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.
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!"
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."
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.
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, 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.
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!"
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!"
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
Favors ANTICHI SAPORI DI AMALFI
Favor Bags Imagine Color US
Personalized Cups Edinger Press
Customized Hand Sanitizer Labels Cute Custom Stickers
Photography Jenny Quicksall