Born worlds apart, countless life decisions led Christina Hollingsworth and Michael Whyte to New York City, where people from all corners of the globe cross paths. Christina is from Indiana and Michael is from Australia, but the two connected via a lucky algorithm. Michael wasn’t sure what to expect when Christina arrived 45 minutes late to their first date, but he was relieved to have given her the benefit of the doubt and was immediately besotted by her brown eyes, warm smile, and playful nature.
Christina was admittedly a bit nervous when she first saw Michael. He was tall, handsome, intelligent, and relatively reserved despite having a few glasses of Sangiovese while patiently waiting for her. He was open but not loud, and politely asked if she wanted another after each drink – all the while, wondering if his growing interest was reciprocated. What could have easily been a fateful miss turned into a never-ending conversation, a passionate kiss, and an agreement to cancel all plans to see each other the next day.
“The ceremony was an intimate exchange of heartfelt words between the couple, free of distractions, in their own secret garden.”
After conquering a global pandemic that would test any relationship, Michael proposed to Christina on a private boat in Battery Park Marina, 294 days after their first date. Surrounded by words of poetry from Whitman and O'Hara, carved into the Marina’s iron fence, Christina said "Yes" to Michael with Lady Liberty as their witness.
With the desire for travel and an intimate adventure, Michael and Christina decided upon a destination elopement in Italy with a guest list of just two. It didn't take the two diligent planners long to settle on the picturesque Amalfi Coast as the ideal destination. After much research and a few bottles of wine, Christina came across Cristiano Ostinelli's infamous wedding photography. Impressed by the creative quality and the palpable emotions exuding from each photo, Christina and Michael knew this man and his team would create the perfect window into their special day for their family and friends.
With its rich history, vibrant botanical gardens, and breathtaking sea views, Villa Astor stood out from the rest as the idyllic location for their elopement. The couple's planner, Simona Guida, quickly became their “Italian fairy godmother” and worked tirelessly to plan a day and night to remember against Sorrento’s magical backdrop.
The big day began with sunlight pouring through the windows of the wedding suite onto the deep blue marble floor. Michael, quick to dress, found time to take in the fresh ocean breeze while ensuring the glasses of Dom Perignon remained full. Too excited to eat, Christina bonded with her stylists over topics like psychology, Italian music, and lipstick colors. A curated playlist titled "45 min late" set a playful and loving mood for the day.
Chaotic waves made for a laugh-inducing midmorning boat ride en route to the couple's lunch at Quattro Passi. Fuelled by the excitement of the day, Michael still miraculously remembered how to drive stick shift in a classic MG sports car all the way back to the Villa. With the liberty of time, a quick celebration in the Villa’s pool ensued before the afternoon’s main event.
Set to the traditional tune of Pachelbel’s “Canon,” performed with two violins and a cello, the ceremony was an intimate exchange of heartfelt words between the couple, free of distractions, in their own secret garden. Chef Peppe Aversa later commenced the evening's celebration on the Villa’s balcony overlooking the Bay of Naples with multiple courses of detectible Italian food, unforgettable wine, and a specially designed dessert tower.
Surrounded by the love of their newly found Italian family, fireworks illuminated the night sky and somehow served as the perfect metronome for Christina and Michael’s first dance as husband and wife.
Photography: Cristiano Ostinelli, Lake Como, Italy