Janine Rizzi and Derek Swank
July 3, 2019. Amalfi Coast, Italy
A Romantic Amalfi Coast Elopement in Positano, Italy
Ceremony Location: Rada Restaurant Positano, Italy; Reception Location: William Vale Hotel Williamsburg, NY; Planning & Event Design: SposiamoVi Wedding Planners Italy; Floral Design: Rosalinda Rellino; Ceremony Dress: Livne White; Reception Dress: Dany Mizrachi
On December 5th, 2015, Janine Rizzi and Derek Swank connected on Bumble and decided to meet that night. Janine jokingly asked how Derek felt about ‘long distance’ relationships – her living on the Upper East Side, and him in the West Village – so they agreed to meet in the middle at a swanky wine bar in Gramercy called Casa-Mono.
Janine thought Derek was handsome, charming, polite (a Canadian), and quite obviously, tall (6’4”). Derek was immediately drawn to Janine’s intelligence, witty banter, sophistication, and striking features, but throughout the evening developed a sense of her high emotional IQ and loving nature.
After clearly hitting it off, they decided to meet up with a few friends that were in the area and spent the rest of the night hopping around the city. Before going their separate ways, Janine and Derek had already made plans to meet again the next day. After that, they were inseparable.
Fast forward to Spring 2018. The couple went ring shopping together at Kwiat Jewelers on Madison Avenue to choose a shape and get fitted. On July 3, 2018, they had planned a spontaneous trip to Tulum, complete with the ring – a stunning and flawless 3.5 carat radiant cut diamond that was ready the day before. Derek worked with the Papaya Playa Project’s guest ambassador to plan the perfect proposal, which included flowers, Dom Perignon, and a hidden photographer set up on a treetop balcony suite overlooking the ocean. Derek got down on one knee and, forgetting just about all of his lines, popped the question.
Janine and Derek decided to have a destination wedding in Italy, but found it challenging for all of their family and friends to attend. One of Derek’s best friends and Janine’s sister already had dates slated the next summer. After much back and forth, they decided to have the best of both worlds – an epic, romantic elopement in Positano on July 3rd (one year to the date after proposal), and a bigger celebration on the rooftop of the William Vale hotel in Brooklyn on Aug 3rd with family and friends, overlooking the Manhattan skyline where it all started.
“In Positano, we worked with a wedding planner SPOSIAMOVI (Valentina) that we found through social media, specializing in Amalfi coast weddings,” says the couple. “Janine sent vision boards and they made everything come to life. We flew to Italy, wedding dress (Alon Livne) and tux (custom by Cielo) in tow and arrived at Covo Dei Saraceni where we spent a few days getting acclimated before the big day.”
The ceremony was held on top of a small intimate terrace, covered with petals and a beautiful floral arch, where the bride and groom exchanged handwritten vows and shed a few tears of happiness. After their nuptials, the newlyweds hopped on a boat for a sunset cruise along the coast, and then back to Rada for dinner on a private terrace. Their cake cutting was followed by a first dance to a live violinist who performed “Perfect” by Ed Sheeran, and the celebration continued as they danced the night away at Rada’s Music on the Rocks. The entire evening was filmed by FADE productions and photographed by Josh Wong, who traveled from NYC and would also be capturing the William Vale event.
Straight from the Amalfi coast, Janine and Derek left for a mini-moon in Capri to relax, take in the sun, lounge in the grottos, and savor the amazing food.
“We planned to do a full honeymoon in 2020, but COVID has delayed our travels,” they share. “Perhaps our next vacation will be a baby-moon instead. Regardless, our adventures together have just begun, and we couldn’t be more excited.”