On Christmas Eve in 2014, Eleonora Carisi and Paolo Soffiatti were in Turin, Italy, for the holidays. (Dreamy, right?) The only thing that could make a winter evening at the foot of the Alps even better? A proposal! After a quintessential snowy engagement, the Italian couple quickly set a spring wedding date of May 29, 2016, and started planning a local celebration. “I was born in Turin, Paolo is from Modena, and we live in Milan, so we wanted something that would be nearby for everyone,” says the bride. She found the perfect location in Ville Ponti in Varese, a 19th-century villa with a gorgeous pale-pink facade. Eleonora and her groom kept their wedding elegant and simple, letting the gorgeous setting and spring flowers take center stage. While a little rain moved the ceremony inside, the historic venue was the perfect intimate backdrop for a gathering of 110 of their family and friends. Erich McVey’s photos of this northern-Italian wedding are simply stunning, and the delicate details will inspire you, no matter where you’re saying “I do.”
Eleonora is friends with Elie Saab (what?!), so when the couture designer filled her in on his new collection, she headed to Paris to see it. The beaded lace gown she chose featured a plunging back, long sleeves, and an embroidered sheer neckline. “I have a lot of tattoos and loved the way the dress covered some of them, but it was still sexy," she says.
For a gown with so much detail, Eleonora kept her shoes simple, opting for white satin Jimmy Choo pumps. “I did bring a pair of flats to wear once the dancing started!” she reveals. A bouquet of peonies was a must for the bride, who chose a wedding date in May to coincide with peony season.
Eleonora's flirty lace-edged veil gave her ensemble a more modern look. “The dress was supposed to be worn with a full-length veil, but I wanted something more fresh and contemporary,” she explains.
Paolo kept his attire modern as well, choosing a blue suit with a matching skinny tie.
The pink hue of Ville Ponti was a perfect match for the bride and groom’s color palette, and the building's details and gardens created a beautiful and timeless setting.
The ceremony took place in one of the large main rooms, where chandeliers lit the space and an altar of roses and peonies stood front and center. “We added some flowers but kept it very simple, as the space is so beautiful on its own,” says the bride.
The newlyweds made a dramatic exit from the ceremony beneath a shower of rose petals.
“We didn’t have a wedding planner,” Eleonora explains. “I didn’t think we’d be able to find someone who really understood our vision.” Instead, the bride and groom teamed up with local vendors to help bring their ideas to life.
Eleonora’s two bridesmaids wore silk dresses from Luisa Beccaria. “They asked to wear black, but I really wanted them in pastel colors,” says the bride. “I organized a day with the designer. We went to her atelier and had breakfast, and they tried on dresses. We chose them together, and the pink and blue colors were perfect!”
Paolo’s groomsmen donned classic suits, and the men all wore white-rose boutonnieres.
“My dress was perfect, but all the beading was so heavy,” explains Eleanora. After dinner, she swapped the intricate gown for something a little lighter—perfect for dancing!
Guests sipped Moet champagne and Grey Goose cocktails, including a special drink made with chamomile liqueur, lime, and mint. They dined on a classic Italian feast of knife-cut noodles with veal ragout and fish with escarole and capers.
Tables were topped with elegant clusters of peonies, roses, lisianthus, and vibrant greenery. Windows looked out over the villa’s sprawling manicured grounds.
For dessert, the couple served an indulgent spread of vanilla and rose-petal Ladurée macarons. Yum!
After dinner, a DJ (one of the bride’s pals) played '90s music until 3 a.m. “We planned our wedding in six months, and while everything was great, I wish we’d taken a year instead,” says Eleonora. “There’s so much to be done at the very end, and I wish we’d given ourselves more time to take care of the details.”