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This Couple Recited Their Vows in The Pouring Rain at Villa Balbiano

By Cathleen Freedman | Photography by 

Greg Finck

|Planning by 

The Lake Como Wedding Planner

While Angela Vranich and Ben Lewis first met in high school, it wouldn’t be until they were both in college that they began dating. After 10 years together and even starting their food and nutrition company for kids, Little Spoon, he surprised Angela and proposed. Immediately after saying, “Yes,” the newly-engaged couple knew they wanted a destination wedding. The challenging part was figuring out where. . .

We in-depth explored many places special to us including Nantucket and California, but ultimately landed on Lake Como,” Angela shares. They settled on a springtime date when the flowers would be in full bloom and collaborated with their planner, Rachel Birthistle of The Lake Como Wedding Planner, to design a color palette that would be vivid and elegant while simultaneously complementing the locale’s dreamy wisteria. Greg Finck photographed the weekend’s events.

Stylist Cynthia Cook Smith helped Angela with her entire wedding weekend wardrobe, even curating mood boards to visualize each ensemble. For the weekend’s first event, an intimate dinner with close friends and family, Angela stunned in a floral Dolce & Gabbana mini dress with flat Jimmy Choo pearl sandals. Ben coordinated with her in a light green Boglioli blazer. The following evening kicked off the festivities with a welcome party aboard a boat to Finestra sul Lago, a restaurant perched above Lake Como with spectacular views. She enjoyed the night in a one-of-kind seersucker One/Of dress and black Aquazzura sandals. 

After a long search through numerous ateliers, Angela found her wedding gown at Spina Bride. She fell in love with a Sam Walls Beasley sample dress covered in French Alencon lace. She worked with Sam to create the couture gown of her dreams. She even made a jacket that would give the high-neck and long-sleeve silhouette Angela wanted for the ceremony–but could also be removed for all of the dancing to come during the reception. She accessorized further with her mother-in-law’s diamond stud earrings and a sentimental gold ring her mother gifted that morning. Anna Kalytyak, founder of BLBS Management, created Angela’s glowing bridal beauty look. he groom donned a bespoke shawl collar tuxedo with velvet Ferragamo loafers, his beloved vintage Rolex Daytona, and Baccarat studs and cufflinks belonging to his late father. 

On the morning of April 23, 2022, Angela got ready with her maid of honor and junior bridesmaids at the 16th-century Villa Sola Cabiati, which is where the couple and their wedding party stayed for the weekend. They watched the gloomy overcast weather, and Angela and her planner decided to have the floral installation erected inside. But at the last minute and at the behest of friends and family, she made the final call to hold the ceremony outside. “I wanted the beautiful lake backdrop as opposed to an interior fireplace with flowers,” she explains. The wedding planners quickly dried off the chairs and moved a few of the flowers outside, and the Elan Artists string quartet strummed Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believin’.”

Once the musicians started “Intermezzo” from Cavalleria Rusticana, Angela and her father walked down the aislejust as the heavy downpour began. “All of our guests had umbrellas, but Ben and I stood in the rain and went through with having the ceremony outside,” she recalls. “We each wrote personal vows that we recited to each other in the pouring rain. It was definitely memorable for everyone!” Their friend Raed Khawaja, founder of a meditation startup based in LA called Open, officiated and served as a calming force during the outstanding circumstances. After smashing the glass, the newlyweds walked down the aisle to Etta James’s “Something’s Got a Hold on Me.”

At Villa Balbiano, cocktail hour and local appetizers followed. Guests then moved into a tent decorated by Kiana Underwood of Tulipina Design. Candelabras lit the tables with Geminiano Cozzi plates and personalized circular menus for each guest. “In lieu of table numbers, we named each table after a place that was significant to us in our lives, like Big Sur where we celebrated our engagement, and Tribeca, our NYC neighborhood, and Beach 13, our favorite Nantucket beach,” Angela mentions. The four-course Italian dinner by Class Eventi was delectable and made complete by the speeches from the father of the bride, the father of the groom, and Ben’s brother. The groom himself followed with a hilarious speech that guests still talk about to this day.

“Toward the end of the reception and while we were all dancing, several waiters carried a huge table out and set it on the dance floor. I was totally perplexed about what the table was for. Were we going to dance on it?” Angela shares. Several seconds later, though, the waiters brought the biggest wedding cake she had ever seen. “It was a mille-feuille covered in hundreds–maybe thousands!–of red raspberries.” The newlyweds cut their Pasticceria Ramperti cake while the Backstreet Boys’ “I Want It That Way” played and fireworks burst outside in the rain. Despite the day’s weather, the couple shared a first dance to Bobby Hebb’s “Sunny.”

It was practically a given that the couple would have a disco-themed after-party. DJ Erik D and his instrumentalists serenaded the crowd until the early morning hours. Angela twirled the whole time through in an off-the-shoulder Saint Laurent ostrich feather mini dress, gold metallic Gianvito Rossi sandals, and a stunning pair of estate gold and diamond drop earrings borrowed from her mother-in-law. Ben wore a Dolce & Gabbana tuxedo blazer with metallic lamé accents.

The following day, everyone gathered for a casual outdoor farewell brunch. They served Bloody Marys using Ben’s personal recipe alongside an assortment of delicious Italian breakfast foods. Angela was comfortable and relaxed in her Dolce & Gabbana cotton sundress, Stubbs & Wootton wedges, Alexander McQueen rattan clutch, and tortoise Celine sunglasses, “to hide my tired eyes,” she laughs.

But the celebrations did not end there. Later that night, the remaining guests returned to Villa Sola Cabiati for an impromptu dinner organized by the staff. Their “after-after” party lasted until the next morning. “I have never laughed more than I did that night surrounded by our best friends,” Angela divulges. “It was such a special way to end the weekend and made it so much more memorable.”