It was a crystal clear evening on May 21, 2011 and the dinner reception for the St. Regis International Cup at Cowdray Park Polo Club was in full swing. Natalie was standing on the edge of the overflowing dance floor contemplating whether to call it a night, when a charming man wearing a cheeky smile half-danced his way straight toward her through the crowd.
He stood directly in front of her wearing a Russian military hat and proceeded to introduce himself as James Diggines in an almost over exaggerated slow and clear voice as he had been told she was Argentine and was unsure she spoke English. “There was something so incredibly charming, endearing and fun about James,” Natalie said. She was immediately intrigued by him so she introduced herself and cleared up any confusion about her nationality and language skills.
After dancing the night away, they exchanged numbers and as soon as she arrived home at 3:00am, James called her and they spoke for over two hours. During the conversation, she agreed to meet him for drinks, two days later, at The American Bar in The Stafford Hotel in London.
“THERE WAS SOMETHING SO INCREDIBLY CHARMING, ENDEARING AND FUN ABOUT JAMES”
The spark between them was still there and felt incredibly natural. She had never truly laughed or loved until she met James. His innate sense of humor, overwhelming kindness and positive outlook on life inspired her.
They spent the next couple of years exploring the world together from Switzerland and Cambodia to the South of France and Italy. In December 2012, they traveled to Australia and James met Natalie’s parents, in person, but had already built a great relationship with them over the phone. Unbeknownst to Natalie, James asked her father for his blessing to propose to her.
On January 9th, James chartered a seaplane in Sydney Harbour to take her to lunch where he proposed at a special restaurant on the Hawkesbury River. He proposed with his gold signet ring featuring his family's crest, something Natalie decided to incorporate into their wedding stationary. They chose an Emerald cut diamond and designed the setting together with one of James's dear friends who runs his family's jewelry business in the UK.
They wanted a wedding that was elegant and classic, yet rustic and relaxed. They chose Italy having previously shared many magical times there, it made perfect sense to share the most special day of their lives in their favorite country.
They visited and fell in love with the 15th Century La Foce estate which extends over the hills overlooking the Val d'Orcia, an enchanting and miraculously unspoiled valley in southern Tuscany. They loved its monumental beauty, breathtaking gardens and rich evocative history. So, they selected the venue.
They wed exactly three years and 10 days after they met. That weekend began with a welcome party for 90 guests on Friday evening at La Foce's fountain court. Then, they held their wedding ceremony in the formal garden on Saturday evening. Natalie recalls one of her favorite moments of the ceremony walking down the aisle on her father’s arm.
After the ceremony, Natalie and James walked back up the aisle to Andrea Bocelli's “Con Te Partirò” while being showered with rose petals and lavender buds, by their guests. “Our wedding was exactly as we had imagined. It was a dream come true and was the most magical day of our lives,” Natalie said.
Location: La Foce, Tuscany, Italy; Caterer, Cake, Linen and Rentals: Galateo Ricevimenti, Florence, Italy
Floral Design: Stiatti Fiori, Montevarchi, Italy; Lighting and Entertainment: Dance Party, Tuscany, Italy
Wedding Dress: Monique Lhuillier; Bride's Shoes: Christian Louboutin; Cinematography: Matteo Castelluccia Videomaker, Tuscany, Italy; Officiant: Blessings From Italy; Photography: Jules Photographer, Tuscany, Italy