Tell us a little about yourselves!
Hi! We are Matt and Victoria from NYC. We met in college through a mutual friend. A year into our friendship, we started dating, and in our 12th year together, our friend married us under a canopy of olive trees in Puglia. Matt works in advertising, and I work in medicine. And yet, food is our biggest passion. It is not unusual for us to deliberate over restaurants or recipes for exhaustive amounts of time. We’re often dreaming up our next adventure, which is generally constructed with care around an ever-expanding list of restaurants. Recently, time outside of work has become a bit of a scarcity for us both. When we do find time, we treat it sacredly. For us, this means prioritizing long dinners and good wine! Fortunately, we were able to indulge in just that at our wedding, or more aptly, “the week of dinner parties.”
Why did you decide to get married where you did?
We’ve spent some time exploring the coastline of Puglia and fell in love with the sweet and slow pace of life, which is very different from New York. The first time we visited, we were amazed by the topography. The gnarling, centennial olive trees alongside massive, towering cacti are a sight to behold. The Salento region has this indescribable sense of magic. You feel as if you’ve happened upon a secret. Also, the food is some of the best we’ve had—elegant and uncomplicated. Originally, we were planning on staying local to New York, but our favorite locations had enormous stipulations in order to accommodate a wedding. Ultimately, we wanted to choose a location that had meaning for us both. Fortuitously, as we were continuing the search, we made it through our last bottle of olive oil from Masseria Potenti (perfectly peppery and grassy, by the way). Matt placed an order for more and, on a whim, inquired about weddings. At first, we were mostly entertaining a fantasy, but the more we considered it, the more we came to realize that somehow, out of all of the places we’ve visited and lived, this one masseria in this very specific region of the world, miles from home, held some of our most treasured moments together. At Masseria Potenti, we cultivated a real sense of joy and ease, and that was precisely how we wanted our wedding to feel for our friends and family.
How many guests did you have?
Tell us about your outfits.
On Friday night, our welcome dinner was held on one long table, with lots of candles as the centrepiece. Once the sun went down, the candles created the most beautiful glow against the domed ceiling of the room. I knew I wanted to wear something that would play well against the candlelight. I’ve loved Danielle Frankel’s designs for years (it was that first campaign in the abandoned pool that hooked me!), and thought the Bruna dress, with all of its gorgeous pleating, would capture light really beautifully. I worked with the atelier at Danielle Frankel Studio to cut the dress to tea-length without sacrificing the detail of the pleats. My friend Chiara told me that I reminded her of a Byzantine shell, which is probably the best compliment I’ve ever received. I paired my shell-inspired look with white silk Manolo Blahniks. Matt went with a light linen suit, which he created custom with Freemans’ Sporting Club in NYC, the same tailors as his wedding day tuxedo. We found a gorgeous oyster-toned silk and linen blend for the fabric and lined it with a salmon candy-striped print. As a wedding gift, I bought Matt a pair of brown leather Gucci loafers to wear with his suit. The final touch was actually a gift that Matt had given me many years ago. When we first started dating, he left NYC to study abroad in London for a semester. While he was away, he visited Milan and bought me a beautiful silk summer scarf from Etro. He wore it as an ascot, and it served as a little reminder of how far we’ve come as we headed into our first official event of the weekend. For the wedding day, Matt took inspiration from 1960s Italian cinema. He went with a sharply tailored black tuxedo and thickly rimmed, black acetate sunglasses from Celine. He wore black Ferragamo shoes and his favorite Omega Speedmaster watch.
Being in Southern Italy, I wanted to embrace the antique romance of lace. I chose a gown by Inbal Dror and paired it with a traditional mantilla veil. The wedding crest that Julie King Studio designed for our stationary is based on Catholic sacred heart images or Milagros hearts. Our crest included the heart with flames and the letter V superimposed on M. I loved this design so much, and was lucky enough to find an artisan in Mexico who created a pair of gold earrings to match. For my shoes, I went with a pair of silver leather Dolce and Gabbana sandals with chunky gold hearts to tie everything together and give a bit of playful, campy oomph.
What was the most important aspect for you, in terms of planning your wedding?
Like many couples, we were engaged before the pandemic began and learned how to adapt to ever-evolving precautions and travel restrictions. Also during this time, Matt began working at a new company, and I was in the throes of medical school. It was important to avoid feeling overwhelmed since there were so many other moving parts in our lives. Of course, some stress is inevitable, but we did our best to keep the planning fun. We spent a lot of time curating playlists for the weekend, which, more often than not, left us wanting a cocktail and a night out dancing.
And our friends, thank god for friends. They helped us remain excited and, more importantly, sane. Matt’s best man Zach organized a pre-wedding boating day to kick off the weekend. As luck would have it, an incoming storm kept us docked in the harbour, but it didn’t matter; the party stopped for nothing and no one. We ate cheese and pasta and took tequila shots with the crew. When it finally came time for the weekend’s main events, our friend Chiara (Goddess of Italy and Master of Ceremonies at Masseria Potenti), took the reins. Chiara coordinated everything top to bottom and brought our wedding to life with such thought and care.
Our friend Jordan, who officiated, was incredible with his speech, tying in the many stages of our relationship together in all it’s funny, crazy, wonderful glory. He really set the tone for the day, and it was the most beautiful gift we could have received. I don’t know what we did to deserve such good friends. Without them, the weekend wouldn’t be possible.
Were there any elements that were important for you to incorporate?
We embraced the idea of incorporating certain elements from our differing religious backgrounds. On Friday after dinner, we signed our Ketubah. We worked with the Jewish Museum in New York to customize the wording to reflect a more modern union. The design we chose is based on one of the museum’s recovered ketubahs from 17th century Italy. I was surprised by the details, which include ornate biblical imagery as well as some pomegranates and, questionably, a few small goat-men. Save for the goat-men, the ketubah design reminded me of the baroque interiors of Catholic churches. And so we thought, perfect! It is unlikely that there has ever been a more Judeo-Filipino-Catholic ketubah than ours. For our wedding day, I thought it would be fun/funny to stick images of the Mother Mary onto my nails, so that she was with me as we married under the chuppah. I’m not particularly religious, but I grew up in a Catholic household and always found the image of the Mother Mary very compelling. There is a certain irony in the Catholic idolization of her femininity, and naturally, I got a little carried away in my quest to incorporate her, so much that I ended up basing my entire wedding day look on her image. She is, perhaps, the most well-known virgin of all time. On the day of our wedding, I cannot say it was the same for me. Also, we chose not to keep the tradition of sleeping apart the night before, opting instead to stay together in our suite, which I highly suggest!
Although our religious backgrounds are different, we are both agnostic these days, and so the amount of religious iconography that found itself into our wedding created a little humorous tension that we thoroughly enjoyed.
Any tips for couples getting married?
Planning a wedding is exciting and romantic, and then suddenly very hectic. Try not to fall into the trap of stressing over every last detail. In the end, we wanted our wedding to feel less like a production and more like a vacation with friends and family—one that we all needed after the past several years. Keeping this in mind helped us stay present in the moment with our guests and, of course, with each other. When all of your friends and family have gathered to celebrate that you and the love of your life have found each other, it’s a shame if, internally, you’re still doubting your choice of flower or specialty cocktail. It’s all going to be fine! Everything is going to be beautiful! Everyone says it, but it’s exceptionally true: don’t miss your own wedding!!! Also, if you have a special place in mind for your wedding and are on the fence about whether to take the destination plunge, I would say, unequivocally, go for it!
Are there any vendors that you would like to tell us a little more about?
Every single vendor we worked with was incredible! Stefano Santucci, our amazing photographer, and his second assist Valeria are so talented at what they do. When I found Stefano’s work online back in 2019, I felt really connected to his style of seeing, which is so classic and timeless. He has a beautiful eye for light and composition, as well as an incredible sensitivity for capturing tender moments. A few months before our wedding, Stefano and I began discussing ideas for the day, working out where and what we’d like to photograph and the timing of everything. When we finally arrived for the wedding, it was fun for Matt and I to escape the crowd for a bit and drive through these spots. The morning of our wedding was my favorite. We woke up together, put on our swimsuits and bathrobes and, after a cappuccino, drove down to the sea. Stefano documented everything, all of the excitement of finally making it to the wedding day after three long years. Spending the morning together at the beach is a decision I’m really proud we made, and I’m so grateful to Stefano who was with us to capture all of those tiny moments of joy.
Nina Menzel, our incredible videographer, and her assist Valentin were also with us. I found Nina’s work on Instagram in 2020, right before the pandemic hit. Nina is an incredible fashion photographer and posted several clips of projects she was working on, all of which seemed to create a sort of fleeting, ethereal mood that reminded me of scenes from Sofia Coppola’s Lost in Translation. Nina told me she’d never shot a wedding before, but was game for ours since we didn’t want a video in the traditional sense. Before we met, she started creating a Spotify playlist of songs to inspire her work, and later on, it was funny to see that most of the songs listed were ones that Matt and I already loved. Nina and Valentin stopped at nothing to get their shots--hanging out of a car trunk to capture us driving down a dirt road or standing precariously at the edge of a roof three stories high to film our cocktail hour from above. What she created was the most beautiful, honest, and intimate documentation of this very special time in our life. It was so much more than we could have ever expected. Between Stefano, Valeria, Nina, and Valentin, we really had the dream team, and we are so grateful for the stunning effort they each put into their work to create something so meaningful and beautiful that we will cherish forever.
I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention Marcela Bantea, the most incredible makeup artist who is also a talented photographer in her own right, and Davide Cichello, my amazingly gifted and wickedly funny hair stylist. Throughout the weekend, they endeavored to help me look less insane, which is an unfortunate side effect of many moments of tearful joy. They also kept me excited, always ready to get back out to our guests, but then I would miss hanging out with them until finally they joined the party themselves!
Lastly, a very special thanks goes to Chiara and the Tommasino family, who created a magical place that became so special for me and Matt, and now, our family and friends too. You can feel the passion and love for their home and heritage, and it’s really what makes Masseria Potenti unlike anywhere else.
Photographer : Stefano Santucci @photosantucci | Videographer : Nina Menzel @chaudsoleilweddings @chaudsoleil | Ceremony + Reception Location : Masseria Potenti @masseriapotenti | Celebrant : Jordan (friend of the couple) | Entertainment : Zagor Street Band, The Gleams @zagor_street_band @the_gleams_project | Planning : Chiara and Noemi at Masseria Potenti @masseriapotenti @chiatomtom @noemi.fanuli | Hire : Alfa Romeo from Puglia Auto Classica @pugliautoclassica | Flora : Masseria Potenti @masseriapotenti | Makeup : Marcela Bantea @marcelabantea | Hair : Davide Cichello @davidecichello | Stationery : Julie King Studio @juliekingstudio | Bespoke Wedding Bowl : Cicileu @cicileu | Wedding Matchbooks : Julie King Studio @juliekingstudio | Bride's Outfits : Danielle Frankel @daniellefrankelstudio Custom with Cult Gaia @cultgaia lily earrings (Welcome Dinner) + Inbal Dror @inbaldrorofficial gown from Mark Ingram Atelier @markingramatelier with Bride’s family veil (Ceremony) | Groom's Suits : Custom linen suit by Freeman’s Sporting Goods NYC (Welcome Dinner) + Custom black tuxedo by Freeman’s Sporting Goods NYC (Ceremony + Reception) | Engagement Ring : Stevie Hausman at Pesselnik and Cohen | Bride's Shoes : Dolce & Gabbana @dolcegabbana (Ceremony + Reception) + Manolo Blahnik @manoloblahnik (Welcome Dinner) | Groom's Shoes : Salvatore Ferragamo @ferragamo (Ceremony + Reception) + Gucci @gucci (Welcome Dinner)