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A true taste of Italia…family!

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5-8th september 2013

We wondered what else We Are The Planners had in store for us after such a magical day. The fairytale eco wedding had been so perfect and we had no idea how they could top that, BUT, they were going to try!


Fabio’s family have a home in Puglia, a four hour drive away from Rome and over towards the east coast of Italy…and a completely different world to the Italy we see as tourists.

Andria is a beautiful old town and oozes Italian family life. The moment we arrived in town we went to meet the family for lunch. When I say family I mean around 20 people, 5 dogs and food for around 5000. We were embraced, seated and fed. We were accepted into the family, even with barely any legible Italian language but we eat, so were accepted anyway.

Hanging with the family

Plate after plate of food appeared in front of us, delicious grilled veg shining with olive oil, creamy mozzarella, boiled vegetables, potatoes in tasty sauce, sliced meats, porchetta and all this BEFORE the pasta. Piles of steaming slippery spaghetti followed by stewed meats, grilled chicken and then a dessert of fresh local fruits juicy, fragrant and sweet.

We were kissed about 70 times as we rolled away from the family and on to Fabios families house. We rested for an hour to allow our bodies to come to terms with our food coma and then we were off again, so much to do, so many people to see and more wedding arrangements to make!

We are the Planners, glutton for punishment, wanted to show us TWO Italian weddings! One city wedding, calm, embracing, beautiful and simple…and an Italian style wedding! With family, food, THE venue, THE dress, THE flowers and THE party afterwards!

Wandering around beautiful Andria

We of course were happy to oblige and Andria, Puglia was the location of our big fat Italian wedding! We had the family in place but had a few other plans to make. We first went to visit the venue to confirm times, numbers and plans. Garden Frederico is a stunning place made especially for weddings. With lavish gardens, incredible setting and the most incredible pool ( You MUST click here to see images), we stared in awe at the chandeliers, the mirrored ceilings and the huge rooms dressed ready for beautiful, lavish weddings. We wandered around said pool, selected our room and stood mouth open at the platform rising from the water. Next up we hit the florists to choose flowers and to be fed more delectable chocolate treats by Nunzia, another of Fabio’s family.

We all got to take some piccies!

It was such an exciting time and everyone was just SO thrilled to have us and to be taking part in our wild wedding adventure, we got a feeling it was going to be great fun for the whole family, everyone wanted to be involved which was just so touching! We arrived as strangers and immediately felt like family!

We returned to the house and collapsed in an exhausted heap. Fabio went training with his friends and we wondered how we were going to break the news to them that we couldn’t possibly eat another meal!!!

They understood and we spent the night horizontal hoping our bodies would survive the night and chatting with Mitra as she cradled poor Lukas in her arms. He seemed to be deteriorating in front of our eyes and it was just heartbreaking to watch.


The next day we excused ourselves to go exploring around the town while Mitra and her family spent some quality time with Lucas. We were so sad for everyone, they doted on him, hugged him and urged him to eat and drink. We felt so terrible that we couldn’t do anything to help but at such sad times we just wanted them all to focus all their love on him and not worry about us!

When we returned we ate the most amazing cornetti we had ever eaten, filled with warm custard and my decided new staple diet! Mitra and Fabio scooped up Lukas and we all went together to the dress shop to find THE Italian wedding dress!

It took a little cajoling at the store D’avanzo Alta Moda as the manager took one look at me and suggested he had NOTHING so small! He shook his head in despair and called over a lady who I presume was the designer at the store. She similarly looked me up and down and looked doubtful but told Mitra that they MAY be able to help! They had recently made a new creation for a catwalk and she thought it MAY fit me! Alex and Fabio were waved away and we were taken into the back to try the one and only dress. It came in a HUGE bag and my heart started to speed up as they unzipped the bag and bright green tulle spilled out uncontrollably!

The dress and the view from our bedroom window

Mitra and I eyed each other but once the entire dress was revealed I actually really liked it and once I put it on it would only take a few inches and it would fit we were sold! It was perfect! Again, completely unique, a great colour, locally designed and definitely an IT dress!

The beautiful white simple bodice with opaque panels in the sides perfectly complemented the spring green full skirts!

Dress sorted, flowers sorted, coffee consumed we headed over to meet the family for dinner….and Grappa, special Grappa! We had just about gotten used to eating even more than we normally do and everything tasted so great that it was impossible to refuse anything…my only concern was going to be fitting into my especially shrunken dress the very next day!

oh, and Grappa! Lots of Grappa

It had been such a great experience being involved in finalising everything for the wedding and enjoying the building excitement with everyone. However, the anticipation for the actual ceremony was nerve wracking as usual!


  1. Franca says:

    You described the welcoming manners and ways of the people from Puglia perfectly and I’m glad you enjoyed it, as you said it’s very different from the touristy Italy people are used to. I am from Puglia myself from a town not too fare from Andria (Alberobello, have you been?) and I could actually picture in my head every scene you described here because I’ve experienced it many times 🙂

    1. Lisa & Alex says:

      How amazing that you are from so close by! We had SUCH an incredible time and even had a wedding there which is coming up next, i cant WAIT for you to see the dress!
      Everyone was so welcoming and didn’t mind one bit having another mouth to feed at the table. We loved that the entire family got together for each meal. Lovely, lovely place! Glad you enjoyed the blog! Its such a relief when someone tells me I got it right 🙂 x

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