The only plausible followup to a dream of an engagement—think a surprise proposal in Gramercy Park with a hidden photographer!—is a fairytale of a wedding. And Caroline Evans Mikho and Mike Mikho did just that, in Santa Margherita Ligure, Italy, on September 2, 2017, with 85 of their friends and family present.
The location was actually long predestined. For her 13th birthday, Caroline’s grandparents let her pick a destination for a trip, and when she first stepped foot into Basilica di S. Margherita d'Antiochia, she said, “I’m going to get married here one day.” Years later, when she nervously took her Mike to see it, he took one step in and said, “This is absolutely it!” The rest came together with the help of wedding planner Laura Frappa, who brought their dream nuptials to life. The celebration included several elements of surprise, including changes of venue, from outdoor cocktails to dancing in the ballroom and cocktails under the stars.
“It was really important to us that our friends and family got to know and love Santa Margherita as much as we do,” says the bride. Keep reading for all the details on this Italian Riviera wedding, as photographed by Peter and Veronika.
During their wedding venue scouting, Caroline and Mike stumbled upon Villa Durazzo, where the gardens have an ocean view. "The villa is whimsical, elegant, charming, and intimate all at the same time," she says. "It was another hidden gem, tucked away at the top of the hill. We knew it was it right away!”
Caroline worked with Happy Menocal to create a custom crest, using the exact lions from Villa Durazzo as the symbol for their wedding and them as a couple. It was featured on their invitations, and they now use it on their stationery.
Caroline, a fashion stylist, looked to Marchesa for an “updated, more ethereal version of the iconic Carolyn Bessette Kennedy wedding dress.” The Daffodil was the first dress she tried on, and though she visited "literally every store" after, it stayed in her mind, and nothing could compete.
To keep things airy and ethereal, the bride chose white dresses for her bridesmaids.
To accessorize her look, Caroline wore lace Aquazzura heels (which she realized the day of had blue soles, a happy accident), along with a simple pair of drop pearl earrings for the ceremony (and bigger statement earrings for the reception). “A wedding look shouldn’t be a math equation, and sometimes less is more!” she says.
Caroline carried white peonies, while her bridesmaids had bouquets of white garden roses. Boutonnieres were made of white orchids.
Caroline’s bridesmaids wore Chanel earrings, a gift from the bride, along with their own metallic open-toe platforms.
The groom wore an Armani tux, and lime green socks with palm trees, which he also gifted to his groomsmen. They each donned customized cufflinks, which were customized to fit their unique passions.
The basilica where Caroline had long wanted to say “I do” is made of white stone on the outside, but she describes the inside as a hidden gem. "There are literally chandeliers, gold, and ornate paintings everywhere—it really is breathtaking," she says.
The bride’s father walked her down the aisle to “La Ritournelle,” by Sebastien Tellier, played by a string quartet.
In Italy, the churches are all in the center of the town square, and everyone circled around to watch the wedding festivities. “When they saw us, they erupted into cheers that could be heard in the church as well. I still have goosebumps thinking about it,” says the bride.
Brightly colored rose petals were available in paper cones—personalized with the couple’s crest—for guests to throw as the newlyweds left the church.
The bride wanted “whimsical elegance” for her celebration, and so the decor was mostly white but with happy, bright colors for flowers. One such display was a well filled with light blue hydrangeas.
Candles lined the stairs leading to the upstairs of the villa, where dinner was served. There, tables were topped with bright floral arrangements, crystal candelabras, and personalized menus calligraphed by Pigment + Parchment. Guests dined on Ligurian-style Mediterranean sea bass and Carnaroli rice risotto with roasted prawns. In lieu of signature cocktails, they served tequila shots on platters on the dance floor later.
The newlyweds and their guests stayed fueled up for dancing with mini hot dogs, mini apple pies, and French fries at midnight. They danced to “You Are the Best Thing,” by Ray LaMontagne, for their first dance—and later had a DJ keep things going well into the wee hours!
Ceremony Venue: Basilica di S. Margherita d'Antiochia || Reception Venue: Villa Durazzo || Planner: Exclusive Italy Weddings || Catering & Cake: Capurro Ricevimenti|| Bride’s Dress: Marchesa || Bride’s Shoes: Aquazzura || Groom’s Attire: Armani || Hair & Makeup: Giulia Cresci || Floral Design: Genio e Sregolatezza || Music: Fire & Ice || Invitations & Paper Products: Happy Menocal; Pigment & Parchment; Very Truly Yours || Engagement Ring & Wedding Band: Walters Faith; Wachler || Photography: Peter and Veronika || Videography: D-Video