After meeting in eighth grade in 2004, Nicholas Raymond Leyh asked Priyanka Pankaj Patel to be his girlfriend through a scavenger hunt, so it was only fitting that he popped the question in the same playful fashion. Since Priyanka is from Kansas and Nick is from Missouri, Nick carefully created clues that led to the spot where the Kansas River and the Missouri River connect in Kansas City, Missouri as a way to honor both of their hometowns. Once Priyanka solved the puzzle on January 10, 2021, Nick got down on one knee and proposed.
Once they got engaged, the couple immediately hired wedding planner Ema Giangreco. During the preliminary planning stages, the duo worked with Ema to compile a vendor team, select the right venues, discuss timelines, and research design ideas. Since the pair decided to host a destination wedding in Amalfi, they orchestrated the entire event from the United States through FaceTime calls. “Having to make decisions about the decorations, food, and wedding weekend flow and trying to visualize the space without actually physically being in Italy or seeing our options [was the hardest part],” Priyanka admits. However, the bride says the overall process was relatively smooth and seamless.
Priyanka and Nick finally pulled off their dream day on August 29, 2022, at Hotel Santa Caterina in Amalfi, Italy, and they invited 55 guests to celebrate with them. Keep scrolling to see how their vision came to life, which was beautifully captured by Jenny Quicksall Photography.
The bride and groom envisioned an affair that fused their Indian and American heritage with their Italian locale and delivered an unforgettable party. “We wanted an intimate, fun wedding that really focused on giving our wedding guests an amazing experience,” Priyanka explains.
To set the tone for the weekend of festivities, the duo designed watercolor invitations stamped with their custom crest, using the vibrant hues from their color palette. They also gave their loved ones a taste of the European coastal town by distributing welcome bags embedded with a lemon motif.
When it came to choosing their wedding venue, Priyanka and Nick had a specific requirement: “We wanted a bright and airy venue by the water with a view of the coast,” the bride explains. Hotel Santa Caterina checked all of the boxes. Not to mention, the Amalfi Coast was Priyanka’s last family vacation before her father passed away, so the setting kept his memory alive.
For the Hindu ceremony, Nick sported a cream sherwani with matching slippers, silk red pants, and a red turban.
Priyanka spent the morning getting glam and drinking Champagne with her bridesmaids. For the ceremony, she selected a natural makeup look with pops of pink and tied her tresses back in an elegant updo that supported her veil. To complete the beautification process, the bride chose translucent light pink nail polish on almond-shaped nails to match her color scheme.
Since Priyanka had always envisioned wearing a traditional red dress on her wedding day, her first outfit of the day was a bright red sleeveless lehenga featuring gold embroidery from India. Although it ended up being the perfect fit, Priyanka never tried on the ensemble before purchasing it. “Because of scheduling, my mom went to India to purchase all of our wedding attire,” the bride mentions. “She FaceTimed me with several options, and we both agreed on the one we liked the most.”
The bride and groom wanted to carve out some time before the ceremony to enjoy each other’s company, so they opted to do a first look. “With all of the busyness surrounding a destination wedding and traveling, it was so nice to just have a moment with the two of us,” Priyanka reflects.
To complement the color scheme, the bridesmaids donned white sequined lehengas with light pink sashes. Meanwhile, the groomsmen were all clad in silk red kurtas that matched Nick’s pants.
The couple set up their ceremony in the hotel’s garden, which overlooked the sea. To frame their vow exchange, their florist, Capri Flor, decorated the overhead tree with striking blooms. “Outside of that, the garden and the location were truly so beautiful that we didn’t need much more décor,” Priyanka says. In memory of her dad, the bride reserved one of the seats using memorabilia, so he could be with her in spirit as she tied the knot.
Since her dad passed away a few years ago, Priyanka decided to walk herself down the aisle to the tune of “Laal Dupatta” by Alka Yagnik and Udit Narayan. She paused halfway to give her mother a hug, but she primarily made the descent on her own.
Priyanka and Nick followed a traditional Hindu ceremony, including rituals, such as exchanging floral garlands during the jai mala and taking four steps around the fire during the mangal fera to represent each stage of life.
Before the ceremony, Priyanka spotted storm clouds rolling in, so she was worried that the weather would interfere with the day’s events. Luckily, the forecast turned around. “We only had a few raindrops, and a beautiful rainbow appeared as a result for the backdrop of our ceremony,” she says.
After tying the knot, the newlyweds recessed to “December, 1963 (Oh, What a Night)” by The Four Seasons while their friends and family showered them with flower petals.
To represent their American culture, the duo decided to wear Western wedding attire for the reception. Priyanka changed into a semi-sheer A-line wedding dress with a deep V-neck and floral appliqués by Martina Liana, which she created by combining two different designs. However, the bride planned on wearing a different ensemble at first. “When my mom and I initially went dress shopping, we had picked a dress, but I thought more about it over the next few days, and it just didn’t feel right,” Priyanka recalls. Since she trusted her gut, she ended up finding the right fit.
To tie her look together, the bride wore floral earrings by Anne-Marie Designs and Loeffler Randall sandals and revamped her beauty look with loose waves and dark eye makeup. Nick wore a classic black tuxedo for the second phase of festivities.
The wedding party had a wardrobe change, too. While the groomsmen wore black suits, the bridesmaids dressed themselves in pink floral dresses. “I have always loved that look and wanted my bridesmaids to find a dress they could hopefully wear again,” Priyanka explains. “I thought that to match the venue, various pink floral dresses would work perfectly.” The bride and her squad all carried pink floral arrangements for a color-coordinated look.
With help from their planner, the bride and groom combined the locale’s coastal flair with their garden aesthetic. At each table, a pink floral runner popped against crisp white linens, while the hanging rattan lanterns, woven chargers, and wicker candle holders radiated a nautical vibe. They also honored the setting by having the town sketched on their menu cards.
Before their reception began, Priyanka and Nick toasted to their new marriage with Champagne while admiring the waterfront views from the dock.
Priyanka and Nick’s friends and family delivered toasts and speeches. A highlight for the bride was listening to her mother’s touching words.
After sashaying around the dance floor to “Unchained Melody” by The Righteous Brothers and hitting the dance floor while DJ Filippo Di Costanzo brought the tunes, the newlyweds cut into a three-tier confection embellished with a cascade of pink blossoms.
Once the night came to an end, Priyanka and Nick left the reception, hand in hand, while their guests lit a pathway for them with sparklers. The following day, the duo concluded the weekend with a day trip to Capri, which included lunch and a swim at La Canzone del Mare.
Ceremony Venue Hotel Santa Caterina
Reception Venue Hotel Santa Caterina
Farewell Party Venue La Canzone del Mare
Planner & Designer Ema Giangreco
Officiant Parth Guru
Bridal Gown Designer Martina Liana
Jewelry Anne-Marie Designs
Bride’s Shoes Loeffler Randall
Makeup Beyouty Beyond Beauty
Bride’s Farewell Party Attire Zara
Groom’s Attire Houndstooth
Groomsmen’s Shoes hindustancrafts via Etsy
Engagement Ring Meierotto Jewelers
Wedding Bands Meierotto Jewelers
Floral Design Capri Flor
Invitations Papier Handmade
Save-the-Dates LetterandLeather via Etsy
Guest Book CatchThisMoment via Etsy
Music Filippo Di Costanzo
Catering Hotel Santa Caterina
Cake Hotel Santa Caterina
Rentals G&G Party Service
Favors Antichi Sapori d’Amalfi
Transportation Positano Taxi Transfer
Photography Jenny Quicksall Photography
Videography Alberto D’aria