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Not Even a Windstorm Could Put a Damper on This Elopement

By Shayna Seid | Photography by 

Brydie Mack

Hayley Magrini met Adam Houtz through friends while she was living the single life in Venice, Los Angeles. “I had been on a horrible dating spree and finally decided to just give up. I was actually loving being single and feeling independent, and then he showed up and wouldn’t leave!” says Hayley. “I had zero interest in him and kept trying to set him up with other people, but he was very persistent and direct.” After eight years of dating, and after buying a house and adopting two pups together, Adam casually proposed at home.

As Hayley is a bit of a self-proclaimed C.I.A. agent, Adam didn’t go the surprise route when asking her to marry him. “I think he was nervous since he wasn’t really kneeling, but more like crouching on the side of the bed,” she jokes. “His brilliant idea was to put the ring on my dog’s belly and tell me that he found a lump. I jolted up and pushed him and the ring away, fixated on figuring out if my dog was okay.” Once she knew all was fine, she saw the ring and said, “Yes!”

From the very beginning, Hayley and Adam wanted to elope but felt guilty about it, so they started researching wedding options. They had just bought a fixer-upper house, so they kept wresting with the idea of spending a large amount of money on one day versus on home improvements. After finally finding a location we liked and calculating all the costs, my parents both agreed that we should just take the money and run!” Hayley says. Since Italy is gorgeous and requires little to no decor, and the bride’s father’s side is from there, it was an obvious choice. They landed on a crumbling basilica overlooking the Amalfi Coast for their elopement venue. 

You would think that eloping in a foreign country wouldn’t require a planner, but contacting the basilica was no easy task, and Emma Bifulco of Emma Events stepped in to help them with everything. “Since it was just going to be the two of us in Italy, we felt it would be silly to do just a symbolic wedding, so there was a TON of paperwork and various appointments that had to be scheduled in order to make it official,” Hayley explains. “I definitely could not have done any of it without Emma!”

Finding a wedding dress was tricky for Hayley as she’s a major animal advocate and environmentalist. She didn’t want to wear anything silk or anything that wasn’t ethically produced. After scouring vintage shows, a friend sent her a link to Happy Isles. There, she found a vintage ‘60s dress, believed to be from Mexico and was set up with a miracle worker tailor to make the neckline more sexy.

To capture the moments of the day on film, the bride linked up with her close friend and talented photographer, Brydie Mack, while she was shooting a campaign in Italy. “She doesn’t shoot weddings EVER, so I feel very honored that she trekked over to be part of mine!”

The couple arrived in the Amalfi Coast two days before the ceremony and just as a windstorm was picking up—even all the ferries were closed down. Instead of spending that time relaxing in the ocean, they bundled up in the remote, creaky castle they had chosen to stay in and explored the gardens of Ravello.

On September 26th, 2018, the wind was still going strong. “The officiant was holding a giant stack of documents and had to keep chasing after paperwork! Brydie’s dress was almost blowing off her body, as she photographed us, and our violinist couldn’t even read his music and ran away,” the bride says. “It was crazy, but felt thrilling and romantic.” 

After the two shared their first kiss as husband and wife, they headed to Il Refettorio, an old monastery that was converted into a Michelin star restaurant. The chef made Hayley a special vegan meal, and every person that crossed their path greeted them with: “auguri,” which means “well wishes” in Italian.

Of course, the next day saw beautiful weather, so the newlyweds decided to postpone their honeymoon by a few days and rented a boat and cruise around the coastline.