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Katie Lee and DY Park’s Classic Italian Wedding at Hotel Villa Cipressi Ended With a Surprise Fireworks Show

By Cathleen Freedman | Photography by 

Roman Ivanov

|Planning by 

Iles Events

Katie Lee, the food blogger behind @thebellychronicles, and D.Y. Park first connected via a dating app. “My friend actually hijacked my account and matched me with DY,” Katie laughs. A date at Ward III later, Katie and DY began dating. After three years together, the couple took a trip to Mallorca, Spain, where DY surprised her with a marriage proposal at Belmond La Residencia.

Immediately, they knew their wedding would have to be in Italy. Their first trip together was to the Amalfi Coast, a rather fitting place to first say “I love you.” Since then, the couple has returned to Italy many times and created new memories—from truffle hunting to tracking down the best hidden gem restaurants. For their wedding, they wanted to share the magic of Italy with their loved ones.

The couple’s love of skiing and boating made Lake Como, at the foothills of the Alps, the best destination. As soon as they visited Hotel Villa Cipressi, they had a “This is it!” moment and secured the venue within the next 24 hours. The two soon enlisted Alena and Anastasiya from Iles Events to plan their classic Lake Como wedding weekend.

On May 28, 2022, celebrations began in true Italian style with welcome cocktails at sunset. Guests arrived at the waterfront Bar il Molo in their upscale “Dolce Vita” attire, as per the dress code. Katie and DY worked with a local event designer to create a casual outdoor Italian dinner party theme: on top of the cocktail tables sat checkered red and white table runners and tomatoes, dried pasta, and green herbs planted in jars. To add additional personal touches to the evening, the couple designed their own menu, along with a custom wedding monogram on drink stirrers and cocktail napkins. The bride-to-be wore Dolce & Gabanna, Tom Ford sandals, and a Gucci purse. The groom-to-be looked dapper in his linen suit, Tom Ford sunglasses, and Ferragamo boat shoes.

The next day, Katie and her bridesmaids got ready in the JFK Suite at the Grand Hotel Villa Serbelloni. Katie changed from her Inna Elsie feathered trim silk PJ set into an Ines Di Santo gown. “I am Canadian and wanted to wear a Canadian designer on my wedding day,” Katie notes. She paired the sophisticated ballgown with a modified Monvieve cathedral-length “Gabriella” veil. “I chose Monvieve because the veils are made in Lake Como and use silk from the area,” she explains. “It was a really special process working with Alison Miller, the owner and head designer, in her showroom in New York to create a unique veil, which I intend to pass down.” Alena Bezrodna applied her glowing makeup.

She met DY at Villa Monastero for a first look before the ceremony. Her groom waited for her at the end of the garden’s main pavilion, dressed in a custom white tuxedo by the Knot Standard. His tuxedo shirt featured Katie’s name embroidered on the sleeve and in his tuxedo jacket. Their wedding date was sewn into the pocket. “We were so excited and nervous seeing each other for the first time, and Roman Ivanov, our photographer, managed to capture all these emotions authentically and beautifully,” she shares. From where they stood, they could even see their ceremony venue in between the pavilion’s arches. To maximize their time with guests, they snapped wedding portraits right after the first look.

Wanting to surprise their guests, Katie and DY kept their wedding venue a secret. Everyone was instructed to meet at the Bellagio docks, where a fleet of traditional boats awaited. They were then jetted across the lake to Villa Cipressi, where a saxophone player serenaded them with all of the groom’s favorite songs by The Weeknd.

The aisle was strewn with petals and ensconced in a garden of white roses, orchids, calla lilies, and snapdragons by Evgenia Dragun. The nearby cellist and saxophonist played “Canon in D” as Katie made her way to the altar. She remembers the walk well, “As I descended the final set of stairs onto the terrace, I was filled with a sense of love, awe, and wonder at the beauty of the scene before me: DY and all our loved ones below me smiling up at me, the soft light, and the gentle sound of water lapping against the shore created a sense of peace and tranquility and calmed my wave of jitters.”

After exchanging vows, the newlyweds joined guests for Bellinis and canapés for cocktail hour. A vintage vinyl DJ played Italian classics, while friends and family snapped photos on disposable cameras and signed an Assouline New York book—a nod to where the couple met and currently reside. Toasts and a five-course meal of veal ragu, prawn risotto, saffron sea bream, veal mignon, desserts, and wines from their favorite Italian regions followed on the villa’s terrace. As everyone feasted, a soulful singer from Lux Music Entertainment & Event took to the white baby grand piano to perform classic love ballads. Then, the bride and groom cut into their millefoglie cake, which was created in real-time during dinner.

The couple had a quick outfit change—Katie, a custom Millia London gown she worked with design director Ruth Milliam to make; DY, a black Hugo Boss tuxedo with a matching velvet bow tie and cummerbund—and joined guests in the connecting room. The bride and groom were greeted with a sparkler entrance before performing their first dance to “Eyes Off You” by PRETTYMUCH. Their practice with Fred Astaire Dance Studios was all worth it for this moment. DY recalls, “Part of my wedding fitness routine was practicing all the lifts and dips that we asked our dance instructor to fit in.”

To close the reception, the couple had one more surprise in store. Franco Pozzi set a synchronized fireworks show to the tune of Ed Sheeran’s “Perfect” and Alesso/One Republic’s “If I Lose Myself” across the sky, mesmerizing everyone and leaving the crowd spellbound. The after-party later kicked off at Seta Hotel.

“It’s always hard to say goodbye, but we made it easier by renting a villa and throwing a pool party with wine, pizza, and gelato,” Katie says about their farewell party the next day at Villa Mojana, where she donned a PatBO dress with Jimmy Choo shoes and Lele Sadoughi earrings. That evening, the newlyweds invited the wedding party to stay another night at the villa. A group of friends continued on to Mykonos for a “buddy-moon,” and Katie and DY will be going on a safari honeymoon in Botswana and South Africa next year.