After meeting at a high school party in 2002, a friendship sparked between Brisbane couple Nello and Santina. “I guess we both felt there was something there, but the timing was never right,” Nello says.

The pair finally found themselves single and living in the same country in 2013. That’s when, Nello says, they were finally able to give their relationship a shot. Three years later, on a New Year’s Day walk with their dogs in New Farm Park, Nello proposed to Santina with a three-carat platinum ring.

The diamond was held by a custom setting which he had made by a designer in New York. The diamond itself was an elongated cushion cut, sourced through a merchant in Western Australia.

Of course, such a romantic proposal had to be followed by a romantic wedding day. Like something out of any fiancés’ dreams, Nello and Santina decided to tie the knot in Florence, Italy.

“Naturally, the distance made things greatly difficult, we would never get the opportunity to see the venue or try the food until the big day – so we had to really trust the judgement of our planner,” Santina said.

“At times, things were lost in translation. Italian law and traditions are very different to ours in Australia and as were some of their styling ideas!”

Months of deliberation led the couple to their decision to celebrate their nuptials at Villia di Maiano, a beautiful 400-year old palazzo located just out of Florence. To help ease the tension of planning their big day, Santina enlisted the help of some trusted Australians.

“I had to trust the judgement of our planner when it came to caterers and florists, but I could not trust anyone other than Leigh from LaLa Hair Studio to do my hair on my wedding day.

“Some may consider my decision to fly my hairdresser to Italy a little over the top, but it was well worth it. She did all of my bridal party’s hair and created two looks for me on the day.”

Australian videographer Iconic Films and photographer Michal Kriesch also flew together to Florence to capture this glamorous wedding.

Finally, on the big day, Nello and Santina were joined by about 75 of their nearest and dearest.

Santina says that upon reflection, it is overwhelming to know that their loved ones travelled from all over the world. Guests travelled from America, all over Europe and, of course, Australia to take part in the memorable day.

Santina wore a stunning long-sleeved Berta Bridal gown, purchased at a Saks Fifth Avenue trunk show in New York. The gown was the perfect touch to an already beautiful wedding.

While the day was not without its hiccups, Santina says, “Honestly, it was exactly how we planned it. From the styling, music and food, it was everything we wanted it to be.”

After a few days spent with their guests on the Amalfi Coast, Nello and Santina went on to “Sicily, Poland and Switzerland to meet some relatives there and see where our families grew up”. Finally, they spent a week honeymooning together in France.

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