They first met briefly at a bar in the West Village, but neither Nikki Cohen nor Ryan Casson were ready for a new relationship. Then fate took its course a year and a half later. Nikki was vacationing in Greece and traveled to Capri, Italy last minute after being invited by a friend the day before. Little did she know, Ryan was also on the Italian island and her life was about to change.
While Ryan was enjoying an aperitif outside a luxury hotel, Nikki walked by and said hello. “I panicked, thinking to myself ‘Who is this beautiful girl and how does she possibly know my name?’” he remembers. “He didn’t recognize me!” Nikki affirms. Embarrassed, she sent him a text to reintroduce herself. They agreed to meet that evening, which they spent talking, dancing, and sharing their first kiss.
“As a matrimonial attorney for a firm in Manhattan, I work with unsuccessful marriages on a daily basis. As such, I am very cognizant of what it takes to make a marriage work and the type of relationships that are more likely to succeed,” confirms the groom. “I learned that Nikki is an incredible woman, who is smart, confident, kind, generous, caring, sincere, and selfless... At some point, it became a no-brainer and it was just a natural progression to take our relationship to the next level.” He asked for her parents’ blessing, planned a surprise proposal for his beloved, and she happily accepted.
Originally considering eloping, Nikki was convinced by Ryan and her parents to celebrate the milestone with friends and family. “Once I made the decision, I knew I only wanted a destination wedding in Italy,” she shares of the choice to return to the country that began the couple’s love story.
With just six months to plan the fête, the bride worked with her mother and event planner Francesca Abbracciamento to orchestrate a memorable celebration at a boutique hotel in Tuscany. “I can confidently say that Monteverdi is the most special, unique place I have ever visited. The setting is spectacular; the attention to detail is exquisite; the food is unbelievable,” describes Ryan. “I loved roaming around the village each day and simply taking in the incredible views of the rolling hills of Tuscany.”
The couple’s sunset ceremony took place on a bluff showcasing 360-degree views of the Tuscan landscape. In keeping with Jewish tradition, the pair exchanged vows beneath a chuppah embellished with wax flowers, roses, and greenery that enhanced the vista rather than competing with it. The bride was elegant in a gorgeous long-sleeved gown with a V-neckline.
“Seeing Nikki walk down the aisle was something I tried to envision since the day I proposed to her, and the love and emotions that I experienced in that moment far exceeded my expectations,” reminisces the groom, who shared personalized vows with his beloved. She tells, “Being able to express our love for one another in our own words, in front of our family and friends, was an important component to make it our own.”
Guests moved to a clear-topped tent for the elegant reception. Tables were covered in vanilla linens with navy runners and topped with blue-and-white china that complemented the contrasting color scheme. “I wanted the room to feel romantic, Tuscan, and filled with love,” explains the bride. Floral arrangements were composed of mainly neutral-toned roses with burgundy dahlias to create a pop of color, and the space was illuminated with twinkling lights and candles for a romantic ambience.
“We asked people to travel a very long way to celebrate this special occasion in our lives, and we wanted to make sure it was worth their while,” says the groom, noting he was most concerned with throwing a party for their loved ones that revolved around great music. As such, he worked closely with DJ Martin D’Arce from New York City, who they flew in for the fête. “I fell more in love with Ryan during our wedding-planning process as I watched him handle new situations with such maturity, grace, and consideration for me,” smiles Nikki.
Planning a destination event in just six months can be challenging; despite this, the couple was thrilled with how their celebration unfolded. “The only aspect that really surprised me was just how calm I was throughout the majority of the weekend,” reveals Ryan. “I have never been at such ease with a decision and could not wait to walk down the aisle and marry the love of my life.” Nikki, too, enjoyed each moment of their Italian soirée. “I loved every second of our wedding weekend,” she smiles. “I wish it lasted longer!”