Alpha Mengistu & Alpha Kiflu

May 16, 2016 in Sorrento, Italy


Some of the most romantic stories often begin at the most unromantic places. The Africa Business Conference at Harvard Business School, for instance, was where Alpha Mengistu and Alpha Kiflu were first introduced through mutual friends. And yes – among other things, these love birds also share the same name.

“Today, we live in Ethiopia; but at that time, I lived in London and he lived in New York,” Alpha explains. “When I first met him, I thought he was warm and charming – and I hope he found me irresistibly beautiful!”

Their friendship soon turned into romance, and finally evolved into “full-blown love.” While vacationing in Zanzibar, Alpha proposed to his then-girlfriend after a romantic private dinner on the beach. Soon after, the wedding planning process began.

With family and friends flying in from all over the world, the couple wanted their wedding celebration to span multiple days. After deciding to host a destination wedding in Italy, Villa Dei d’Armiento in Sorrento was chosen as the wedding venue.

“Over the following year, we managed to remotely plan the wedding of our dreams,” says Alpha. “And when the moment came to pick our wedding photographer, I know we made the perfect choice – Thanasis Kaiafas is a true artist who knows how to make the couple feel comfortable and relaxed.”

The wedding weekend began with a pizza dinner on Thursday, followed by a boat trip to Capri and rehearsal dinner on Friday, and Sunday brunch after the big day. Warmth and sunshine greeted the couple and their guests on the day of the wedding, and the bride enjoyed relaxing with her mother and friends while getting ready.

“I must say that my favorite part of the day was the dinner,” she says. “It felt incredible to sit in the middle of that table with my new husband, literally surrounded by all our family and friends.”

Everyone was seated at a long banquet table in the shade of giant palm trees. The villa itself was landscaped with tropical flowers and greenery, yet the décor was kept minimal in order to allow the villa’s natural beauty to shine through.

Since the bride and groom are first generation Ethiopian American, it was also important for them to incorporate elements of Ethiopian culture into the reception. The newlyweds entered the reception area to a traditional Ethiopian wedding song, and a DJ played Ethiopian music during the dance party.

“Twice, the guests carried us on their shoulders to dance,” describes the bride. “The second time, they escorted us through the villa and out, and then down the whole block – they danced us out of the reception on their shoulders! It was an unforgettable experience.”

Another memorable part of the wedding was the food. During the cocktail hour, a chef made fresh mozzarella by hand for the guests. Dinnertime was met with guests doing the wave up and down the table, spinning their napkins over their heads, and clinking glasses to signal the newlyweds to kiss.

“Our wedding was everything we had dreamed of; and I know that our wonderful photos will help us relieve that happy day again and again for many years to come,” says the bride.

>Written by: Lauren Malamala

Location: Villa dei d’Armiento Sorrento, Italy; Floral and Event Design, Planner: Linderman Weddings Sorrento, Italy; Stationery: Minted; Wedding Dress: Amsale; Groom’s Cufflinks: Cartier;