We're thrilled to feature Andrew and Maria's breathtaking wedding that took place in Venice, Italy! For those who may not know, there is a small island in the Venetian Lagoon that houses an Armenian Catholic church since 1717. San Lazzaro Island has been the home to the monastery of the Mekhitarists and many Armenians who visit Venice take a day trip to this island. We spoke to Maria and Andrew to hear all about their wedding planning experience. And since planning an Armenian wedding in Italy is no easy feat, we connected with Sylvie from My Italian Wedding Planner to get all the details and photos of this gorgeous wedding!
First up, Maria and Andrew share their story with us:
"Our story begins in September 2013, when we met after introduction by mutual friends. Andrew proposed during our trip to Paris in February 2016. After a busy day spent visiting Marche Bastille, Notre Dame, Sainte-Chapelle, the Catacombs, and Les Invalides, we returned to our apartment in Le Marais district with a few of Maria's favorite things in tow (ranunculus, champagne, and macarons). It was there that Andrew proposed!
How and why did you decide to get married in Italy? And why that specific location?
We have to give credit to Andrew's father for suggesting Venice as a wedding location! We primarily chose to get married in Italy due to some family history there. Andrew's father spent his adolescence in Venice and Andrew's great uncle has been a monk at San Lazzaro degli Armeni for decades. Once Venice was suggested, there was no going back - no venues in Los Angeles could compare.
What was it like to plan a wedding abroad?
We wanted to host an intimate, fun, and memorable event for our guests, who we knew had to make many sacrifices to attend our wedding. We had started casually discussing wedding plans following our engagement, but it wasn't until we connected with our wedding planner, Sylvie, that our plans started to really take shape. We were fortunate that our ceremony and reception venues were stunning and did not require much in the way of embellishment, so we kept our decor relatively simple for an elegant and timeless look. We were initially apprehensive about planning a wedding abroad (especially considering the logistical challenges Venice presents), but hiring our wedding planner was the best decision we made!
Tell us more about your wedding dress and dress shopping experience.
I searched all over for a romantic gown that was both beautiful and comfortable (and easy to transport in a suitcase!). It was important to me that the dress be appropriate for a traditional Armenian wedding in the church but also glamorous enough to transition into reception wear. Eventually, I found the Ines Di Santo Alonda gown that was perfect!
Did you incorporate any Armenian traditions into your wedding?
To be honest, while our wedding ceremony could not have been more traditional, we didn't partake in other Armenian traditions.
What were your favorite moments of your wedding day?
The entire day was magical. Some of our favorite moments included our first look prior to the wedding ceremony, toasting bellinis on the fondamenta, hearing the most heartfelt speeches from our loved ones, dancing the night away, and inviting our families over to our wedding suite for an afterparty.
Any advice for other couples planning their special day? And especially those who are considering getting married abroad?
For couples marrying abroad (particularly if neither person speaks the destination country's native tongue), we would first and foremost recommend hiring a competent wedding planner. For any Armenian couples looking to get married in Venice or elsewhere in Italy, we wholeheartedly recommend Sylvie and My Italian Wedding Planner, as we had such a positive experience with them. With that being said, keep an open mind and be willing to accept that certain aspects of the wedding day may be a surprise for you or may not turn out exactly as you expected. Most importantly, try to relax and enjoy the experience as much as possible because it truly flies by!
Next up, we reached out to Sylvie from My Italian Wedding Planner and asked her to share more details about Andrew & Maria's gorgeous Armenian wedding in Italy:
"Andrew and Maria contacted us last year because they wanted to organize their Armenian wedding in Venice, Italy. Being based in Los Angeles and not speaking Italian, they were looking for the advice and help from a wedding planner that would support them throughout the preparation of their event!
They were looking for a wedding that would incorporate the Armenian traditions with the unique elegant and stylish atmosphere that only Venice would be able to offer! Their Armenian wedding was thus celebrated on San Lazzaro Island according to the antique tradition. Maria and Andrew's ceremony was made even more moving by the presence of Andrew’s grand uncle, member of the Mekhitarist order, still living in the monastery of the Island!
Guests were blown away by the beauty of the church and the total intimacy of the Island.
We organized their reception in the magnificent granaries of the Cipriani Hotel that faces St Mark’s Square. The open air cocktail was organized in the late afternoon on the Cipriani terrace where the guests could enjoy a string quartet musician’s performance as well as the sunset on Venice that offers at this time of the day unique colours! The dinner was then served in the antique granaries, where a long elegant and stylish table was set up under the magnificent Murano glass chandeliers.
We are so much in love with the dinner atmosphere we created for the bride and groom: lots of white and blush flowers with gold details which gave a romantic touch to the whole evening. We could not forget either about the Jordan almonds favors which Maria wanted to add in tiny elegant boxes for each of the guests to thank them for making their day unforgettable!
The after dinner party was essential for Maria and Andrew as they really wanted to make sure that international music was perfectly mixed with traditional Armenian music so everyone could party all night on the dance floor!!!"
Special thanks to Maria, Andrew, and Sylvie from My Italian Wedding Planner for sharing all the details with us! We've featured some incredible photos by Lato Photography, based in Italy, along with a highlights video from Andrew and Maria's wedding day. Congrats to Andrew and Maria for tying the knot. And if you're inspired to have your wedding (or vow renewal ceremony) in Italy, we'd love to hear from you!
Bellissimo! Thank you Andrew & Maria for sharing your beautiful love story with us, and kudos to My Italian Wedding Planner and Lato Photography for planning and capturing such a breathtaking Armenian wedding in Italy.
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