Exclusive: LPA Designer Pia Baroncini's Wedding—Held at Her Childhood Home in Pasadena—Was a Beautiful Tribute to Her Parents' Love
On August 10, 2019, Lara Pia Arrobio—the designer behind the contemporary fashion label LPA and the host of Pia's Pod—married Davide Roberto Baroncini at the bride's childhood home in Pasadena, California, where they currently live. This wasn't the first set of nuptials to unfold in the house, though. Her parents were married there 37 years prior—something Lara's father, who passed away last year, talked of repeatedly in the final days his daughter shared with him. "We have spent the last year-and-a-half hand-painting, planting, landscaping, and decorating every inch of the house," says Pia on the process of readying her beloved home for her and Davide's celebration.
While their wedding took place at Pia's home, their engagement took place (near) Davide's—in Italy, back in December of 2017. "He drove me up a long, tiny, extremely-windy road to the top of a tiny mountain town in Sicily called Forza D'agro," recalls the bride. "The views are breathtaking—of the Mediterranean Sea and Mount Etna. The air was filled with the smells of Christmas dinner being prepared."
The couple entered a church ("The same church where Michael Corleone married Appolonia in The Godfather," explains Pia), where they spent some time in prayer. "At that point, I knew it was happening and lost it," says Pia. "He proposed to me with a ring hand-made by his incredibly talented friend Massimo Izzo in Syricusa, Sicily. It had 'Pia Baroncini' engraved inside. I cried. He cried. We walked through the empty town to the ruin of an ancient castle and took in the view before we headed off to aperitivo and then to his parents' house."
The duo kept their celebration simple, a choice born out of a difficult year. "We have been through a lot this year, and had to postpone our initial date because Davide's mother was diagnosed with cancer," she explains (Davide lost his mother shortly after the ceremony). Using their regular Sunday dinners ("They're a big thing at our house!") as a model, their backyard celebration, full of loving faces and incredible Italian food, was exactly what Pia and Davide had envisioned. Ultimately, their wedding day, like their relationship, was about love and family—two things the bride says are paramount: "I truly don't think I've ever been to a more personal wedding. No one cares about the small stuff. This is not a show of affluence—it's a show of love."
The couple spent the evening before their wedding at Cafe Stella—their favorite restaurant. "There were 30 people in the private room and then we had all of our friends come. We totally took over the restaurant—it was so fun," shares Pia. She wore a lace dress by Brock Collection and a pair of Manolo Blahniks, which were gifted to her by FWRD; Davide wore a custom solaro suit from Santo Barilla MI.
They noshed on their favorite meal (steak frites!) and celebrated to the fullest extent: "I spilled red wine down the entire front of my white lace dress and shoes," laughs the bride, who also listed the epic toasts as a particular highlight. "Steve Hogan, my best friend's dad (and our fake dad!) gave a speech that brought the house town while holding a martini."
Getting Ready at Home
"My mom gave Davide and I the master bedroom of the house a few months ago, so I got ready in my bathroom," explains Pia of those meaningful moments getting ready at home. She prepared for the big day with her bridesmaid, Austin Boos ("She's been my bestie since we were 14!" says the bride), and her mother. "We listened to music and drank Champagne out of my great-grandmother's glasses. I got us all matching PJs from The Sleeper."
Gardenias and Pink Slippers
Pia and Austin both wore blush pink Manolo Blahnik mules; the flowers girls slipped into ballet slippers to match. The bride's loose, unstructured bouquet, right, was arranged by Pigsty and comprised of fresh gardenias (sourced from High Camp Gardenias, and her mother's favorite), smoke bush, California grasses, blush lisianthus, and white garden roses. The fragrant mix was tied together with linen. Austin's arrangement, left, was a smaller, complementary interpretation of Pia's.
On loan from Austin, the bride's vintage diamond earrings and a tennis bracelet served as her finishing touches; they complemented the buckles of her mules and her engagement ring, which was crafted by Massimo Izzo.
A Designer's Wedding Dress
Pia worked with Laura Vassar of Brock Collection to create her custom ivory taffeta wedding dress, which she originally saw (in red!) at a runway show a few years ago. "It was ankle-length in the front and had a long train. The waist had a million beautiful pleats and the bodice was off-the-shoulder—I love a woman's chest and collar bones, so it was important to me that was really the only skin I showed," explains the designer. The gown had pockets, too, which she used to store her grandmother's handkerchief ("which I used a lot," she says) and lipstick.
"We had too much fun during the first fitting—and got a little excited. I told Laura I wanted a super-long train and when the sample came back, it was like 10-feet-long," Pia recalls. "I put it on and we cried laughing—I would have kept it had the wedding not been at our home."
Mother of the Bride
The mother of the bride wore a custom LPA dress in ivory taffeta, which Pia helped create; the gown's fabric and pleats referenced her own. "She looked incredible," she says.
The couple's beloved bulldog attended their nuptials. He wore a floral collar for the ceremony, which he dutifully watched, perched next to Davide.
A Fashion-Conscious Groom
Davide, who is also in fashion, was particular about his attire, a custom navy wool suit from Santo Barilla MI. Complete with a slightly-longer jacket, high-waisted, double-pleated pants, and suspenders, he felt the entire look was "very Cary Grant, I would say." A crisp white cotton poplin shirt from Brunello Cucinelli, a black tie ("Combining a navy suit with a black tie is, I believe, the most elegant and misunderstood combination!" he says), and American-made Alden Cordoban shoes (a nod to his American bride) completed his ensemble.
Austin and the flower girls wore matching Brock Collection. "I knew when I saw the dress during the show that it would be perfect for Austin—and selfishly something I would want to wear," says the bride. "We had the flower girl dresses custom made using matching fabric."
A Vintage Veil
"I worked with the Brock team to make the veil of my dreams," says Pia. "The embroidery was sourced from a vintage altar boy surplice I wear as a shirt."
The bride also cites this moment—making her aisle debut—as one of the most memorable of the day: "When I walked out in my dress, it was so silent; when I turned the corner to face everyone, the crowd literally screamed. You can see it in the photos—everyone facing me with these gasps and smiles. Everyone was so happy to finally see us get married, knowing that this was my absolute dream. They were just as excited as I was."
The ceremony altar was placed upon the property's stone ridge, which allowed the couple to look out and down over their guests during the service. The spot was significant for more than just its natural stage setting: "37 years ago, my parents were married in the exact same spot—it was all my dad talked about before he passed away," shares Pia. She walked down the aisle alone, a decision she made with her father in mind. "There is just no one who could have filled my dad's shoes," she explains.
The couple's bougainvillea installation, created by Pigsty, was a nod to both Pia and Davide's roots ("It grows in both California and Sicily," she explains) and a must-have for the bride, who first saw a similar rendition at a dinner party. It was one of the only décor moments they (partially) outsourced: "I do not like waste, especially beautiful flowers. So we used simple things that we could dry easily and already grow at our home—lavender, olive branches, and bougainvillea, mostly."
Short and Sweet
"Our poor guests," Pia says, recalling her "sob fest" of a ceremony. "There weren't any readings—it was short and sweet. Jeff, our friend who married us, told funny stories that were semi-inappropriate for a wedding, which relieved the tension. Davide and I were just so emotional."
The duo's ring bearer was another source of comic relief: "Soren was the star of the show. As he and Davide were walking to the ceremony he looked at him and said, 'Are you scared?' Davide replied, 'If you hold my hand I won't be.' He knew the ceremony was over when the 'romantic kiss' happened—so he kept peaking over looking at us, waiting. He was so satisfied when we finally kissed!"
The couple recessed down the aisle and then through a tunnel of friends and family to Dean Martin's "That's Amore." "Everyone sang when it came on—it was perfect," says Pia.
A Quick Drive
While their guests moved on to the cocktail hour, the couple jumped into their vintage car, which was filled with olive branches. They spent just 20 minutes taking portraits on a nearby bridge, "because I wanted to enjoy my wedding!" says Pia.
His Favorite Thing
These moments, however, were precious to Davide: "Our vintage car is a 1972 Alfa Romeo Spider 'Coda Tronca.' It's probably my favorite thing in the world, after my wife and pasta al pomodoro."
A Comprehensive Drink List
Time to Celebrate
Back from the joy ride, the bride was greeted by her pup while enjoying her own "Pia's Paloma."
Pia and her planner, Melissa Andre, curated the backyard reception's décor with incredible resourcefulness. "My nephew picked hundreds of lemons from my brother's house; my other niece and nephew hand-washed each one," says Pia. "All the table clothes were my grandmother's—some of them dated back to her grandmother."
Simple ceramic plates and vintage glasses and silverware were set on the long rectangular tabletops; small gardenia centerpieces left plenty of room for the family-style meal to come.
"I had The Setting create custom bowls for our pasta and wine coolers," says Pia of the bespoke ceramic pieces, emblazoned with the couple's last name. "We had a million candles everywhere—and string lights. Clark from Elite AV was incredible at hiding these big lights in random places to make sure the bar, cake, and tables were lit, but still looked warm and natural."
The most difficult part about preparing for the party? Creating a seating chart for their 110 guests: "The hour we spent on the seating chart was real special—after 20 minutes we were both like, 'Let's just cancel the wedding!'"
"It was a big deal to have Chef Evan Funke of Felix Trattoria cater," explains Pia. "Because it was so special, I made sure there were no speeches [during our meal]. People sat down for the entire time and just enjoyed each other and the food. It was wonderful. We walked around a little bit, but mostly we just enjoyed our dinner, which was my goal."
As for the menu? After rosemary Sicilian focaccia bread and an antipasti course (which included a market lettuce salad and burrata pugliese), guests enjoyed two pasta dishes (rigatoni alla norma and casarecce con salsiccia) before finishing with tronchetto di porchetta, an Italian pork roast.
A Traditional Cake
Gjusta Bakery made the couple's ricotta wedding cake, which was inspired by their favorite dessert from Sicily. The single-layer confection was covered in berries—and had to be delivered during dinner so it didn't melt in the California heat. "The pastry chef hand-piped all the cream and placed every berry," says Pia. "Our flower girls ended up over there with her—they enjoyed picking off the berries she was so strategically placing."
The First Dance
Pia and Davide shared their first married dance to Gino Paoli's "Il cielo in una stanza," an Italian song about "a man who falls in love and describes his time with his woman like a room without a ceiling, a room that feels open to the sky while he dances with her," explains Davide. "I can cry thinking about it."
As the dinner party transformed into a dance-off, guests broke out the couple's favors—which included personalized stickers, temporary tattoos, and custom t-shirts.
Pizza and Personal Details
Post-dinner pizza was served with napkins emblazoned with the duo's custom coat of arms, which was designed by the bride and fleshed out by her associate designer at LPA, Tim. "When we were in Sicily, we saw a vintage magazine with a sacred heart on the cover that I knew would be the starting point of the crest," she said of the cypher's original inspiration. She replaced the cherubs with their bulldog's face and the thorny branches with lemons for Sicily; she then added roses for Pasadena and grape leaves, as well. The crown at the top of the crest was derived from her engagement ring, which is a nod to the Tese di Moro statues also found in Sicily.
The bride's "genius graphic designer" friend, Aaron Harvey Creative, added simple chic fonts and layouts in gray and super-imposed the crest onto the invitation suites (which were sent out digitally) and virtually every other day-of paper detail. "I could not have been happier," says Pia.
A Two-in-One Dress
Pia's sequined Happy Isles reception dress was actually created from two vintage garments.
The late-night party was one for the books—and was an appropriate way to kick off yet another celebration. "It was Davide's birthday at midnight, so Chef Evan made him a Nutella calzone and I gave him a bottle of Champagne. Our best friend DJ Orazio played 'C'è la luna mezzo mare' by Lou Monte from The Godfather and all the Italians went nuts. Davide had the bottle in his hand, a cigar in his mouth, and all the men started peacocking. It was incredible," says Pia.