To celebrate the fifth anniversary of their dreamy nuptials at The Breakers in Palm Beach, wedding planner Michelle Durpetti and photographer Collin Pierson – who are also third-generation restaurant owners and operators of Gene & Georgetti in Chicago – commemorated the special occasion with a romantic vow renewal just outside of Florence, Italy.
“We work there often, many of our dearest friends live there, and we still have family in both Florence and Lucca,” shares Michelle, who confirms the destination is essentially a second home for them. “Because we chose to stay in the states for the wedding, we knew that the vow renewal was something we wanted to do in Italy.” After their celebration, the couple reveled with their loved ones for the next 10 days before heading home.
Though their winter wedding five years prior was a black-tie affair showcasing classic, formal elements at a timeless venue, Michelle and Collin planned for their vow renewal to be stylish, yet relaxed and intimate, at an equally impressive site. “The day was just about the two of us, and our dog Felix was our witness!” says Michelle of the occasion.
“Because we chose to stay in the states for the wedding, we knew that the vow renewal was something we wanted to do in Italy.”
A centuries-old villa once owned by the Medici family was selected for the exchange of vows, which took place just before sunset, when their friend and photographer captured romantic portraits during the stunning golden hour that Tuscany is known for. “It was so magnificent [and] a very different kind of luxury than what we created for our wedding, but equally as special for us!” she adds of the elegant location boasting gorgeous views.
Following their vows, Michelle and Collin dined alfresco at a wooden table adorned with jewel-toned florals, such as dahlias and roses, in shades of purple and pink accented with textural elements, including pomegranates, berries, and greenery. “Because we spend so much time bringing events to life for clients, we wanted to do something to really celebrate our fifth anniversary,” shares Michelle of the fairy-tale setting and décor.
Since the villa is also a vineyard, the couple worked with a private chef to create a multi-course dinner paired with the estate’s own wine. “In fact, during the vow renewal, we were given a small card for each of us to write a message to the other,” explains Michelle. The villa then placed both messages in a crate with one of their signature vintage bottles for Michelle and Collin to open on their 10-year anniversary.
“The best advice I can give to anybody planning any kind of milestone celebration is to hire a planner to help navigate the process with you,” shares Michelle. “Life changes so fast, [so] when you want to celebrate something, do it! Embrace it, have a budget, and understand that you are investing in the experience you are creating – so choose vendors that have a passion for what they create.”