A Tuscan Romance
Jasmine Grewal and Matthew Haar brought a distinctively Indian flavour to their bellissima Italian wedding, writes Melissa Twigg
India and Italy. Two countries that boast extraordinary architecture, world-famous cuisines and an array of beautiful landscapes.
So it was fitting to bring the two nations together in unison when Jasmine Grewal and Matthew Haar said their vows on a hot summer’s afternoon in Italy. As the bride is of Indian descent, the couple wanted to incorporate some of the Asian country’s heritage into the most important day of their lives. And, as they both live in London, it made Europe the natural choice for a wedding that welcomed guests from across the globe.
Eschewing a typical Italian cocktail party of Aperol spritzes and aperitivos, Jasmine and Matthew kicked off the celebrations on day one in the Val d’Orcia, Tuscany, with a combined mehndi (henna) party and sangeet, an Indian wedding tradition that involves singing, dancing and music.
“In the afternoon we had an artist paint mehndi on our guests,” says Jasmine, “and we served Indian tea and snacks like pakoras and samosas. We then served a buffet of some our favourite Indian dishes like chicken tikka, dal makhani, baingan bharta and saag paneer. After dinner, the sangeet—which really is just a dance
party—commenced with the jaago dance, which is a Punjabi tradition. Our DJ then played a mix of Bollywood and Western music.”
This spectacle was held on the main lawn outside a beautiful villa at Borgo di Castelvecchio, near the town of Pienza in the heart of the Val d’Orcia. It came complete with fiery sunset views over the cypress treefilled hills. Guests wore traditional Indian clothing and dazzled in ornate saris and kurtas—none more than the bride and groom. Jasmine, who grew up in Hong Kong, wore a bridal lengha from Santoshi and Matthew, who is American, sherwani from Jaan.
The following day dawned as bright and beautiful as any couple could hope for in Italy during early summer. Following the Indian-themed party, the pair wanted a traditional Western marriage ceremony in the Tuscan hills.
“The wedding ceremony itself was held at the highest point of the Borgo, which was just magical,” says Matthew. “As guests needed to be transported up to the site, we had a small drinks reception as people arrived.”
The views of the surrounding hills were incredible, according to the happy couple, although the bride and groom—her in a wedding gown from Yolan Cris, a Barcelona based fashion house, and him in custom-made three-piece suit by Ermenegildo Zegna— did a perfect job of distracting the guests from the magnificent countryside that surrounded them.
“The setting was incredible,” says Jasmine. “We were perched upon a hilltop with cypress trees framing the view of the Val d’Orcia— with that particular afternoon light casting shadows across the fields. Matt’s sister-inlaw served as the officiant, which gave the ceremony a very personal touch. Both of us were walked down the aisle by both of our parents. Matt’s niece and my cousin were the flower girls, while Matt’s nephew was the ring-bearer.”
The bridesmaids wore gowns from Jenny Yoo, designed to recreate the colour of morning mist in Italy, but in different cuts of lace and tulle. The groomsmen wore suits with matching ties and floral boutonnieres— but all in differing shades of grey.
Following the ceremony, the couple walked down a lush, tree-lined hill to the Borgo’s main lawns to listen to live musicians. Then it was time for dinner with speeches in the shady courtyard of the villa, where the decor