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Ciao Bella

Jun, 13, 2016

You had us at ciao.

This Italy-inspired feature from our 2016 issue is just that — inspired. So scroll on, transport yourself to the breathtaking Amalfi Coast (or what we affectionately like to call Italy, Utah), and devour every decadent detail.

The Design “No two weddings are the same and no two cultures are identical. I love allowing the traditions of culture to guide me through a design process. From table decor, ceiling treatments, lighting, floral and more, every culture has something unique that can inspire design aesthetics. Take, for example, floral elements at a wedding. Tulips always remind me of Holland, and Cherry Blossoms remind me of Japan. Flowers like hibiscus and plumeria remind me of tropical locations. I may utilize regional floral throughout the event design (and even floral fashion pieces) as a reflection of the locations deeply rooted in specific cultures. I designed an Indian wedding a few years ago, including a ceiling treatment full of silk fabrics and paper star lanterns the bride’s family sent her from India.” – Michelle Cousins, designer of this feature and owner of the award-winning Michelle Leo Events.

The Ceremony “Different cultures practice different types of ceremonies, which can easily take the place of, or be incorporated into a traditional ‘western’ wedding ceremony,” Michelle says. “My Vietnamese bride had a traditional tea-ceremony before their ‘regular’ ceremony. I also planned a wedding for a couple where the groom was Persian. We incorporated the traditional ‘Sofreh’ ceremony into a typical western ceremony to bring the cultures together.”

Powerful Paper The invitation goodness — from the photograph to the font to the silk envelope tie — has our stamp of approval. P.S. Simple suites are not simple to execute — but oh, they are perfection.

Sitting Pretty The escort display is a master class in decor from Michelle Leo Events. Take off a name, and slowly reveal a breathtaking photograph of Italy taken by D’Arcy Benincosa. Beyond beautiful.

Plate Fate Let’s lay it all on the table — few things please us more than a perfect place setting. And that small floral touch? It’s like a boutonniere for the plate.

Your Bread + Butter Italian affairs are a feast for the heart — a focal point of any gathering. “In Italy, a ‘snack’ could mean a four-course meal!” Michelle says. Antipasto Menu Artisan breads, Capicola, Salami, Proscuitto, Mortadella, Artichoke Hearts, Kalamata Olives, Roasted Red Peppers & Feta Cheese, and more.

Cake Walk Selecting Tiramisu for the wedding cake was a layered choice. “Not every culture leans toward a white-tier, raspberry-filled wedding cake,” Michelle says. “Some cultures eliminate cake altogether and opt for a unique spread of nuts, fruits, spices and more. Born and raised in an Italian family, I learned at an early age what Tiramisu is — and it’s still one of my favorite desserts to this day. Utilizing a delicious Tiramisu cake with rich chocolate shavings for this particular shoot was a no brainer!”

Divine Desserts Sweet dreams are made of these. Dessert Menu Blueberry-topped Lady Fingers, Mini Cookies, Macarons, Vanilla Almond Torte with Fresh Raspberries, Cannoli Biscotti and more. 

Tiny Touches Food makes the prettiest decor, don’t you think? Love how the open-faced fig toppers give a pop of color.

Buon Appetito Too often the bride and groom don’t get to sit down and enjoy the reception. Take a cue  from the Italians and relish the day.



Concept Design, Planning + Styling Michelle Leo Events

Photography D’Arcy Benincosa

Catering Cuisine Unlimited

Floral Design Blooms and Blossoms

Floral Provider Esprit Wholesaler

Cake Flour and Flourish

Videography Chris McClain Productions

Bride’s Gowns Samuelle Couture

Veil Avenia Bridal

Groom’s Suit Urbana Custom

Makeup Kristen Packard

Hair Kali Chris

Paper Suite Refine Studio

Vespa Vespa of Utah

Venue Private Residence

Groom’s Ring Stag Head Designs

Bride’s Jewelry Katie Waltman

Wood Tables MC2 WoodWorks

Rose Gold Flatware Diamond Rental

‘Cashmere’ the Goat Thanksgiving Point

Models Spencer + Lianna Michelle Russell

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