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A Moonlit Garden Party Destination Wedding at Villa Cimbrone

By Shayna Seid | Photography by 

Cinzia Bruschini

|Planning by 

Exclusive Italy Weddings

Years after Cayley and Sean both graduated from Cornell University, they connected in New York at a happy hour with fellow alums. “I remember meeting Sean for the first time, his happy, bright green eyes crinkling into a laugh and his smile beaming,” Cayley recalls. “Our shared college experience easily made us feel as if we were old friends.”

They remained good friends for more than a year, but one night in autumn of 2015, he boldly declared, “I think we’d make a great couple.” And he was right. After three-and-a-half years together, he proposed on the night before her birthday while the two were watching the sunset over the Peconic Bay. The following day, Sean again surprised his fiancée with her friends and family waiting to celebrate two happy occasions at a local winery.

Once engaged, the couple recalled their trip to Hotel Villa Cimbrone in Ravello the year prior and knew it was perfect for their wedding. With Laura Frappa of Exclusive Italy Weddings, they planned an intimate wedding weekend of events, where their loved ones could spend time together and enjoy the full regional experience. “The main goal throughout planning was making the trip seamless and fun for our guests—less like a wedding and more like a vacation with all our friends, where we just so happened to also get married,” Cayley explains.

The aesthetic’s inspiration came heavily from the statues in the venue’s gardens and a starry night. “We worked with florist Flower Addicted to incorporate classic Neapolitan touches and local greenery to really embrace the environment and bring the moonlit garden party theme to life,” the bride shares. Shhh My Darling designed the day-of paper with a floral focus.

Cayley and Sean originally set their wedding date for August 23, 2020, but due to the pandemic, they had to reschedule twice and finally landed on August 21, 2022. In the middle of all the shifting plans, the two had an intimate ceremony in Cayley’s hometown in September of 2021. “It was important for us that our grandparents, who ranged in age at the time from 81 to 98, were able to be a part of our day,” the bride shares. “I joked at the time with Sean that marrying him once wouldn’t be enough. In the end, it all feels like it worked out exactly how it should’ve, and both celebrations were more than we ever could have hoped for.”

The festivities in Italy started with a casual pizza party on Thursday night at Mimi Pizzeria with the couple’s families and the bridal party. The next day, they welcomed everyone with a cruise along the Amalfi Coast that ended with a private party at Conca del Sogno.

On Saturday, the rehearsal dinner took place at Hotel Santa Caterina in Amalfi. The bride-to-be wore a beautiful long lace gown from Happy Isles to enjoy the amazing seaside views and hear speeches from Sean’s parents and some of the wedding party. She and Sean were even treated to a surprise performance of “At Last” by her bridesmaid, Alexandra.

As Cayley and her bridal party got ready for the ceremony with the natural beauty focused team from Alessandro Mancino Studios the next morning, they snacked on freshly made pizza and Champagne for breakfast—when in Italy. Then, the bride put on the Allegra gown by Lee Petra Grebenau that she found at Spina Bride. “It was the second dress I seriously tried on. . . I had seen it online and instantly loved the romantic details, lace embroidery, and silhouette,” she shares. “I thought it struck the right balance of being timeless but also unique and would perfectly fit the Italian garden venue. Most importantly, I knew Sean would love it.”

Bridesmaids complemented Cayley well in a mix of champagne dresses from Amsale, Monique Lhuillier, Reformation, Joanna August, and BHDLN. For the after-party, Cayley changed into a white mini from Rasario and Nike Blazers that had her new last name on them. “Sean loved that detail, and they were much needed for walking the streets of Ravello,” the bride says.

In line with the setting, Sean wore an Armani tuxedo and Santoni shoes. After the cocktail hour, he changed into a white dinner jacket by P. Johnson.

Overlooking the sea in Villa Cimbrone’s gardens with a faint rainbow overhead, guests gathered for a welcome drink before taking their seats. “In a very Sean fashion, he hugged everyone who came down the aisle and thanked them for being a part of our day,” Cayley recalls. When it was her turn to walk down the aisle, she and her dad made their way to an instrumental version of “At Last.”

Under the chuppah, the couple recited their vows, and Cayley’s friend, Paige, read a passage from their Ketubah. Friends and family joined them to read portions of the ceremony, and the couple exchanged rings by Nuha Jewelers. “I vividly remember feeling at peace amongst friends, as if the whole world stood still for us to have our little moment in the sun,” the bride shares. To conclude the service, the groom broke the glass to enthusiastic cheers from their loved ones.

In the gardens, a jazz band serenaded guests as they explored the grounds during cocktail hour. Dinner was served in the crypt at two long tables, as a pianist played classics like Frank Sinatra tunes. And the newlyweds entered the space to one of their favorite songs, “Cool Night” by Paul Davis from the ’80s.

After a delicious meal of roasted octopus, ravioli, and local white fish and heartfelt speeches, the happy couple toasted everyone in gratitude and then headed back to the gardens for dessert and dancing. Espresso, espresso martinis, and a dessert bar with Italian pastries and cookies kept everyone going, and Cayley and Sean cut their strawberry wedding shortcake with whipped cream frosting.

The two had their first dance to “Beyond” by Leon Bridges. “It was actually one of the first things we picked for the wedding,” Cayley says of their song choice. “In the car one day in 2019, I played it for Sean, and in his decisive way, that was it, he was sold. It has been our song ever since.”

Once the reception came to a formal close, everyone walked into town, where they danced the night away at a small bed & breakfast. “We arrived at the venue with the hall lit up like a full disco with late night snacks and a DJ aptly playing late 2000s music that only millennials would appreciate,” Cayley remembers. “At one point, it started raining again and the whole town lost power. ‘Empire State of Mind’ was playing, and we all belted the lyrics without any music until the power came back on. We honestly had a ball.”

The following day, the newlyweds said goodbye to their friends and family with a luncheon at Trattoria Da Lorenzo in Scala. “[It] was classic Italian: pasta, meatballs, red and white checkered tablecloths, and all,” Cayley shares. “The perfect send off from our dream of a weekend.”