Following a romantic proposal during a family trip to Mexico, Brittany Sturrett and Jesse Olson decided to host their nuptials in the Tuscan countryside. In front of their 60 guests, the Brooklyn-based couple exchanged vows at Villa Medicea de Lilliano, a beautiful 13th-century villa that was once a hunting lodge used by the Medici family. Following the intimate ceremony, guests made their way to the alfresco garden-party reception amid groves of lemon and olive trees.
The couple: Brittany Sturrett and Jesse Olson
Occupations: Fashion and wedding photographer (Brittany); Executive Chef at NoMo SoHo Hotel (Jesse)
Based in: Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn
Wedding date: June 9, 2017 (City Hall to make it legal); July 3, 2017 (our Big Italian Wedding)
Venue: Villa Medicea di Lilliano, Grassina Italy
Number of guests: 60
Invitation suite: “Al Fresco” by Haley Warner
Ceremony program: “Al Fresco” by Haley Warner
Place card: “Gold Bars” by Fig and Cotton
Favor tag: “Botanical Name Plate” by Shiny Penny Studio
Menu card: “Field” by Toast & Laurel
Wedding planner: Alise Taggart
Florist: Annalisa di Federico of Isa Events
Catering & Rentals: Guidi-Lenci
Cake: Tuscan Wedding Cakes
Makeup Artist: Sandra Lovisco from My Wedding Mirror
Bridesmaid dresses: Reformation
Groomsmen tuxedos: The Black Tux
Music: Slightly Out
Lighting/DJ: The Alma Project
Photographer: Paula O’Hara
How did you and Jesse meet?
We met at a restaurant that we both worked at—it was called A Voce and was located in Columbus Circle in Manhattan. He was a Sous Chef at the time and I was a front-of-house captain.
Tell us about the proposal!
We had a family trip planned for Mexico. Jesse had the ring on him the whole day and was trying to find the perfect place to pop the question! The day was filled with swimming in cenotés, zip-lining, climbing pyramids; he ended up doing it after a family dinner. We all took a walk down the beach and I remember looking up and seeing the bright full moon; at the same time, I could sense my family slowly backing up. I turned and looked at Jesse, just as he got down on one knee and asked me to marry him! There were a group of people around us clapping after I said “Yes!” and the rest is history.
How did you find your wedding venue?
Our amazing cake designer Melanie! We had a cake tasting and she asked us what we were envisioning, and when we told her she knew just the place for us to check out!
Why did you decide to host a destination wedding?
We wanted it to be a trip our closest friends and family could check off their bucket list. Just a big vacation and event to share all together.
What were some of your fondest memories from the day?
Our “first look.” Hearing and saying our vows to each other for the first time. Sitting down at the end of our long table amid the Tuscan sunset, seeing all of our friends and family enjoying themselves and smiling.
Who made your wedding dress?
Mark Zunino. We went to Kleinfields and it just worked out perfectly!
What did Jesse wear?
A tuxedo by Kooples.
Any advice for couples who are starting to plan their wedding?
Pinterest boards!! They saved my life and put everything into perspective.
How did you choose your wedding invitation (“Al Fresco” by Haley Warner)?
It was the perfect pick for our olive-branch wedding theme.
What was the process like working with Minted to make your stationery vision come to life?
Great! The colors and process was so easy, and I love the quality of paper.
Click through for more from Brittany and Jesse’s wedding…
Did you exchange traditional vows or did you write them yourselves?
We wrote them ourselves.
Please share some memorable moments from the wedding ceremony.
I loved walking down the aisle with both my dad and stepdad. The sunset over the back of the villa also made it extra special for the mood.
Did you incorporate any meaningful family or cultural traditions into the wedding day?
During the ceremony, we did a tasting of the four elements; we also had a “warming of the rings” ceremony (where guests are given the opportunity to hold the couple’s wedding bands and offer a silent blessing or prayer for their marriage), and the “giving away the bride.”
What was on the dinner menu?
We had soup and pasta served family style, then a buffet of grilled steak, chicken, sausage, and Tuscan-style pork ribs. For dessert, we served gelato and slices of our white chocolate and pistachio wedding cake.
What were some of your favorite wedding details?
I loved our olive oil wedding favors and our flowers! I was so sad that I couldn’t take our flowers with us back to the States.
Did you have a first dance?
Our first dance was a song written by Jesses’s grandfather, who couldn’t be there: “I See Love” by Glen Campbell.
Did you have any after-party?
YES, it was an awesome dance party.
Where did you go on your honeymoon?
We stayed two more weeks (so, four weeks total) in Italy. After we got married we went to Rome, Positano, Amalfi Coast, Capri, Puglia, and then back to Milan.
More Minted Real Weddings:
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• Jane and Jonathan in Seattle
• Anne and Chris in Healdsburg, CA
• Maria & AJ in Honduras
• Melanie & Dien in Glen Ellen, CA
• Alyssa & Nic in Brooklyn, NY