Sarah and Benjamin first met through mutual friends, while studying in New York City in 2007. "As we got to know each other, we realized we had grown up in the same neighborhood in Paris," says Sarah. "Ben always tells me it was love at first sight for him, though it took a bit longer for me."
Although the couple currently resides in Paris, they decided to host a destination wedding in Florence, Italy. "The city is fairly close to Paris, which meant our friends and family could travel there easily," says Sarah. "Plus, Florence is so romantic—and Italian food is our favorite!"
They chose Villa la Vedetta, a hilltop hotel overlooking the city, for their alfresco ceremony and reception. For their color palette, they decided on a black-and-white theme. "I've always loved the color combination," says Sarah. "It's chic and timeless."
On their wedding day, the bride wore a strapless tulle ballgown with a black grosgrain sash by Vera Wang, purchased from the designer's salon in New York City. "When I was younger, I'd always dreamed of getting married in a black-and-white dress," says the Sarah, who got ready for the ceremony in a suite at the villa with her mother, Patricia.
Her bouquet consisted of pink dahlias and sprigs of fresh mint; the handle was wrapped with black-and-white—striped grosgrain ribbon. "My mom suggested including mint in the bouquet," says Sarah. "She knows I get stressed easily and thought the fragrance would help me relax."
The 6 p.m. Jewish Orthodox ceremony was held outdoors in the villa's garden. In keeping with Jewish Orthodox tradition, women were seated on one side of the ceremony (on white Chiavari chairs); men were seated on black Chiavari chairs and were given white fedoras. "A few days before the wedding, Ben and I went to the market in Florence and bargained with a vendor to purchase 70 hats for the ceremony," Sarah says.
"Somewhere Over the Rainbow" was performed as Sarah's father escorted her down the aisle, and she took her place beside Ben beneath the dahlia-adorned chuppah. Following the ceremony, the newlyweds recessed up the aisle and were surrounded by joyful friends and family. Then, the festivities moved to the poolside cocktail hour, where guests enjoyed passed hors d'oeuvres and glasses of chilled Prosecco.
Black-and-white paper pinwheels, purchased from Etsy, served as escort cards and were calligraphed by the bride. The alfresco reception was held on the villa's terrace; the dinner tables featured alternating black- and white-colored chairs. "The terrace has such gorgeous views of Florence," says the bride. "The scenery was so spectacular that we didn't need very much additional decor."
The centerpieces were comprised of pink dahlias arranged in vintage vases; tables were named after the couple's favorite black-and-white films, the titles of which were written on vintage chalkboards. During dinner, guests enjoyed an Italian menu featuring risotto with zucchini flowers, tagliatelle with porcini, and roasted branzino. All catering was provided by La Buona Tavola.
Photos: W. Scott Chester Photography
The newlyweds' first dance was to Billy Joel's "New York State of Mind," a fitting choice. Music was provided by a DJ from the Alma Project. The evening also included a father-daughter dance to "She" by Charles Aznavour and a poignant toast by Ben's father. At one point, their guests lifted the newlyweds in the air for the traditional hora. "Ben nearly fell off his chair!" recalls Sarah.
The rest of the reception included a jam-packed dance floor, a delicious dessert buffet featuring Italian pastries, and even a surprise "flash mob," organized by the bride's brother and cousin. "All of our guests sang and dance along to Barry White's 'You're the First, the Last, My Everything,' " says Sarah. "It was amazing!"
Photographer: W. Scott Chester Photography || Bride's Gown: Vera Wang || Stationery: Paper+Cup Design || Escort Cards: Etsy || Flowers: Tuscany Flowers || Ceremony and Reception Site: Villa la Vedetta, Florence, Italy || Catering: La Buona Tavola || Wedding Planner: Rossana Sapori, Weddings in Italy || Music: Alma Project
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