After a romantic proposal at the Park Hyatt in Tokyo, Julie Roche and Nathan Roth started planning their September 21, 2017, wedding. During the planning process, they had lots of decisions to make, but there was one they didn’t have to think about: the location! They always knew they’d tie the knot in Italy. “Every time we’ve visited, we’ve had such a magical time—and the food is always amazing!” explains the bride.
With their general location chosen, the couple turned to wedding planner Le Jour de Oui to help them find a spectacular venue on the water. They found that in Portofino, an Italian fishing village on the northwestern coast, where they booked a villa on the water that also features manicured gardens that served as the perfect backdrop for their elegant affair. “I am very particular, and our planner had amazing taste,” says Julie. “She really understood what I wanted!” From there, the bride worked with florist Il Profumo Dei Fiori to design an event featuring romantic pink blooms with unexpected hints like protea and palms!
Julie and her bridesmaids got ready in a villa overlooking the charming coastal town. Says the bride, “I wanted to look as natural and classic as possible, with thick brows, light-pink lips, and a simple bun with beautiful flowers.”
The bride wore a stunning Zuhair Murad gown featuring an airy tulle skirt, cap sleeves, and an intricately embroidered bodice. She paired her dream dress with a statement flowing veil that added a dose of drama to her otherwise understated look.
The bride carried a small nosegay of orchids and lilies of the valley.
Julie’s two bridesmaids also wore custom-made dresses, which they created from fabric her sister sourced in Dubai. The adorable flower girl topped her white-and-blush dress with a navy cardigan and a crown of orchids.
The ceremony took place beneath a tree on the villa’s stone patio, which also featured views of the charming village. There, the altar was draped in palm leaves, eucalyptus, and white orchids—all accented with statement pink proteas. Guests were seated in elegant white chairs and a woven fan was thoughtfully placed on each to keep everyone cool in the late-summer heat.
Nathan and Julie—who met through friends and shared their first kiss in what the bride calls “the old-fashioned way, AKA "drunk at a bar"—exchanged vows overlooking the water. Before exiting down a petal-covered aisle, they shared another first kiss—this time, as husband and wife!
Following the outdoor ceremony, the newlyweds led the way back inside the villa, where tables were set for dinner.
Inside the beautifully historic space, guests were seated at long tables in the same room. Each tabletop was decorated with dozens of blush candles in antique brass holders and small arrangements of proteas and orchids in cut-crystal vases.
After an indulgent meal, the newlyweds cut into a four-tiered cake that was decorated with Nathan’s parents’ cake topper from their own wedding, 30 years prior! “We wanted a simple celebration without too much entertainment, just a few toasts and the traditional dances,” says Julie. “But at the last minute, we remembered that our friend is an accomplished opera singer, so we recruited him to sing a little bit at the reception!”
Julie’s advice for future brides is to give yourself lots of time to get ready before the ceremony. “Start prepping as early as possible,” she says. “Things definitely got hectic while my bridesmaids and I were finishing up!”