Girl in Florence aka Georgette Jupe

I started this blog as a writing outlet for me to share what it is I adore about the beautiful city of Florence and Italy also sharing travel tips and stories along the way. Now 'Girl in Florence' includes advice for Florence, artisan features, interviews with locals, tips for life in Italy and travel posts from all over Europe. I'd love to think of myself as a fearless badass but If I am keeping it 100% real on this blog a quote that I sort of live by is"I haven't failed. I've just found 10,000 ways that won't work." I hope you enjoy this journey with me.

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My Tuscan Wedding: Where to Propose in Florence

05.05.2015 24 Comments

My Tuscan Wedding: Where to Propose in Florence

05.05.2015 24 Comments
getting married in Italy | Girl in Florence

“So… how did he propose?” Always the first question that is asked when you tell people you just got engaged. People want the story, the dirty details along with the glance at the ring. I get it, I’ve asked myself many a time, you don’t get to be 30 year’s old and Texan without seeing more than your fair share of engagements. When I looked up ‘best proposals in 2015’ I found this video featuring a proposal that will make you either cry or wonder how much time this guy has on his hands.

Jennifer must be the best darn pizza maker that side of the Atlantic because brace yourself, the video is 15 minutes long and features a year-long effort of a guy (Dean Smith) writing various forms of ‘Will you marry me’ on a whiteboard that he does every single day, that’s 365 to be exact, before popping the question. Dean couldn’t look more adorably American if he tried, if you add the dog, the cat and grand finale as the sun rolls into a perfect Aruba sunset – you will catch my drift.

According to the Independent Uk, where I first got wind of this proposal, people’s reactions were mixed. There were the ‘I was moved to tears’ but equally as many ‘How many times is this guy brushing his teeth…’. It’s a fascinating insight into culture though.

If you follow me on Facebook or Instagram, you might have gotten wind that I too am now engaged to be married (yay!). Nico or ‘Frenchy’ as I have often referred to him on the blog, popped the question on our anniversary and I couldn’t honestly be happier. I revealed a bit about our love story in this post, which is something I wasn’t sure I would ever do on the blog, but ultimately I am happy I did. To answer the question that I have explained on skype, phone, facetime, snapchat, in person and more, I’ll keep the exact details to myself but I assure you it was very special and personal for us both. If you want to hear me talk about it, check out this podcast I did with my friend Rick, and fellow COSItaly member, here!

georgette jupe engagement | girl in Florence
An afternoon in Paris, we had a lovely photo session with Flytographer, a service that rocks!

Before I came to Italy, I suppose like many other Americans, I just assumed that every man gets down on one knee when it comes ‘that time’. If they choose to get married of course. After living in Europe for almost a decade it is safe to say that what is the ‘norm’ to me has changed. In our case, while we did speak about getting married in Italy a few times, when Nico proposed I was genuinely surprised. But it is not out of the norm in Italy for couples to skip the ‘one knee – will you take my hand in marriage’ and talk about this after kids, at the dinner table such as ‘hey why don’t we get hitched?’. In my last relationship the word ‘marriage’ was akin to some sort of eastern torture applicable only to those who were unlucky. It happens.

The first time I heard that, I was really appalled and thought, how utterly unromantic! But then again I come from a country that not only had incredible 15-min proposal videos that go viral on the internet, but a pretty darn high rate of divorce too. My motto now is ‘do whatever feels right.’

But really. There is no ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ way to do anything. Some of the happiest, most stable couples I know never got married but are blissfully in love. Good for them.

And if you want to go crazy with your proposal, why not? Before we think that Italians never propose ‘in style’ well, I can assure you that is not the case. Just check out this guy in what we like to refer to in Italian as “una storia seria” (a serious relationship) who decided to get all Ryan Gosling in The Notebook on his girlfriend to ask for her hand in marriage. I was dutifully impressed.

So now that the secret is out my plan is to plan a series of posts centered around #MyTuscanWedding, in the hopes of helping to spell out the process of getting married in Italy, basically let me fumble and make mistakes and you can benefit on what ‘not to do’ when planning your special day.

I plan on touching on all of those dirty annoying details like just how many ‘marca da bollo’ (kind of like a revenue or duty stamp) you need to buy and which offices you need to visit. Already I am learning all about just how interesting, painful, it can be for two foreigners marrying in a third foreign country. I think both Nico and I are secretly masochists.

Since today’s theme is all about proposals, I thought I would end this post and offer a few ideas on nice places to get ‘pop the question’ in Florence. There are few places more romantic than that of the playground of our poet Dante Alghieri and his beloved Beatrice. Or that of young English Lucy Honeychurch, who meets the bumbling George in E.M/ Foresters novel based in Florence, A Room with a View. 

Alternatively if you are looking for a little help, my friend Alice Cheron of the French Blog AlidiFirenze arranges one-of-a-kind proposals that would wow any future bride. She’s French which means she’s going to be way better at this than you. Trust me. Email her at [email protected]

1. San Miniato al Monte

You might have expected me to write Piazzale Michelangelo since it is the most well-known panoramic point in Florence but to truly savor the moment, I would go up a bit further to San Miniato al Monte church with an even better, less crowded, view of the city. The windy pathway surrounding the church are so dreamy, it almost physically hurts. Pack a bottle of chilled prosecco, and bring your ring boys.

San miniato al monte
The road to San Miniato al Monte is nature’s way of giving you visual romance

2. Loggia del Lanzi – Florence’s Open Air Museum

I adore this place, the loggia dei lanzi in piazza della signoria, is essentially an outdoor sculpture gallery housing important renaissance art, and has been in existence in the city since 1382 (built by Benci di Cione and Simone di Francesco Talenti). When the Grand Duchy of Tuscany came into power, the area was used to house sculptures and serve as a political message next to Florence’s seat of power. These guys knew how to show people whose boss. Today it is still open to the public and remains a gathering point for many. Every day I walk by and see young artists sketching the statues or people just enjoying a quick break from sightseeing and I personally think it is quite romantic. At night it is even more magical, with lovely music wafting through by buskers, as you gaze at the ‘fake David’s stoic gaze’.

piazza della signoria florence
My favorite open-air sculpture gallery

#3 The Arno River

I mean, need I say more? 

sunset florence italy

 

#4 The Salone dei Cinquecento at Palazzo Vecchio

One of the most spectacular rooms in the city of Florence has to be the impressive ‘salone dei cinquecento’ in the Palazzo Vecchio, the city’s seat of power. Completed by Cronaca (1495) and decorated by Leonardo, Michelangelo and Vasari, this place was used for the assemblies of the General Council of the People. In one corner you can find the Genius of Victory sculpture by Michelangelo. Just standing in here is an experience that I recommend anyone coming to visit and I personally think it would serve well as a place to propose, Vasari and Michelangelo will be watching.

palazzo vecchio florence italy
Just one red coat in a sea of chairs

#5 On Top of One of Florence’s Panoramic Terraces

As the weather warms up, the terraces on top of Florence are opening up to the public and there are quite a few to choose from. Most are located on top of hotels like Baglioni, Hotel Cavour (pictured below), Westin Excelsior, Hotel Continental, see more here. I am sure if you contact one of these hotels, they will help you plan something unique for a truly unforgettable proposal. Another wonderful choice would be Forte Belvedere, which is currently hosting a new exhibit and is open to the public, for free, until 8pm daily (excluding Mondays).

A 'Hello Duomo' moment from the terrace of Hotel Cavour
A ‘Hello Duomo’ moment from the terrace of Hotel Cavour

One of the best choices though would be the very romantic Villa Bardini, which has a stunning panoramic terrace overlooking the city and also now has a really fabulous restaurant, La Leggenda dei Frati, where you can have lunch/dinner after. I am really eager to try this place as my friend Megan has given it a rave review, located on costa san giorgio 6. 

#6 The Torrigiani garden

The largest privately-owned garden within city limits in Europe covering 17 acres, the giardino torrigiani is an incredibly beautiful place located in the oltrarno area of the city, still run by the Torrigiani families. I love this place, it was designed at the height of the romantic movement in the early 19th century. They also can host private events and though you need to make a reservation for a tour, I am sure if you tell them you plan on popping the question, perhaps they can arrange a special tour ending at a really romantic corner where a bottle of champagne can be waiting. It doesn’t get much more ethereal than here.

Torrigiani Gardens
Via de’ Serragli, 144
Florence
Tel. +39 055 22 4527
Visits by reservation only
www.giardinotorrigiani.it, email [email protected]

The Torrigiani garden
Where dreams are made

I hope you enjoyed this first #MyTuscanWedding post, follow the fun on instagram and facebook and soon to come, a post on the red-tape glory we are currently going through.

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GirlInFlorence

Georgette Jupe is a 'Tuscan Texan' digital social media marketing maven based in Florence, Italy. When she's not at her day job as social media manager and content editor at ITALY Magazine, she's creating social strategies for international clients and providing travel, foodie & life tips via her blog 'Girl in Florence'. Hobbies include plenty of reading, hiking, beagle cuddles, the hunt for the 'perfect' Moscow mule and laughs with the girls.

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24 Comments

  • Avatar
    Annie Seaton 05.05.2015 at 11:58

    Georgette,
    You made me smile.
    In my fictional world, my hero proposes on one knee among broken plates in a Tuscan restaurant.

    In my other book, Italian Affair…I encountered the same legal problems you mention of two foreigners marrying in Italy. Much deep research of Italian law ensued and I am an expert now 🙂
    Love your blog posts… keep me hooked till I come back to Florence next year!

    • Avatar
      GirlInFlorence 05.05.2015 at 12:13

      Hello Annie, that sounds like one amazing fictional world :), do the broken plates hold a symbolic meaning to you? The legal stuff is a whole lot of fun (satire). Because I am American and he is French, this holds a whole lot of fun legal translating, marco da bollo by the bulk and calling offices that never pick up the phone or answer emails (for the atto nottorio which is what I am currently working on at the moment). Thank you so much for reading my blog and commenting, I appreciate the support!

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    cindy swain 05.05.2015 at 12:51

    Loved this post and am so happy for you and Nico! I’m excited to see how your Tuscan Wedding unfolds! P.S. If you’ll also be throwing a reception or get together back in Texas, do note that even big fluffy wedding dresses can easily be stuffed into a carry-on suit case! Mine flew all the way to Seattle!

    • Avatar
      GirlInFlorence 05.05.2015 at 15:58

      Ciao Cindy! Thank you so much for checking the post out. I am really excited about this also because we can just make it our own, traditions are being thrown out the window and what we are focusing on is just trying to make it fun and easy for us all. We are planning on having a party in Texas for my family that cannot come here which should be a lot of fun. I’m sure my dress will make it on a plane back somehow 🙂

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    Alexandra 05.05.2015 at 13:51

    Sometimes I wish we could do it all over again. More romantic, more whimsical flowers al-la-Italian-Eye, less typically Italian. Or maybe, less typically ME: overplanned, logical… At a national park, so a nice setting, but the question came from me… “So when the fu*k are you going to marry me?” and there was no getting down on one knee, in any of the beautiful locations you mention. I think I would have liked the loggia dei lanzi.

    • Avatar
      GirlInFlorence 05.05.2015 at 16:01

      Well Alexandra, being that you guys have been married some time now, you could always do a vow renewal in the Italian Eye style :). I would be down to help with that! I think it is hilarious that you used the f* word (I hope) when it came to your proposal. I asked the group at Italian Reflections on facebook and basically no-one’s man proposed, it was all like ‘yeah, so we should get married, right?’. Oh those romantic Italiani ;-).

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    Kaley 05.05.2015 at 16:57

    Experiencing another culture’s traditions in love is so mind-opening! I too had that vision of a typical (American) proposal, with a big diamond ring and him down on one knee. But in Spain engagement rings aren’t really typical (they are getting to be more so now, thanks to American influence!) and the whole proposal thing isn’t generally a big to do. My husband tried to make his more American because he knew I’d like it, but most Spaniards don’t do it.

    I love trying to explain to people who have basically never left the U.S. that I’m not upset that my husband didn’t spend a certain amount on a huge diamond, that I’d rather not have that … They really don’t get it (most of the time, anyway).

    We went to Italy on our honeymoon, and Florence was indeed a romantic spot 🙂

  • Avatar
    Emily 05.05.2015 at 23:07

    Oh my, congrats! I am looking forward to your adventures on getting married in Italy. Hopefully choosing a venue will be the hardest thing you will have to go through 🙂

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    Gil 06.05.2015 at 2:06

    Congratulations! This story is much more romantic than ours. My wife said something like” “If i don’t get engaged by my birthday, I’m moving to San Francisco to live with my sister.” I give the guy and girl in the boat a lot of credit to stretch things out for a year. As usual, I love your fabulous pictures!

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    Diana 06.05.2015 at 19:35

    Congrats Georgette! What a wonderful time in your life. And I agree…whatever works. Whatever works in every regard….proposals,wedding, children, ahem…mealtime! (ha, ha, ha…) LIFE! Best wishes to you both!

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    Anna 08.05.2015 at 22:34

    Congrats! Can’t wait to read about the whole process. I’m in Sicily and we just got engaged a few weeks ago (he did a nice job and American-style just for me). But now the idea of the nulla osta and the rest of it has my head spinning. Good luck to you and thanks for posting all the grisly details 🙂

  • Avatar
    Robin Plapp Killoran 09.05.2015 at 3:46

    Congratulations! We will all be excited to see how this adventure…or, I should say, the beginning of this adventure….works its way through Italian bureaucracy. I think I recall your saying that, as you were trying to get a visa, some clerk asked “Why don’t you just get married?” That seems to imply that getting married should be easier than getting a visa. One can only hope!

    BTW, my dad proposed to my mom on their first date, as they sat in the car at a gas station. I suppose when a proposal of marriage is involved, anywhere can be romantic. 🙂

    • Avatar
      GirlInFlorence 11.05.2015 at 16:34

      Hello Robin! Thank you so much for following along! I am really excited actually to write about it all. Talk about ‘red tape’ my boyfriend has to drive me 10+ kilometers away to the tribunale just to make an appointment for the atto nottorio tomorrow, so annoying but I need to do this since the wait can be long. I am hoping not.. Yeah I did mention in an earlier questura post that ‘getting marries’ was the easy way to live here legally but I am so happy I waited, now it can be a joyous event instead of ‘let’s rush things’ in a relationship that wasn’t meant to be. Great story about your dad, that actually reflects most experiences I have heard.

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    Sonja 12.05.2015 at 10:43

    Hi Georgette,

    I have just read your blog for the first time ever and am loving it! I am a Dutch, Florentine based Wedding-Designer married to a Serbian Wedding-Photographer. If you are ever interested in talking or blogging about wedding flowers or photography or anything else wedding related, please let me know! Check out our websites: http://www.funkybird.it and http://www.funkybirdphotography.com

  • Avatar
    Leo Sigh 13.05.2015 at 21:32

    Congrats on your upcoming wedding, and what lovely photos. I think San Miniato al Monte would probably do it for me. What a gorgeous place.

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    Cassandra 19.05.2015 at 16:43

    Congrats, Georgette and Nico!!

    Having just gotten engaged last year, it will be intriguing to follow all of the fun–and occasionally not so fun–steps to getting married in your adopted country.

    I definitely hear you when you mention the red tape that comes with getting married in a third country. Andres and I ran into so much trouble that we ended up deciding that it was less trouble to simply fly back to the US to get married. (It’s a BREEZE there compared to Spanish burocracy–no translations, no official stamps, no month-long waits, etc.)

    But, before all of the actual wedding planning came into play, we were just an in-love couple enjoying our engagement in–that’s right, you guessed it–Florence. Summer or winter, the city is just so romantic! I wrote a bit about the day here (http://geecassandra.com/fill-blanks-winter-edition/), but I will give the abridged version and say that Andres asked me to marry him at the #3 spot on your list 😉

    • Avatar
      GirlInFlorence 19.05.2015 at 17:55

      Hello Cassandra! I am working on my next post as we speak on Italian red-tape since I am in the midst of it all. Also I want to talk about more venue scouting in Florence and beyond since I also have another friend who will be getting married next year. Is it pretty crazy in Spain too then? I already had to get my birth certificate translated into French and notarized and I am getting married in Italy! Mamma mia..

      ps. props to Andres for proposing in Florence and thank you for sharing 🙂

      • Avatar
        Cassandra 24.05.2015 at 19:47

        Whoa, that’s pretty humorous about the French translation! I hope that wasn’t too hard to obtain in Florence.

        And yes, the red tape in Spain is also intense. Part of the problem is that lines in Madrid are hopelessly long–and you can only start the process in the city where you claim residence.

        A civil wedding takes places over three different appointments, and each appointment is 1.5 months apart. The most frustrating thing for us was a strike at the civil registry, which pushed the date of the first appointment back for nearly 4 months!! (In addition, you must present all of your docs–including official birth certificates + notarized translations–before you can even START the process.) What a nightmare!

        • Avatar
          GirlInFlorence 25.05.2015 at 9:27

          Hello Cassandra, that sounds like a nightmare in Madrid and it is the same (technically) here with residency, I almost feel like where you claim residency is so much more important than many of us outsiders know. That is very frustrating that they pushed your appointment back so long, what was the point of that? mamma mia…

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    terri 03.09.2015 at 16:14

    Hi Georgette. I will be visiting Florence for a couple of days this month and would like to buy a traditional fede ring for my partner. I have looked online with no success. Ideally I would like a vintage one, not worried about the size as I don’t expect him to actually wear it. We have been together for 3 years, although I have been in love with him for 20 (he was with someone else back then :0() so I have waited long enough for a proposal and have decided to take matters into my own hands! Can you suggest anywhere that I could find the perfect symbol of how I feel about him?

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    Aundrea 30.01.2016 at 22:39

    Hi Georgette. Congratulations to you and your new hubby! I absolutely love your blog and read it constantly! Thank you for all of your photos and insight. Florence is my home away from home. My husband and I are both teachers and we come to Firenze almost every Summer. We actually just had our wedding there last June. Planning a DIY wedding in Florence from Florida was definitely a challenge, but it was all worth it. It was so magical!

    I would like to give a suggestion to Terri’s question if possible. My ring was made by a marvelous Florentine jewelry designer names Marco Baroni. He is located one block back on the Oltrarno side. Take the Ponte ala Grazie bridge and take a left on the first street back. He has really unique rings and other jewelry!

    Also, this may sound crazy, but Georgette- I was behind you in a sandwich line and it was my first time in Italy…I didn’t know of your blog yet…but I was so amazed at this gorgeous red headed American woman that said “excuse me” to me and the started effortlessly ordering her sandwich in Italian! Bravo! You were my hero that day. I almost asked you to order my sandwich for me! When I stumbled onto your blog a few years ago I said to myself “hey-that chick looks familiar.” haha Anyway, if I run into you again (we’ll be there this Summer) I’ll say Ciao! Thanks again for your awesome work on this blog and for inspiring us all to travel!

    Aundrea-Art Teacher from Florida

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    About Me

    About Me

    Hi There!

    Ciao, I'm a curious American "Tuscan Texan" who calls Florence, Italy home for the past 11 years. I am the editor at Italy Magazine and I also work as an established digital social media marketing strategist (5+ years) as well as a freelance writer. My bylines have appeared in Lonely Planet, Luxos Magazine, and International Living. This blog is my way to share what life is like living and working abroad, as well as provide up-to-date true advice on traveling and living in Italy, weekend trips around Europe, and a monthly roundup of interesting events. I'm married to a wonderful Frenchman and we have a Florentine beagle who rules the household. Keep in touch with our adventures with your favorite glass of franciacorta or espresso!

    Georgette

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