Real Weddings

A Timeless Italian Wedding in Rome

Photography by Dos Más En La Mesa.

Within the timeworn walls of a historic villa in Rome, Dominique & Anthony created the timeless wedding they had dreamed of. Inspired by the dramatic beauty of Italy, the couple were married at one of the highest vantage points over the ancient city.

Evocative of an ethereal forest, the ceremony took place in Villa Aurelia’s grand ornate ballroom with wainscoted walls and printed tiled flooring contrasted with delicate branches of greenery, white blooms and candles. An opera singer performed at the reception dinner which was set outside in the lemon garden with the building’s baroque facade as the backdrop.

Photographers Dos Más En La Mesa poetically captured the Italian wedding.

Dominique Anthony

Dominique Anthony

Our Story

Names /  Dominique & Anthony Pennacchio

Wedding Date / August 21st, 2022

Guest Numbers / 50

Budget / $125k

Dominique & Anthony

“We chose Rome because of its accessibility and history. Seeing everyone we love, together & happy in such a magical city was a truly unforgettable feeling.”

Dominique & Anthony

Dominique & Anthony

How We Met

Anthony and I shared the same circle of  friends. I had a strange feeling that if we became more than friends, we would be together forever. It was such a strange feeling that it scared me into saying no for a while. We played the cat & mouse game for a bit, but he was very persistent. When I finally said yes, I found out I was right.

 

Our Engagement Story

He proposed on the beach in Miami, a city we’ve always felt a strong connection to (and where we now live.)  After spending the day lounging in a cabana, he put on one of our favorite songs (A Good Night, John Legend), scooped me up & insisted I dance with him. This behavior is not out of the ordinary for Anthony so I didn’t think much of it. It wasn’t until he started telling me how much he loved me in my ear while he was spinning me around that I realized what was happening. He got down on one knee & proposed while the sun was setting. Perfect timing and a memory I will always cherish.

 

What We Love Most About Each Other…

DOMINIQUE: His humor, his charisma, and his empathetic, huge heart.

ANTHONY: Her sense of humor, her how great she is with people, her contagious personality, her smile, her style & taste, the way she carries herself, her elegance and confidence.

Dominique Anthony

Dominique & Anthony

Dominique & Anthony

The Setting

 

Wedding Location

Our Italian wedding was in Rome. We originally thought we would get married in Chicago, where we were both from. However, I was having a hard time choosing a wedding venue there. I wanted something that felt like it had a history. Something that felt organically beautiful with a vintage quality. We decided a destination might be the way to go and after a lot of thought, I realized the place I was envisioning was Italy. I had visited there with my family a few times and had done a summer program there while studying fashion in college. I had fallen in love with the architecture and the ornate but classic style of some Italy’s famous cities. Anthony and I are both of Italian descent, as were the majority of our friends and family. We knew it would be a lot to ask of them to travel to Europe, but we knew it was where we were meant to be married. We chose Rome because of its accessibility and history. Seeing everyone we love, together & happy in such a magical city was a truly unforgettable feeling.

Villa Aurelia was my dream venue. I feel so lucky that I was able to get married there. The inside was ornate and historic. The outside was fresh & natural, the combination of all my wedding dreams. There wasn’t an inch of the villa that didn’t hold beauty. I loved that the inside was just as beautiful as the exterior. Since every space of the villa was gorgeous, there were so many options and so much room for creativity. Even the drive in was a moment. It was perfect before we added a single floral arrangement.

 

Aesthetic

I was inspired by Italy’s raw yet dramatic beauty, & I felt like the Villa Aurelia really represented that. I loved the combination of the historic, ornate, grand ballrooms and the clean, airy, spacious gardens. Once we chose the venue, I had a clear vision. I made it a priority to compliment its natural beauty. I would describe the overall aesthetic of my wedding as fresh, natural and timeless.

 

Preparation

My Mom, Mother in law and 9 bridesmaids all came to my hotel suite to get ready. It was such a special morning. I woke up feeling so calm and peaceful, like I just came back from a meditation retreat or something- not at all what I expected on such an important day, but I am so grateful for that. We had mimosas and cucumber sandwiches and had a lovely morning together.

Dominique & Anthony

“When I walked into my ceremony setting, my jaw dropped. The designer brought to life this whimsical, organic forest I had dreamed of. I loved the contrast of the natural green & white florals with the wainscoted walls and printed tile. My florist truly delivered. I was asking for natural & airy, yet dramatic… how confusing is that?? But she got it.”

Dominique & Anthony

Dominique & Anthony

Photography

Dos Mas En La Mesa photographed my wedding. I loved that their photos had movement, culture and emotion. I loved all of the artistic candids from my wedding & that the photos looked like they could have come from any era of time. That meant the world to me because it was exactly the aesthetic I was hoping for.

 

Videography

Les Vaques were our wedding videographers. I loved that they don’t just shoot the wedding, they tell a story, they capture all the personalities of the wedding party and guests. You can really see and feel the emotions of the day in the final product.

Dominique & Anthony

Dominique & Anthony

Dominique & Anthony

Style Notes

 

Ceremony Décor

Planning a wedding in another country, in another language was a challenge. There were video calls and inspo boards and lots of conversations but I still wasn’t sure I was explaining my true vision in a clear way. However, when I walked into my ceremony setting, my jaw dropped. The designer brought to life this whimsical, organic forest I had dreamed of. I loved the contrast of the natural green & white florals with the wainscoted walls and printed tile. My florist truly delivered. I was asking for natural & airy, yet dramatic… how confusing is that?? But she got it.

 

Reception Décor

The reception was an intimate dinner party held in the lemon garden just outside the Villa.. Not wanting to disturb its natural beauty, the only decor we brought in was for the tablescape. Cohesiveness was really important to me, so we pulled in the green & white florals & gold vintage candelabras to match the ceremony backdrop. My favorite part was the fresh fruits & olives strewn about the table, woven in between the candles and piecey floral arrangements. It added a little charm & really made it feel like summer, our favorite season. I’m a certified health coach & nutrition is such a big part of our lives. One of the many things I love about Italy is the intuitive way of eating fresh, unprocessed, whole foods, and the way it brings people together. I think the tables really paid homage to that.

Dominique & Anthony

Dominique & Anthony

Dominique & Anthony

Directory

Photographers

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Wedding Ceremony Flowers

Wedding Planner & Stylist

I followed Bianco Antico before I was even engaged or knew I would be getting married in Italy. They just have an eye for making things effortlessly pretty (although I’m sure it takes a lot of effort), & that is what we wanted for our wedding – simple beauty. My mom & I did everything from the states, so it was a relief to really trust my wedding planner‘s taste & style, and be able to lean on them for opinions and ideas when I was at a loss. We resonated well with their calm nature. We clicked.

 

Flowers

I knew I wanted piecey, airy  arrangements rather than grand, tight bouquets. They felt like summer. I toyed with the idea of color, but always ended up at green & white. I’m a neutral girl at heart. I’m glad because I think it turned out so timeless. I went with something dainty for my bouquet. I never wanted my bouquet to distract from my dress during its big moment.

“Planning a wedding brings so many opportunities for time spent with people you love…Instead of stressing about the details, focus on the memories you’re making. Celebrate everything you can. Go to brunch after you choose a venue, or a dress. Have champagne. Create a memory! It’s very hard to be stressed when you’re feeling grateful.”

Dominique & Anthony

Dominique & Anthony

Stationery

Our save the dates & wedding invitations were done in neutral colors on beautifully textured handmade paper calligraphed by Deborah, Mintcheff, a New York artist. We had a sketch drawn of the potted lemon trees, and a single lemon from the actual garden at Villa Aurelia. The drawing included the villa itself & its view of Rome from the terrace where we held our cocktail hour. The sketches were incorporated into various elements from the save the dates to the day of pieces. I loved the little personal detail.

Celia did all of our day of assets. The summer girl that I am, I love all things linen- bedding, clothing, etc. She did beautiful cursive work on linen fabric for our guests place cards & a fun bar menu with custom sketches. I loved the way it added texture.

 

Cake

We chose a traditional Millefoglie which is Italian for a thousand layers. The Italian wedding cake incorporates layers of puff pastry layered with cream and topped with fresh berries. The cake cutting ceremony is such a huge tradition in Italy and we didn’t realize how beautiful it was until we experienced it. I had a piece of cake the size of my head. It comes to me in my dreams.

 

Food & Beverages

when it came to the food and beverage, we wanted to build a menu that was an authentic representation of the flavors of Italy with a nod to the local traditions of Rome. We worked with the caterers to come up with traditional dishes with a modern twist. Our final dishes included Chitarrino Pasta with Saffron, Leeks and Lemon Zest, Ravioli with Certosa cheese and Zucchini Flowers, and Filet of Beef with Norica Summer Truffles. In Italy, meals are more than just sitting down at a table to eat. For the Italians, it is an experience, a culmination of love and laughter and family and tradition. Creating this experience for our guests was just as important, if not more important to us than the actual menu. I’m so proud that we were able to create this amazing tradition for our guests.

Dominique & Anthony

Dominique & Anthony

Fashion & Beauty Notes

 

Bride’s Dress & Shoes

My wedding dress was by Monique Lhuillier – It was originally a high low but I ordered it custom as a full gown. We also added some dimension & drama to the skirt by playing with the fabric and cutting down some of the under layer. I loved the structure of the bodice and the drama of the bottom.

My wedding shoes were silver & gold strappy Manolo Blahniks and (bonus) they are the most comfortable shoes I own!

 

Wedding Rings, Jewelry & Accessories

We designed our wedding rings together with Ancona Jewelers, family friends of Anthonys. I’ve always loved jewelry & knew I wanted to be involved in the process. For my ring we went with an eternity band with super thin horizontal baguettes, and an elongated emerald for the center stone. We designed Anthony’s to mimic the shape of my band, all gold, & thicker.

I kept it simple wearing my mother’s vintage diamond earrings that were once her great grandmothers. I tried to keep them as a wedding gift but sadly she collected them before I could leave the city limits. I also wore a gold Jacquie Aiche hand lariat.

 

Bridesmaids dresses  & Shoe’s

My bridesmaids wore Azeeza, a local Chicago designer. I chose a thick linen fabric, and told the girls to go for it!  They all wore different colors & different styles. They each complimented each other so well, which reminded me of our friendship dynamic. I loved the way all of their different personalities showed in their choices and how beautiful they looked as a group.

 

Hair & Makeup

I brought in Athina Lotito, my hairstylist from Chicago. She pulled my hair back into a classic bun. I wanted something simple that would let my veil have its moment. I did my own makeup using all non-toxic beauty products. I wanted to look & feel like myself.

 

Groomsmen Attire

The groomsmen wore custom looks from Wool & Linen. Some wore Tux’s, some wore suits. We wanted everyone to feel comfortable and express their style freely. Uniform wasn’t important to us.

Dominique Anthony

Dominique & Anthony

Dominique & Anthony

The Details

 

Transport

We transported our guests from our host hotels to the venue in luxury motor coaches. We knew we wanted to provide transportation to make things easier on the guests but also to ensure the management of arrival times to keep things on schedule. I also think it gave our guests another chance to bond or get to chat with someone they had not previously been able to. I’m told that people enjoyed sharing the experience of pulling up to the Villa, taking in all it’s beauty together.

 

Honeymoon

We visited Sardinia, Mallorca, St. Tropez, & Paris. Mallorca was my favorite- I highly recommend La Residencia Hotel for their incredible view and restaurant- El Olivo.

Dominique & Anthony

Wedding Songs

First Dance:  “Be My Baby” By The Ronettes

 

Entertainment

My mom has a background in entertainment so this aspect was really important to her, which made it really important to Anthony & I.  We wanted to set the mood right away so we had an Italian violinists perform as guests walked up the gravel drive to the villa’s entrance. Once inside the ceremony space, a classical string trio took over creating a warm & inviting feel in the room.

We really wanted an element of surprise during dinner. We looked at, what felt like hundreds of performers online until we found Daniele Centra, an opera singer. When we heard his voice we got chills. He came out singing Oh Sole Mio. It was so beautiful and intense. He came back out later to sing some more Italian songs during which I danced with my Dad, my Step-Dad and my Grandfather.

 

Celebrant

My grandfather married us. He has this beautiful way of simplifying things. He told stories from my childhood and talked about his experiences with Anthony which made the ceremony so personal for us. Everyone laughed and cried. He is one of my favorite people in the world & I am forever grateful for that moment.

 

Readings

We wrote our own vows in the format of 7 promises to each other.

Dominique & Anthony

Dominique & Anthony

Our Advice

 

A memorable moment…

Seeing the wedding venue for the first time, and what our talented vendors did with it was a truly heart stopping unforgettable moment. It felt like a dream.

 

One thing I wish I knew before I started my wedding plans…

I would have made decisions and pulled the trigger on things faster and earlier in the planning stages. I was putting things off, worried about changing my mind but in reality it goes by so fast. It would have been nice to have some downtime during the months leading up the wedding.

 

If i could give one piece of advice…

Planning a wedding brings so many opportunities for time spent with people you love. For me it was the endless planning with my mom, bonding with my best friends in Tulum on my bachelorette party, taking a trip to Palm Beach with my Mother in Law for a bridal trunk show, the list goes on. Instead of stressing about the details, focus on the memories you’re making. Celebrate everything you can. Go to brunch after you choose a venue, or a dress. Have champagne. Create a memory! It’s very hard to be stressed when you’re feeling grateful.

If you can, do a destination. Although it’s a lot to ask, it pushes people you love to step out of their day to day life and experience a new, beautiful place. There was no better feeling than seeing photos of our guests traveling around Europe, enjoying their vacation with their families after our wedding. So many people told us that they would have never done it if not for our wedding, and that made all the challenges of a destination wedding so worth it.

 

Sources of inspiration…

I was inspired by the natural beauty of Italy.

Dominique & Anthony

Dominique & Anthony

“If you can, do a destination. Although it’s a lot to ask, it pushes people you love to step out of their day to day life and experience a new, beautiful place. There was no better feeling than seeing photos of our guests traveling around Europe, enjoying their vacation with their families after our wedding. So many people told us that they would have never done it if not for our wedding, and that made all the challenges of a destination wedding so worth it.”

Our Contacts

 

Wedding Venue /  Villa Aurelia

Wedding Stylist & Planner / Bianco Antico & Laura Bravi

Photography /  Dos Más En La Mesa

Videography /  Les Vaques

Bride’s Dress /  Monique Lhuilier

Bride’s Shoes /  Manolo Blahnik

Wedding Rings /  Ancona Jewelers

Hair /   Making Beauty Managment

Stationery /  The Artful Pen

Florist /  Nina e i Fiori

Cake & Catering /  Sciamannini Ricevimenti

Entertainment /   Roma Sound Service