Tuscany, a hilly region near the middle of Italy, is renowned for its red wines, magnificent scenery, and simply sophisticated cuisine … not to mention the medieval charm of its walled towns, castles and fortresses. Then, there are the olive groves, vineyards and rambling farmhouses, and that dreamy blue sky.
If you or your fiancé have Italian ties, a Tuscan theme wedding is a great way to celebrate them. And even if you don’t, the Tuscan or Italian country theme is a great way to make the most of any outdoor setting.
The cornerstone of the Tuscan theme is simple elegance. Often, this theme shows up in vineyards, country clubs, and manicured gardens. It’s also a good choice for Italian-theme banquet rooms or restaurants (especially those with arches, columns or warmly-colored stucco).
Start with the signature colors of Tuscany: gold and a color actually known as Tuscan red, which leans toward brick. Olive makes a great (and traditional) accent. But you can choose any color combination you want.
After that, simply think about what makes a vineyard romantic. Hanging lanterns let your reception linger into the evening. Parasols give your bridal party a graceful, old-world look. Tiered fountains add gallons of ambiance.
How you go about the nuts and bolts from here really depends on your tastes. For a relaxed look, draw on the graphics of vintage Italian wine posters, or old-world maps. Scan in your favorites and use these to turn out one-of-a-kind table cards or invitations. Display your table cards over wine bottles topped with a slotted cork.
You could also create (or buy) rustic cork placecard holders. For whimsical look, light up key tables and focal points with grape cluster string lights.
Ivy (real or faux) will give any glass canister instant vineyard flair. More laid-back ideas for table decorations: pitchers filled with bread sticks in appealing spiral shapes, mason jars filled with miniature sunflowers, Gerber daisies and the occasional rose, or bowls or urns heaped with gilded fruit.
The cake is the biggest focal point of any reception after the bride, so many brides like to take this uptown even if the reception’s more relaxed. A Tuscan-themed cake is a wonderful chance to dabble in the forefront of cake artistry, like texture (such as Venetian lace), gold leaf (think elaborate gold medallions), or even a painted-on rendition of a gorgeous Tuscan china pattern. But if you want to keep things simple, three clean tiers banded by gold and red ribbons will look just as beautiful. Set off your cake table with the traditional cake letters, but spell “AMORE” instead of “I DO.”
Many caterers will have a good idea where to start if you ask for a Tuscan buffet, a Tuscan food station or even an all-over Tuscan menu.
Tuscan cuisine prides itself on presenting simple food that just knocks you out with its excellence. Any Tuscan menu is going to highlight unpretentious but perfectly-done combinations of peasant breads, soft cheeses, tomatoes, beans, olive oils and wine. Typically appearing the menu are starters like antipasto, bread sticks, and Tuscan white bean bean paté on crostini.
You also might find a selection of the finest olives (and tasty derivatives like tapenade), fruit compotes, and delicious cured meats like Tuscan ham and salami. Or in the European tradition, golden pears poached in a flavorful red wine, then knocked over the top with goat cheese and honey. A Tuscan ravioli filled with grilled eggplant, spinach and a variety of cheeses would draw raves as a main course.
For beverages, serve San Pellegrino to whet your guests’ whistles, and Prosecco for toasts (its sweeter flavor makes it the perfect pairing for cakes everywhere). When it’s time to dish up the cake, make it even more enjoyable by bringing out the barista and offering espresso and cappuccinos.Also, keep in mind that no theme offers a better excuse to entertain your guests during cocktail hour with a wine tasting. Hire a local expert to help bring out the nuances of your wines and really make things memorable.
Music is indispensable to any Italian wedding. But a vineyard wedding calls for intimacy: a classical guitarist or a string quartet, say. Alternately, a small operatic choir will have your guests leaping from their seats (and searching for tissues). As the night goes on, an traditional Italian band will get your guests stamping to the strains of the Tarantella.
Gifting Your Guests
There’s so many possibilities for favors at your Tuscan theme wedding. Let’s start with the food: consider bottles of imported, herbed olive oil … or real balsamic vinegar, or Italian truffles. Also popular are bottles of hearty Tuscan wine, personalized with wine labels bearing the couple’s wedding date. The favor market’s bursting with appealing wine accessories, such as wine stopper favors and wine charms. Of course, Jordan almonds are never out of place at any Italian wedding.
A Final Note
The elegant country theme has universal appeal, whether it’s the rustic sophistication of Provence or the old-world simplicity of Tuscany. If you’re lucky enough to have some Italian in your background or a beautiful vineyard nearby, the Tuscan theme is a great way to celebrate close to the heart.