Sarah Villere Carnahan Pottharst was living in Verona, Italy, when her parents came to visit for a few weeks. The three traveled to Venice, where her mother set off in pursuit of a particular style of earrings. She found her favorites at Giordan, a family-owned jewelry store on Piazza San Marco. Alvise Girolami was working in the store that day, and Sarah immediately developed a crush. Sensing sparks between the two, Sarah’s mother concocted a story about Sarah needing to return to the store in a few days to pick up the earrings. Alvise agreed to a deferred purchase, and two days later Sarah returned as promised. After completing the sale, Alvise asked Sarah out for an afternoon “Spritz”. They went for cocktails at L’Ombra del Leone, followed by a visit to the Punta della Dogana modern art museum. From that day on they were inseparable.
A year and a half later, the couple went to their favorite local ostaria for a romantic dinner. While Sarah was in the ladies room, Alvise ordered a bottle of Prosecco. He hid the Prosecco in his bag, and when they finished dinner they began a walk home past Piazza San Marco. Alvise pulled Sarah toward his family’s jewelry store, fumbled through his bag, pulled out the ring box and got down on one knee. He proposed right in front of where it all began!
Sarah and Alvise chose to marry in Bergamo Città Alta, their favorite northern Italian city. The night before the wedding, guests met for an all’aperto-style dinner at Lalimentari. Standing in the ancient square, family and friends enjoyed a feast including charcuterie, cheeses, fried shrimp and squid, grilled vegetables and Casoncelli alla Bergamasca (ravioli-type pasta filled with sausage and pancetta).
Everyone gathered the next day, Saturday, May 26, 2018, in the garden of Il Pianone, a stunning villa built on the ruins of ancient fortress walls. There, Sarah walked down the aisle wearing a dress that she designed made of fabric purchased from C&J Textiles in New York City. Representing his bride’s hometown, Alvise donned a red bowtie and pocket square dotted with little blue crabs. The couple exchanged rings bearing an inscription of each other’s name and the date they met. Alvise’s best friend, Andres Bastianetto, pronounced them man and wife.
After the vows, the reception began right there in the garden. Il Pianone created all of the food in-house, from the massive homemade mozzarella to the eggplant and pork napoleon to the wedding cake. Just for laughs, Sarah and Alvise topped the cake with a funny little figurine of a couple riding a Vespa!
A local DJ spun Sinatra’s “I’ve Got You under My Skin” for the couple’s first dance. For the rest of the evening, he played a fun mix of American and Italian songs that had all guests, regardless of age, joining one another on the dance floor. Italians became acquainted with the New Orleans song “When the Saints Go Marching in” that night, and it was a hit!
Sarah and Alvise are delaying their honeymoon until after Christmas 2019, when it will be summer in South America. They will travel to Peru, Bolivia and Chile for almost three weeks, including spending New Year’s Eve on Machu Picchu!
The couple lives in Venice, where Sarah is a fashion designer, business owner and creative consultant for multiple brands in Italy and the United States, and Alvise owns and operates Giordan, as well as custom designs jewelry for private clients.
Wedding Gown: Sarah Pottharst Reception Dress: Silver sequined cocktail dress from Zara. Groom’s Attire: Dark navy suite with white button down and Nola Couture bowtie and pocket square Engagement Ring: Sarah’s mother generously gave Alvise a ring with diamonds. Alvise redesigned the diamonds to be in Sarah’s favorite formation, Contrarié, set in a rose gold band. Bride’s Wedding Band: Simple rose gold band, inscribed “ALVISE 19.4.2016” Groom’s Wedding Band: Simple rose gold band, inscribed “SARAH 19.4.2016” Florist: A small, local florist who made the bride’s bouquet and Alvise’s boutonniere. Favor: A bottle of specialty Extra Virgin Olive Oil infused with Rosemary from the Lake Como region, paired with classic Italian crackers. Invitation: Betty Hunley Designs Photographer: Evelyn Magrí Hair: Done by my friends! Half-up do, styled with baby’s breath flowers Makeup: Sarah Pottharst Music: Wedding Ceremony & Aperitivo (that followed immediately after wedding): Music One, a group specializing in wedding & events based in Bergamo; Reception: Local Bergamo DJ
Father of the Bride, Burt Carnahan and Bride Sarah Pottharst
Margo Phelps, Nancy LaMotte, Barbara Claiborne, Andree Batt, Betty Hunley, Kathie Carnahan (mother of the bride)
Bride’s cousins Jessica Goldberg, Graham Sharpe, David Pottharst, Robert Pottharst, groom Alvise Girolami, bride Sarah Pottharst, Kimberly Scheld, Chris Scheld
Kathie Carnahan (in front), Barbara Claiborne, Martin Claiborne, and Richard LaMotte (in background) at the wedding reception
Bride and groom
Katie Sydness and Sarah Pottharst