Malissa Pistillo was first introduced to Kyriakos Barbagianis through two of her cousins. “I was living in Barcelona, Spain at the time (2011) and my cousins reached out and suggested I added Kyriakos on Facebook,” she says. “At that time, I had just moved from Limassol, Cyprus to Barcelona, Spain and the last thing on my mind was meeting someone.
I thought it was a bit crazy to speak to someone I hadn’t met and was living so far away (New York). I added him on Facebook, as my cousin suggested, just to be nice. A few days later, Kyriakos messaged me. The Facebook messages got longer and longer and eventually turned into emails, and then Skype.”
“THANK YOU FOR RAISING YOUR SON TO BE THE MAN OF MY DREAMS.” - MALISSA PISTILLO
“Three months after our initial conversation, New Year’s was coming around the corner and Kyriakos asked if he could fly out to Spain to meet me, which I thought was crazy,” she continues. “But since he knew my cousins and we were talking almost every day, at that point I figured why not. Long story short – we hit it off and had a long distance relationship for three years. I was in Barcelona and Kyriakos was in New York. Every two to three months, he would fly out for the weekend just to see me.”
Further down the line, Malissa moved to New York and landed a job based in Barcelona, leading to two weeks of training in Spain. While in Barcelona, a friend of hers invited her on a night out to Bunkers Del Carmel, which has a phenomenal view of the city and Mediterranean Sea. Once they arrived, they enjoyed some sightseeing and met up with her friend’s fiancé, who was taking photos.
“As I was looking around, my friend told me to look the other direction to see the view,” says Malissa. “Standing in the distance was Kyriakos on crutches, holding flowers. Before I left New York for training, Kyriakos had injured his leg and was put on crutches. As I was looking at him, I couldn’t believe that it was him – all I thought was, ‘Wow, that guy really looks like Kyriakos.’ He called me over, we started talking, and then he got down on his one knee, which was basically injured, and he proposed.”
With Malissa being an admitted perfectionist, the wedding planning process was fun, yet difficult at the same time. The couple decided to host their special day in the Hamptons, and flew out photographer Adam Opris from Florida, so he could capture every moment. Prior to their wedding day, they held a small Greek church ceremony with a few friends and family members. The next day, a spectacular wedding celebration took place with more than 200 guests, followed by a Sunday farewell brunch.
“Some of my favorite moments from the wedding day were when my dad saw me for the first time in my wedding dress and he broke down crying,” describes Malissa, “Cypriot pre-wedding traditions to keep the evil away, and best of all – the moment I walked down the aisle and saw my husband standing at the altar waiting for me. The best part of the reception was all the dancing, especially the Greek dancing. We also surprised our parents by putting Michael Aram frames in their hotel room with a message. For example, the frame I gave Kyriakos parents said the following: ‘Thank you for raising your son to be the man of my dreams. I am grateful you are trusting me with a piece of your heart.’”
For their honeymoon, the newlyweds set off on an epic adventure to Japan, New Zealand, Australia, and Bali.
Ceremony Dress: Mark Bumbgarner; Reception Dress: Berta