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La Dolce Vita

After years as close friends, this pair took a chance on romance, and the risk paid off, leading to a stunning three-day wedding weekend on the shores of Lake Como, Italy.

Kelly, in Naeem Khan, and Christophe, in Tom Ford, take their first steps as husband and wife. 

The reception tables were set with neutral linens and crisp menus with elegant calligraphy by Bernard Maisner. 

The lush flower arrangements flanking the aisle pulled out the purple tones in the bridesmaids’ dresses and complemented the stunning mosaic garden. 

The reception took place in tents overlooking the lake on the Villa del Balbianello, and the centerpieces mixed flowers in yellow, chalky white, rich green and blue tones. 

Kelly’s bridesmaids wore custom floral Barbara Tfank dresses for the ceremony, before switching into floor-length black gowns for the reception.  

The Villa del Balbianello provides stunning views of Lake Como. 

Kelly changed into her something blue for the reception, a second gorgeous Naeem Khan gown. 

Vintage vases and candelabras added character to towering arrangements of ivory and white blooms. 

Kelly and Christophe shared a fun moment as a Riva boat took them to the reception. 

Kumquats provided a pop of color in arrangements of hydrangeas, greenery and blush roses. 

As freshmen at the Latin School of Chicago, Kelly Rosen and Christophe Lagrange instantly clicked, becoming best friends and remaining close through college and Christophe’s job across the pond. When he relocated to New York City, Kelly realized her feelings were becoming romantic. “I very directly told him that we should ‘hurry up and do this already!’” Kelly says. “Christophe, in turn, told me he had always feared that if he ended up with someone else, he would regret not having me be the woman at the end of the aisle on his wedding day.” A first-date “negotiation” took place, where they talked about the future, and decided they would date with the intention of getting engaged one year later. Christophe couldn’t wait, proposing eight months later at the Hotel Caruso overlooking the Amalfi Coast.

Exactly one year later, the pair returned to Italy—Lake Como, this time—to exchange vows. The festivities were spread over three days of events, including a welcome dinner and farewell dinner to open and conclude the celebrations. The nuptials themselves took place during a late-morning ceremony on the second day in the mosaic garden at Villa d’Este, where the pair exchanged vows they had written themselves. A light lunch held in the Sala Colonne and on the lake terrace followed. Then, at sunset, a flotilla of 15 small boats transported guests to the black-tie reception held at Villa del Balbianello (Kelly and Christophe sped over in a Riva for two—a cherished bit of alone time).

Kelly, a luxury residential interior designer, was very involved in the decor selection, along with planner Rachel Birthistle. “For me, decor—whether temporary or permanent—must always be contextual,” Kelly says, “so each site we used over the weekend helped dictate the ultimate aesthetic.” At the reception, that meant complementing the property’s yellow-hued buildings with golden and brass vintage vases, candelabras and dishes, and highlighting Kelly’s blue Naeem Khan reception gown with blue accents in the centerpieces (using grapes and pears as part of the floral displays was also an on-trend touch). In a nod to the location, three tenors performed between each course of the meal, and at the conclusion of dinner, guests were treated to a 10-minute fireworks display set to the music of Andrea Bocelli. The party continued well into the night with dancing to The Newlights and DJ Kalkutta, who was flown in from Los Angeles to spin the afterparty (nearly five more hours of dancing!) at The Club at Villa d’Este.

For Kelly and Christophe, the magic of the weekend was compounded by their ability to spend so much time with their guests. “Have a destination wedding!” Kelly gushes. “The location of our wedding, size of our guest list (due to venue size constraints) and having the events take place over multiple days guaranteed that Christophe and I were able to spend quality time with everyone. It made our wedding that much more special for us but also for all of the attendees.”

The List 
Venue Ceremony: Villa d’Este; reception: Villa del Balbianello
Wedding Planner Rachel Birthistle, The Lake Como Wedding Planner
Bride’s Gown Ceremony: Naeem Khan, Bergdorf Goodman; reception: Naeem Khan, Bergdorf Goodman
Bride’s Shoes Ceremony: Manolo Blahnik, Bergdorf Goodman;
reception: Saint Laurent
Bride’s Jewelry Ceremony: Sidney Garber; reception: Van Cleef & Arpels
Bride’s Veil Tia Mazza, Bergdorf Goodman
Bride’s Hair & Makeup Jennifer Bradburn, Face to Face
Groom’s Tux Ceremony: Tom Ford; reception: Tom Ford
Groom’s Shoes Stubbs & Wootton
Rings Nat Klarsfeld
Bridesmaids’ Dresses Barbara Tfank, Neiman
Groomsmen’s Tuxes J.Crew
Florals & Rentals Tearose
Catering Ceremony luncheon: Villa d’Este; reception: Class Catering
Cake Ramperti
Invitations & Calligraphy Bernard Maisner
Entertainment Cocktail hour: Four on Six; dinner: Opera Flash Mob; dancing: The Newlights;
afterparty: DJ Kalkutta