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The Bride Wore Orange

I never dreamed of a white wedding, even as a little girl. Don't get me wrong I always thought that I would get married, I just didn't see myself walking down an aisle in a church to my awaiting groom wearing a flowing white wedding dress with a veil upon my head. In fact, I wasn't sure what my dream wedding day or dress would look like.

At 32 I found myself engaged to a wonderful man and no idea what kind of wedding I wanted and the Fiance Ken, like most men, didn't particularly care. Since neither Ken nor I were tied to any pre-conceived notions of how our wedding should be, we had a giant blank slate that we could design anyway we wanted. I took inspiration from the fact that my parents eloped, and said to Ken "Let's elope and then throw a big party". Ken was all for that, we both love to throw parties.

Ken and I decided if we were going to elope, let's go somewhere really cool. We both had always wanted to go to Italy, so we thought lets just get married in Italy! So we started telling everyone we were going to elope to Italy. Comments like "How are you going to get married in Italy?" and "You're not Catholic" did not deter us from our dream. A funny thing happened when we started to telling friends and family that we were eloping to Italy, people started saying things like, "Well, what are you going to do if I just show up in Italy?" and "Maybe we?ll just go with you, what do you think of that?". Well, Ken and I always love to be surrounded by friends and family, so we decided if these crazy people really want to go to Italy with us, then why not.

Fast forward to a couple of months before the trip to Italy, we had 10 guests planning on joining us for the "elopement", my Parents, my best friend Matthew, another good friend Chris and his girlfriend Kristy, Ken's best friends Ira and Ken L. and a good friend Deb. So, now I had a matron of honor, my Mother, Ken's best man, Ken L., a wedding coordinator, Matthew, two Personal Chefs, Ira and Chris and a hairdresser, Kristy. We rented a lovely villa, with room for twelve people, in Tuscany (in the hills just outside of Lucca). The Villa was a converted farmhouse that included a converted barn, which slept two, perfect for my Parent's.

We still had many unknowns on our wedding canvas. How were we going to actually get married, where in Lucca were we going to get married, what dress would I wear, and what day were we going to get married. It's not so easy planning a wedding abroad, the key is to remain flexible and open minded. We figured out there was no easy way we could legally be married in Italy. Luckily, our lovely home state of Colorado makes it easy to get married. I knew this because my sister, Amanda, is a Judge in Colorado and she performs wedding ceremonies all the time. She told me, "Go to the County Clerk, pay ten bucks, sign a piece of paper stating that you are not blood related and anyone can perform your ceremony". She said that we could even perform our own ceremony without an officiator. I told my Sister, "You know, we have a couple of spots open in the Villa, why don't you and your husband join us and then you can perform our ceremony?" She rattled off a half a dozen reasons why they couldn't join us, including the fact that she had two young children. I said " I understand. You have your priorities". Well, I guess that whole "priorities" thing got her thinking, because the next day she called me and said, "I have just bought two tickets to Italy, I'm bringing Garrett (her 10 year old son)'. Fantastic, I had a judge and a ring bearer but still no dress.

We decided we would just figure out where we would have the ceremony performed when we got to Italy. We would look for a nice garden somewhere. We were shooting to have the ceremony on the Wednesday after we arrived in Tuscany, if the weather was bad we would do it Thursday or Friday. You can be flexible about these things when you elope with only 10 guests.

Now what about the dress! A couple of weeks before we were to leave for Italy, I called my Mother and said, "Let's do the traditional thing and go dress shopping together". We went to a couple of wedding dress boutiques, but really exited me. We went to a few high-end boutiques where I tried on some fancy dresses that didn't seem quite appropriate for a garden wedding at an unknown location, plus I needed something that I could easily pack. We ended up finding my dress at Ann Taylor. It was a lovely two piece, a top and a long straight skirt. The top had straps and a sweetheart neckline. The color was a really nice cantaloupe color - okay orange, with embroidered flowers and beads all over it in a slightly darker orange than the material. Really, the dress was very pretty and very comfortable.

Fast-forward and we are in Italy. My husband and I arrive at the Villa after a very harried 4 hour car ride from Milan. Driving in Italy is insane! To get to our Villa you had to drive up into the hills, with dozens of switchbacks. It was all worth it. Our Villa was so perfect. When we arrived, my parents were already there. My Mother said to me "I think I found the location for your wedding". She took me around to the back of our Villa and there was a strip of grass with the most breath taking view of the Italian hills and surrounded by pots of flowers. It brings tears to my eyes just thinking of it. My Mother and I had picked out the perfect wedding dress. I blended right in with the flowers and green, gold and orange colors of the Villa and surrounding gardens. Lovely!