The Elaborate Greenery Work at This Couple's Italian Wedding Had Guests Looking Up Throughout the Reception
Although they celebrated their official wedding day with a small ceremony with friends in Central Park, Ryan and Julian knew they wanted to exchange vows formally, in a way that would do justice to their day jobs in the event-planning industry (both the bride and groom work for the storied David Beahm Experiences in New York City). Julian is Italian, and his one request was to have amazing food at his wedding. "This, of course, inspired us to look closer at doing a destination wedding in Italy," says Ryan. Though the groom's family lives in Italy, the pair wanted to maintain the feeling of a true destination event, so they chose Tuscany, a location that would be a treat for everyone—even the Italians.
First on the couple's list of priorities was finding a villa where they could both lodge their guests and host their second vow exchange. "We came across Borgo Cevoli, the absolute perfect cocktail: Two historic villas, one for our families and one for our friends, both sharing a beautiful entrance and pool," says Ryan.
The pair found that the easiest part of planning was brainstorming their day. "We knew exactly what we wanted for our guest experience, food, and décor," says the bride. "We were thankful to be from the industry!" They planned the majority of the wedding on their own, drawing from the experience their careers afforded them; but they, of course, respected the precious input of their colleagues. "It was an odd sensation to be on the 'client' side of the process," says Ryan. "We brought in Super Tuscan Wedding Planners to recommend and broker a relationship with our caterer, and they also provided day-of coordination."
The hardest part of the preparations, however, was the multicultural aspect of the celebration. "I'm Italian, but grew up in France, and Ryan was born in North Carolina," says Julian. "The celebration was a mix of French, Italian, and English guests who traveled from three continents to join us. Simple tasks such as communicating with guests had to be done in three languages, and—depending on their culture and experience with weddings—sometimes required further explanation."
In the end, Ryan and Julian crafted the event of their dreams. "Since we were already married, we did not have the nerves of seeing each other for the first time," says Ryan. "I was mostly excited to show Julian my dress because it was a surprise, and he was excited to finally see it!"
Artful Wedding Invitations
Inspired by the marbleized Kelly Wearstler design on their Paperless Post invitations, the couple composed and printed a suite of coordinating paper elements with an artistic swash of pink and gray. "All guests had custom welcome cards, door-hanger tags, maps, WiFi cards, and escort cards; family had place cards at the reception," says Ryan of the wedding's additional paper goods.
A Stunning Wedding Dress
Ryan's delicate chiffon wedding dress by Watters was actually her second choice—but it trumped the first second to none. "I bought one gown and secretly hated it!" she says. "I returned it the second I found the 'Vervain.'"
Timeless Pearl Earrings
The bride wore a classic pair of pearl earrings by BHLDN, shown to beautiful effect here against a lovely embroidered handkerchief.
A Natural Bridal Hairstyle
Ryan chose a half-up, half-down hairstyle; after pinning up the sides, cascading waves tumbled down her back.
A Lush, Loose Bridal Bouquet
The bride's bouquet was a striking mix of white peonies, purple-and-white scabiosa, gardenia foliage, peach ranunculus blossoms, Earl Grey roses, burgundy lisianthus, jasmine vine, green thistle, and local greens.
A Handsomely Dressed Groom
A Floral Half-Circle
A grounded floral arch marked the ceremony's altar, while cane-back wooden seats awaited guests.
A Memorable Procession
Ryan's father proudly walked her down the aisle to Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah," played on violin and cello.
A Quaint Vow Exchange
Since the couple's ceremony was technically a vow renewal, the service was "officiated" by one of Julian's closest friends, who performed the whole service in French, Italian, and English. "Our entire ceremony was a surprise to us," says Ryan, who later exchanged traditional vows with Julian. Following the ceremony, the pair shared a Prosecco toast with all of their guests before giving everyone an opportunity to enjoy the sunset.
Al Fresco Cocktail Hour
Post-ceremony, attendees gathered poolside to enjoy cocktails and each other's company.
Pre-dinner hors d'oeuvres were passed during the cocktail hour; snacks included medallions of cornmeal mush with burrata cheese and caramelized onions.
Chic Cocktail Seating
Small tables surrounded by iron chairs beckoned guests to relax while they enjoyed their drinks.
A Colorful, Comical Seating Chart
Escort cards in a range of pastels gave guests their seating assignments, plus a little something extra. "We snuck in some of our favorite TV-show characters on our escort-card board, so that all of the characters were the only cards left once guests took theirs," says Ryan.
A serpentine garland of greenery embellished one of the villa's façades; the installation served as a focal point for the event.
A New York State of Mind
"Our goal was to transport a piece of our home in New York City to Tuscany, superimposing a snapshot of our professional world onto the Tuscan surrounds," clarifies Ryan. "Our cocktail hour and ceremony were simple and could have easily been pegged as 'Tuscan,' but the dinner turned everything upside down with a chic modern setting."
Contemporary Table Settings
Gold utensils "dipped" in white accented sophisticated white place settings with dinnerware edged in gold.
Delicate Flower Arrangements
Geometrically shaped vases held stems of coral peonies, peachy ranunculus blossoms, and white scabiosa blooms. Following dinner (which kicked off with tasty charcuterie), the couple served a traditional Millefoglie cake with chantilly cream, chocolate flakes, and berries.
Photography, Theo Milo
Venue, Borgo Cevoli
Event design, David Beahm Experiences
Day-of coordination, Super Tuscan Wedding Planners
Flowers, David Beahm Experiences
Invitations, Kelly Wearstler for Paperless Post
Bridal gown, Watters
Bride's earrings, BHLDN
Bride's shoes, Badgley Mischka
Bride's hair, Hannah Lynne Milo
Bride's makeup, Angelo Nenna Pintor
Groom's attire, Massimo Dutti
Music, Wedding Music & Lights
Rentals, Preludio Noleggio
Transportation, Autonoleggi Pisa
Lighting, Wedding Music & Lights