We love a great love story that overcomes obstacles and travels through countries to get to one another, don’t you? When we read this story, we knew that we wanted to feature Piero & Ashley’s Orlando Civil Wedding Celebration journey.
Share with us when and how you met each other.
Piero & I met working for Disney Cruise Line in February 2017. It was my first month on board as the Crew Activities Manager and Piero’s first week onboard as an Assistant Server on the Disney Dream. I was hosting my first class in the Crew Training Room for the new hires and it’s safe to say it was love at first sight! Piero is from Sicily, Italy and I am from Pennsylvania, so some would even say it’s fate that we met right in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean.
After a year and a half of working on & off the ships, Piero got a job working for Walt Disney World’s Cultural Representative Program, which was perfect and allowed us to live in the same city for 15 months. It was then we knew we were in it for the long haul no matter what life threw at us. Piero left the U.S.A. when his visa expired in Fall 2019 and the plan was to wait for his second program at Via Napoli in Epcot, so we could do it all over again! Sure enough, we never thought it was going to get this complicated. After job furloughs, travel/visa restrictions, and country lockdowns in Spring 2020 there was frustration and tears, but we held on to hope.
After a long year, my mom was the one who really encouraged us to roll the dice and have Piero book a trip to Mexico where he would spend 15 days, get a negative Covid test and enter the U.S.A., so we could spend a decent visit together. This was truly our only chance to spend more than a few days in the same place and it was worth a shot. I met him over in Mexico for a long weekend in case there were any issues and luckily for us, all went well, and our story has a happy ending – one we both weren’t expecting if you asked us a short time ago!
What are your favorite things to do together as a couple?
We love to travel. We’ve been to the Bahamas, Iceland, Mexico, Antigua, Italy, England, and our favorite place in the United States, Hawaii! When we’re together you can find us at a local coffee shop drinking an iced latte, walking around Disney Springs with a cocktail from Homecomin’, and burning off the calories in a gym class.
How long were you together before getting engaged?
Let’s talk about the proposal!
Did anyone help with planning the proposal?
My mom helped Piero with the perfect plan to get us out of the house while she set up roses, tulle, and champagne. She asked us to pick up a few things for our weekly Italian Sunday Dinner. The two of them worked together (and even held dress rehearsals while I was at work earlier that week) to make sure I would be surprised. That was the most important thing to me because my personality doesn’t allow much room for being caught off guard.
The two of them did an amazing job orchestrating the occasion and creating such a magical ambiance in my parent’s beautiful backyard. Not to mention, my brother, a professional videographer/photographer, who was pretending to tan, but secretly had a tripod setup for video and camera in hand for photos that turned out better than I could’ve imagined.
Please share your proposal story.
I’ll start by saying of course I knew it was coming, but I didn’t know when it would be and I have been convinced for four years Piero’s behavior would give it away. He’s the kind of person that will text me, “What color roses do you like?” or “Don’t forget to check your doorstep.” when sending flowers, so I was truly shocked beyond belief – he didn’t slip up once. He even told me over the weekend he was panicking about talking to my dad (which in theory made no sense … they are best buds!) as if he hadn’t already asked for my hand in marriage.
It was a Sunday afternoon and my mom promised she was making tomato & basil pasta for our traditional Sunday meal, but needed some things from the store and asked if we could go for her. It was the least we could do when she’s been my personal chef my entire life! This shopping list in particular was longer than usual and I was getting so annoyed it had me running all over Target LOL. On the way home, Piero kept saying how badly he had to go to the bathroom, so he was going to help with the bags after he ran inside.
I didn’t think anything of it, but of course, now I know his strategy was to get the ring (which he left in the house to not carry around all day) while I was still in the car gathering up what I could. He then came back out to help, and as we walked into my parent’s house and started to unpack the groceries in the kitchen, Piero said “Hey, what’s that red stuff in the pool?” Without fail I didn’t think it was that serious and he followed up with, “Wait, you have to come and see this, Small!”, so I walk outside to see my brother on a lounge chair and it finally clicks – those are ROSES in the pool and my brother is about to document something…I immediately started to cry.
He asked if I would marry him and through tears of joy I said “yes, of course!” My parents who were hiding in the upstairs balcony with my brother’s puppy came downstairs for more hugs, tears, and cheers! The FaceTimes began and my mom made an amazing candlelight dinner. I’d really do anything to relive that moment again!
What was the best moment of the proposal?
Piero: When I knew it was happening and Ashley was going to be surprised – we were coming back from running errands and I told her I had to go to the bathroom, so I jumped out of the car when we got into the driveway, so I could really run inside to put the ring in my pocket. Of course, that is tied with when I was finally down on one knee and Ashley hugged me before she said “yes, of course!”
Ashley: Because our relationship has had so many moving parts over the years I handle most of the logistics when it comes to where we are reunited, how we are getting there, and the overall plans. When it hit me that so much thought went into this (without any assistance from me) and this was going to be the start of forever after working so hard to get through the last year, I completely lost it!
Hearing our song, Something Just Like This by The Chainsmokers & Coldplay as I turned the corner to see the unforgettable setup and Piero down on one knee is a memory I will remember forever.
Who did you tell that you were engaged first?
Piero’s parents, brother and his brother’s girlfriend.
Tell us about the ring!
Piero proposed with my wedding band. We designed my engagement ring together, but I had no idea when it would be ready. Since he was here visiting he did not want to miss the opportunity to propose, so he opted for the wedding band at the proposal and gave me my engagement ring on my birthday 6 weeks later! My engagement ring design is based on a ring Piero bought for me a few years ago.
We’re excited to share about your wedding planning journey!
Ashley & Piero were married in less than a month from the initial proposal. When we saw their quick journey from engaged to betrothed on social media, we were excited to interview them and learn more about how they decided on their perfect day.
Had you talked about having a short engagement before the actual proposal happened?
We always knew we wanted to be married, but we never had a timeline for this. Trust me when I tell you, I never thought it would be less than a month!
After you got engaged, what did you do first in regards to planning the wedding?
We planned our wedding in less than a week. Sounds crazy – I know. However, I’ve never been so thankful for my Event Management Degree and amazing connections in Orlando. Most importantly, I had to make sure my hair would be show-ready – good thing my mom has been my stylist for 28 years.
Next, were my flowers. Danielle, the owner of Dream Designs Florist was my first employer when I moved to Orlando at 18 years old. She taught me everything I know about floral and there was no doubt in my mind she would one day design my wedding day bouquet.
Of course, we had to make this special, so my girlfriend from Rosen College who is an incredible hotelier made the connection for me at the Four Seasons in Golden Oak and I booked us a room. I’ve always loved Kristy’s Artistry work and without fail they were available at 7 am on a Thursday to do my makeup! Last but not least I had to make sure the day was captured perfectly and no one was better than the ultimate dream team, my brother on video & a former boss’ wife on photo – shoutout to Johanna Oakes Photography. Fun fact: her own wedding story is very similar to mine and I absolutely love her.
What were the factors that led you to decide to get married in less than a month?
After a really tough 2020 and only being able to see each other 17 out of 365 days we realized after being reunited what was most important and that was to simply be together. What was originally going to be a longer than usual visit to make up for lost time has turned into a very happily ever after!
Where did you have the Orlando civil wedding celebration and why?
Our ceremony was at the Orange County Courthouse. It was me, Piero, and the Deputy Clerk. My family wasn’t allowed in due to the pandemic, so that was hard for us, but we made the most of it and they were outside with my grandmothers and Piero’s parents on Facetime as we came out holding our official certificate! The civil ceremony in Downtown Orlando was the best option as our goal was to simply make it official.
How did you celebrate after the intimate ceremony?
After we came out of the courthouse and finished up our celebratory FaceTime calls with Piero’s family and my grandmothers we got some photos and walked over to our favorite coffee shop, Craft & Common. There were plenty of congratulatory yells and beeps along the way as well as a complimentary champagne toast from the baristas. While sharing our experience inside of the courthouse with our guest list of 4, we also came up with the plan to text our extended family with a zoom link for that afternoon. Believe it or not, they came up with every idea in the book of why I wanted to host this call on a Thursday afternoon, but had no idea we got married and were so excited for us! We then texted close friends while popping champagne back in the hotel room and reminiscing on the memorable moments of the day. The evening concluded with the most perfect sunset at Capa and an incredible dinner. Piero & I stayed up for hours chatting about everything we went through that got us there and how we couldn’t have dreamt up a better day – it makes me emotional just thinking about it!
Who was there to celebrate with you?
My mom, dad, brother, and Nana.
What was your favorite moment from your Orlando civil wedding celebration?
Piero: The first look. I always know Ashley will impress me with her style, so I was excited to see what she was going to wear, how she was going to do her hair, and what her makeup would look like. She looked like an American Princess/Pop Star; two nicknames I always call her (besides Small). Also, being in the courthouse because everything felt so official. I also loved walking outside and having Ashley’s family there with my family on FaceTime. We were so excited!
Ashley: Waking up in the morning to the most beautiful sunrise. It completely set the tone for the day. The getting ready process was the most relaxed I have felt in my entire life. As someone who never would’ve considered a courthouse wedding until it was actually about to happen, it was the most surreal moment for me. It was happening and everything about it felt so right! There’s also something to be said about a civil ceremony. We will be talking about that half-hour of our lives until the end of time.
Do you plan on hosting a larger celebration with family and friends?
This was something that we thought long and hard about. Our day was perfect. I wouldn’t trade it for anything, but there were a few things missing that I’ve always dreamed about; my dad walking me down the aisle, exchanging vows in front of family and friends, having a first dance, throwing the party I was born to throw, food & drink galore, Piero’s family from Italy, our supportive family, and friends with us to celebrate and of course, the dance party of the century. Stay tuned for our two-year anniversary in 2023. You may have to feature part 2 on your blog too!
What vendors were a part of your Orlando civil wedding celebration?
- Hotel: Four Seasons Resort Orlando @fsorlando
- Hair: Styles By Jamie Germano @stylesbyjamiegermano
- Wedding Flowers: Dream Designs Florist @dreamdesignsflorist
- Wedding Photos: Johanna Oakes Photography @johannaoakesphotography
- Engagement Photos/Wedding Video: Michael Germano @germtography
- Makeup: Kristy’s Artistry Design Team @kristysartistrydesignteam
- My Outfit: Emily Baum @cherrybaumdesigns
- Piero’s Outfit: Suit City @suitcityoforlando