Every veterans day we salute those who fight for our freedom and Greg was doing just that when Heather started planning their wedding: he was deployed in Iraq and as a combat medic.  Click on the image to read the rest of their heartwarming story …

But Heather and Greg are used to not only the rough times of a country at war, they are also both from Gulfport, Mississippi, one of the areas hit the hardest by Hurricane Katrina.  It seems like hard times bring them luck though – they met in the hurricane’s aftermath as she had to change jobs and ended up working with his sister and he was sent home from his tour to help his family repair damage.  “People only saw New Orleans on TV, but in Gulfport the suffering and loss of homes and jobs was tremendous.”

It was Greg’s idea to get married in Italy.  “When [he] first asked me if I wanted to get married in Italy I couldn’t believe it!  We were both so excited to be visiting and getting married in one of the most beautiful countries in the world.”

Their planning had started in January, estimated wedding date May – a little tight for a destination wedding!

Heather was a real “soldier” in getting all the required paperwork done in the US.  “Once we began to look into getting married over there we realized that it was very much involved and everything must be done just right, and that we could not do it on our own. Even though getting married in Italy is like a dream come true, it can be overwhelming with everything that has to be done.  But Greg and I found a local wedding planner and all of the chaos just went away.”

Since the wedding date was imminent and Greg was in Iraq, we decided to do the Atto Notorio in Italy and this affected our choice of venue.  As time was of the essence and getting everything done in one day was essential, a Wedding in Florence became the ultimate choice.

Heather and Greg envisioned their trip as a wedding-honeymoon, so they started in England and moved down through European countries from there.  “Before travelling to Florence people told us that it was by far their favorite place in the entire world and that we would fall in love with it, and they were completely right.”

“Our hotel was absolutely wonderful.  We had our own private balcony which overlooked the hills of the city.  We would just sit there and look at how beautiful everything was.”

Needless to say, they were in awe walking through Piazza della Signoria and seeing the  Wedding Hall  “One day before the wedding our planner took us into the Red Room and let us see where we would be getting married.  Greg and I had seen pictures of the room and thought it was beautiful, but once we actually got to walk in it and see how amazing it really was we were completely speechless!

First impressions stick and it was important for them to feel at home in this “home away from home”, since they had left everything behind them to make their Wedding Day truly unforgettable.  So their Italian wedding planner made a point of walking them through everything and introducing them to the people who helped shape their special day.

The trip to the local Italian florists made Heather’s eyes sparkle.  She had a hard time deciding how to match her bouquet with her pearl white wedding dress, but the florist’s creative talent and exquisite taste guided her towards a splash of peach and yellow colors, with a matching peach boutonniere on Greg’s lapel, for a lovely spring day.

But as we all know, spring also means a good chance for rain.  “Sposa bagnata, sposa fortunata” was echoing all morning long as the rain, rain, rain came down, down, down!   “Everyone in the town clapped for us and told us ‘auguri!’ and that we were lucky because it was raining on our wedding day.”

But that didn’t affect photographer Massimo Bonon at all!  Expert eyes and top quality equipment made the drops disappear and the magic shine through every close of the shutter.     Massimo found the perfect distance and angle for some wonderfully romantic shots outside the Palazzo Vecchio and all through town.  We decided that the distance must be the key to great photos because when we would turn to look for him,  he would be gone …. then we would spot his white telephoto lense spying through a crowd of tourists eyeing some statue from all the way across the square!

Heather remembers a touching moment just outside the Palazzo Vecchio:  “One of my favorite memories will be the little kids that were outside the palace on a field trip, standing around Greg and I, clapping for us and then when the photographer told him to kiss me they all cried  ‘ewwww’!

On our way to an intimate, tete-a-tete toast waiting for us at the Golden View Open Bar, “Greg asked me if I felt like a princess yet, and with this huge smile on my face I said ‘yes, I do’! “

See Heather and Greg’s complete wedding gallery here:

Heather and Greg