A couple who meet as teenagers wed in a breathtaking Italian villa, surrounded by family, friends, and plenty of blooms.
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As soon as Enrica and Danny met at the tender age of 16, they knew they wanted to be together. As years together and a magnificent wedding prove, it was so much more than puppy love. Though based in Malta, nearby Italy holds special meaning for the couple. Having lived in Milan while Enrica earned her Master's degree, they decided to return in 2017 for a Valentine's Day dinner—and for what turned out to be a surprise proposal. "I wasn't expecting a proposal because he always said he'd never do it in a restaurant, but he popped the question during dessert," Enrica recalls. A little over a year-and-a-half later, they found themselves back in Italy—this time in Tuscany—turning their engagement into a marriage.
"We visit Italy quite frequently and have always mentioned that when the time comes, we should think about having a small wedding here," Enrica says of what ultimately became a 220-guest celebration at the breathtaking Il Borro. And yes, that's small by Maltese standards. "Maltese weddings are very big, with 500 to 700 guests, and that is something we wanted to avoid," she says. "We wanted something much more intimate."
And despite a sprawling villa, dozens of guests, and elegance around every corner, their nuptials—which consisted of a ceremony styled to look like like a flower market and a reception that was inspired by a floral forest—felt just as much like a warm family gathering as an awe-inspiring destination wedding.
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Enrica isn't surprised that Danny knew she'd love her engagement ring, which features an Asscher-cut center stone and smaller diamonds. "I think we've spent enough time together for him to know exactly what I liked," she says of the husband she's known since her teens.
As for the rest of her wedding-day jewelry? Enrica kept it simple, wearing only emerald-cut diamond earrings and her mother's tennis bracelet.
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"The first time we visited Il Borro, we completely fell in love with the Italian garden and the view of the Borgo from there. I felt that it really told a Renaissance story," Enrica recalls of their initial visit to the spectacular, award-winning Tuscan venue. "In fact, we didn't look at another place after that."
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Danny and Enrica were so enamored with Il Borro, that it served as the theme for their wedding's stationery. Shhh My Darling recreated the garden's iconic fountain on the invitations, also lining the envelope with a pastel watercolor illustration of their wedding-weekend residence, Villa Dimora.
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The charming fountain logo was repeated on tote bags given as favors to the guests. Inside the bags were a bounty of Italian treats, from olive oil to cantucci cookies to Baci truffles.
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Layers to Love
In search of a tulle-swathed wedding dress that didn't overwhelm her petite five-foot frame, Enrica visited five bridal shops before finding herself at Oscar de la Renta. But even then her search didn't come to a quick end. "People always say that you get a feeling the minute you try on 'the one,' and that just wasn't happening for me," Enrica says. However, "after trying on these beautiful gowns for which I was about eight inches too short, I tried on the Harlow," a strapless guipure lace gown with a magical train. "I absolutely loved it and it made me feel so good."
It truly became "the one" when Enrica was told that the ensemble came with a tulle overskirt that ties at the waist with a silk bow. "I finally got the feeling everyone talked about," she says. "Plus, I was super happy that I could be even more comfortable in the dress once the skirt came off."
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The search for Enrica's wedding shoes was far simpler than the one for her dress, as she had a specific pair in mind from the start.
"I've always have my eyes set on a pair of ivory Manolo Blahniks," she says of the satin Hangisi style, which features a marcasite-like buckle on the toe. And the best part? "I spent the whole night in them!"
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With the help of their planner, Laura of Exclusive Italy Weddings, Enrica and Danny decided their wedding's color scheme would center on mauve with accents of marsala, blush, and multiple shades of green. The bride's bouquet was a more subdued interpretation of those hues.
"My bouquet was very light in color, with touches of blush," she says of her flowers, which were wrapped in a long silk ribbon. "We used lots of roses and orchids to give it a modern touch."
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"Danny was quite set on a dark blue suit with black shoes," Enrica says of her groom's style preferences. Both the father of the bride and the father of the groom accompanied Danny to a Perugia store called Donati, where all three found their suits. In addition to Donati accessories, the groom completed his look with Dolce & Gabbana shoes.
The groomsmen—made up of Danny's brother, cousin, and best friends—all found their slightly lighter blue suits at Bortex, a local shop.
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Enrica had 10 bridesmaids—her sister, cousins, and best friends—so it goes without saying that they had varying tastes. "I definitely didn't want them to all look the same," the bride says, "and I wanted them to be comfortable in their dresses."
She ultimately went with a variety of convertible dresses from Jenny Yoo all in a mauve shade that blended in beautifully with the wedding's overall color scheme. "They all got to choose their own necklines, which gave them a personal touch."
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The ceremony took place in Il Borro's pool garden, where the aisles were decorated to look like a flower market. Instead of traditional mixtures of flowers, pale-colored wicker baskets held bountiful arrangements of single types of blooms. "Laura came up with the idea of flowered-filled baskets rather than an arch at the alter," Enrica says.
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Enrica walked down the flower-festooned aisle to "La Vie En Rose" played by a string quartet. Danny was brought to tears as the bride's father escorted her to the altar.
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Double the Love
During a symbolic ceremony—the couple had officially exchanged vows in a private Catholic ceremony after pizza with family the day before—the celebrants spoke of their long history together and gave them advice for an even longer future together. After repeating their vows, the Enrica and Danny returned up the aisle to The Beatles' "All You Need Is Love" as guests tossed flower petals.
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Cocktail hour took place in the couple's favorite area of Il Borro, the Italian garden. "This is the area that won us over to begin with, and everybody else loved it, too," Enrica says. Signature drinks were served at the bar and canapés were passed around to guests as bossa nova music played. "There was such a nice vibe."
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As guests enjoyed aperitifs, Enrica and Danny posed under the cypress trees that line Il Borro's entrance. They also took photos in a 1991 black convertible Alfa Romeo for portraits with an especially cool vintage vibe.
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"Dinner was served in the most beautifully decorated marquee," Enrica fondly recalls. Situated on a terrace, the lush space—which overlooked the Italian garden—was filled with trees and flowers. "Laura and Gianluca came up with the idea of filling the marquee with more trees to give the idea of a garden," Enrica says. "Laura really worked her magic here!" Any structures that conflicted with the intended atmosphere were concealed with wooden boxes covered in a Toile de Jouy wallpaper; the tables were topped with neutral linens, candelabras, and floral arrangements.
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On a floral menu calligraphed in the same style as the invitations, guests found a sumptuous selection of dishes using ingredients sourced locally, including a velvety pumpkin soup, paccheri with a saffron cream, pachino cherry tomatoes, and asparagus tips. The main course was a beef fillet with a Montalcino wine, which Enrica says was "divine."
Another guest-favorite food moment? The couple's prosciutto station, which served fresh meats throughout dinner.
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Old Meets New
Although surrounded by antique beauty and classic elegance (as evidenced by this romantic lounge), Enrica and Danny made sure to bring fun touches from the 20th and 21st century into the reception. The couple entered to "The Way You Look Tonight" by Frank Sinatra, and when they completed their first dance, they encouraged the guests to join them on the dance floor with Busta Rhymes's "I Love My Chick."
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"We were very nervous about our first dance as we didn't want it to look rehearsed. We just wanted to enjoy it," Enrica says. Ultimately they chose Natalie Cole's upbeat "This Will Be," and they're so glad they did. "We ended up loving every minute of it, and halfway through, the bridal party joined us on the dance floor. We all had so much fun—it's such a feel-good song."
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The couple's cake was one of the simpler aspects of the wedding. Ivory buttercream frosting hid two different flavors: vanilla with pistachio filling and chocolate with Nutella mousse. It was topped with a few fresh flower sprigs.
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Photography, Gianluca Adovasio
Location, Il Borro
Event planning, Exclusive Italy Weddings
Flowers, Tuscany Flowers
Videography, Matteo Castelluccia
Officiant, Blessings from Italy
Stationery and Calligraphy, Shhh My Darling
Cake, Sugar & Spice
Music, Walter Ricci
Bride's gown, Oscar de la Renta
Bride's accessories, Manolo Blahnik (shoes)
Hair and Makeup, Lara Navarrini
Bridesmaids' dresses, Jenny Yoo
Flower girl and ring bearer attire, Pepa and Co.
Groom's suit, Donati
Groom's accessories, Donati, Dolce & Gabbana (shoes)
Lighting, Alma Project