“She walked in, and I noticed her right away,” affirms the groom of the first moment he saw Brit Smith at a bar in New York City – on the same street where they now live. They chatted for a bit, and then Brit turned away to talk to her friends. “Then next thing I knew, he was waving goodbye to me from across the room,” she remembers of the brief exchange. Thankfully, Mike connected with Brit on LinkedIn – the only social media he had at the time – and they exchanged phone numbers. A few years later while on vacation in Paris, Mike led Brit to a gorgeous suite decorated with roses that offered a perfect view of the Eiffel Tower. “When I turned back around to look at Mike, he was down on one knee,” muses Brit of the private, picturesque proposal. “It was perfect.” 

The pair set a date for their nuptials to take place nine months later, so they relied heavily on their exceptional wedding team to orchestrate a luxurious event in just five months. “We both knew that we wanted a destination wedding,” notes the bride, who had fallen in love with Lake Como while visiting with her mother a few years prior. “It was one of the most beautiful places I’d ever seen – everywhere I looked was like a postcard.” After she and Mike took a trip together, he too fell in love with the Italian destination. 

The September sun created a glimmer along the lake as 115 loved ones found their seats on the lawn of an exquisite 16th-century palazzo, facing the breathtaking mountains that gracefully meet the clear blue water. Italian-themed music, including Dean Martin’s “That’s Amore” and “Vivo Per Lei” by Andrea Bocelli, set the tone for the romantic, alfresco ceremony. Brit and Mike exchanged vows in front of a floral installation featuring cascading Spanish moss, flowering branches, and vivid garden roses.

Friends and family then enjoyed a poolside cocktail hour on the manicured grounds of the villa. As a nod to the groom’s nickname for his beloved, escort cards were cut in the shape of doves and suspended from a tree with lavender ribbon. The greenhouse-inspired reception tent wowed everyone in attendance. Though she originally gravitated towards a timeless white color palette, the bride was overjoyed with the decision to incorporate vibrant hues. “I wanted it to look like A Midsummer Night’s Dream – magical and very colorful,” confirms Brit of the stunning décor.

A lush ceiling installation of fuchsia wisteria and blue delphiniums, illuminated with crystal chandeliers, provided a cozy, elegant feel for the evening festivities. “One of my favorite parts of the reception was the head table, which was adorned with a centerline of flowers and foliage that resembled a garden growing in the center,” adds the bride. She envisioned tablescapes that looked as though they belonged at a decadent royal dinner. Mirrored tables were adorned with hundreds of blooms, including anemones, roses, orchids, tulips, and delphiniums, as well as fresh fruits, such as grapes, figs, and currants. Guest place settings were carefully selected and showcased “Iris” dinnerware from the Oriente Italiano collection by Richard Ginori, crystal glassware, and vintage silver flatware. Mixed votives and light blue taper candles created a warm, romantic ambience. 

Following Brit and Mike’s first dance, the bride changed into a sparkling second gown and styled her hair in glamorous flowing curls for a full night of merriment. She and her father shared a dance on the wooden dance floor and then stunned onlookers when they got on stage to perform a duet of “Shallow” by Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper from A Star Is Born. The rest of the night was spent on the dance floor as a live band performed pop, R&B, and Motown music. “Everybody was dancing from the moment they walked in,” smiles the groom.

Toward the end of the night, revelers waved sparklers as they made their way outside with the newlyweds. As “Higher Love” by Whitney Houston played alongside a live electric violinist, guests were surprised with a timed fireworks show over the water. “The fireworks over the lake kept the energy high, going into the after-party that went well into the night,” shares the groom of the night to remember. “No one wanted to leave!"