Epic celebrations in Cortona captured in iconic images with effortless style, by Cortona wedding photographer, Phil Salisbury
Joining Stefan and Merel as their Cortona wedding photographer was such an honour, and it was an absolute treat to explore the beautiful countryside. We joined them for a long weekend of celebrations, taking in the views, enjoying the Italian hospitality and capturing some award winning wedding photography.
Stefan proposed to Merel at Lake Trasimeno on the border of Umbria in 2019, they absolutely love exploring the area, so they always knew they’d be looking for a Tuscany wedding photographer when they set a date!
They found Borgo Solamore, when they stayed there on holiday and asked the wonderful owner, Alessandra (a former designer for Versace), if they could use the venue to hold their wedding reception. With views for miles, luxurious décor (only the best for Alessandra!) and its own private swimming pool, it was perfect for their relaxed and elegant wedding in Cortona.
I love destination weddings, there’s so much time to plan, get excited and immerse myself in the atmosphere. The adventure always starts on the flight and we flew out to Pisa, then picked up a rental car and drove just over two hours to join Stefan and Merel as their Cortona wedding photographers.
Driving through the countryside was like being in a film, tall cypress trees and terraces everywhere, it was out of this world. As a wedding photographer in Italy this is one of the things I look forward to every time I step off a plane – it feels like such an adventure! We stayed about ten minutes away from Borgo Solamore, perfectly positioned for the next few days of celebrations.
Before the wedding, we met up with Stefan and Merel for their Pre wedding photoshoot in Cortona, at a stunning local villa with its own brand of gin, and absolutely amazing grounds. Find out more, and see some more of the spectacular images here.
On the Friday before their wedding, the couple had arranged a dinner with family and close friends at their wedding reception venue. This meant everyone could have a look around, get comfortable in their surroundings, and spend some quality time celebrating with couple before their big day.
There were some really emotional speeches from their parents, and Stefan’s best man presented him with an amazing watch that he had brought all the way from Dubai.
As a Cortona wedding photographer, I love the relaxed vibe of weddings here. Preparation usually starts later in the day and everyone seems so chilled and happy. Stefan and Merel were both getting ready at Borgo Solamore, with Stefan upstairs and Merel downstairs.
While the ladies had their hair and make-up done, they all chatted and enjoyed a glass of wine. Merel was stunning in her dress from Rime Arodaky, she looked so timelessly elegant, and effortlessly beautiful.
Stefan wore a suit from Zano Luxury Tailoring, and his groomsmen wore suits in various tonal pastel shades. This is a brilliant idea for bringing some subtle and luxurious colour to your Cortona wedding photography.
Stefan and Merel got married at Chiesa Sam Domenico Cortona. As a Cortona wedding photographer, I just love the drama of this impressive building, carved into the rock face wall of the town. It’s spectacular and so brilliantly unique!
After their ceremony they took their guests on a short walk across the Piazza to Ristorante Tonino Cortona, where they had hugs and kisses from their friends and family, whilst enjoying drinks and canapes together. Then we took the newlyweds for a short walk around the beautiful traditional streets, capturing plenty of iconic Cortona wedding photography, and details of the architecture along the way.
It was a short drive up back up the mountain to their reception at Borgo Solamore, where they had a breath-taking view across miles and miles of countryside. Capturing those views as a Tuscany wedding photographer gives me a chance to create a sense of the scenery and setting of the day, so I took full advantage of every moment!
The evening then kicked off with entertainment from a DJ and saxophone player who really got the party started. With more beautiful food and the drinks flowing freely, an impromptu pool party went on until about 2am – these guys really know how to have a good time.
Their wedding breakfast featured some gobsmackingly gorgeous wines, meats and cheeses –
everything was SO delicious! We were treated to some hilarious speeches, including one from
Stefan’s best man, a big character who had changed his outfit and performed the entire speech
dressed as a centurion!
On Sunday, (after a lie in and plenty of rehydration) Stefan and Merel were joined by their guests, and some of their children and other local friends who had been unable to attend the previous day.
It was the ideal way to finish the weekend, with everyone relaxing together and celebrating after Stefan and Merel’s wedding in Cortona.
You might also want to check out my work as a wedding photographer in Tuscany, as well as Rob and Meyka’s Tenuta Mocajo wedding.