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About The Couple

How We Met

Vandana and Brendon met in 2016 in the NYU student section at a Yankee game in New York. Brendon sat a couple rows in front of Vandana and according to Vandana he kept turning back to look at her. However, Brendon claims that it was Vandana looking at him. Regardless, it didn't take long for them to connect and the two didn't stop talking on the way back to the city and by the end of the night they were inseparable.

The Proposal

Vandana and Brendon have always loved to travel and make the most of their free time by exploring new destinations and countries. This is why it was no surprise that they have decided to have their wedding in Italy.

Vandana had been eagerly anticipating the proposal for a while and would often find herself thinking, "This has to be it! This has to be the time he proposes." Before every vacation, she would prepare for an engagement that wasn't coming just yet, but this time on their trip to Italy it was different.

Months before Vandana said yes to the ring, they had already started wedding planning and were preparing for a trip to Italy in October of 2022 to check out potential wedding venues. Brendon told Vandana weeks before the trip that he wouldn't be able to propose in Italy because the engagement ring wasn't ready. However, he had a surprise up his sleeve.

Vandana, trusting Brendon, decided that this would be the one trip she wouldn't get "engagement ready" for. After a long 13-hour flight and a scenic drive, the couple arrived at their hotel on the Amalfi Coast and got ready for dinner. Unbeknownst to Vandana, Brendon had been working with the hotel and restaurant to prepare an intimate engagement surprise.

After dinner, the waiter was to move the couple to a private terrace that had been specially set up for the engagement. However, Vandana almost ruined the surprise. She noticed that the restaurant was starting to close and the staff was putting chairs on the tables, so she joked that they were taking too long and were going to get kicked out. Brendon, trying to remain calm, knew that they were going to move to the terrace soon but not for the reason Vandana thought. Just as he suspected, a couple of minutes later, the waiter arrived to move them to the surprise location. Vandana started laughing, thinking that she was right, but in reality, she had no idea what was about to happen.

The waiter informed them that they were going to move to another location for dessert. They walked through the lobby and Vandana saw other diners enjoying their desserts, so she started to veer off towards a couch for them to sit on. The waiter stopped her and gestured towards a stairwell decorated with rose petals, leading to a terrace.

As soon as Vandana saw the terrace, she knew what was coming. The couple walked down the stairs, with Vandana leading the way, following the rose petals that led to a table with candles and their desserts. Vandana froze right next to the table, looking out at the water, unsure of what to do. Brendon was wondering why she wasn't turning around to face him, so he finally called to her. When she turned to face him, Brendon got on one knee and proposed. After an emotional exchange, Vandana of course said yes, and the couple embraced each other, filled with love and excitement for the future.

The Big Day

After 4 years together, we can't wait to celebrate with all of you on August 10th, 2024!

The Wedding

Saturday, August 10, 2024

Please Join Us at 4:30 PM
Villa Cora
Viale Machiavelli, 18, 50125
Firenze, Italy
Dress Code: Formal - Jackets and Ties Required

Pre-ceremony Welcome

4:30 PM
Le Foyer at Villa Cora

The pre-ceremony welcome will be indoors

The Ceremony

5:00 PM
Sfingi Garden at Villa Cora

The ceremony will be outdoors weather permitting

The Apértif

5:30 PM
Back Terrace at Villa Cora

The apértif will be immediately following the ceremony and will be outdoors weather permitting

The Reception

7:00 PM
Mirror Ballroom at Villa Cora

The reception will be indoors

The Afterparty

9:30 PM
Il Salotto del Santa Speakeasy and Cigar Bar at Villa Cora

The afterparty will be indoors

Weekend Itinerary

Guests and their children are invited to all events. We hope to see you there!

Welcome Party

Thursday, August 8
7:00 PM
~ Villa Cora ~
Viale Machiavelli, 18, 50125
Firenze, Italy
Dress Code: Chic Casual (no athletic wear)
*The Welcome Party will be outdoors in the Sfingi Garden, weather permitting
*Dinner provided with soft drinks, wine, beer, and champagne
*Cash-only bar for cocktails

Winery Dinner

Friday, August 9
~ Castello di Monsanto ~
Via Monsanto, 8, 50028
Monsanto I Firenze, Italy
Dress Code: Chic Cocktail Attire (ties and jackets not required; pants and collared shirts or button-ups required)
*The Winery Dinner will be indoors
*Transportation will depart Villa Cora and Hotel Villa Carlotta at 4:15 PM. Guests not staying at either hotel will meet at Piazzale Michelangelo (Piazzale Michelangelo, 50125 Firenze FI, Italy) at 4:30 PM.

Travel and Accommodations

We are excited for everyone who is able to make it to Italy! Please read the following carefully, so that you are prepared for your international trip.

Before Traveling To Florence

Please see below some of the requirements for international travel to Italy:

1. Make sure that you have a passport that does not expire within 6 months of your return date. If you do not have a passport or if your passport expires before March of 2025, you will not be able to travel. Please check your passports and plan accordingly. Passport renewals are taking longer than usual so we encourage our guests to get a head start on the process.

2. Make sure that you have a passport for your children. We know many of our younger family members have not traveled abroad before so please start getting passports for them as well.

3. Make sure that you meet the requirements to travel to Italy based on your nationality. ***Please note that US citizens no longer need ETIAS visa to travel to Europe in 2024.

Please click the links below for more detailed information.

Getting To Florence

Guests will be responsible for getting to Florence on their own and we understand that everyone's travel may look different. Please see below some tips and information to keep in mind for your travel to Italy:

1. The closest airport to the wedding venue is the Amerigo Vespucci Florence Airport (FLR). However, depending on where you are flying from, it may be more economical to fly to the Leonardo da Vinci- Fiumicino Rome Airport (FCO), the Milan Malpensa Airport (MXP), r the Venice Marco Polo Airport (VCE) and take a train to Florence.

2. We have reached out to every airline for discount codes to make everyones trip more affordable. Please see below our partner airlines and instructions to book:


Air France has provided our guests with a discount code to receive up to a 15% discount on all of their flights. To receive the discount, please use Event ID Code: 40168AF, when checking out.

The Lufthansa Group airlines bring people together – every day, all around the world. The global route network of Austrian Airlines, Lufthansa, SWISS, Brussels Airlines, and Eurowings offers optimal connection and combination options, so you will benefit from quick and direct flights to the wedding. The Lufthansa Group airlines has provided our guests with special rates on all of their flights.

To receive the special rates, please reach their event booking platform by visiting (https://www.lufthansa.com/de/en/meetings-and-events-delegates) or clicking on the link below and use Event Code: USAPPFD. The reduced fares are automatically displayed on the platform.

*Please be sure to enable pop-ups permanently in your browser while booking.

Staying In Florence

We can't wait to see you in Italy and hope that you will stay with us! We have a room block at our venue, Villa Cora and a neighboring hotel, Hotel Villa Carlotta to offer discounted rooms to our guests. Once you RSVP, we will be in touch with you on how to book rooms. Please do not book directly with the hotel as we get preferential rates.

Guests can also book their own accommodations at different hotels, but it is not recommended due to difficulties with transportation in and around Florence.

Please note that all of our hotel blocks are subject to availability, are on a first come basis, and the prices are subject to change, so we recommend RSVPing as soon as you can. We will do everything that we can to get you the cheapest rate possible.

Villa Cora

Villa Cora is the location of all of our wedding day festivities and where we will be staying. We really hope that you will join us there! Villa Cora is a high-end, 5-star, Leading Hotels of the World brand hotel that is located right outside of Florence near the old park, Giardino del Bobolino.

Hotel Villa Carlotta

Hotel Villa Carlotta is a quarter of a mile up-hill walk to Villa Cora, our wedding day venue. Hotel Villa Carlotta is a privately owned 4-star traditional European hotel. Most of the rooms have been moderately updated, but the common areas still have remained traditional and in a sense outdated.

Registry

If you would like to give a gift, we would be greatly appreciative. Our registry is below and a card box will also be available at the wedding.
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Shall you need our mailing address, it is:
3 Tingey Square, SE
Apartment 307
Washington, DC 20003

About Villa Cora

Villa Cora is located in a centuries-old park that overlooks the Boboli Gardens, on the hills just outside the historical center of Florence. The villa is an aristocratic residence built at the end of the XIX century upon being commissioned by Baron Oppenheim. Villa Cora was designed by Pietro Comparini and Giuseppe Poggi, who were the architects commissioned to carry out the redevelopment of Florence at the time when it was capital, including the construction of Piazzale Michelangelo and the Viale dei Colli. The frescoes and decorations in all of the rooms were executed by famous artists of the time, including Pietrasanti and Samoggia, the sculptor Barzeghi, and the engravers Norini and Barbetti. These artists used the most precious materials available including ebony and silks from the famous factory, Fréres Braquenie d'Aubusson.

Villa Cora was originally known as Villa Oppenheim. The story goes that Baron Gustave Oppenheim (one of the backers of the Suez Canal) built the sumptuous villa for his young bride, Eugenia. The Oppenheim family was a German dynasty of Jewish origin and had been a leading player in the banking and finance sector on the European markets since the 18th century. Suspecting his wife of being unfaithful to him, Baron Oppenheim attempted to set fire to the Villa. Eugenia ultimately left her husband in the 1870s, and later remarried. Following the scandals that tarnished the name of the Oppenheims, the residence was abandoned. It was subsequently purchased by the widow of Napoleon III, Empress Eugenié. Then in 1894 the villa was passed into the hands of Egidio Cora, from whom it took its present name. Egidio's son, Giuliano Cora, was an Ambassador of Florence and became a personal friend of the Emperor of Ethiopia, Hailè Selassie.

Villa Cora earned its reputation through the years by hosting international guests of great importance, such as Princess Eugenié, Prince Murat, Louis Napoleon, Russian composer Tchaikovsky, Japanese Emperor Enver Pasha, and other great artists, emperors, princesses, and pashas. In addition, it has always been considered the most beautiful residence of the Tuscan capital. It is dominated by a strong eclectic decor that provides the villa with a different artistic styles. Villa Cora, inaugurated when Florence was the capital of the Kingdom of Italy, has become throughout the years one of the major cultural and cosmopolitan symbols of Florence.

Villa Cora became an exclusive grand hotel at the end of 1960 and reopened in late 2010 after a detailed three-year restoration. In 2016, Villa Cora became part of The Leading Hotels of the World, an international collection of luxury independent hotels, and most recently is the location that Vandana and Brendon fell in love with for their wedding venue.

Things To Do In Florence

Located in the heart of the stunning Tuscany region, Florence is surrounded by natural and manmade beauty at every turn. Bathed in architectural magnificance, artist charm, and centuries of history, Florence is the Italian city of culture. Home to globally-renowned landmarks such as the Duomo Cathedral and Michelangelo’s David, Florence offers a journey of discovery and enlightenment, as well as a feast for the senses.
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We have some activities and other events planned, but please see below some favorite activities and sites for tourists, and articles on what there is to do in Florence. If tickets are not available on the attraction's website, check under articles for trusted third party websites. Please check our wedding itinerary before booking your tours!
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* Indicates a must see and is highly recommended to tourists. You can click on each box to take you directly to the attraction's site or Wikipedia page to learn more about it. Please ask the bride and groom for guidance or recommendations if needed!

Tourist Sites and Gardens

Museums and Cultural Sites

Churches and Cathedrals

Activities

There is a lot to do in Florence and Tuscany! Please see below some of the favorites. Many different companies offer theses, so you can book them using the helpful article pages, the concierges at your hotel, or yourself.

-Vespa Tours
-Vintage Car Tours
-Walking/Biking Tours
-Food/Wine Tours
-Arno River Cruises
-Hot Air Ballon Rides
-Horse Back Riding
-Perfume Making
-Painting Casses
-Bar Crawls
-Operas/Concerts
-Pools/Hot Springs
-Cooking Classes (pizza/pasta/gelato/tiramisu)
-Shopping (high end fashion to local markets)
-Spas - Guests receive 15% off at Villa Cora's Spa

Day Trips

Helpful Articles

Frequently Asked Questions

Are children invited?

Yes, children are invited to our wedding and events. Thank you for making the trip to Italy with your family!

Can I bring a plus one?

Thank you for traveling to Italy for our wedding. It is clearly noted on your invitation if you received a plus one.

While we understand many of our guests will be making a trip out of this and will want to bring friends, we are unable to accommodate additional plus ones on the day of our wedding at this time due to venue restrictions. Please reach out to the bride and groom for more information.

When is the RSVP deadline?

Please RSVP by January 5th, 2024. If you do not respond by this date, we will sadly have to mark you as not attending. Once you RSVP, we will be in touch with other details related to accommodations, meals, and other events.

What is the dress code for the wedding day?

We are excited to see our family and friends get dressed up for the day of the wedding! We kindly ask that our guests wear formal attire with jackets and ties for men. Please keep in mind that some parts of the weeding will be outdoors with the weather permitting.

Will the wedding take place indoors or outdoors?

Weather permitting, the wedding ceremony and aperitif will take place outdoors and the reception and afterparty will take place indoors. Italy can be hot in the summer so please plan accordingly.

Will there be a time gap between the wedding ceremony and reception?

The aperitif will follow immediately after the wedding ceremony and will flow into the reception and then into the afterparty.

What time will the reception end? Is there an afterparty?

Our reception is scheduled to end at 9:00 PM and our afterparty will immediately follow.

Will there be an open bar?

Yes, our wedding will have an open bar.

Is there transportation to and from the venue?

Airport pick up can be arranged by Villa Cora at a cost. If you are staying at another hotel, please get a taxi or request a car from the front desk/concierge of your hotel (Uber is not available in Florence).

Is there parking available at the venue?

Yes, free parking is available at Villa Cora for guests who drive.

Is there a hotel block for guests? Where is it recommended that guests stay?

Yes! We are so excited for our friends and family to stay with us at Villa Cora where we have preferential rates. We also have a secondary room block at Hotel Villa Carlotta across the street from Villa Cora. Once you RSVP, we will be in touch with the details related to accommodations and how to book. Rooms are on a first come basis, so please RSVP as soon as possible. Please do not book directly with the hotel as we get preferential rates.

When should I book my room by? What's the best way to book?

Please RSVP by January 5th, 2024. Once you RSVP, we will be in touch with details related to accommodations and how to book, so please RSVP as soon as you can. Please do not book directly with the hotel as we get preferential rates.

Will there be any other events to attend during the wedding weekend? What is the wedding itinerary?

Yes! Please check out the itinerary tab for a full agenda of the weekend events.

What are the recommendations for tourist attractions, local points of interest, and things to do?

Florence has many things to do for everyone! Please see “Things To Do In Florence” tab for more information.

Where are you registered?

If you would like to give a gift, we would be greatly appreciative. Our registry is below and a card box will also be available at the wedding.

I still have questions, what is the best way to contact you?

We understand there are a lot of factors that go into our destination wedding. If we missed your question, please contact the bride and groom or reply back to their wedding email that you will receive when you RSVP and they will get back to you with an answer!

Brendon - (412) 977-3640
Vandana - (210) 620-6248
Email - gallowedding24RSVP@gmail.com