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A Classic, Lemon-Filled, Italian-Dutch Wedding in Puglia

By Shayna Seid | Photography by 

Marco Schifa

Lucette Voogsgeerd, founder of wedding planning and design agency House of Luce, and Paolo Sforza were connected through a mutual friend, when Paolo first moved from Stockholm to Amsterdam. “He asked me to go for a coffee, but I never answered because I wasn’t very interested,” Lucette says. Weeks later, she went to visit that mutual friend in New York, and when she told him she hadn’t met Paolo yet, he put the two of them on FaceTime. “When I saw him, I immediately thought he was cute, and we decided to go for cocktails in Amsterdam when I would be back home.”

After two-and-a-half years of dating, he proposed on New Year’s Day. They were visiting her family near Venice, after spending time with his in Puglia. “Right after midnight, I saw my father putting an arm around his shoulders and whispering something. At the same time, I was on the phone with my two best friends, and when I told them he was acting kind of strange, they told me, ‘You never know, maybe you’ll wake up with a ring around your finger!’” At 5 a.m., Paolo woke her up with The Beatles playing and asked, “Would you like to start this year in a different way?” while down on one knee. 

The two wanted to get married in his hometown of Puglia, but some of the venue choices were a bit stuck in their ways with creative control. They finally found the perfect one in Lecce with an orange grove, piazzetta (little square), and secret garden. Lucette’s company, House of Luce, handled all of the planning and was supported greatly by Iaia Giangrande in Italy.

Even though the bride traveled to Paris, London, and Milan to search for her dress, she ended up finding the one around the corner from her house in Amsterdam. She wanted a versatile look to go from the ceremony to the reception, so she chose a Yolancris gown with a full skirt by Atelier Pronovias that she removed for dinner and dancing. To complete her bridal look, she wore nude Valentino sandals, earrings from her mother, and a necklace from her future parents-in-law.

Paolo looked handsome in an Italian tailor-made, dark blue smoking suit with a black bow tie and shoes and cufflinks by Paul Smith. Bridesmaids were simply asked to choose their own dress in blush or pale blue. “The day of our wedding was 42 degrees Celsius— incredibly hot— so a fresh, summer outfit was much needed,” Lucette says.

Amongst tiny, winding Italian streets, the couple’s Catholic ceremony was held in Chiesa San Matteo. Three weeks prior, they had an intimate civil service in Lucette’s parent’s garden in the Netherlands, so this was the bigger of the two. After being announced as husband and wife, guests moved to the orange grove for a long aperitivo.

Champagne, Aperol spritzes, and local fare (including a live mozzarella maker) were available for guests to indulge in, and after, the four-course, seated dinner commenced. For the table design, Italian lemons, white peonies, and blue hydrangeas, and Delft blue vases were arranged as centerpieces. Menus and the seating chart were hand-painted by the mother-of-the-bride, and she incorporated the decor into the designs. 

The meal of lemon risotto, fresh pasta with lobster, and fresh sea bass was delicious, and once finished, three Italian musicians led everyone to the lemon tree-filled secret garden. Guests were treated to a shot of limoncello before entering, and once all in, the newlyweds cut their lemon and berry wedding cake, decorated with white peonies.

As a celebration of their two cultures blending, they decided to perform the Pizzica (traditional Italian folk dance). After taking several dance classes in Lecce before the wedding, they gave it a twirl to “Aradeo” by Kalascima, and although it wasn’t perfect, it was fun in execution. “We listened to the song a lot, and it still brings us back to our wedding; we even play it for our newborn son and dance around with him,” Lucette says.

The party carried on until 4 a.m. at the venue but lasted until 7 a.m. back at the villa, specifically in the pool. “I don’t actually remember very much of that part, but luckily, some of our friends took some pictures,” the bride says.