For Jennifer Menecola, a stylist from Toronto, and Michele, a manager in the windows industry from Italy, falling in love wasn’t part of the plan. The pair met during Michele’s last week of a six-week business English course he was taking in Toronto. “Knowing he was leaving shortly afterward to go back to Italy, I figured it would never go beyond a coffee date or two, and that we would go our separate ways,” Jennifer reveals.
Neither spoke the other’s language fluently, and after communicating through hand signals, and broken Italian and English, the pair discovered a spark between them. On their second date Michele revealed he wanted to return to Canada to explore their new-found connection. “Over the next few days we were inseparable,” Jennifer says. “When he returned to Italy, we talked on Skype every day and fell completely head over heels in love.”
After getting engaged, a wedding in Italy was a natural choice for the couple. “His entire family is there, and with myself having an Italian background as well, it was something I had always dreamed of, so it made sense,” Jennifer explains.
Sirmione, a small town in northern Italy, was the perfect place to host their romantic, old-world celebration. “From the 15th-century church where the ceremony was held to the villa where we had the reception, we decided we wanted a palette of desaturated hues to reflect the location,” Jennifer says. Everything, from the flowers to the fresh fruit that decorated their venue, reflected the couple’s old-world theme.
Jennifer and her father made their way to the ceremony venue in a vintage Bentley. “People were cheering Auguri! (congratulations) and Guarda la sposa! (look at the bride),” Jennifer recalls. “It was the talk of the town, and passers-by even followed the car to the church—it was something out of a fairy tale.”
Surprise moments were peppered throughout the bride and groom’s day. The cake was one of them. “The photos we provided to the chef were simple, small designs,” Jennifer discloses. “When we saw them roll the cake to the veranda, Michele and I looked at each other in shock. It was beautifully done, but it was the biggest cake we had ever seen! One thing is for sure, it made for great photos and was absolutely delicious.”
At the end of the night Michele surprised Jennifer with a fireworks show on the lake. The groom whisked the bride away for a moment alone, leading her up the steps to a balcony overlooking the party and the lake. As the couple reflected on the day, Jennifer’s favourite song by Andrea Bocelli, “Vivo per Lei” (I Live For Her) started playing from the speakers. The wedding photographers and videographers came out of hiding to capture the moment.
“A server appeared with glasses of champagne, and I remember sipping it through the tears flowing down my face,” Jennifer reminisces. “It was truly a magical and emotional moment I will never forget.”
Jennifer Menecola and Michele De Rossi, September 10, 2017, Sirmione, Italy.
Photography courtesy of 5ive15ifteen.
Ceremony venue: Santa Maria Della Neve
Reception venue: Villa Cortine Palace Hotel
Wedding planner and flowers: Giulia Bolla of Garini Immagina
Bridal gown: Monique Lhuillier
Bridesmaid dresses: Jenny Yoo
Groom’s tux: Tirindelli
Stationery: Paper & Poste
Cake: Villa Cortine Palace Hotel
Hair: Nicola Guidotto
Makeup: Danijela Brozovic
Rings: Alexis Gallery
Music: DJ Marchetto