This Couple Tied the Knot at Sting's 16th-Century Villa in Tuscany
Allison Isenberg and Brian Corcoran had crossed paths several times over the two years they worked on the same floor of the American Express Tower in New York City, but they'd never spoken for more than a few minutes—until the summer of 2016, when a friendship developed over coffee breaks. When Brian asked Ally to join him on a trip to Ireland just days before he left, she agreed; the trip was a success, and, they say, was "a test of their compatibility" that they easily passed.
Three years later, Brian proposed to Ally after a sunset hike in Boothbay Harbor, Maine, and the pair began talking about their shared dream of a destination wedding in Tuscany, Italy, where they had traveled together two years earlier. "We wanted the wedding to be in an incredible setting where our guests could relax and have fun and enjoy the experience, ambience, food, and wine," says Ally. "There are many stunning villas and castles in Italy, but once we saw Il Palagio, we fell in love with it." They booked the venue—which offers multiple accommodations for a large group—to host a 50-person wedding on September 21, 2019.
And though it took some time for them to adjust to "the Italian way," they leaned into the cultural differences. "We were in Italy and wanted to go with the Italian flow of doing things, while also bringing in the traditions that were important to us," says Ally. "I knew I wanted it to be romantic, elegant, intimate, and relaxed. We wanted everyone to feel welcome and give them the experience of a lifetime, and we are proud that we accomplished that."
Home Away from Home
Ally and Brian researched a handful of other Tuscan villas and castles before finding Il Palagio, which checked every box. "There were a few things on our list when looking for a venue: Incredible views of Tuscany, multiple outdoor spaces for each event, luxury accommodations for our wedding party, and a pool," says Ally. "Il Palagio delivered on all of those things and so much more. We also loved the agroturismo charm of the place and were committed to embracing the Italian and Tuscan wedding culture." Since the property is privately owned—by Sting and Trudie Styler—the couple also appreciated the "privacy and unique charm" it offered.
A Hands-On Bride
Ally worked with designer Claire Carstens at Sugared Fig Paperie to design a custom invitation. "This was my favorite part of the planning process," says the bride. "I love creating beautiful paper goods—I even get really into wrapping gifts for the holidays!" They agreed on a three-piece suite that included a hand-sketched map of the property, a crest designed by Carstens, and a schedule of the weekend's events printed on handmade paper. "Everything was personal," says Ally. "It was entirely what I had envisioned and set the tone of the wedding."
The Festivities Begin
The couple's nuptial celebration kicked off with a welcome dinner at Il Palagio.
All Together Now
Long family-style tables were set simply on the property's patio, framed by teal doors and a lush landscape view.
Wooden folding chairs topped in unique textural fabrics introduced a subtle touch of color to each setting.
On the menu? Pizza, of course—the Italian-style welcome dinner reflected the many Tuscan traditions to come.
His Stamp of Approval
When Ally began scouting wedding dresses, she was immediately drawn to designs from Inbal Dror—though they were out of her price range. But after trying on more than 50 gowns, she found herself at a trunk show for the designer, where she stepped into a beaded fit-and-flare number with a bustier top, mesh back, and laser-cut lace overlay. "The first time I saw myself in the mirror, I knew nothing else would top it," she says. "It was definitely the one." But when she secretly slipped a photo of the design into a stack of other dresses she shared with Brian, he didn't like it. Doubting her choice, she brought him back to the bridal salon, where she modeled several other gowns—before hers—without telling him which she had chosen.
"The second I stepped out of the dressing room, the whole salon fell silent," says Ally. "Brian's eyes welled up and I knew that he loved it. He said, 'This is your dress, isn't it?' When I told him yes, he said it was absolutely perfect and he understood why I chose it. It was in a class of its own."
A Little Extra Sparkle
Ally kept the rest of her look understated to let the intricate dress' design take center stage. She chose crystal drop earrings from Nadri, sparking Stuart Weitzman shoes, and a pearl ring from her grandmother. "I had a gorgeous, cathedral length veil that was my sister's, but we were running a little late for the ceremony and we all completely forgot about it!" she says. "I didn't even remember it until we were sitting down to dinner, but it didn't matter because I looked gorgeous without it, and, thinking back, a veil wouldn't have represented my personality properly."
Bright and Beautiful
Without a firm color palette, florist Jardin Divers incorporated all the shades the couple loved into Ally's bouquet of peonies, dahlias, garden roses, and wildflowers. "I wanted a very wild look," says the bride. "We couldn't really decide on a color palette, so we decided to go with a multi-colored approach for our flowers and use dusty blue as our primary color to tie everything together."
Men in Black
Off on the Right Foot
The Great Outdoors
Ally and Brian made the most of the villa's breathtaking location by setting their ceremony up on an outdoor terrace. "We mostly let the gorgeous view of the Tuscan hillside speak for itself," says Ally. "There were large cypress trees framing the ceremony space, which we complemented with two floral sprays on either side of us."
Arm in Arm
The couple chose a lineup of nontraditional songs for their ceremony, including "Airy Jane's Flying Carpet" by Holy Family for the bridal party processional, and "Time Above the Earth" by the Kooks as Ally's grandfather escorted her down the aisle.
Their First Look
Though Brian had seen Ally's gown in the bridal salon, the couple chose not to see each other before the ceremony on the morning of the wedding, saving their first look for Ally's walk down the aisle.
Reader, She Married Him
Ally and Brian wrote their own vows, which they exchanged in a personalized ceremony that included a reading from Jane Eyre. "Neither of us are very religious and we wanted our ceremony to reflect our personalities and life together," says Ally. "Our vows were very sentimental, and we had each other in tears."
For Ally, one of the day's most memorable moments came just after the vows: "[I remember] saying I do and walking back down the aisle with my new husband to 'Real Love Baby' while multicolored flower petals were thrown at us from our family and friends like confetti!" she reflects. "So much love and joy!"
From Portraits to Pimm's
Though the newlyweds missed the beginning of their cocktail hour to pose for portraits, they weren't willing to completely skip that time with their guests: "We ended up extending our cocktail hour by 15 minutes because we wanted to make sure we got to enjoy the beautiful Italian gardens—and sample the fried sage and coccoli," says Ally. Signature cocktails included the "Hot Tin Roof," a vodka cocktail from one of the couple's favorite TriBeCa spots, and the "Ideal Husband," a mixture of Pimm's #1, vodka, Prosecco, and strawberries, inspired by a drink at the bar next to the couple's office building.
Under the Olives
Guests sat at two long, wooden tables in a grove of olive trees. "Walking down past the gorgeous villa pool into the olive grove, seeing the beautiful tables, lights, flowers, and candles, with all our friends and family cheering us on, brought tears to my eyes," says Ally. "I actually cried when we sat down for dinner because it was so beautiful. It was the most magical dinner of my life."
Good as Gold
Dusty blue table runners created a backdrop for colorful centerpieces of dahlias, peonies, roses, and local blooms arranged in low, gold vessels. Gold candlesticks held glass-enclosed tapers, while shimmering votive holders added an opulent glow.
On the Menu
At each place setting, guests received a small bottle of olive oil with a label showing off the couple's crest. The custom menu cards displayed the meal options on one side—dishes from Delizia Ricevimenti included wild boar carpaccio, panzanella salad, nettle ravioli, and filet—and, on the back, a few conversation prompts. "We wanted our reception to feel like having an al fresco dinner with people you've known forever," says the couple, "so on the backs of the menus we included hypotheticals written by Chuck Palahniuk and other jokes and games to help guests who didn't know each other break the ice."
Instead of requesting a traditional American wedding cake, Ally and Brian followed the local tradition of serving millefoglie—a cream-filled pastry—instead. "This was so much better and more fun!" says Ally. "They actually assemble the cake in front of everyone…they invited us to pipe the top. It was a really unique tradition that our guests hadn't seen before—it was such a cool surprise for everyone."
As Ally and Brian cut into their dessert, they surprised their guests with a fireworks show designed by Pirotecnica Soldi. "Everyone loved it and it was the most memorable experience of my life," says Ally. "Something about standing there with your new husband, watching gorgeous fireworks go off set to music that has a personal meaning to you, with all of your friends and family behind you, is just the most special feeling in the world. I felt like the luckiest girl on earth."
Photography, Elias Kordelakos
Venue, Il Palagio
Event Planning, Weddings in Tuscany
Catering and Cake, Delizia Ricevimenti
Flowers, Jardin Divers
Officiant, Wedding Celebrants in Italy
Stationery, Sugared Fig Paperie
Bride's gown, Inbal Dror
Bride's accessories, Nadri earrings; Stuart Weitzman shoes
Hair and Makeup, Romina Pashollari
Bridesmaids' Dresses, Rent the Runway
Groom's Suit, Tom Ford
Menswear, The Black Tux
Groom's Accessories, Tom Ford bowtie; Salvatore Ferragamo shoes; Montblanc cuff links; Embroidered Panda handkerchief
Lighting, Central House
Transportation, Human Company
Engagement Ring, Gemma by WP Diamonds
Favors, Puro Carmignano
Fireworks, Pirotecnica Soldi
Guest Book, Claire Magnolia
Wedding Bands, Benchmark (groom); Suzanne Kalan (bride)
- Love and Joy Were at the Forefront During This Intimate, Family-Focused Celebration in Occidental, California
- A Slice of Princess Diana and Prince Charles' Wedding Cake Is Up for Auction 40 Years Later—It Might Sell for $700
- Five Reasons Why You Should Talk to Your Friends About Wedding-Related Stress
- Soft Summer Tones and Beautiful Florals Abounded at This Family-Centric Celebration in Texas Hill Country