Andrea Bocelli Sang the Bride Down the Aisle at This Wedding on Lake Como

bride and groom standing at the altar
Oliver Fly

After meeting while earning their master's degrees at Columbia University in 2018, Eliran and Anastasia dated for two years before he popped the question on Cape Cod. "Eliran proposed near a beautiful lake while we were on a hike," says Anastasia. "He knew that I wasn't a fan of public proposals, so he found a super private spot on a small beach strip and also managed to film the moment with a drone so we had it captured for our friends and family."

As the couple began planning their dream Italian wedding, they had another lake in mind: Lake Como, in Cernobbio. "Our vision was to create a romantic, elegant, and fun event," says Anastasia of their overarching big-day goals. "It was important to us that it was classy and sophisticated—but at the same time, we knew that we wanted the event to reflect us as a couple."

On August 19, 2021, the couple exchanged vows in front of 140 loved ones at Villa Erba (the day after their rehearsal dinner and welcome party, which was held at another estate nearby). Anastasia wanted a floral-filled, pastel aesthetic that leaned heavy on her favorite color—blue—so Eventoile designed gradient aisle arrangements that transitioned from a lake-inspired hue to a creamy ivory. Famous tenor Andrea Bocelli performed as she walked down the aisle, and again during dinner, after the bride swapped her lace wedding dress for a shimmering custom jumpsuit. But of all the memorable moments the couple experienced throughout their epic big day, their favorite was seeing each other for the first time at the altar. "Never forget what it's truly about—it is so easy to get wrapped up in the small things," says Anastasia. "Just enjoy it and make it authentically yours!"

01 of 19

Lake Views

italian villa wedding venue
Oliver Fly

Anastasia and Eliran chose Villa Erba, nestled on Lake Como, for their "classic and modern" ceremony and reception. "It had the perfect balance of fairy-tale-like castle and a magical lake setting," says Anastasia. "We both absolutely love the water and lakes have always been so special to us, which made us choose Lake Como in the first place."

02 of 19

Pretty in Pastel

custom wedding invitation suite with watercolor illustration
Oliver Fly

The paper suite from Letterink set the tone for the wedding's pastel palette; ivory, blush, and blue cards were complemented by gold script and a watercolor envelope liner.

03 of 19

A Princess Moment

bride in wedding dress and veil on walkway overlooking water
Oliver Fly

Though Anastasia knew she wanted her ceremony wedding dress to have a dramatic train and a classic silhouette, she expected to choose "a clean, white design" sans embellishment. But while trying on gowns at Pronovias—with her mother and bridesmaids watching on Zoom—the sales assistant brought out a lace-covered number with crystal accents and a tailored waistline. "It immediately felt like the one when I put it on," says Anastasia. She added a Pronovias veil, Verstolo diamond jewlery, and Jimmy Choo shoes. "My veil was so heavy," she says, "but so worth it!"

04 of 19

To Each Her Own

bride with four bridesmaids in blue dresses
Oliver Fly

Flowy, formal gowns from Eliza and Ethan in the bride's favorite shade of blue highlighted the pastel bouquets. "It was important to me that they felt comfortable and beautiful and, most importantly, like themselves," says Anastasia. "Therefore, we picked a dress they were able to tie in unique ways."

05 of 19

Men of the Hour

groom with groomsmen on small balcony
Oliver Fly

Anastasia and Eliran worked together to design his bespoke, dark blue tuxedo at Alan David Custom in New York City; the bride also gave him cuff links in the shape of their joint monogram. Groomsmen donned black tuxedos with Otaa pocket squares and bow ties, and the ring bearer—Eliran's nine-year-old brother—wore a matching bow tie with his gray suit.

06 of 19

Color Theory

wedding ceremony outdoor setup with white chairs and flower archway at the altar
Oliver Fly

A flower-lined aisle leading from the villa to the lake-front ceremony location showed off an array of lush hydrangeas from florist Vincenzo Dascanio in a gradient from blue to white, with accents of purple, pink, and mauve.

07 of 19

Ombré Aisle

aisle of blue and purple flowers at ceremony
Oliver Fly

"It was important to us to have many flowers, and do something unique that truly reflects our taste," says Anastasia.

  • 14 Beautiful Ways to Elevate Your Ceremony Aisle
08 of 19

What a Processional

bride walking down the aisle with mother and father
Oliver Fly

Anastasia's mother and father escorted her to the altar—the first time she and Eliran saw each other on their wedding day. "Funnily enough, I was completely calm the whole day and only started getting a little nervous right before I walked down the aisle—while Eliran was so nervous the whole day long," she says. "He was struggling to keep his tears back. It was the most magical moment when we saw each other."

09 of 19

Notes on an Icon

wedding singer in blue suit at microphone
Oliver Fly

World-renowned tenor Andrea Bocelli sang during the couple's service. "Walking down the aisle to his version of 'Perfect Symphony' was simply a moment we will never forget," says Anastasia, noting that his performance brought the crowd to tears.

  • How to Hire a Celebrity Musician to Perform at Your Wedding
10 of 19

In Their Own Words

gorgeous wedding ceremony overlooking the water
Oliver Fly

Anastasia and Eliran wrote their own vows, concentrating on including all the languages spoken by their guests: Russian, English, German, and Hebrew. "We always felt that this was exactly the reason to have a big wedding in the first place—to make promises to each other in front of all the people we care so deeply about," says Anastasia.

Anastasia, "a huge Harry Potter fan," introduced Eliran to the movies when they started dating—a piece of their relationship history that they both referenced in their vows, unplanned. "The most special moment was the fact that both of us ended our vows with 'always,'" says Anastasia, a reference to a lifelong love that influences the series' storyline. "That one word just carries so much meaning—I remember describing to Eliran why I thought it was simply amazing. When we both ended our vows with 'always,' without knowing that the other would, we were overwhelmed by our emotions."

11 of 19

Looking Great

bride and groom first look
Oliver Fly

During the cocktail hour, Anastasia, along with her bridesmaids, decamped to a private room where she changed into her second look: a custom two-piece from Lee Petra Grebenau covered in beads and crystals. "We spontaneously did a second first look with my second outfit—it was such a natural and authentic moment," says the bride. "Just my mum, bridesmaids, and Eliran's sister were in the room with us, and his reaction was so priceless and heartwarming."

12 of 19

Cocktail Hour

guests at cocktail hour outside wedding venue
Oliver Fly

Meanwhile, guests mingled on the terrace below.

13 of 19

White Night

reception tent with draped linens and lights
Oliver Fly

Since seating their guests inside the villa would have meant splitting into several different rooms, Anastasia and Eliran opted instead to construct a tent that extended out from the mansion and connected the two via a staircase lined with lanterns. "It seemed like a natural extension and made it very easy for guests to walk between the dinner area and the villa's interior," says Anastasia. "In addition, we had the most beautiful chandeliers which created a magical atmosphere. I will never forget the moment we walked into the tent—it felt like my vision became a reality. It looked exactly like our sketches."

14 of 19

Over the Rainbow

reception head table for bridal party with pink and purple flowers
Oliver Fly

The bride and groom sat at a long table in the center of the room with their parents, grandparents, and siblings. The gradient aesthetic extended to the reception, where a two-level floral arrangement displayed a rainbow of pastels, from white to blue.

15 of 19

In the Round

wedding reception table with pink floral centerpiece and gold utensils
Oliver Fly

Mauve-and-white flowers arranged in tight centerpieces complemented gold-edged glassware, chargers, and flatware. Throughout their wedding weekend, the couple chose menu items that met a variety of dietary requirements for their guests, including vegan and Kosher options.

16 of 19

In Perfect Sync

bride and groom first dance
Oliver Fly

For their first dance, the couple performed a waltz to "A Moment Like This." "We just both love the song and felt like it transported our emotions perfectly," says Anastasia.

17 of 19

So Sweet

bride and groom kiss at the cake table
Oliver Fly

During the reception, the couple's parents presented "incredibly special" speeches and toasts. "My dad gave a toast which probably made most people cry. My mum had such a humorous cartoon created for us, which had characters looking like Eliran and myself, which had people crying from laughter," says Anastasia. "Eliran's parents wrote a song about us, which they recorded and filmed in their home town in Israel. It was so personal and emotional—we could really tell they had put so much thought and love into it, which just meant the world to us."

18 of 19

Ready to Dance

bride walking down the stairs in jumpsuit for reception
Oliver Fly

After their waltz, Anastasia slipped away for another quick change: She removed the custom skirt the designer had created to reveal a sparkling jumpsuit for the couple's second dance performance—a salsa routine set to "Thinking Out Loud" by Ed Sheeran. "No one even suspected that my second look was not, in fact, a dress, so when I removed the skirt at the start of our salsa dance, our guests—and also my husband!—were so surprised. They had no idea," she says.

After their second dance, the newlyweds finally felt ready to celebrate. "The moment after we finished our salsa was so special—I remember us both just falling into each other's arms as we were so relieved that the official part was over and everything went to plan," says Anastasia. "We were just so excited to have fun and dance all night with our friends and families."

  • How to Not Have a Boring First Dance
19 of 19


bride and groom smiling together on the grass
Oliver Fly

Photography, Oliver Fly
Venue, Villa Erba
Wedding Planning and Event Design,
Federico Salza
Vincenzo Dascanio
Lumos Produzioni
Como Lake Celebrant
Blunotti Eventi
Latini Design; Preludio Noleggio; Privitera Eventi
Bride's gown,
Bride's accessories,
Pronovias veil; Jimmy Choo shoes; Verstolo jewelry
Hair and Makeup,
Yana Rybalko for BLBS Management
Bridesmaids' Dresses,
Eliza & Ethan
Groom's Attire,
Alan David Custom
Otaa bow ties and pocket squares
Blunotti Eventi
Bride's jumpsuit,
Lee Petra Grebenau
Engagement ring,
Roei's Jewelry
Wedding rings,
Anna Sheffield (bride); Marisa Perry Atelier (groom)

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