Today’s destination Jewish wedding is serious #venuegoals. NYC-based Nejla (@acutestyleaddict), a personal stylist, and Alex, who works in finance, married at Villa Cimbrone in Ravello, on the breathtaking Amalfi Coast in Italy. The couple visited Ravello just after getting engaged, and the minute they set foot in their venue they knew it was where they would wed.
And can you blame them? You have GOT to see the views from this place. It’s literally smack dab in the middle of the swoon-worthy Amalfi Coast, right on the water. We could not possibly come up with a dreamier setting. And that’s not even mentioning the villa itself, where the meal was held – it dates back to the 12th century (!), and the dining setup seriously looks right out of the castle from Beauty and the Beast.
With such a stunning venue, Nejla and Alex understandably wanted to let the natural beauty of their surroundings take center stage. As such, they kept their décor simple, with a focus on local, in-season flowers in pink and white.
Photographer and videographer Gianni Di Natale got the most exquisite shots of the day; his photos (not to mention the gorgeous highlights video) really make you feel like you’re there.
But don’t let all that fool you into thinking this wedding was all about the looks – far from it. The couple put serious effort into planning their ceremony, which was especially meaningful given that Nejla completed her conversion to Judaism weeks prior. They flew their rabbi out from New York, and, because the wedding began at sundown on Saturday night, they incorporated a Havdallah service into the ceremony. With the sunset over the coast on one side and a sea of loving faces on the other, it could hardly get any more perfect.
Amazingly, though, that wasn’t even the duo’s favorite part of the wedding. According to Nejla, it was surpassed by their joy at Alex’s grandmother, Edna, being present to celebrate with them. It was especially poignant, as the wedding marked Grandma Edna’s first time in Europe since she left as a young girl after the war.
Nejla being a personal stylist, it’s only natural that she went ultra chic on the day, in a custom couture gown in blush silk by Angelo Lambrou. She’ll fill you in on the rest…
How we met
Nejla, the bride: We met through friends several years ago but didn’t start dating until about 4 years ago.
An Amalfi Coast Wedding
When Alex and I started dating, we were long distance for the first half of our relationship because he was doing a graduate degree at Cambridge University in the UK (he studied astrophysics so I like to call him my rocket scientist). Because of this, we shared a lot of special moments in Terminal 4 at JFK.
So, when he proposed, besides the usual surprise of being proposed to, I wasn’t surprised when Alex chose to propose in the exact spot where we would always say goodbye before he would return to Cambridge. We were in JFK together that time because we were traveling to Cambridge for his graduation and from there we had plans to visit the Amalfi Coast.
Our first day in the region, and just about 4 days engaged, we went to Ravello where we visited Villa Cimbrone. Alex and I were standing at the edge of the gardens overlooking the neighboring coastal towns in the most beautiful place we had ever been and we knew that was where we wanted to get married.
From there it was a year of meticulous planning remotely from NYC. Because we weren’t able to travel to Italy for the planning process, we didn’t actually meet a lot of our vendors until just a few days before the wedding so we had to trust in their skills and expertise. We really wanted to let the natural beauty of the location take center stage and we truly believe that was accomplished.
In general, we really wanted to honor the location so we tried to keep things natural and romantic. We planned the majority of the wedding ourselves from New York, hiring a last-minute wedding coordinator a few weeks before to help finalize the details. Jacquie and Jo of The Amalfi Experience really helped with all of those things we just couldn’t seem to pull together from NYC and we are so grateful for their service.
We chose a simple yet elegant, romantic design, again to honor the location. Our family friend helped us pick it out. She has a party planning business in New Jersey called It’s Your Party. She also did our itineraries for the weekend since we had a few activities surrounding the actual wedding (a boat trip to Capri, a rehearsal dinner pizza party, and a brunch after the big day), our wedding program, and monogramed napkins.
A Romantic Look for Hair + Makeup
Beauty Livery was an absolutely amazing asset for my hair and makeup. I’m a clothes and accessories girl so when it came to my hair and makeup I needed a little bit of guidance. Mel was awesome, she sent me mood boards and really worked with me until we came up with the perfect romantic look that would complement my dress without over powering it.
We went with a subtle smoky eye with lots of lashes and a barely there pink lip. For my hair we did a loose curly updo at the nape of my neck with baby’s breath. Mel and her team (Göz was the one to actually do my hair and makeup and had the most calming presence which was totally necessary the day of) not only did an amazing job on my hair and makeup, but they also did my 6 bridesmaids, 2 mothers, and my husband’s grandmother. Everyone looked spectacular!
An Angelo Lambrou Dress
I am a personal stylist in NYC, so my wedding dress and personal style was incredibly important to me.
My dress was a custom couture gown by Angelo Lambrou. I had tried on so many gowns, and when I put on one of his sample called the Branwyn it was the closest I got, so we worked together to alter the design slightly to fit what I was looking for. I ended up with a blush silk organza gown with an ivory lace overlay on the bodice. It was the perfect balance between simple slip dress and fairytale gown that I was looking for.
My veil was also custom made by Angelo Lambrou and my jewelry (my necklace and earrings as well as the necklaces my bridesmaids wore) was all custom made by my favorite NYC jewelry designer, Wendy Mink. I have been a fan of her designs since I was 17 so it was a no-brainer to have her design my jewelry.
Like my dress, this was also a collaborative process. We wanted something delicate to complement the dress and yet be able to stand on its own should I want to wear it again after my wedding day (which I have). We ended up using clusters of pink pearls to mimic the baby’s breath that would adorn my hair.
Rose Gold Block Heels
These were also custom. I knew I’d be on my feet all night so a mid-height block heel was a must and I really wanted rose gold to compliment the blush color of my dress. I wasn’t able to find exactly what I was looking for so I used Shoes Of Prey to design a custom metallic rose gold block heel with a simple ankle strap and strap across the toes. I also had the insoles lined with light blue leather for my “something blue.”
The handsome groom
I mean I was already swooning even before I saw him that day 🙂 He is already a really striking man, mostly because of his vibrant red hair. He chose his own look and went with an ivory dinner jacket (which happened to beautifully complement the ivory lace overlay in the bodice of my dress) by J Crew.
Bridesmaids in Rose
Their outfits tied in with the theme in that I asked them to wear whatever style of dress they felt best in and in whatever shade of light pink/rose they felt would best complement their skin tone. I think it turned out beautifully; each lady looked amazing and unique and yet they still managed to be cohesive. I like to think of them as my rose, each petal a different shade and beautiful on its own but collectively even more beautiful.
Local Flowers for the Chuppah
Once again, we wanted to honor the location and our local vendors, so we chose flowers that were in season and local to the area in a pink and white palette and left the rest up to our wonderful florist, Malafronte.
For the actual canopy, we intended to use my husband’s grandfather’s talit but it was sooo windy the day of that we couldn’t actually have it on there because the wind would have lifted the entire structure up out of the ground.
A Sunset Ceremony
We worked very closely with our rabbi on the ceremony. Our rabbi is an incredibly amazing man who agreed to fly all the way to Italy for our wedding. I converted to Judaism a few weeks before (after over a year of study with him) and he did my conversion and our wedding and hopefully one day he will officiate at other important life events for us.
Since we started the ceremony at sundown on Saturday night we incorporated a Havdallah service (we brought our own hand painted wood Havdallah set from Israel) into the wedding ceremony. During the service, we were able to watch the sun set over the coast on one side and then able to turn around and see the beautiful faces of our loved ones there to celebrate one of the most important days of our lives with us.
The whole thing was a dream come true, but I think my favorite part of the whole wedding was seeing how happy Alex’s grandmother, Edna, was. Grandma Edna is a Holocaust survivor and this was the first time she was in Europe since she left as a young girl after the war. Not only did Alex and I get our dream fairytale wedding, but we also had the blessing of having Grandma Edna there with us!
A Handmade Ketubah
An Everlasting Love
My husband picked all of the music.
Bridal party entrance: Con Te Partirò
Bride’s entrance: Pachabel’s Cannon
Exit: Eine kleine Nachtmusik
Dinner entrance on piano: (This Will Be) An Everlasting Love by Natalie Cole
Mother dance song: Wonderful Tonight by Eric Clapton
I also have a close friend who is a singer/songwriter and I commissioned her to write a song for us that she performed during our reception. This was a surprise for my husband.
White and Pink Flowers
Malafronte was great! We gave them our colors (white and pink) and let them design with what was in season.
Our fabulous photographer and videographer
Gianni Di Natale! He was AMAZING! He came recommended from our venue and we could not be happier with the pictures and video.
Custard Cream Cake
The catering, including the cake was all provided by the venue. It was a delicious tiered custard cream cake!
We had a harp, violin, and cello for our ceremony; a Neapolitan duo for the reception; a pianist for the dinner; and a DJ for the dancing after dinner.
We put together (with help from the ladies at The Amalfi Experience of course) gift bags for our guests, which included local olive oil samples, lemon soaps, ceramic olive oil spouts, and other small favors representing the area.
Nejla & Alex’s little white book
Photography and videography – Gianni Di Natale
Wedding coordinator – The Amalfi Experience
Venue – Villa Cimbrone
Bride’s dress and veil – Angelo Lambrou
Bride’s accessories – Wendy Mink
Bride’s shoes – Shoes Of Prey
Groom’s attire – J Crew
Hair + Makeup – Beauty Livery
Flowers – Malafronte
Ketubah – Noa Attias
Invitations – It’s Your Party