Matthew and Shakirah first met in 2015 when she tried to recruit him for their church’s running club. Apprehensive, Matthew initially declined. His mind was changed when the two of them later hung out with mutual friends. Their conversation was easy and the connection authentic. “Being from New York, I am not especially trusting of overly bubbly people,” said Matt. “It didn’t take long to see that her kindness and her love for others is 100% genuine.” To no surprise, he later changed his mind and joined the run club. Their relationship blossomed from there.

After a year and a half of dating, Matthew surprised Shakirah with a heartfelt proposal at a pumpkin patch. Not long after becoming engaged, the couple decided to have a destination wedding somewhere romantic and unconventional. They eventually chose Tuscany, Italy. “We elected not to visit Italy before the wedding,” says Shakirah. “We wanted to save as much money as possible. As such, we put complete trust in our planner Ben Singleton of ItalyWeddings and his team to help navigate the logistics. He made us very happy.”

The couple enhanced the lush surroundings with pops of color: marsala wine, navy, gold and emerald green touches were everywhere you looked. Best of all, the couple solidified their union with a radical name change. “Rather than me solely taking Matthew’s name, we decided to take each other’s last names as a nod to our true partnership,” says Shakirah. “Our motto is #sameteam. Our family name reflects as such. We’re the Hill-Taylors.”

Scroll through the gallery to see the best moments from Shakirah and Matthew’s Tuscan wedding.

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