In the spring of 2008, features editor at Condé Nast Traveler Betsy Blumenthal met Michael Mills in their tenth-grade American literature class and was instantly smitten by how cute, shy, and tall he was. She conspired with her friend Rachel to chauffeur them on their first date to the Millburn Häagen-Dazs. Betsy notes, “We went Dutch, of course.” The couple formally began dating on May 23, 2008, and in December 2019, after more than 11 and a half years together, Mike proposed.
The bride-to-be knew her wedding wouldn’t be “totally conventional.” She never dreamed of Pinterest-perfect nuptials. In 2017, her beloved father also passed away, so she wouldn’t have the father-daughter dance either.
When Betsy’s colleagues threw her office engagement party and asked what the couple’s plans would be, she didn’t have a firm answer for them. In the spur of the moment, she blurted out that she wanted to get married in Italy. As soon as she said this, she realized an Italian wedding was exactly the right place for her nuptials.
She consulted with Traveler’s former editor-in-chief Pilar Guzmán on Amalfi Coast venues, and with her help, ultimately chose Hotel Santa Caterina. Betsy lauds the venue, “It seemed to capture everything we wanted: it’s intimate, elegant, and old-school, with every modern convenience and all the charm of a bygone era.”
Mike’s brother, Alex, became a certified Universal Life minister to officiate their civil ceremony at the Conservatory Garden in Central Park on September 12, 2021. With just the couple’s parents, Alex, and his wife Miranda in attendance, and her sister Anna and cousin Phil on FaceTime, Betsy and Mike married on a warm summer day. The bride wore Ulla Johnson. Mike’s father pulled out solo cups and popped a bottle of Prosecco to toast the bride and groom.
Betsy and Mike worked with the Amalfi Experience to plan the Italian wedding. “They made so many good suggestions and kept all the trains moving and reassured me when it seemed like COVID might force us to postpone,” Betsy notes. “I just need to say, unequivocally, that there’s no way we could’ve pulled it off without them.”
Betsy admits that putting together her bridal look together wasn’t an easy process, especially as someone who relishes dressing up. “I felt a lot of pressure to nail the outfit for the big day,” she confesses. Moreover, she felt underwhelmed by every bridal salon experience she had. No dress fit her vision—until she tried on the corseted “Fawn” gown, a Peter Copping for Oscar de la Renta design at Carine’s Bridal Atelier in Washington D.C. She purchased the sample piece right off the rack.
Betsy made a fortuitous last-minute decision for her bridal accessories. She wore her engagement ring, as well as her late grandmother’s Art Deco dinner ring; but her mother also offered Betsy her late grandmother’s glamorous pearl studs with a swirling diamond base. Lastly, she slipped on her father’s gold high school signet ring. She shares, “It meant so much to be able to have him close to me in some way, to feel like he was with me as I walked down the aisle and as I celebrated this milestone.”
While Betsy joked that being a Blumenthal meant she was her own “something blue,” she secured a blue ribbon with a glass evil eye to her bouquet by florist Armando Malafronte. One of her seamstresses, Senim from Sew Elegant, gifted this to her during a fitting. Betsy adds, “I felt like I’d been through the wringer throughout the dress-finding process, and the women at Sew Elegant were so kind to me—and I felt really lucky to have a little piece of them with me that day.”
The Alessandro Mancino Studios team applied her natural makeup and styled her understated but elevated hairstyle. Inspired by Nell Diamond’s wedding day ponytail, Betsy followed the Hill House Home founder’s lead and kept her hair out of her face.
The groom’s look was just as classic and elegant. He donned a black tuxedo with peak lapels and a plain tuxedo shirt in a gorgeous piqué fabric from Alan David Custom Suits. He brought flair to his ensemble with a watch Betsy gifted him years earlier and black nappa leather shoes from Magnanni. Mike finished the look off with a black satin yarmulke from A1 Skullcap Co., which featured the couple’s names and wedding date.
On October 8, 2021, Betsy and Mike walked down the aisle to a harpist’s rendition of “Dawn” from Pride and Prejudice. This song was actually the first decision they made while planning the event. Mike’s best friend’s father, Claude Tusk, officiated a predominantly traditional Jewish ceremony.
“I’m Jewish, and Mike is not,” Betsy explains. “I had the idea to approach Claude, who’s not only a gabbai at his local synagogue and a Broadway devotee with a wonderful voice and a great sense of comedic timing, but who has also known both of us for almost as long as we’ve been together. Because of that, his ceremony really reflected each of our personalities and who we are as a couple; it also allowed us to incorporate all the traditional Jewish elements that were meaningful for us, like the chuppah, which was covered with tallitot that belonged to my dad and my late uncle Norman’s; the drinking of wine out of a kiddish cup which was one of my mom’s wedding gifts to us; and a ketubah signing.”
The evening flowed into cocktail hour with delectable hors d’oeuvres before the incredible five-course dinner and brilliant toasts. Mike curated the playlists, leaving his own musical stamp on the day.
The newlyweds shared their first dance to “Oh Baby” by LCD Soundsystem. “The song is so slow and dramatic, and it felt like the crescendo of this thing we’d been working towards for more than 13 years; and even though I wasn’t that sentimental about a lot of wedding stuff, this really got me,” Betsy says. A close second favorite moment for Betsy was the mother-daughter and eventually sister dance to Bob Dylan’s “Tangled Up in Blue” that followed.
The DJ took over for the reception and picked ’70s disco hits and ’90s club favorites. A disco ball added the perfect party element. “The blue and purple lights reflected off of the cliff sides surrounding the dancefloor, and it was just this amazing ambience—just funky and fun,” Betsy dishes. The cutting of the cake was complete with sparklers. The party continued in Betsy’s sister’s suite and then into the next day with a group lunch at Lido Azzurro and a boat ride along the coast to Positano and back.