In November of 2011, Marco Finazzi was out exploring New York City—where he had arrived from Italy to complete his Masters degree at Columbia University—when he and some friends headed to an East Village bar. It was there that he spotted Ashley Berthoumieux. “I walked into the bar for my friend’s birthday, late to the party as usual, and there was Marco,” she remembers. The couple hit it off immediately, and spent the next five years together in New York. In August of 2016, Marco and Ashley headed to Montauk with friends, and Marco tried to get Ashley to climb the lighthouse steps with him.
“I didn’t feel like waiting in line, so I told him to go ahead,” says Ashley. “I had no idea I’d foiled his proposal plan!” Thankfully, Marco was quick on his feet, and was able to get Ashley alone on the beach. “Our friends were in on it, and were waiting nearby with champagne!” says the bride.
While so much of their love story took place in New York, the couple knew they wanted to return to Marco's homeland for their wedding. “We spent a trip to Italy over the holidays scouting venues, and fell in love with the views of Lake Iseo at Relais Mirabella in Clusane d’Iseo,” she says. “Marco’s mother helped us find our ceremony venue, a 16th-century church with Renaissance frescoes on the ceiling that is available for civil ceremonies.” On August 26, 2017, 128 guests from around the world joined the couple in the historic church to witness their wedding vows before settling in for a 10-hour(!) Italian wedding feast.
Photographed by Federico Sbardolini, this gorgeous garden wedding will have you dreaming of a northern Italian getaway!
“I knew I wanted to avoid a poufy ball gown,” says Ashley, who did just that. Her Pronovias dress featured a mermaid skirt, a flowing train, and a feminine lace overlay. “It was one of the first I tried, but I didn’t want to miss out, so I tried on over 50 other dresses before I went back to it,” she says. “The second time, I brought my mom along, and she loved it as much as I did! If you’re strong-willed like me, I recommend shopping alone—at least in the beginning—so you’re not overwhelmed by opinions that don’t match your taste.”
Ashley’s bridesmaids and flower girl wore sage floral dresses from Jenny Yoo, while the ring-bearers wore navy blue short suits. The women all had soft white flowers, with the bridesmaids carrying roses and dahlias and the flower girl wearing a crown of baby’s breath.
Ashley and Marco read their own vows, with the groom reciting his in Italian. “Marco and my guests have different primary languages, so we had to create a bilingual website and even print two versions of our invitations,” says Ashley. After the “I do’s,” guests followed Italian tradition and tossed rice and rose petals over the newlyweds.
Marco’s groomsman collects vintage cars, and has a beautiful navy blue 1950s Fiat in his garage. “He drove us around on our wedding day, which was so fun!” says the bride.
Instead of a traditional escort card display, table assignments were tucked into vases filled with white dahlias, hydrangeas, and lisianthus for a gathered, garden-inspired look. Tables featured similarly collected centerpieces that combined a variety of flowers and berries in crisp white and green colors.
“In Italy, weddings last all day and food is the main event,” says the bride. “We had a very long menu to match the day-long party!” After the ceremony, guests sipped local sparkling wine as they dined on cured cheeses and battered vegetables. Lunch featured risotto with zucchini flowers, Arctic char, black ravioli with bass and prawn bisque, and beef Wellington. “Keep in mind, each guest was served every course,” says Ashley. “We had to get up mid-meal to take a break!” Later in the evening, a buffet featured fresh pasta, fruits, and desserts, then a gelato truck arrived after the almond-and-berry cake was served.
“We had such a lively crowd,” says Ashley. “During toasts, each table tried to outdo the others by cheering as loudly as they could. The restaurant turned off the music because we were such a noisy bunch!”
Wedding Coordinator: Beatrice Rizzini || Ceremony Venue: Chiesa dei Disciplini || Reception Venue: Relais Mirabella || Bride's Dress: Pronovias || Bride's Shoes: Blue by Betsey Johnson, Schutz || Bride's Jewelry: Bling Jewelry || Hair & Makeup: Maison Co’ || Bridesmaids' & Flower Girl’s Dresses: Jenny Yoo || Groom's Attire: Carlo Pignatelli, from Lochi & Sons || Engagement Ring: James Allen || Wedding Bands: Jangmi || Floral Design: Bohem Fiori || Paper Products: Minted, Pioro Wedding, Cartaria del Garda, Linda Ferarri || Catering & Cake: Relais Mirabella || Ceremony Music: One Music || Reception Music: Francesco Baiguera & Co.