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For this post, I cast my mind back to spring of last year, the feeling I got opening an email that asked if I would be happy to fly out to Tuscany for an intimate wedding of a couple I had never met before. Although almost bursting with excitement and wanting to instantly shoot an email back responding 'ERM, HECK YES!!', I reservedly typed a professionally worded email, expressing my delight at the enquiry and requesting to meet them via Skype to discuss their options. Writing this post now, over a year has passed, the wedding both in Tuscany and back in Shropshire are long past, and my heart is full when I think of my new friend's Anna and John (who are currently on a six month sabbatical spending their honeymoon travelling Asia together), who made me and Jamie part of their family while welcoming us into their little bubble of wedding bliss in the tuscan hills.

It started with my favourite engagement session of all time, Anna and Jon pulled up beside our rented metallic grey Fiat 500 in the exact same car, and Anna floated out looking absolutely flawless in the sweltering heat in a bright red dress and lipstick, her dark hair trailing down her olive skin. We had originally planned to shoot in the old town of montecatini terme, but instead headed to the beautiful open spa in the middle of the town. It was everything you would imagine from an Italian spa, pillars of ivory marble surrounding an aqua blue pool of water, hand painted tiles boasting portraits of cherubs in rich, vibrant colours, surrounded by beautifully kept gardens. 

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Growing up with a mother who was obsessed and enchanted by the idea of visiting Italy, I had an inherent desire to understand its draw, to walk through golden light among marble structures and perfect green olive groves. I couldn't have been truly prepared for the way it would effect me, the way it would speak to me, but I found myself so overwhelmed by the combination of practicing my art and being surrounded by the marvel of Italian countryside and architecture. Anna and Jonathon had unwittingly brought me to my favourite place in this world, and I will forever be grateful for that.

Bethany StanleyComment