Photography by

Dasha Maksymova & Seth Setrakian

July 8, 2015 in Venice, Italy

When Seth Setrakian met Dasha Maksymova, he thought someone was playing a practical joke on him and scanned the lounge for a hidden camera. He thought to himself, “This is way too good to be true.” A New York City-based hedge fund manager at the time, but a Main Line Philadelphian Armenian to the core, he couldn’t believe what he saw or heard.

Dasha’s hypnotic green eyes and vibrant smile entranced him, while her Russian background and story of studying in Philadelphia as an exchange student lured him in. He was also floored by the fact that she learned English by watching Jim Cramer’s “Mad Money” on CNBC, worked as an accountant at KPMG, started her own fashion company, and loved Armenian food. From Dasha’s perspective, she was wondering why Seth was “pretending to be Armenian”–in her mind, “no Armenian had intense, big blue eyes like that.” 

Their initial skepticism morphed into a three-year romance. Dasha had no idea what plans were in store for her birthday, but she remembers Seth’s mischievous smile beforehand. Having booked the Presidential Suite at the Mandarin Oriental in New York, Seth surprised her with a room filled with roses, champagne, caviar, and the best surprise of all–a beautiful engagement ring. The night concluded with a dinner with friends, and a “Happy Birthday” performance by RedFoo at Lavo.  

Seth and Dasha wanted something intimate and special for their wedding, and decided to have a private ceremony in Venice, Italy. Their journey began with a pilgrimage to the Armenian monastic island of San Lazarro. With destination weddings often presenting certain challenges, they were occupied with keeping their wedding attire from being lost in transit, making sure local customs were respected while incorporating their own unique tastes, and being wary of the language barrier. Although the couple speaks six languages fluently between them, neither speaks Italian. 

All of their worries melted away once the bride and groom saw each other by their matrimonial gondola for the first time. It was a beautiful Venetian day in July, and the canal was calm as they glided towards the San Georgio Greek Orthodox Church, serenaded by singing gondoliers. At one point, the snap of a tourist’s camera led to a cascade of flashes. “We wanted a private wedding,” Seth remembers humorously, “but all of Venice joined in, wishing us good luck in at least fifteen different languages.”

After a beautiful ceremony, which was spoken in Greek and Russian, the newlyweds enjoyed a private dinner on their terrace overlooking the San Marco Piazza in the Grand Lagoon Suit of the Luna Baglioni Hotel. The moonlight provided the perfect background as they danced the night away to their favorite songs, not wanting that special day to end.

Dasha and Seth concluded their evening with a special toast to each other, and one in honor of their stand-in witness, Luca, to whom they promised a toast in his honor on every anniversary.

Reception Location: Baglioni Hotels Venice, Italy; Floral and Event Design, Planner: Brilliant Wedding Venice Venice, Italy; Hair & Makeup: Daniela Delia Venice, Italy; Wedding Dress: Eve of Milady; Groom’s Attire: Ermenegildo Zegna;