Sonia Fulciniti first spotted Joe Amendola when she was leaving her best friend’s birthday party. After a quick greeting, she immediately wanted to go back in to get to know “this good-looking guy,” but felt it would be awkward since she had just left. Fortunately, Sonia realized she left her belongings at the pool.
“When I grabbed my things, he asked ‘Why don’t you stay for a drink now that you’re back?’,” she describes. “This might sound like a cliché, but fate at that moment had put two soulmates together. For both of us, it was instant – there was no one else at that party but us.”
AS THE BRIDE MADE HER WAY DOWN THE AISLE, THE GROOM’S EYES WERE WATERY AS HE LEANED IN AND SAID, “YOU LOOK SO BEAUTIFUL.”
Prior to their engagement, Joe always had Sonia wondering when he was going to propose. So during a trip to Italy, on the last day, Sonia planned a romantic tour around Verona – the site of Romeo and Juliet. During dinner at Tre Marchetti, an opera singer performed and Sonia was convinced a proposal was coming; but she felt completely defeated once dinner was over, and she found herself walking with Joe to get some gelato.
On the way back to the hotel, Sonia preoccupied herself by thinking of all the clothes she had to pack before leaving the next day, until she and Joe stopped in front of l’Arena di Verona. There, Joe casually picked up her left hand and pulled off her glove – a simple gesture that sent her into a fit of uncontrollable tears – before pulling a ring out of his pocket a getting down on one knee.
“Joe will never admit it to anyone we tell our story to, but he was crying just like I was,” Sonia adds.
Initially, the wedding planning process involved an intimate destination wedding in Italy. That, however, evolved into a 200-guest extravaganza in Westchester, New York. Sonia and Joe carefully handpicked each wedding vendor, with one of their most important decisions being the photographer.
“We started interviewing photographers in New York City, Connecticut and New Jersey, and no one seemed to ignite a spark in us until we met Giovanni,” Sonia says. “His style literally took our breath away, and we procured his services on the spot.”
When the wedding day arrived, the bride was the calmest she had ever been. The ceremony was held at Sacred Heart in Yonkers, where Joe’s parents and several other family members were married. It was the perfect way to involve his family and continue such a special tradition. As the bride made her way down the aisle, the groom’s eyes were watery as he leaned in and said, “You look so beautiful.”
For the reception, the décor was elegant and clean with a color palette of white, ivory, and touches of silver. Beautiful balls of white roses and hydrangeas were set atop tall silver vases, accented with teardrop candles. White linens were lined under shimmery silver overlays, and the ceiling was covered in dark blue lights to mimic the night sky.
“We had the best time at our wedding, and the dance floor was packed the entire night,” Sonia says. “It really was amazing, watching everyone enjoying themselves.”
Not wanting to give up their dream of getting married in Italy, the newlyweds traveled – with wedding dress and tuxedo in tow – to the Amalfi Coast in August, spending ten days in Positano. And of course, Giovanni was there to document the couple’s second wedding day.
“It was incredible to walk through the streets of Italy with everyone yelling ‘Congratulations!’ and cheering for us,” says Sonia. “All in all, our wedding experience was magical and we can’t wait to live happily ever after!”
Ceremony Location: Monastery Church of the Sacred Heart, Yonkers, NY: Reception Location: Mulino’s At Lake Isle, Eastchester, NY; Floral Design: Arcadia Floral Company, Eastchester, NY; Cake: Just Desserts by Jess, Westchester, NY; Wedding Dress: Pnina Tornai; Bridal Salon: Kleinfeld, New York, NY