Tag Archives: weddings

Trip to Europe: Arqua’ Petrarca, Italy

The second stop on our recent trip to Europe was Arqua’ Petrarca, the site of Alina and Alberto’s wedding, and one of the primary reasons for our trip to Italy. There were around 25 of Alina’s friends and family traveling to the wedding, mostly from the US, but also from England and Chile. All of the out of town guests stayed together at Villa del Poeta, a magnificent hotel in the heart of the small town.

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The hotel is situated mid-way up a horizon of rolling hills and boasts a stunning view scattered with ancient stone-built homes and rows of vineyards. There is a veranda off the back of the hotel that makes you never want to leave.

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Throughout our stay at Villa del Poeta we received some of the best service we had ever experienced. David {pronounced “dah-vee-day”}, one of the owners, was extremely genuine and you could tell how proud and appreciative he was to have us there. Karla, the manager, had her hands in everything. I have never seen a hotel owner or manager be so involved with the day-to-day operations of a hotel.

{Karla assembled trays with espresso filled tea cups and served steamed milk in its own carafe for us to add as desired to make a cafe latte}

{Every time I absentmindedly walked off after ordering a coffee, Karla would bring me a tray assembled with espresso filled tea cups and a carafe of steamed milk for us to add as desired to make a caffe latte}

The food and coffee at Villa del Poeta was wonderful. We enjoyed the inclusive breakfast and espresso, and Karla was constantly keeping our glasses full. Truly the service was one of the highlights of our stay.

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We arrived in Arqua Petrarca on Friday, the day before the wedding. Once we got settled we spent much of the afternoon catching up with Alex’s family. Alex’s parents, his Uncle Dave and Aunt Katie, Aunt Chris and Uncle Mike and cousin Emily, as well as his maternal grandmother {Nana} made the trip from Illinois, along with a good family friend, Barb, and her friend Donna. Additionally, Nana’s brother Larry and his wife Jayne traveled from their home in England to attend Alina and Alberto’s wedding.

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Separately, Donna and Stan, Alex’s parents, took Nana to England on their way to the wedding. They spent three days with Nana’s brothers and their families, whom Nana rarely sees. Nana was born in Farneta, Italy and moved to England with her parents and three brothers when she was a child. Shortly after meeting her husband Larry and having their first child, Christina, they moved to Illinois were they raised their family, while Nana’s brothers remained in England. The Yori descendants had an incredible time catching up and getting to know one another. It was wonderful that Larry and Jayne were able to travel to Italy for the wedding.

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Our first evening in Arqua Petrarca was spent drinking wine and eating pizza. Alina arranged a tour of a local winery for us to attend.

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We all took a shuttle out to the winery together and were offered a tour of the cellar, as well as a tasting. My favorite was the champagne, and I also enjoyed the dry moscato.

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Later that evening, Alina’s friends and family were joined by Alberto’s immediate family and a few close friends for a dinner at a local pizzeria. We were all seated together at a very long picnic table and enjoyed conversations with new friends.

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The dinner, being Italian, lasted several hours and consisted of a few different courses. Everyone ordered their own pizza and was served the same appetizer and dessert. We had a wonderful time getting to know Alina and Alberto’s friends and family before the wedding the next day.

Trip to Illinois & Wisconsin

Our last stops on our Midwest Tour were in Illinois and Wisconsin, ultimately to attend Alex’s good friend Kari’s wedding on October 5th. We arrived in Illinois early Wednesday morning after our superfast flight from Minneapolis. Since we had been bouncing all over Minnesota for almost a week Alex and I wanted to just plant our feet in one place for a few days, so instead of staying at his parents house for a night, we just stopped there to have brunch and see some renovations they did on the house and then we headed north to their lake home in Wisconsin.

The Allen's condo complex in the sunset.

The Allen’s condo complex in the sunset.

We knew that the weather was probably going to be the nicest on our first day, so we changed into our shorts and tee shirts and sat out on the deck and drank Donna’s newly famous {and delicious!} Sangria for most of the afternoon.

Boat Ride!

Boat Ride!

One of the best parts of being up at the lake is not having an agenda. We spent most of our days relaxing, catching up and just hanging out. There is always a new puzzle waiting to be put together whenever we go back to Illinois or Wisconsin so that kept us occupied for a bit too. It’s always a highlight to be able to take a boat ride around the lake – especially at sunset!

Me and my MIL

Me and my MIL

Boat cruise

Boat cruise

I had somehow never been to Lake Geneva before, which is right next to Lake Delavan, where the Allen’s lake home is. Lake Geneva is a pretty famous summer vacation spot in southern Wisconsin and is home to some local celebrities and really, really nice houses. We spent the better half of one afternoon popping into some of the shops and we enjoyed a nice lunch at Scuttlebutt’s.

 

The Allens in Wisconsin.

The Allens in Wisconsin.

On Friday Alex’s sister flew in from New York. It was so nice to see her! It had been since last Thanksgiving since we had the chance to see her. The day she arrived we went back to Lake Geneva for lunch to a really fun place called Pier 290. After lunch Donna, Alina and I split up and did a little wedding shopping – I got to see Alina’s wedding dress {!!!!} and Donna tried on a few mother-of-the-bride dresses. So fun!

Hanging out with Alina was so much fun.

Hanging out with Alina was so much fun.

We had a mini Iowa State reunion on Friday evening when Bryan, Alex’s cousin, drove up from Chicago to spend the evening with Alex and catch up. It was really nice for the two of them to spend some time together! We’re hoping that Bryan and his girlfriend will pay us a visit in Seattle this year {hint, hint!}.

Alex & Bryan

Alex & Bryan

Saturday morning we headed back to Illinois pretty early because Donna had booked hair appointments for the girls! Alina wanted to get her haircut, so Donna scheduled a blowout for herself and an up-do for me for the wedding on Saturday evening. I love that my mother in-law makes having nice hair such a priority!

Can't really see much of my hair, but it looked cool in back!

Can’t really see much of my hair, but it looked cool in back!

Alex and I left mid-afternoon for Kari and Mike’s wedding at the Morton Arboretum. It ended up pouring just a bit before their wedding, so their original plan of having an outdoor ceremony was out the window. Alex’s friend Nick, who lived next door to Kari growing up, was their officiant and did a fantastic job of making an extremely personal service for them. It was really fun! The wedding was beautiful and it was nice to catch up with some of Alex’s friends from high school. I ended up getting sick mid-way through dinner {no, not from drinking, I had a virus} so I went back to the hotel and then sent Alex back to the wedding so he didn’t miss any time with his friends. He reported the next morning that the rest of the wedding was great and that he enjoyed catching up with his friends who he seldom sees.

Alex all dressed up.

Alex all dressed up.

The next morning we decided to order room service in our hotel room, and conveniently the movie Bridesmaids was on TV at the same time, so that’s how we spent an hour or two Sunday morning before heading back to his parents house for a family brunch.

Family photo!

Family photo!

Once we got back to Batavia, where Alex’s parents live, we got a chance to see Alex’s nana, his aunt Chris and two uncles named Mike, along with Vince and Nora, two family friends of the Allens. It is always nice to get to visit with everyone.

Alina and I with Nana.

Alina and I with Nana.

Before we knew it it was time to head to O’Hare to fly back to Seattle!

Sarah & Mike’s Wedding

What a beautiful wedding Sarah and Mike had! It was such a pleasure to be a part of their marriage two weekends ago at Grandview Lodge in northern Minnesota. Alex and I flew in on Thursday and drove up to Nisswa first thing in the morning on Friday. We arrived just in time to part ways with each other so I could go to the spa with the bridal party and Alex could meet up with some of my friends’ husbands and hang out for the day.

 

Bubbles in her glass and on her toes!

Bubbles in her glass and on her toes!

The spa at Grandview was very nice. We all got to indulge in a little pre-wedding pampering in the form of a manicure or pedicure.

Getting my toes done.

Getting my toes done.

We finished up the day with the wedding rehearsal, rehearsal dinner and bon fire. It’s safe to say we all had a great time catching up and enjoying the beautiful surroundings at Grand View Lodge.

Grandview Lodge

Grandview Lodge

Saturday morning came quickly. I woke up a few minutes before my alarm went off, thinking it was still the middle of the night because it was so dark out. As it turned out, it was pouring. All of the bridesmaids met up mid-morning and headed to Starbucks on the way to get our hair done.

The blushing bride!

The blushing bride!

All of our hair turned out really well. I was the only one who risked not pulling my hair all the way up, and even though I thought my hair would be easy peasy it ended up taking over an hour to just throw my hair half up.

Sarah and her bridesmaids.

Sarah and her bridesmaids.

Our appointments were completed around noon and the rain still hadn’t let up. The girls were able to get shower caps from the salon to keep their up-do from getting ruined. It was quite the soggy day. Sarah didn’t let the rain ruin her parade though. We all had our fingers crossed that the rain would stop so that they could go forward with having the ceremony outside.

Kailey and Anne in their shower caps.

Kailey and Anne in their shower caps.

It was an absolute downpour.

It was an absolute downpour.

Thankfully the rain did eventually stop and the sky cleared up just in time for the ceremony. It was quite chilly {around 50 degrees}, but at least it wasn’t raining. We helped Sarah into her dress – she had quite the audience! Our beautiful bride has never looked better than she did on her wedding day. Of course the bridesmaids and mothers were fighting back a few tears at the sight of Sarah.

The beautiful bride!

The beautiful bride!

The bulk of the afternoon was spent with Sarah and Mike taking pictures and the bridesmaids poking our heads in on the reception site just trying to sneak a peek at the decor and set-up for the evening. I was able to snap a few photos, but none of them showcase the complete look of the site.

Rustic but classy interior and decor.

Rustic but classy interior and decor.

Place card table. The table ultimately had a tall and beautiful flower arrangement in the center.

Place card table. The table ultimately had a tall and beautiful flower arrangement in the center.

Since Sarah and Mike met on an airplane they carried that theme through with suitcases and travel paraphernalia.

Since Sarah and Mike met on an airplane they carried that theme through with suitcases and travel paraphernalia.

An adorable guest book.

An adorable guest book.

This doesn't look nearly as cute as it did when it had cupcakes on the table, but Sarah found some really pretty cupcake stands made out of old logs.

This doesn’t look nearly as cute as it did when it had cupcakes on the table, but Sarah found some really pretty cupcake stands made out of old logs and tree sections.

The centerpieces were just stunning! The table was not completely set when I had my last look...

The centerpieces were just stunning! The table was not completely set when I had my last look…

Thankfully the rain continued to hold off for the ceremony. We even got a glimmer of sunshine at the most perfect moment: right when Mike was putting Sarah’s ring on her finger and saying his “I do.” It couldn’t have been timed better. The ceremony was beautiful and very personal to Sarah and Mike.

Best man & matron of honor walking down the aisle.

Best man & matron of honor walking down the aisle.

Sarah and her father making their appearance.

Sarah and her father making their appearance.

The backdrop where the bridal party was lined up.

The backdrop where the bridal party was lined up.

After the ceremony the bridal party scooted down to the lake for a few photos and then we made our way to join everyone for a cocktail hour before the reception. The DJ was great and kept people dancing all night long – we had a great time celebrating Sarah and Mike.

Bridesmaids!

Bridesmaids!

Overall, it was a wonderful wedding! We had a great time and it was such a special day for me to see my longtime friend tie the knot.

So many little details all over made the day so much more personal.

So many little details all over made the day so much more personal.

Midwest Tour

Oofta! Alex and I just returned from a whirl wind trip back to the Midwest. The purpose of our trip was to attend two weddings, one in Minnesota on September 28th and the other in Illinois on October 5th. Because the weddings were so close in time and proximity we just decided to make a long trip and stay the week in between instead of coming back to Seattle in the middle. I’ll break our trip down into smaller posts, but here’s a good compilation of our trip. Boy did we make the most of our 11 days!

Enjoying the great outdoors in Wisconsin on our tour of the Midwest.

Enjoying the great outdoors in Wisconsin on our tour of the Midwest.

Our trip started on Thursday the 26th when we flew out of Seattle to arrive in Minnesota just in time to have dinner at my mom’s with John and my good friend from high school, Kelsey, and her boyfriend, Franc. We had ribs and Kelsey’s homegrown tomatoes for dinner, along with Kelsey’s first apple pie, which was a great success. After dinner we headed two blocks away to stay at my dad’s house for the evening.

Local fun at Zorbaz

Local fun at Zorbaz

Bright and early on Friday morning we made the 2 1/2 hour drive up to Brainerd, Minnesota to Grandview Lodge, the location of Sarah and Mike’s wedding. We arrived with just enough time to grab a quick lunch before I had a spa appointment with the bridal party and Alex was left to fend for himself until we met up again for the rehearsal dinner.

Getting our nails did :)

Getting our nails did 🙂

Saturday was Sarah’s wedding day! I got to spend the whole day with the beautiful bride. The weather in the morning and early afternoon was terrible – it was absolutely pouring until about 2 hours from the wedding time, then the sun started to peak out. Thankfully the rain held off for the wedding so we could hold the ceremony outside.

Sarah and me with our hairdos... all ready for the ceremony.

Sarah and me with our hairdos… all ready for the ceremony.

The wedding was beautiful, as was the reception! Sarah had a classy rustic theme for the decor and the bridesmaids all looked beautiful in navy and magenta. Everything went off without a hitch and the DJ kept a lot of us dancing until 1 a.m.!

Here comes the bride!

Here comes the bride!

Sunday Alex and I headed to my dad’s family’s cabin for the afternoon just to have some R & R and have a chance to spend some time with my dad. It was so relaxing and we loved taking a walk through the property. We ended the night with a wonderful bon fire and made s’mores.

The cabin.

The cabin.

Knowing we didn’t have much time to ourselves during the trip, Alex and I snuck away on Monday and Tuesday and went on a little road trip adventure. We headed east to Minnesota’s North Shore, along Lake Superior, and drove up just a bit past Two Harbors to admire the scenery, {barely} changing colors and stop to take in some sights.

Gooseberry Falls - our first stop on the North Shore.

Gooseberry Falls – our first stop on the North Shore.

Once we returned from our drive we squeezed in a meet-up with my longtime friend Esther. We met her and her two {and a half} kiddos for a little play date and got a chance to catch up. It had been over two years since I had last seen her – her youngest was just a few weeks old and now she’s a walking, talking two year old, soon-to-be big sister!

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After our shopping extravaganza we breezed through my grandma’s house and got a quick chance to catch up before meeting my mom and John at Rudy’s Rooftop for a nice dinner. We ended our evening and Minnesota stay back at my dad’s before taking off for Illinois on Wednesday morning.

The Allens in Wisconsin.

The Allens in Wisconsin.

Our first day in Illinois was the best weather of our whole trip there – it was sunny and warm. Once we got to Alex’s parents house we had brunch and then headed up to his family’s lake home in southern Wisconsin. Alex and I wanted to go up to the lake to have a few days in one place since we had been bouncing all over and living out of a suitcase. It was so nice to have a home base for three days!

Weather gorgeous enough to take the boat out one evening.

Weather gorgeous enough to take the boat out one evening.

Finally on Saturday it was time for our last big event, the main reason we were in Illinois in the first place. Kari and Mike’s wedding was at Morton Arboretum, which is about 20 minutes away from Alex’s parents home. The day of the wedding was kind of funky weather, and unfortunately, it did not hold out for their event. The wedding had to be held inside, but thankfully there was a beautiful backdrop overlooking the arboretum. Alex’s good friend Nick, who grew up next door to Kari, was the officiant of the wedding. Nick is quite the charmer and did a fantastic job of making the ceremony just perfect for Kari and Mike.

Alex sure cleans up well!

Alex sure cleans up well!

Mid-way through dinner at the wedding I ended up getting sick and went back to our hotel room. After a bit I started feeling a little better so I sent Alex back to the wedding. It was great that Alex got a chance to catch up with so many old friends, but I was disappointed not to have gotten a chance to chat with them on the rare occasion. Needless to say, I hardly have any photos from the wedding.

My wedding get up.

My wedding get up.

The last day of our trip was spent in Illinois at Alex’s parents house. Alex’s mom put on a little brunch for some family members so that we had a chance to see Alex’s grandma, aunt and two uncles, along with some family friends of the Allens.

Time with Nana.

Time with Nana.

We arrived back to Seattle safe and sound, and due to our crazy cab driver, we made it back home from the airport in record time. Henry and Jackson were very excited to see us, as we were them, and we’re working into a new routine this week.

Carrie & Patrick’s Wedding

Our dear friends Carrie and Patrick got married last weekend! It was such a pleasure to be a part of the celebration of their marriage. Their wedding was absolutely perfect for them – I couldn’t have picked a more ideal setting for their nuptials than Fontaine Estates, a picturesque apple packing warehouse turned winery, in Naches, Washington, just outside of Carrie’s hometown of Yakima.

View from the windows of the venue

View from the windows of the venue

It was such a pleasure to be one of Carrie’s bridesmaids. I had so much fun spending the day with Carrie, watching her smile from ear to ear with gleeful excitement and anticipation of her wedding.

Carrie's stunning dress.

Carrie’s stunning dress.

Carrie's coffee says "Bride"

Carrie’s coffee says “Bride” – check out Carrie’s amazing engagement ring!

Alisha, the makeup expert, helping Carrie get the perfect wedding day look, not like it took much effort!

Alisha, the makeup expert, helping Carrie get the perfect wedding day look, not like it took much effort!

Carrie was just oozing with exuberance all day!

Carrie was so exuberant all day!

Our beautiful bride all ready to go!

Our beautiful bride all ready to go see her groom!

The ceremony took place outside overlooking the vineyards and the Yakima Valley region. It was breathtaking. {I don’t have any photos of the ceremony!!} Carrie had us all in tears as her parents walked her down the aisle, growing more emotional with each step towards the altar where Patrick was waiting for her. The actual ceremony was short and sweet – we enjoyed two readings “Marriage Joins Two People in its Circle of Love” and a reading from “The Alchemist.” Their wedding vows were so sweet and endearing – they started by vowing that they would both remain each other’s “biggest fan.”  After the ceremony we enjoyed a cocktail hour before making our way inside for dinner and an evening full of dancing.

Carrie's personalized chair

Carrie’s personalized chair – “Mr.” and “Mrs.” – they did not have a head table, rather they enjoyed their dinner with their parents.

The inside of the venue

The inside of the venue – the vintage floor and open ceiling added to their chic rustic wedding.

Table setting - so much work went into perfecting this look. It's so simple but so thoughtful and perfect.

Table setting – so much work went into perfecting this look. It’s so simple but so thoughtful and perfect. Each table was named with either a place, event or important memory. The jars of jam above the place setting were made by Carrie, her mom and one of her bridesmaids {Hailey}. Their wedding colors were inspired by the various hues of wine, thus the deep burgundy chargers. The napkins remind me of burlap, an accent seen throughout the venue.

One of the sweetest parts of the decor was this precious memorial.

One of the sweetest parts of the decor was this precious memorial.

The cake was so unique and so Carrie. This is called a Pioneer Stacking cake. It's a naked cake and all you can see is the frosting between the layers, so there is no outside frosting. It was divine :)

The cake was so unique and so Carrie. This is called a Pioneer Stacking Cake. It’s a naked cake that exposes the layers and the frosting in between, so there is no outside frosting. It was divine 🙂

The details even made their way to the bar!

The details even made their way to the bar!

So many personal touches made this day even more special.

So many personal touches made this day even more special.

Me with Mary and the blushing bride.

Me with Mary and the blushing bride.

Alex dressed up for the occasion.

Alex dressed up for the occasion.

Alex and Ryan are always in cahoots.

Alex and Ryan are always in cahoots.

The Millers - such wonderful friends.

The Millers – such wonderful friends.

Mary and me in our wine colored dresses.

Mary and me in our wine colored dresses.

Sarah’s Bachelorette Party

I traveled to Minnesota last week to help host my friend Sarah’s country-themed bachelorette party up at her cabin over the weekend. We had a great time celebrating the bride-to-be and can’t wait for the big day on 9.28.13.

Here are some photos from the party:

The party had a country theme to it.

The welcome table was decorated with country accents and girlie cookies.

Sarah's future sister-in-law decorated these beautiful cookies.

Sarah’s future sister-in-law decorated these beautiful cookies.

Adorable bunting with their wedding date.

Adorable bunting with their wedding date.

"Bride" tank top for Sarah to wear and a "Mrs. Letich" hanger - maybe for her dress?!

“Bride” tank top for Sarah to wear and a “Mrs. Letich” hanger – maybe for her dress?!

Sarah and her 20 closest friends.

Sarah and her 20 closest friends.

The bridal party.

The bridal party.

Maht girls minus Cammy and Molly who were missing from the photo.

Maht girls minus Cammy and Molly who were missing from the photo.

 

Sali!

Sali!

Kailey and her swan.

Kailey and her swan.

The whole group of girls.

The whole group of girls.

Out for the evening at the townie bars! What a great time.

Out for the evening at the townie bars! What a great time.

It was such a pleasure to be there with Sarah to celebrate her upcoming wedding!