• Photography By:

    Bre Thurston Photography


    May 14, 2016 in Rome, Italy

    While studying abroad in Rome for three weeks in June of 2011, Anna-Victoria was introduced to Luca through mutual friends. Since romance wasn’t on her agenda, Anna simply thought Luca was a “nice guy.” For Luca, however, “It was love at first sight” – and even though it took Anna by surprise, the two ended up seeing each other every day until Anna had to return home to San Diego.

    The most serendipitous part of their early relationship was that Luca had already planned on moving to San Diego six months later to study English. During those six months, the couple stayed in contact via Skype until Luca made his way stateside. And, as they say, the rest is history.


    With Anna and Luca being very busy individuals, the first step in their wedding planning process was to find the perfect wedding planner. After hiring the “best wedding planner in Rome,” Stefania Zen from the Italian Wedding Company, preparations began for a destination wedding in Italy.

    The big day began with a relaxing morning, as the bride woke up and enjoyed breakfast with her maid of honor. Since the wedding ceremony wasn’t scheduled until 6pm, there was no need to rush. Everything was going smoothly – hair, makeup, champagne and snacks – until the last 30 minutes, when the bride’s hair wasn’t turning out exactly as she had planned. With Anna being an American, having a destination wedding in Rome meant having a language barrier as well. Fortunately, with enough careful listening and trying to translate between Italian and English, the stylists were able to create the perfect bridal hairstyle just in time.

    After the bridal party was ready, everyone congregated on the rooftop terrace of the Boscolo Exedra Hotel in Rome before heading off to the church. The ceremony was held at the Basilica Santa Maria in Ara Coeli – a church that has a total of 124 steps to ascend. For the bride and her father, the long walk up was overshadowed by sentimental tears as Anna met Luca at the altar for a beautiful Italian/English, Protestant/Catholic ceremony ministered by an Irish priest.

    The following reception provided an elegant, yet modern ambiance to celebrate Anna and Luca’s nuptials, and Villa Miani provided a gorgeous backdrop. Guests arrived shortly before sunset, and the venue was illuminated with beautiful blue lights. A cocktail hour provided some delicious Italian appetizers until the newlyweds arrived, and everyone transitioned into the Villa Miani ballroom for dinner. Three delectable courses were served – the ravioli with black truffle and porcini mushrooms was a big hit. As is custom with any Italian wedding, not one person left with an empty stomach.

    One highlight of the evening was when the bride and groom’s fathers attempted to make a speech in the other family’s language. It was a comical and heartwarming way to involve both families, and the amount of love from both sides was easily felt by everyone in attendance.For many of the guests, Anna and Luca’s wedding was one of the most stunning events they had ever seen. But even more significant, was watching two families come together to form one happy, loving, Italian American family.


    Ceremony Location: Basilica of Santa Maria, Ara Coeli Rome, Italy: Reception Location: Villa Miani, Rome, Italy; Event Design and Planner: Italian Wedding Company, Rome, Italy; Floral Design: Andrea Patrizi Floral Designer, Rome, Italy; Cake: Rose Cakes, Rome, Italy; Wedding Dress: BertaVeil: Pronovias; Bride’s Headpiece: A Bit of Love Wedding; Bride’s Shoes: Badgley Mischka; Send-Off Dress: Cymbeline Paris; Engagement Ring and Wedding Bands: Gioielleria Bonanno