When it comes to divine wedding inspiration, nothing comes close to a mid-summer soirée under the golden hour light of the Eternal city.
And this real wedding – a magnificent matrimony between professional footballer Davide Santon and his gorgeous girlfriend Chloe Sanderson from Northumberland – was the absolute epitome of wedding wanderlust goals.
Nine years ago Chloe and Davide first crossed paths at a mutual friend’s dinner party. It was a classic case of shy country girl meets brash city footballer, as Davide’s request for Chloe’s number returned little more than her name on a piece of paper – her mum clearly raised a sceptical girl!
But Davide persisted, and their love story unravelled beautifully – highlighted with a dinner proposal on holiday in Greece with their one year old daughter, Sienna.
Of course the answer was yes, and Chloe began planning the summer time wedding she had always dreamed of.
Home From Home
Originally from the rural recluses of Northumberland, Chloe met Davide when he was playing for Newcastle in 2011, and moved to Italy with her man when he signed for Inter Milan in 2015.
Unsurprisingly, she never looked back. The warm air, friendly locals, outstanding cuisine and love-centric lifestyle captured her heart, so there were no questions raised when choosing the location for her dream day.
Having lived in Rome for two years, Chloe fell in love with the eternal city at first sight (you sure it wasn’t at first bite (of pizza), Chlo?) and it was the cobbled streets of Italy’s capital that would host this pretty pair’s marriage.
When it comes to wedding venues, Villa Miani, set high up on a hill with panoramic, breath-taking views of the city below and resplendent in original Italian architecture, is quite simply in a league of its own.
This ancient paradise built in early 1900 was the first and last place Chloe and Davide looked – instantly falling in love with the immaculately-kept grounds, Venetian grandeur and timeless, yet modern day feel.
From the water fountains in the lush green gardens to the incredible stone arches at the entrance, Chloe said she “felt like a kid in Disneyland” when she first viewed it, with moments of magic at every turn.
We don’t want to be biased, but we think this might be one of the most beautiful wedding aesthetics our inbox has ever been blessed with.
Enlisting the help of esteemed wedding planner Eva Presutti, a name synonymous with high-profile nuptials with extravagant, sensational setups, Chloe worked with the style guru through every aspect of the project to envisage the wedding of her dreams.
A neutral-hued flower arch from Andrea Patrizi encased their marriage moment, set off with gold-accented lanterns and pampas grass lining the aisle. That cliché confetti throw never looked so good.
Overlooking the eternal city in dusk, as the setting sun kissed the domed roofs and the ombré skies painted a passionate pink backdrop, the newlyweds shared their first married moments on the open air terrace – where they would later dine.
And for alfresco dinner settings, this takes some beating.
String lights hung above the crisp white clean terrace, where neutral and gold hues provided pops of pinterest-worthy gloriousness, and grand venetian stone provided a nod to the building’s prominent past.
All Night Long
Following dinner, the party got underway with a star-studded cohort of entertainment –venetian vocal god Andrea Faustini (a contestant on the X Factor 2014) belted out the classics, while r’n’b sensation Tahnee Rodriguez (from the Voice, Italy 2019) got the booties boogying long into the night.
“It’s not often that reality can play out better than the dreams in your head, but honestly everything was exactly as I had hoped – plus extra magic you just can’t envision. Those words coming from an OCD perfectionist are rarely said!” – Chloe
A Tale of Two Gowns
Having been recommended by a friend, Chloe’s first port of call on her dream dress hunt was The Woman in White – a bespoke boutique in Rome.
Their inherent friendliness and dedication to finding her ‘the one’, meant she felt compelled to find two.
Chloe’s first dress was custom-made – inspired by two different dresses and a hint of her own personality, with a sultry plunging neckline, sexy open back and fabulous full floral applique.
The second was a satin silhouette from Pronovias’ Atelier collection, with diamond straps and intricate back button detailing making for the ultimate, flattering, evening glam gown.
While this wedding was filled with unfiltered joy and love, one moment that remains pertinent in Chloe and Davide’s memories was their daughter Sienna’s reaction to the ceremony – seeing her little tears of overwhelmed emotion running down her cheeks as she handed them the rings.
“For only being 7 years old she was a great comfort on the day and carried herself so confidently. She made us very proud.”
Another scene that is tugging on our heart strings, as Chloe eloquently puts it, was when she walked down the aisle with her dad.
“Having my dad do that with me after a lot of uncertainty due to his terminal illness was just indescribable joy.
We made it happen against all odds of chemotherapy, a world pandemic and a location abroad. I had a few nerves but they completely disappeared after seeing my partner waiting for me in tears at the end of the aisle and all of our closest people clapping either side, it was a moment in time I’ll never forget.”
One of the greatest successes of this pair’s perfect celebration was the fact they managed to pull it off in the midst of a global pandemic.
And it wasn’t all sunsets and celebrations. Their original date was 27th May, which due to restrictions was completely cancelled, leaving Chloe devastated.
There were moments it felt impossible to achieve, but Chloe’s planning team and venue pushed through to rearrange the wedding for late August.
“On recommending a lockdown wedding to other brides to be, it really depends. We were lucky that in Italy there was no limitations on guests in an open air space but I know the UK as it stands has different rules.
But I do think there is divine timing for everything and sometimes delays can result in things being better than originally planned.
Trust the process, don’t lose vision of your magic day, don’t rush to compromise on the things that would mean the most to you and it will come exactly how and when it is supposed to.”
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Violin & Saxophone