A Charming Welcome Dinner at a Pizzeria in Amalfi, Italy

A casually elegant welcome to a destination wedding.

Priyanka and Nick kiss in the streets of Italy under umbrella

Photo by Jenny Quicksall

When Nick Leyh first asked Priyanka Panjak to be his girlfriend in middle school, he led her along a scavenger hunt around The Plaza before popping the question. When he decided to propose to her in 2021, Nick once again sent Priyanka on an adventure—this time through Kansas City. "He recreated a similar scavenger hunt with it ending where the Kansas and Missouri Rivers met," remembers Priyanka. Their next big mission would be to tie the knot in Amalfi, Italy.

Before saying "I do," the couple hosted a welcome party for their 55 guests at the Pizzeria Donna Stella. "We had initially picked a different venue that was wonderful but located near the main road and beach," explains the bride. "We were worried about it being too loud and small for our welcome party, so ended up changing last minute to Pizzeria Donna Stella, which was a bit more secluded and intimate." Their vision for the celebration? "We wanted something that felt casual and fun! We loved incorporating the idea of pizza into the weekend," Priyanka adds.

Although they arrived to the event on a rainy day, the pair held a charming party shielded by a ceiling full of Amalfi lemon trees. Ahead, see all the details from their intimate Italian welcome party, planned by Ema Giangreco and photographed by Jenny Quicksall.

Donna Stella Pizzeria sign

Photo by Jenny Quicksall

pizza being made in Italy

Photo by Jenny Quicksall

While it may have been tricky planning from afar, the couple says the incredible service from the restaurant's staff made their choice the perfect fit. "Finalizing a menu and picking a venue in general without seeing it in person was probably the hardest, but luckily there were a lot of great pictures and reviews online," the bride shares. "And, our planner Ema was able to visit this venue when she was there!"

Nick and Priyanka at Italian pizzeria wedding welcome party

Photo by Jenny Quicksall

For their attire, the couple each wanted to pick out colorful outfits that fit the venue and weren't too formal. Nick looked sharp in a blue and white Houndstooth jacket with a pink button-down. Priyanka went with a white printed dress from Farm Rio, accessorizing with bold floral earrings and pearl-accented pumps. "It took a while to find the perfect dress," she remembers. "I tried on multiple options, but ultimately found one I loved!"

As for her beauty look, she actually worked with her wedding makeup artists for the first time. "My makeup the night before was really a trial for the wedding as I hadn’t travelled to Italy during the planning process," the bride explains. "It was great though, because we were able to make modifications for the next day."

musician trio performing at wedding welcome party

Photo by Jenny Quicksall

To add to the ambiance, the couple hired a musician trio that played traditional Italian songs throughout the night. The bride shares one of her favorite memories from the night was when guests began singing and dancing along with the tunes.

wedding welcome bags with Amalfi limoncello and glasses

Photo by Jenny Quicksall

When guests arrived, they received woven welcome bags, complete with limoncello to enjoy on their trip. "Putting together our gift bags was a DIY project that we were able to complete with the help of our wonderful friends," says the bride. "We created a little assembly line and got it done much faster!"

specialty cocktails with custom pug cups and striped straws

Photo by Jenny Quicksall

couple holding custom cups with pugs and straws with signature cocktail

Photo by Jenny Quicksall

Specialty cocktails, including an Aperol spritz, a negroni, and a limoncello spritz, got a start to the festivities. "We picked beverages on our cocktail menu that we both liked and had cups with our two pugs printed on them! We loved this little touch as they couldn’t join us for the wedding," shares Priyanka.

lemon trees above restaurant

Photo by Jenny Quicksall

welcome dinner tablescapes with blue napkins and potted plants

Photo by Jenny Quicksall

pepper plant in vase with tomatoes

Photo by Jenny Quicksall

The blue tile around the restaurant helped serve as inspiration for the tablescapes, which were accented with napkins of the same shade. "We had plants as our centerpieces with little tomatoes and peppers which ended up being a really fun touch," shares Priyanka. "Many of our guests really enjoyed eating them and trying the spicy peppers!"

guests at wedding welcome party

Photo by Jenny Quicksall

guests at wedding welcome party dinner

Photo by Jenny Quicksall

The evening was a blast, complete with delicious pizza, music, and time spent with friends. Reflecting on the night, the couple share, "We loved so many things about it, but especially the ambiance, lemon trees covering the top of the patio, their willingness to work with us with our menu, and, of course, the food!"

Wedding Team

Venue Pizzeria Donna Stella

Planner Ema Giangreco 

Bride Outfit Designer Farm Rio

Hair and Makeup Francesca Beyouty Ragone

Groom Outfit Designer Polo Ralph Lauren

Engagement Ring Meierotto

Centerpieces Lorenza and Germana of Pizzeria Donna Stella; Ema Giangreco

Catering Pizzeria Donna Stella


Favor Bags Imagine Color US

Personalized Cups Edinger Press 

Customized Hand Sanitizer Labels Cute Custom Stickers

Photography Jenny Quicksall

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