Diana Berisha and RC Petrella met when she started at a large New York law firm where he was working. He quickly became her “work crush,” but they didn’t actually connect until his going away party a few weeks later. “We spent most of the night talking and then found excuses to email each other or stop by each other’s offices for the next week before RC’s last day,” Diana admits. “I had been thinking about how awkward it was going to be for me to reach out to RC after he left and started his new job, but luckily he asked me out first. We ended up having our first date on his last day at the firm,” says Diana. About a year-and-a-half later, RC proposed in one of the least romantic spots in New York.
Diana usually goes to SoulCycle with her best friend, Elizabeth, every Saturday, so it didn’t raise any suspicion, when RC asked to go one week. “I didn’t think much of it and actually tried to get Elizabeth to come with us anyway!” she says. After working out in Tribeca, she shot down RC’s invitation to walk home by the river as it was cold, so they sauntered down Greenwich Street instead. “About halfway home, in front of the least romantic spot in NYC—the UPS truck garage—he got down on one knee and proposed,” the bride jokes. Her sister, Valentina, and her sister’s fiancé were hiding across the street so they could sneak a photo of them, and then they raced back to the newly engaged couple’s apartment so that they could surprise them with champagne and decorations. The two then went to Per Se for lunch, to soak it all in together and chat about the many hints Diana had been oblivious to. “When my sister asked that we get manicures a few days earlier, I was so clueless—I actually chose black for my nail polish.”
The decision to host a destination wedding in Positano actually started as a joke. Diana and RC assumed they would host their weekend in New York, but kept coming back to the idea of a wedding on the Amalfi Coast. Both didn’t think it would be feasible to host in Italy because it was so far away and hard to get to. “Even after we made the decision, we spent many months worrying that no one was going to show up!” Diana admits. But with the help of their event planner, Valentina di Tinco of Sposiamovi, they managed to pull it off.
A medieval tower in Maori called Torre Normanna was the spot for their welcome dinner, and guests took traditional Italian boats, or gozzi, on a coastal cruise before arriving there. The Catholic ceremony was held at the Church of Maria Assunta, and Villa San Giacomo was booked for the reception.
Settling on a wedding weekend wardrobe was a little more complicated. Diana was definitely not one of those brides who fell in love with the first dress she tried on. “I had a lot of very specific ideas about what I wanted—I knew I wanted long sleeves and something that was both classic and formal, without being too plain or too glitzy,” she says. After sending an email to Reem Acra, a bridal account executive called to let her know that they had a dress she would love, but it was still in production and wasn’t in stock anywhere yet. When it was eventually ready, and she finally tried it on, she quickly knew it was the one.
For footwear, Diana spent months looking for block heeled sandals for walking up and down the steep steps in Positano, but she ended up choosing beauty over comfort and went with white Manolo Blahnik Hagisi pumps. “The best part is I ended up wearing them all day without needing to change shoes!” The bride chose only sentimental jewelry pieces: the bracelet her parents gifted her for graduating law school, two bracelets RC gave her for her 30th birthday and as a wedding gift, and a tennis bracelet from her Aunt Vera, who passed away when Diana was 19.
The groom wore a black Armani tuxedo with a white pleated shirt, black bow tie, and silver love knot cufflinks, given to him by Diana as a wedding gift. She loved the idea of a black tie wedding, but didn’t want to make all of their friends carry tuxedos all the way to Italy, so they made the attire “Dolce Vita.” “I thought we were being really creative, but most of my guests ended up really confused about what they should be wearing,” she says.
On the way to the church, in the middle of Positano, tourists stopped Diana for photos and messages of congratulations. “When my dad and I got to the church, I was surprisingly calm,” she remembers. After a traditional Catholic ceremony, guests moved back inside the villa for cocktails and a seated dinner.
Diana’s goal for the wedding night was for a romantic, intimate dinner party. She was committed to having everyone sit at a single long table, and she worked with her wedding planner to find a local artisan to block print a custom tablecloth in different shades of pink. Napkins were also personalized with each guest’s initials embroidered on them. “We wanted the florals to feel very organic and wild to match the vinery covering the top of the balcony and crawling up the sides and ended up with arrangements in different shades of pink, peach, and cream,” Diana says.
At the beginning of dinner, Diana’s sister, and maid of honor, and RC’s brother, and best man, spoke. And the father of the bride gave the final speech. “His was by far the biggest surprise. He’s typically pretty serious, but his speech was so touching, that by the end, there wasn’t a single dry eye at the table,” the bride says.
After cutting the cake in the garden, an epic dance party broke out. To ensure no one went home hungry, late night pizza and dessert were served before the last shuttle left—la dolce vita indeed!