A Romantic Destination Wedding in Tuscany
Veronica knew of Mickias since he was her cousin's best friend. They had crushes on each other but neither acted on it until Veronica was in college and persuaded her cousin to let Mickey reach out to her. They started dating long-distance and, a few years after the couple got together, Mickias popped the question on the beach during a vacation in Barbados. "Hiding the ring was a nightmare because I knew Veronica would use my carry-on for her things," says the groom. "Suspecting I was going to propose on this trip, I threw her off when I didn't react every time she opened my bag." On the eighth day of their trip she gave up thinking he was going to ask for her hand in marriage while they were abroad, but it was that night during sunset that he sprung to action.
A year and a half later, on June 17, 2017, it was in another picturesque setting—Siena, Italy—that the California-based couple tied the knot. They chose Borgo Stomennano as the venue for their destination fête. Since the bride's father hails from Italy and the mother-of-the-groom lives in Ethiopia, it was the perfect mid-point for their family and friends (there were 180 guests total) to gather. The 17th century mansion overseeing the landscape of Tuscany set the scene for the celebration, which was designed in soft, neutral colors and a romantic and classic style.
Welcome to Italy
Guests were given a map of the area that doubled as an itinerary for the weekend, a bottle of water, and a "do not disturb" sign to hang on their doors. Candy, chocolate, and bread was also tucked inside the stamped muslin bags that read "Ciao!"
A Stylish Pair
Veronica tried on about a dozen wedding dresses before choosing this Berta number, which was selected by her god mother. "The one thing I loved most about my dress was that I felt it went with the feel of the villa," says Veronica. "And I knew I wanted a Berta dress before Mickey even proposed."
Mickey had their engagement photos stitched into the inner lining of his Tom James jacket, and their first initials embroidered on his shirt.
Veronica's Berta wedding dress was made from hand-crafted lace and had an illusion panel with additional leaf appliques on the back.
The First Look
"The most memorable moment of the day for me was our first look," says the bride. "I felt as if I was meeting my fiancé for the first time. I was so nervous and excited." Though they had seen each other earlier during an Ethiopian tradition, Mickey and his male attendants "fought" their way against the bride's family to get into the room Veronica was in. Once there, Mickey bent down to kiss her parents' knees as a sign of respect.
Here Comes the Groom
Mickey was all smiles as he and his parents entered the ceremony to the sounds of "At Last" by Etta James.
The Stylish Processional
Here Comes the Bride
"La Vie En Rose" was the soundtrack for Veronica and her father's entrance.
Veronica and Mickey stood under a canopy in the garden where they exchanged vows. The bride's aunt and uncle recited readings during the customized ceremony, which incorporated various religious traditions in order to honor the bride's Catholic background and the groom's Greek Orthodox roots. The pair chose to personalize their wedding with the lighting of a unity candle and the blessing of hands ritual.
After being declared husband and wife, the couple walked back up the aisle to the sounds of Stevie Wonder's "For Once in My Life."
During cocktail hour, guests enjoyed appetizers and cocktails, including this Campari Lambrusco spritz that came alive thanks to dry ice.
Hanging Escort Cards
When it was time for dinner, guests moved to the back of the villa. Tables were set with gold vessels holding a mix of candles and floral arrangements in a muted palette of soft pinks and ivory. "I wanted a romantic, ethereal garden theme with a feeling of old Italy," Veronica says of the ambiance.
The Place Settings
Menus topped with the couple's wax seal outlined the meal prepared by Delizia Ricevimenti—which began with a mozzarella pudding with truffle cream and basil emulsion. "I chose the blue-patterned plates to add a little fairytale feel," says Veronica. Adds event planner Fallon Carter, "The antique plates acted as our 'something blue' for the day."
One Romantic Evening
As the sun set over Tuscany, strands of lights over the tables provided a warm glow throughout the space.
An Italian Wedding Cake
The traditional Napoleon-style wedding cake was prepared live. "It was like we were watching a show," says Veronica.
Written in Lights
The couple's monogram was projected over the bar, which really popped once the sun set.
Time to Dance
After the newlyweds danced to John Legend's "Stay With You," it was time to cut loose on the dance floor, which was by the pool.
Before the reception ended, chairs were lined up for the elders of the family to sit on, and the bride and groom knelt down to kiss each elder's knee—a custom in the Ethiopian culture. "It's a rite of passage to thank them for raising us and getting their blessing," says Mickey. "And it is my most memorable moment of that special day."
Photography, Lisa Poggi Photography
Location, Borgo Stomennano
Event planning, Fallon Carter Weddings
Catering, Delizia Ricevimenti
Videography, Matteo Castelluccia
Stationery and Calligraphy, Letter Love Studio
Rentals, Happy Days
Bride's gown, Berta
Bride's shoes, René Caovilla
Hair, Yene Damtew
Makeup, Lidija Malinovskaja
Bridesmaids' dresses, Amsale
Groom's tuxedo and shirt, Tom James
Groom's shoes, Super Glamourous
Lighting and AV, GB Audio