Galgano Abbey, Tuscany Wedding Photography: Gemma and Steve
I was so looking forward to this wedding. Not due to the beautiful, destination location (although that helped the excitement) but because after meeting Steve and Gemma a year earlier, I knew they were going to be a great couple to work with.
When Gemma and Steve planned their dream destination wedding a year before, they did not really have a new baby as part of the arrangements. This had to change pretty quickly as baby Mia arrived just two months before… cue breastfeeding while make-up and hair artists are working:
My assistant for the shoot was my partner Dawn and as we travelled from Pisa Airport towards Siena we got our first sights of the beautiful Tuscany countryside, vineyards and rustic architecture. This was going to be fun - I didn’t know how much at that point.
Steve and Gemma’s family and friends had taken over the gorgeous Agriturismo San Galgano Restaurant and Apartment complex near the Abbey and when we arrived we were very quickly made to feel part of the troupe. It always amazes me how generous and welcoming my clients are, and this was such a lovely feeling for us. They’d brought most of Cardiff along for the ride too - Bluebirds Supporters through and through, but still a top bunch despite that!
The long, sunny morning and early afternoon meant that everything was so relaxed, with plenty of time to get shots of people enjoying the weather, and calmly getting ready for the day ahead.
Soon enough though, it was time to get everyone moving over to the Abbey for the ceremony - with the wedding party and guests walking down the picturesque pine-lined promenade to the abbey, there was almost too many amazing photo opportunities to catch. Dawn and I worked separately at this stage to capture as much of this as possible; her ahead with the groomsmen and guests in the abbey and me back with Gemma and bridesmaids.
To see Gemma with her Father and Bridesmaids making the long walk through the jaw-dropping San Galgano Abbey towards Steve was just perfect and very emotional. It’s often said that people that often work at weddings must become immune to the emotion of the occasion - not true, not true at all.
With the excellent in-region wedding planner Natalia on hand to translate between English and Italian, we got through the ceremony smoothly, all to the backdrop of the Abbey ruins and a String Quartet. I do like this job; I have to say.
As Dawn went back with the guests to the reception event, I stayed with Gemma and Steve to get some photos of them alone. The late ceremony and incredible weather was in my favour… the abbey was covered in pools of sunlight which I knew were going to make stunning images, and I was not disappointed.
As the afternoon turned into evening, we started to feel like old friends with everyone (those Moretti’s helping). As the sunlight was replaced with hanging strings of fairly lights, the shots kept on coming and with Dawn expertly aiming the flashlight, we were able to catch some beautiful images discretely capturing of the reception in full swing. Steve’s speech had everyone, including all the groomsmen, in tears and the images capture it all, without me feeling at all like we intruded on this part.
As any Welshman/woman will tell you, they party hard in Cardiff, and I can confirm they do the same when on tour. The dancefloor was heaving and the moves were on-point from the first track the DJ put on
All that remained was for Steve and Gemma to have a bit of a dance under the fairly lights. Another image that I could tell was going to capture that moment between them perfectly. With that we gave our farewell hugs. Top group of people, no doubt.
What else? Oh, there was sparkers that nearly set Steve on fire, and cigars that nearly cost a young lady her life through choking, and a somersaulting teenager that defied gravity….
What a day… and night.
Here is a selection of my favourite images