Wedding: Alyssa & Collin

July 12, 2011



"Would you like to come to our wedding in Tuscany?" When Elena and I were invited to her cousin Alyssa's wedding, we didn't have to think too long about our response... And even after many months of dreaming about what it would be like, let me just say that Alyssa & Collin's wedding did not disappoint! It was even more beautiful and epic than we had been imagining, and these photos only begin to do their wedding justice.

Fortunately, we were able to spend a few extra days in Florence before the wedding (and a couple of days in Rome after the wedding), which certainly rounded out our Italian experience. Alyssa (and her sister Katie) lived in Florence a few years ago, and I can certainly see the attraction. The narrow winding streets emptying out into grand piazzas, the small cafes and gelato shops around every corner, the history mixed with the extreme luxury...

The wedding festivities started on Tuesday night with a fantastic rehearsal dinner at del Frescobaldi, right off the Piazza Signoria in Florence (photo above). Needless to say, the food and wine were amazing, and it was a wonderful opportunity to meet the other wedding guests and start forming those shared experiences. After dinner, the guys and girls split up for a bachelor and bachelorette party, respectively. A couple bars later, the guys had enjoyed a few too many shots, and the girls had partaken in a few too many bottle of prosecco, but it was all for a good cause. The next morning, everyone met at the Florence train station to board busses (photo below) for the short trip to Tuscany, specifically the Chianti region. Let's just say it was a rougher ride for some, but we're all glad that we weren't driving!

When we arrived at Castello Vicchiomaggio on Wednesday, the location of the wedding ceremony/reception and our home for the next few days, I was completely blown away. Although we were just 10 miles from downtown Florence, we were squarely in the heart of Chianti Classico, and Chicago couldn't have been further from our minds. Vicchiomaggio looks like a movie set, probably due to the fact that it's over 600 years old, and very well-preserved.

That evening, everyone headed next door to Castello di Verrazzano, a late-Renaissance settlement built around 1150 that features an amazing winery. It's easy to see why the Plakas family keeps coming back to Verrazzano: the food, the wine, and Gino, our host for the evening. Words cannot describe Gino, who speaks so passionately about food, wine, and life. His energy is truly contagious, although the many bottles of wine certainly help!

Thursday morning. Wedding day. Most brides and grooms would be nervous, but not Alyssa & Collin. Then again, lounging at the pool in Tuscany can tend to have that effect.

Their ceremony took place at the small chapel on the grounds of Castello Vicchiomaggio. Despite the heat and a sudden downpour, things went perfectly! In fact, as soon as the ceremony was over, the rain stopped, the clouds parted, and the sun started shining again. If that's not a once-in-a-lifetime moment, I don't know what is!

After the ceremony, guests were treated to an intimate outdoor cocktail reception, with Prosecco and Tuscan snacks. Then it was on to a fabulous dinner (more wine and food, yes please) and hours of dancing (Greek and non-Greek). Toasts from Collin, Alyssa's father Lee, and Collin's best man Andrew were beautiful, and truly showed what a wonderful couple Alyssa & Collin are.

All of the photos that I took are posted up at Flickr, so check those out if you'd like to see more images of this beautiful event. Prints are available for sale on the Andrew Stott Photography archive, too. Please feel free to reach out to me if you have any questions.

Congratulations to Alyssa & Collin, and thank you again to you and your families. We truly appreciate everything you did for us on the trip, and for inviting us to be a part of your amazing week!