Kristina Bocci and Driton Tomaj first locked eyes at Kristina’s place of business – the studio of her fashion-designer mother, Katerina Bocci. “My cousin and his wife had been clients of Katerina and they had the idea to introduce us. I’d learned her favorite color in advance, so I brought her a single purple rose,” explains Driton. “It felt as if the molecules in the room changed when we met.” Naturally, the two quickly began a romantic relationship. When the groom-to-be decided he wanted to ask his girlfriend to marry him, he enlisted his sister as a diversion. “I was supposed to be meeting her for brunch, but she called me and told me she was at the park,” Kristina recalls. “I pulled up and got out of the car to look for her when Driton comes out from behind a tree with red roses.” She knew what was happening immediately, and happily accepted his proposal.

Throughout their nine-month engagement, the pair spent a lot of time long distance due to different job locations. “He was very involved, even though he was in New York and I was in Michigan,” says the bride of her fiancé’s effort to call or video chat during wedding appointments. Fortunately, Kristina knew she could heavily rely on her mother and sister. “They were my right-hand people,” she confirms of the bonding experience. One thing was abundantly clear: the event décor would revolve around the favorite hue of the bride. “Everything was planned around the color purple,” Kristina affirms. At the start of their special day, the bride donned a regal ball gown with floral detailing, but changed into a more fitted and glamorous mermaid ensemble later in the evening.

Both parents accompanied Kristina down the aisle of the Albanian church in which the pair hosted their vow exchange. “It wouldn’t have been fair to just have my dad escort me – my mom had a huge part in my upbringing,” she explains. Adds Driton, “The ceremony, and having all of my closest family and friends there, was very important to me.” Following their “I dos,” 500 revelers were ready for the celebration to begin.

Per Albanian custom, “I walked into the reception with my blusher on and my brother-in-law unveiled me,” Kristina says – an act that led into a line dance around the ballroom. Lilac-colored uplighting surrounded guests as they found their seats at tablescapes featuring a variety of towering centerpieces. Every arrangement complemented the color scheme, but each displayed a set of unique elements, including structured vessels, suspended geometric shapes, eclectic candles, and vibrant blooms with greenery accents. The same configuration of verdure and florals could be found flanking the entrance to the space, arching over the sweetheart table, and surrounding the five-layer cake showcasing a popcorn texture, edible pearls, and a cascading lavender design.

Most of the songs of the evening were kept to traditional cultural tunes, but the groom divulges that about “15% of the music was from the Rat Pack.” The classic melodies gave way to the shared favorite moment of the bride and groom: the first dance. “It felt like it was just her and me – it was very intimate,” Driton muses. Adds Kristina, “I played the memory in my head for the next few days on repeat.” Upon reflection, the groom knows that the support system around him and his new wife made the day possible. “Enjoy every second of your wedding – and thank everyone before and after it’s all done,” he advises.