison_Chang_Photography-274pintopinterestWe dined with fairy lights hung overhead and 3 outdoor heaters warming some of our backs – sorry friends, we should have had at least 4 more!  As the evening wore on and twilight set in, a beautiful evening turned into a magical one.  (I do want to specifically point out the below picture though, look and you’ll see the contrast of two different priorities: Mark is being a wonderful host and I…. am really focused on polishing my plate of papparedelle pasta with wild boar ragu.) Tuscany_destination_wedding_Alison_Chang_Photography-476pintopinterestTuscany_destination_wedding_Alison_Chang_Photography-348pintopinterestTuscany_destination_wedding_Alison_Chang_PhotographypintopinterestTuscany_destination_wedding_Alison_Chang_Photography-347pintopinterestTuscany_destination_wedding_Alison_Chang_PhotographypintopinterestTuscany_destination_wedding_Alison_Chang_PhotographypintopinterestTuscany_destination_wedding_Alison_Chang_PhotographypintopinterestTuscany_destination_wedding_Alison_Chang_PhotographypintopinterestThe highlight of the evening was revealed to us in the form of a chef in a really tall hat.  Instead of a wedding cake we opted for a “live cake” which is really just a live demonstration of the chef making an Italian version of a mille feuille, or Napoleon.  So intense was the waft of fresh strawberries that many of us left the warmth of the heater and crowded around the chef, particularly when he started torching our dessert. Tuscany_destination_wedding_alison_chang_photograph-495pintopinterestTuscany_destination_wedding_Alison_Chang_PhotographypintopinterestTuscany_destination_wedding_Alison_Chang_Photography-552pintopinterestThe evening concluded with an outdoor dance party where we witnessed an orange-stained moon peeking over the cloud then quickly rising above it, capping off what I’ll always remember to be a magical Tuscan evening.Tuscany_destination_wedding_Alison_Chang Photography-592pintopinterest


Note: I firmly believe that Tuscany is a magical place, so it’s not a surprise that the event itself was beautiful.  But it took a lot of planning and creative direction on the part of Gabriele and Glenda to surpass our wildest expectations.  There’s also Alison, who worked tirelessly throughout the day and into the night to preserve this special day for us, stopping only to eat and to have the occasional picture taken to document that she was indeed there.  In other words, she is the epitome of awesome.  You can find the rest of her work here: Alison Chang Photography.

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  • Wow! Congratulations. You look stunning and love the dress. The venue was spectacular and such amazing photos too. Lovely!ReplyCancel

  • After all the talk about your wedding photos during today’s event, I just had to check them out! Beautiful photos and you are looking great!ReplyCancel

    • candidsbyjo

      So sweet, thanks! Wonderful meeting you at Pizza Rossa 🙂ReplyCancel

  • Rosanne Luu

    Hi Jo 🙂

    I came across your blog while Googling “Casale De Pasquinelli wedding”! My fiance and I just put down the deposit for a wedding in May 2016 at Gabriele’s beautiful villa! Your photos and words are creating excitement for me. If possible, would you be able to provide me any more tips and pointers planning with Gabriele and Glenda? Above, my email is and I would love to hear from you!

    Congratulations 🙂

    • candidsbyjo

      Hi Rosanne – I just emailed you my advice, best of luck with your wedding!ReplyCancel

  • Kaitlin

    Hi Jo!

    Similar to Rosanna above, we have also just put in our deposit for our wedding at the Casale in April 2016. I would love to hear any advice, and tips & pointers for planning with Gabriele and Glenda! Grazie mille in advance!


    • candidsbyjo

      Hi Kaitlin – that’s exciting, congrats on your upcoming nuptials. I’ve just sent you some of my tips to the email address you provided.ReplyCancel

  • […] married the same man three times in three different countries; a civil ceremony in Cambridge, UK, Chinese tea ceremony in Boston and reception party in Tuscany. […]ReplyCancel

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