Emily & Pete
Hotel Villa Cimbrone
My Nonna called me cuore mio – her heart – shortened to simply Cuore. It was with my full heart that I approached the wedding to the love of my life, 20 years after we met as teenagers and four years after we reconnected as adults after a happenstance (or fateful) encounter on a Seattle sidewalk. Intent on maintaining the focus completely and thoughtfully on our love for each other and the lifetime vow we were undertaking, with my intention set to honor my family and our southern Italian culture, we planned a wedding for just the two of us in southern Italy.
My name Compagno means companion; deriving from “with bread,” the notion celebrates those kindred souls one breaks bread with and has instilled in me a fiercely strong commitment to my relationships. When designing our intensely private and special wedding, we chose the only two kindred souls able to capture it perfectly: Jos and Tree WoodSmith of JOS Studios. Their international award-winning fine art wedding photography is stunning. More importantly, they have been our treasured friends for years. We trusted them with the intimacy of the entire experience, and their visual artistry and preternatural talent illuminated and secured the beauty of our sacred day.
Our wedding was held at the extraordinary Villa Cimbrone, in Ravello, Italy: A spectacular Amalfi cliffside estate and botanical gardens dating back to the 11th century, reachable only on foot and towering over 1200 feet above the Tyrrhenian Sea. After weathering storms and mountain fog our first few days there, the wedding morning dawned crystal clear. Our ceremony took place at the outdoor Tea Room Pavilion, laden with flowers and accompanied by a solo violinist. I walked down the petal aisle amongst the roses to Tomaso Albinoni’s achingly beautiful Adagio in G Minor. We wrote our own vows and during the ring exchange, the violinist spontaneously – and clairvoyantly – performed Ennio Morricone’s Oboe di Gabriel, one of my favorite pieces of music. After the emotional, joyful ceremony concluded, we had the estate to ourselves. The entire wedding day was spent exploring the Terrazza dell’Infinito and gardens and property, celebrating with prosecco and laughter, and exploring the tiny 5th century town of Ravello, cobblestoned and nestled high in the Amalfi cliffs a short stroll from the Villa. We took espresso in the piazza, commandeered a Vespa, and Pete even jumped into a local youth tennis match - in full tuxedo with me in full bridal dress cheering him on!
After watching the sunset together, our dinner and reception for two was held in the magnificent Crypt, the private use a gift from the Villa. It was filled with flowers and accented with spot lighting, with a sweeping view over the sea. Our four-course meal of grilled octopus, prawn risotto, braised beef and chocolate orange mousse was provided by the Villa’s Il Flauto di Pan, which has held a Michelin star. The full menu was printed in Italian on Amalfi paper by the Amatruda family mill, accompanied by various local wines. We enjoyed a wedding cake for two topped with fresh white roses. The only thing that surpassed the elegance of the food and our intimate reception was the service, delivered flawlessly by the Villa’s Matrodi Baldo Durazzo. Then we danced the night away.
The next morning, after a celebratory breakfast, we chartered a speed boat and wound our way up the Amalfi coast to Positano, stopping for swims and lunch along the way.
Suzanne Hanley, the Designer behind Atelier des Modistes in Russian Hill, San Francisco has been an important part of my family for years and I was honored to wear her exquisite Firenze gown. The gown was made in ethereal layers of nude silk chiffon from Taroni, milled in Lake Como, Italy and famous for its organic haute couture silks. Light as a feather, it was created using a haute couture appliqué technique, where the bodice is entirely hand-stitched from small motifs of the lace, cut from the ground and then artistically placed creating a new pattern as the lace blends into the nude base. The “Marilyn” lace is art nouveau floral created in 1934 by Sophie Hallette, France (Est. 1877) and named after Marilyn Monroe, who wore it in a William Travilla-designed gown to the premiere of How to Marry a Millionaire in 1953. My veil was made of the sheerest tulle, hand-finished with antique lace from France.
Pete wore a custom-tailored navy tuxedo, with gold cufflinks handed down from groom to groom in my father’s Sicilian family. His finishing touch was the watch I gave him engraved with ti amo per sempre: I love you forever.
No detail was left without thought or meaning: A profumiere in Tuscany provided my perfume, with notes of Sicilian citrus, and my nail color was sweetly named “Tiramisu for Two.”