Gabriella Tangredi and Cainaan Lacy met through mutual friends at the young age of 15. They instantly clicked and made each other laugh, and the two teens started dating after they turned 16.
For the proposal, Cainaan tricked Gabriella into thinking they were going to his dad’s 60th “surprise” birthday party, which just happened to be at the couple’s favorite wine bar.
“As we were walking to the garden,” Gabriella describes, “he pulled me aside to a room filled with flowers and candles and sitting on a small bistro table was my engagement ring. And he got down on one knee and proposed! As we walked into the garden, I opened the door to the second surprise, which was a room full of our family and closest friends.”
“I wanted to keep everything classical, but also show our personality where we could.”
Cainaan and Gabriella always knew they wanted to do something different for their wedding. The couple loves wine, good food, travel, and they wanted their special day to be romantic and personal. Italy was always on their bucket list, but they weren’t quite sure if they could pull off a destination wedding in Italy.
“I started by talking to some U.S. based brides who were married in Italy over the last 10 years to realize I can do this,” Gabriella shares. “I was fortunate enough to meet my wedding planner via zoom in 2018 and we started planning. In February 2020, Cainaan and I were both working abroad in London, when we went to visit our venue and do our food tasting. Little did we know we were going to be rushed to get back to the states because of the COVID outbreak in Milan.
While being in the EU when this was happening, we realized fast this was serious. Never did we imagine that we would plan an international wedding while a global pandemic was happening. Our first date was postponed, and we had to replan for 2021. It was unbelievably stressful, but we had a dream and faith that it was going to become a reality, so we didn’t give up on it. Our wedding planner Francesca was the beaming light of hope throughout the entire process; her and I bonded through these tough times.”
As soon as the couple found out that U.S. residents were allowed back in the EU in May of 2021, they started rallying their friends and family to buy flights for their September 2021 wedding date. It was far from the traditional wedding process, but by the time the welcome party, rehearsal dinner, and wedding day came around, the bride and groom realized it was worth every tear and struggle.
“After waiting for almost two years to marry my high school sweetheart in a destination we dreamed off, I was the calmest I have ever been,” the bride recalls. “So calm and relaxed that I rewrote my vows that morning and was able to speak to them without any notes.”
One of the reasons why Gabriella chose their wedding venue was because of its history and large size. From the XI century to 1711, the location served as a lookout tower that evolved into a vacation home for the Malenchini family; and she wanted their guests to feel immersed in the culture and be part of the venue’s history.
“Our ceremony was held on the original look out terrace, where it was decorated with florals and a string quartet,” says Gabriella. “I wanted to keep everything classical, but also show our personality where we could. My husband walked down the aisle to ‘Stairway to Heaven’ by Led Zeppelin and ‘Young & Beautiful’ was played for me. This was part of setting the tone for what was to come.
Keeping tradition top of mind, our cocktail hour was only Apertifs, Aperol Spritz, and Hugo spritz accompanied with seasonal appetizers, zucchini flowers, shrimp wrapped in prosciutto, and my favorite – the parmesan cheese chips and cashews as bar snacks. Our tablescape for dinner was unbelievably romantic, as hundreds of candles lined one long table that was surrounded by lemon trees and string lights. Florals were simple with blush and neutral tones. Dinner was a 3-course meal of risotto, pasta, and veal with truffle potatoes all paired perfectly with Malenchini vino. The best part – no liquor was served until the ‘party.’”
After dinner, the newlyweds and their guests transitioned to another part of the venue, which was decorated with a large disco ball and a black backdrop decked with string lights. A DJ and live instrumentals performed, a gelato table was set up, a cigar room and bar were readily available, and everyone danced until 2 a.m.
Location: Villa Medicea di Lilliano, Italy; Photography: Oscar Castro, Mexico