A Romantic Wedding in Rome Filled with Classic Elegance

It was a December night in 2018 – Christmas time in the heart of New York City. For Alexander Tan, it was the last Friday that everyone was in the office before heading home for the holidays. Alex had arrived to his office building on Madison Avenue, only to be sent home soon thereafter, because the Christmas decorations in the lobby quite literally went up in flames.

Along with his co-workers who were abandoning the city, there were two courtside tickets to that evening’s Knicks game, which happened to be abandoned as well. Fortunately for Alex, he wasn’t planning on heading home to Ohio until the next day.

The Knicks City Dancers and a Yankees Hat

At the start of every Knicks game, the Knicks City Dancers walk out onto the court along the baseline to start player introductions. As Michelle Leonardo was passing the courtside seats, she spotted Alex standing there in a Yankees hat. He caught her eye and made such an impression that she asked one of her teammates after performing, “Did you see that guy standing courtside in the Yankees hat? He’s really cute.”

“We wanted to be able to look back at our wedding in 50 years and say it looked timeless.”

Little did Michelle know that while she was performing, one of her former teammates had walked out onto the court and saw Alex. She knew him from college and immediately went up to say hello. While catching up, Alex made a joke asking if any of her friends were single.

As Michelle was changing for her next routine with the Knicks City Dancers, her former teammate walked into the locker room and said, “My friend from college is here; he’s sitting courtside and he’s single.” Michelle’s ears perked right up. She whipped around and asked, “What is he wearing?” to which her friend replied, “I think a Yankees hat.”

“Introduced that night, we felt an immediate connection,” Michelle recalls. “Despite Alex's nervous chatter on our first date – he talked A LOT and so fast! – we had such a great time together and we stayed out far too late that night, reluctant to part ways.”

With NYC being the place where their love story began, it was only apropos for Alex to propose to Michelle atop One World Trade Center, overlooking the city that brought them together.

A Romantic Wedding in Rome, Italy

The couple decided to host a romantic wedding in Rome, Italy, and found the wedding planning process to be both exciting and overwhelming.

“Guided by our wonderful wedding planner, Federica at Italian Wedding Event,” Michelle describes, “we spent 18 months planning, making two memorable trips to Italy for venue tours and tastings. The process became a source of joy, a shared adventure that strengthened our bond.”

The wedding day was filled with emotions. Alex was “profoundly moved,” and Michelle felt an unparalleled sense of joy, unlike anything she’d experienced before. She even told her friends that she couldn’t cry if she wanted to – she was too overwhelmed with joy, and the couple agrees it was the happiest day of their lives. 

Celebrating the culmination of their NYC love story abroad in Rome, the couple opted to keep the ambiance classic and elegant. The wedding décor consisted of chandeliers, white roses, a glossy dance floor, and a scenographic string quartet to reflect their vision.

“We wanted to be able to look back at our wedding in 50 years and say it looked timeless,” the bride shares. “Our favorite little detail was our customized napkins that had an outline of our dog, Brady. He was the only one missing on our big day, so that was a nice way to have him there.”

The newlyweds remained in Europe for their honeymoon, choosing to split their time between Sicily and St. Tropez. Both destinations offered a dreamy escape filled with special moments.

“While Alex might have slept through much of the trip,” Michelle adds, “our time in Sicily remains etched in our hearts.”


Location: Villa Aurelia; Ceremony Location: Santa Cecilia in Trastevere; Planner: Italian Wedding Event; Floral Design: Leandro Flowers; Rentals: Preludio; Lighting: Nico Celano; Cake & Caterer: Enoteca La Torre; Ceremony DressInes Di SantoBridal Salon: Chic Parisian; Reception Dress: Berta; Groom’s Attire: Tom Ford; Groom’s Watch: Cartier; Hair: Ginevra Botticelli; Makeup: Angelica Alberti; Invitations: Em Paper Co; Entertainment: Krystal Kaurtet, The Big Wave, DJ Zano & Toni On; Cinematographer: Matteo Castelluccia; Photography: Paola Colleoni