Photography by

Mary Ta & Lars Oliver Hypko

June 18, 2013 in Settignano, Italy

Before they got to know each other, Mary Ta, an All-American, strong-willed, business owner and Lars Oliver Hypko, a European architect with Old World manners, suffered from culture clash. A mutual friend first introduced them at the Milan Furniture Fair. Lars, who lived in Italy, was so taken with Mary that he wrangled an invitation to her Los Angeles birthday celebration. When Mary went to pay the restaurant bill, she found that he had already taken care of it. “Now, I know he was just being sweet and gentlemanly, but I’m very independent and it made me feel obligated,” says Mary. 

However, when she signed up for Facebook, Lars was one of the first to issue her a friend request and she accepted. He was headed off on a six-week-long Mediterranean sailing trip and began to document his travels to her in private messages. Mary was swept away with him on a virtual trip. In those communications, he asked her thoughtfully comprehensive questions and she began to see his “dimensionality.” He was the antithesis of her previous relationships. “I was partial to skinny rocker dudes,” says Mary, “and here was this solid, masculine, but sensitive guy.”

The two continued to learn about each other on Facebook from June through September, when they decided to meet at the International Furniture Fair in Valencia, Spain. Mary was nervous, but when she saw Lars she says, “I felt like I was coming home.”

Before long, Lars made the decision to move to Los Angeles to be with Mary. “One night, I came home and all the lights were off. He was in a black suit, there were Christmas lights twinkling all over the house and he had cooked dinner,” says Mary. Lars proposed on one knee and presented Mary with a ring, a kitty to replace her deceased beloved pet and a matching tiny ring for the cat. “He gave me love and life,” says Mary.

On a trip to Italy, they found a wedding venue that would help them share their love of that country with family and friends spread across several continents. The only catch being that the available date was just three months away. Mary provided many of the conceptual ideas, and Lars, with his command of Italian, handled the execution.

To be inclusive and make it possible to have a true friends and family event, fourteen children were invited. Fifty-three guests joined the couple three days before the ceremony for celebratory meals and to explore Villa Gamberaia and all that the surrounding countryside had to offer. 

The ceremony was held in an intimate grotto that resembled a secret garden. Unfortunately, one hundred degree heat and one hundred percent humidity turned Mary’s Vera Wang gown, consisting of nine layers of frothy fabric, into her own personal sauna. “But,” she says, “the day was still beautiful, wonderful and so special.”

Mary’s father had died when she was young, and she was brought up in a matriarchy to be the strong one. “Other men I had chosen had been needy, but in my vows to Lars I declared that I would never be disappointed in a man again,” she says. “With him I feel complete.”

As the sun went down, candelabras were lit on a lush lawn overlooking the village below. Guests sat at a single long table. Dinner featured Italian specialties including oysters, veal, a champagne tower and semifreddo ice cream cake. Toward the end of the evening, guests wrote their wishes on strips of paper and attached them to paper lanterns that were released to float skyward sending those wishes into the universe. 

Instead of registering for gifts, the couple opted to have guests and family contribute to the purchase of his and hers versions of the iconic classic Italian car, the Cinquecento.

For the first week of their honeymoon, the couple invited many of their friends and family members to join them and travel to some of their favorite places in Italy. The following week, after guests departed, Mary and Lars headed to Sicily to embrace the beginning of their time as husband and wife.

> Written by Francine Kaplan

Location and Caterer: Villa Gamberaia Settignano, Italy; Cake: Galateo Ricevimenti Florence, Italy; Floral Design and Linen: La Rosa Canina Florence, Italy; Lighting and Entertainment: Alma Project Florence, Italy;
Stationery: 2 Hearts B 1 Designs; Wedding Dress: Vera Wang; Bride's Shoes: Prada; Bride’s Accessories: Mimi So; Groom's Tuxedo: Paul Smith; Wedding Bands: Tiffany & Co.;

Photography by

Cinematography by

Mary Ta and Lars Oliver Hypko

June 18, 2013 in Settignano, Italy

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