Clothing designers Katherine Theofilos and Alex Claster were on the first day of their vacation in Israel when they decided to tour the Old City. “I can’t describe the energy in the old walls; it sort of charges then takes over your body,” she remembers. After the emotional day, the couple drove to the mountains and made a plan to see the sunset. “We sat on a swinging bench and peacefully watched the sun descend,” she says. “I began to walk back to the car until Alex, who was behind me, said, ‘One more thing. . .’ As I turned around, he was on his knee.”
The California-based couple knew from the start they wanted a destination wedding in the fall and started looking at venues in Italy that were available in October. “I wanted a time capsule; a decadence that felt like a once in a lifetime night,” she says. When they came across Pisani Moretta in Venice, they immediately fell for it. “I loved the idea of the palazzo, moving through the rooms and floors, for this romantic event in a city so far from all of our homes,” she says. “The walls were full of frescoes and gold, and all these beautiful 15th and 18th century details—my mom and I immediately had a vision.”
When searching for her wedding dress, Katherine’s priority was finding something with an incredible, uncommon fabric. “After visiting loads of salons, we went to Claire Pettibone’s castle-like atelier in Los Angeles and I fell in love with her laces and beaded fabrics,” she says. “I wanted a vintage feeling dress, candlelit white, and Claire’s shop allows for custom modifications, which I took full advantage of!” She finished off her look with a pair of green velvet Rochas platform sandals and bespoke jewelry pieces made by her sister, Stephanie. “We re-worked family heirlooms, incorporated stones that hold powerful energy, and then conceptualized other things,” she explains. “The jewelry really stole the show.”
The groom, meanwhile, wore a classic Canali tuxedo with Gucci brogues. His new sister-in-law made him a custom pair of tanzanite cufflinks, which were a gift to him from the bride’s parents.
Katherine was raised Greek Orthodox, while Alex is Jewish, so it was important for both of them to have a ceremony that felt rich in both of their cultures and traditions. The bride’s cousin, a Metropolitan in their church, helped them craft a ceremony that honored both of their backgrounds and which featured a reading by each of their siblings. “We were nervous with all that we wanted to include, but it ended up being perfect,” she says. “We had a children’s choir that sang throughout the ceremony, we kissed, and held hands waking down the aisle as they sang ‘River’ by Leon Bridges.”
An apertif hour followed, where guests enjoyed traditional Italian cocktails such as Bellinis, Casanovas, and Prosecco. All 95 guests were then seated for dinner in a room lit by only candles. “The whole room was glowing with amber color, with a mirrored tabletop that made the room even more reflective,” she says. “We were seated for over three hours and had moody, instrumental music playing softly in the background.”
After finishing the meal and cutting the cake, the party moved to the main floor, where the couple danced to an original song written and performed by their friend, Jake Gibson. (The bride also changed into a beaded dress that her grandmother wore to her mother’s wedding in 1985.) The night went on until late, as guests continued to hit the dance floor, indulge in even more cocktails, and grab a piece of the pizza being passed around at the end of the evening.