On Independence Day of 2014, lawyer Kristen Grauer was wearing an on-theme American flag crop top that happened to catch the eye of Jefferies’ head of internet banking, Gaurav Kittur. “He complimented my shirt and then attempted to guess my age,” says Kristen. “I got offended that he guessed 30, even though I was 29 at the time.”
Despite their less than perfect meet-cute, the couple hit it off that day and started dating. A year and half later, they decided to go gallery hopping in the Lower East Side one afternoon. Unbeknownst to Kristen, Gaurav had preemptively rented out one of the galleries for a surprise engagement party. “When we walked in, musicians started playing music and he proposed,” Kristen remembers. “My sister, family, and friends were all waiting in the the wings and popped out with champagne.”
Since Gaurav’s family is based in India and Kristen’s in New York, the couple decided to choose a central wedding location that worked for both families. Kristen suggested Tuscany, a place she had fond memories of after she worked on a vineyard during an October harvest. “I fell in love with the landscape, the food, and of course, the wine,” she says. When looking for the perfect Italian venue, they discovered Il Borro, a property owned by the Ferragamo family, which features a renovated villa with ten rooms (perfect for the wedding party) situated next to a small, rustic village with several other neighboring villas. For help planning their European destination wedding, Kristen worked with Brenda Babcock of Italia Celebrations.
A dolce vita-themed pizza party kicked off the weekend. In the town’s square, a local band greeted guests, who were treated to traditional Italian food and a gelato cart. The dinner’s decor was rustic and summery, with herbs and lemons decorating the tables filled with colorful china, and the bride chose to wear all Dolce and Gabbana—from her earrings to her shoes—for the midsummer feast.
The next night, Kristen and Gaurav held a traditional Hindu wedding planned by Gaurav’s family. The bride wore a traditional red lehenga and jewelry that her mother-in-law brought from India “I even wore a nose ring!” Kristen says. “It turned out to be such a special and spontaneous night. Our bridal parties each surprised us with a full choreographed dance to a Bollywood song.”
On Saturday, the big day arrived, and it was finally time for the white wedding Kristen had been waiting for. She got ready with her bridesmaids in her room, overlooking the ceremony space down below. Her Monique Lhuillier gown had a full tulle and satin skirt, which was covered in 3-D rosettes. “I loved the way my dress was very classic and simple on the top and then became much more dramatic and fun at the bottom,” she says. “The roses on the gown felt romantic—I hadn’t seen anything like it before.”
For her something old, Kristen’s mother surprised her with a locket that belonged to her great grandmother that had her initials engraved onto the front. “I had zero idea that this locket even existed, my mom had been keeping it a secret my whole life, waiting to give it to me on my wedding day,” Kristen says. For her something blue, her bridesmaids gave her a beautiful handkerchief with her new initials monogramed in blue. And for her something new, Gaurav gifted her diamond and pearl Mikimoto earrings. In turn, Kristen gave her groom custom silver cufflinks with an engraved llama—“that’s my pet name for him,” she laughs—to go with his Ralph Lauren tuxedo and velvet slippers.
The ceremony was officiated by Kristen’s childhood friend Nic, who sprinkled in references to Dante, as well as the Diane Lane movie Under the Tuscan Sun. Gauruv and Kristen then recited their own vows to each other and for once didn’t shy away from getting emotional. “We are both sarcastic and not very mushy, but we decided to take this opportunity to just be a little cheesy and really express what we meant to each other,” she says.
After the ceremony, the newlyweds drove off in a vintage car to the villa. There, they took some photographs while the rest of their wedding party enjoyed cocktails in the garden. They offered a signature drink, the Kitty Kittur, (a play on the bride’s new name), which was a mix of fresh pressed strawberry juice and champagne. Once dinner was called, Gaurav and Kristen were introduced to Stevie Wonder’s song, “Signed, Sealed, Delivered,” which inspired guests to get up and start getting down around their tables.
During dinner, the father of the bride, her sister, and Gaurav’s best man all gave toasts to the newly married couple, which alternated between hilarious and emotional, and later Gaurav took the mic to give one last sweet toast before inviting his wife onto the dance floor for their first dance to “Thousand Years” by Christina Perri.
Dinner wrapped up with a traditional Italian millefoglie wedding cake, followed by a fireworks show that was so close and over the top, Kristen admits she wasn’t sure whether her guests were all terrified or awestruck. From then on, it was time to party and friends and family headed into the dance hall, where DJ Asad played music accompanied by a violin, saxophone, and drums.
By 3:00 A.M., the 30 revelers still on the dance floor, including the couple, all ran into the villa and jumped in the indoor pool which had covered in rose petals. “We swam and sang ‘Despacito’ until the sun came up!” Kristen says with a smile.