It was day three of a Contiki tour in Europe with Michelle Hergenrader and Nick De'Ceglie first met. Nick was from Australia and travelling with his friends, while Michelle was headed to Rome for a study abroad program. Prior to her studies, she decided to take a European tour with her younger brother. Initially, Nick assumed Michelle’s brother was her boyfriend, and asked how long they’d been together. “That’s not my girlfriend, that’s my sister, bro,” her brother replied. It was that day, in the little German town of Sankt Goar, where Michelle and Nick’s love story officially began.
“Nick and I couldn’t stop talking,” Michelle recalls. “We spent eight hours a day on a bus from city to city, just talking about anything and everything possible. We went on dates in each town, went out in each town, and spent every waking minute together possible in each town. Before we knew it, our speed date love affair Contiki tour across Europe was done, and we were back in London parting ways. I left Heathrow airport with tears streaming down my face, thinking I’d never see this guy again.”
“FROM OUR UNSUSPECTING TRIP ACROSS EUROPE, WE FELL IN LOVE AND IT CHANGED OUR LIVES FOREVER.” MICHELLE HERGENRADER
Although they were apart, Nick and Michelle continued speaking every day. During her studies in Rome, Michelle finally had the chance to see Nick at the airport for two hours, when he was on his way to Croatia. Before meeting, she had written Nick a love letter professing her feelings, and gave it to him to read on the plane.
“My love letter really did make a statement, and next thing I knew, Nick and his mate cancelled their flights to Australia and diverted to Rome for two weeks, staying with me and five American girl roommates,” she says. “From our unsuspecting trip across Europe, we fell in love and it changed our lives forever. I moved to Perth in 2010 and never left!”
In June of 2015, the couple was sailing through the Croatian islands with Michelle’s family – one of their long-time bucket list vacations. During the trip, Nick decided to organize a private lunch with just him and Michelle. “Nick and I went to this incredible villa overlooking old town Dubrovnik,” Michelle describes. “There were these gardens on the cliffs of the villa, so we went for a walk; and before I knew it, Nick was down on one knee proposing. I got engaged to the man of my dreams, during a holiday of my dreams, with my family by my side. It was magical.”
While the couple’s original plan was to have a wedding in Michelle’s hometown of Portland, Oregon, Visa complications resulted in a backup plan – hosting a destination wedding in Italy’s Amalfi Coast. The bride donned a custom, hand-sewn gown by Pallas Couture, and relished in the incredible ambiance created for the big day.
Surrounded by a fifth-century palace, the newlyweds celebrated their nuptials with a glamorous and picturesque affair, designed to the theme of an opulent Italian garden. Dining under olive trees and overlooking the cliffs of the Amalfi Coast, it was a dreamy experience for everyone in attendance.
“It was really the people who brought it to life,” says the bride. “We cannot be more thankful for our family and friends who supported us during our wedding journey, and those who travelled to Italy to help us celebrate. It was a trip that will go down in the history books.”
Ceremony Location: Chiesa Di San Francesco, Ravello, Italy; Reception Location: Hotel Belmond Caruso, Ravello SA, Italy; Planner and Event Design: Wedinitaly, London, UK; Floral Design & Lighting: Armondo Malafronte, Ravello SA, Italy; Wedding Dress: Pallas Couture; Rentals: Wedding Solution, Casoria-Naples, Italy; Groom’s Attire: Hugo Boss; Hair: Parrucchiere Tonino, Amalfi, Italy; Makeup: La Sirena Amalfi Coast Make Up, Amalfi, Italy