JR and Stephen are an amazing couple from New York and this is the story of their gay marriage in Tuscany.
Stephen is of Italian origin and JR’s heritage is Brazilian. They both have a strong focus on family with close family and friends being the most important thing to them.
A previous client whom I photographed 7 years ago introduces me to them. I am very touched by their admiration for my work and their determination to work with me.
As well as photographing their wedding they also ask me for help with organizing and planning a gay marriage in Tuscany. The search for their perfect location lead us to Villa Catignano. Here the entire group of family and friends can stay all together and celebrate not just the wedding day but also the day before and after the wedding.
The planning process is an easy one with plenty of communication over the months prior to the event, we have many conference calls and the communication is clear and effortless.
On the wedding day I arrive, after a brief chat with each groom I take photos of the venue, even though I know this venue well (having photographed many weddings here through the years) it is a venue that offers so many beautiful angles that I photograph it again each time I visit.
Next up, we have Stephens preparations with his parents followed by JR’s, he is helped by his brother and father. Stephen and JR decide to have a first look in order to get most of the tears out of the way before the actual ceremony! It is a privilege to photograph this very personal and intimate moment for them.
The garden ceremony starts with their little nice and nephews making their way down the aisle, it is clear they want to perform well for their uncles.
The ceremony set up is simple full of plants and greenery as they want to be the protagonists of their ceremony more than the flowers or decor.
Their aunts perform a very emotional ceremony and there are lots of tears. Once the ceremony finishes they run up the aisle to a shower of rice in keeping with Italian tradition.
Stephen and JR love Italian food and so what could be more appropriate than a massive table with all sorts of delicious aperitifs while an Italian folk band plays traditional tunes. Everyone enjoys the scrumptious food and plenty of beverages are available for everyone’s needs.
Once everyone has had a chance to congratulate the happy couple and they have all been socializing and enjoying the food we then take some family photos. These are fun and definitely not stiff or formal as there is way too much love in this group of people.
On completing the group photos, I then take them for their couple portraits, my goal is to make them feel comfortable and let them be themselves together.
I must capture their personalities and unique connection whilst immersing them in some iconic Tuscany scenery.Jules Bower
When it’s time to move all the guests to the dinner area JR disappears to get ready for a surprise he has in store for Stephen. The horse shoe table is full of candles and the atmosphere is elegant with soft lighting creating a subdued but yet romantic atmosphere.
A chair is placed in the middle of the table and Stephen sits there a little anxiously. JR appears and accompanied by a guitarist performs a love song for Stephen. Everyone is shocked as no one knew he is one hell of a singer! Once the surprise performance is over the guys hug and dinner starts.
After dining under the stars it is Stephen’s turn to surprise JR; as we all move in towards the party area in the next courtyard there is a display of firework fountains and a special song that is dear to the guys.
Everybody sings and cheers and we move into the grey room where the DJ accompanied by the drummer creates a great party vibe for everyone. Delicious cocktails and desserts are available in the party room and the party goes on into the night. Later on a freshly made pizza delights everyone.