Real Weddings

Cristina and Alessandro



Celebration of Love

A wedding anchored by tradition and heritage

by Iris Winston
photos by Miv Photography

Grandma knows best. Cristina Zanetti and Alessandro Ferrante agree. The couple, who were married August 8, 2015, met because the grandmother of Cristina’s best friend, who also happened to be Alessandro’s great-aunt, pointed them in each other’s direction.

“After she told Cristina about me, we met on Facebook and then had a date,” says Alessandro, a project coordinator with Uniform Developments in Ottawa. “We went for dinner and a movie and then we kept going from there. It’s certainly true in our case that grandmothers know what they’re doing.”

Four years later, Alessandro presented Cristina with a gift — not the engagement ring they had discussed earlier, but a charm in the shape of an engagement ring for her charm bracelet.

“I just wanted to throw her off a bit,” he chuckles. “And while she was looking at the charm, I got down on one knee, proposed, and gave her the real engagement ring.”

The ring, a solitaire purchased at Birks, “is absolutely beautiful,” says Cristina. Although she admits she had “guided him a little” by letting him know she favoured a traditional style of ring and especially liked solitaire diamonds, Alessandro shopped for the gem without her.

“My sister came with me on one occasion and helped me out a bit,” he says. “There are so many rings to choose from and so much to think about in terms of cut, quality and size. But, in the end, I went back to the first ring I had seen and really liked.”

The next step for Cristina, a data collection coordinator for the City of Ottawa, was to find the perfect wedding gown.

“I went to Bridal Reflections in New York,” she says. “I intended the trip just to be for the experience, but I fell in love with a dress by Ines Di Santo – an all-lace gown with an extended train and a sweetheart, glitter neckline. I couldn’t resist and purchased it. But, as she has her own store in Toronto, I was able to go there for the fittings rather than going back to New York.”

In keeping with their Italian heritage, following their ceremony at the  Notre-Dame Cathedral Basilicaon Sussex Drive, the couple celebrated their marriage with an expansive reception, 300 guests, a live band and mountains of food at the Sala San Marco on Preston Street.

“The band, The Showmen from Montreal, was really good,” says Alessandro. “And the Sala San Marco did a great job.”

“We did one thing a little differently from other receptions we have attended there,”

he adds. “We had the hors d’oeuvres served outside before people reached the reception line so that they could eat while they were waiting to come through. That worked really well. In fact, everything went off without a hitch.”

“The decorations by Sharon House were great and the bouquets by Pavel Bogdanov of Ottawa Flowers were lovely too,” adds Cristina.

After the wedding reception, the newlyweds honeymooned in Hawaii, staying in the Hilton Hawaiian Village in Waikiki on Oahu — the resort where Cristina’s parents stayed on their 25th wedding anniversary 28 years ago. And so a new family tradition begins. W

Get the Look

Inspired by this couple’s glam wedding style? We’ve broken down five of Cristina and Alessandro’s favourite swoon-worthy elements so you can snag the look for your upcoming nuptials!


You only get one first impression. When it comes to weddings, invitations set the tone for your special day. Cristina and Alessandro opted for a Great Gatsby theme, and with help from the experts at PaperStudio, they selected elements that would fit in with that oh-so glam and whimsical era. Using black and silver text and designs on a cream, shimmering background, the couple carried their theme through all of the wedding stationery. “The owner, Cheryl, and her staff were helpful, and through their professionalism were able to design not only the wedding invitations, but the shower invitations, the church fans and the thank-you cards.” Check out PaperStudio at

Live band

When Gatsby threw a party, there were no such things as DJs or iPods. This couple went for the real deal and opted for an 11-piece band from Montreal, Quebec. The Showmen, whose resume includes entertaining in Atlantic City, Las Vegas and New York, kept the crowd on their feet with songs specifically selected by the couple and also a few of their own party favourites. “They pleased every age group. We worked with owner, Roberto, to choose songs for the wedding to keep with our theme, but when they felt our choice of music was not right, they were able to direct us with other songs.” To contact this travelling band, visit

Breathtaking backdrop

The bride and groom were the focal point of this Gatsby-inspired space. Sitting atop an elevated stage with the bridal party on either side, the couple’s custom-made backdrop featured draped fabric and a scattering of soft florals. The couple looked to Sharon House and Avant-Garde Designs to pull off their vision. “My husband and I were the first to see the room decorated. When the curtains were pulled back I was in awe with her work of art.” Check out

Gorgeous gown

The beautiful bride wore the gown of her dreams after meeting Ines Di Santo at the Toronto- based designer’s trunk show in New York City. The custom-made fit-and-flare design featured a sweetheart neckline and Chantilly lace from Paris, France. “With four trips to downtown Toronto, the dress was literally built on me.” To see more of this amazing designer’s beautiful bridal creations, visit

Bridal beauty

Cristina wanted her hair and makeup to complement not only her overall look, but also the theme of the day. Makeup artist, Anusha Sahgal, opted for a romantic face featuring the always sultry smoky eye and soft earth tones. Fadi, of Fadi’s Hair Design, completed the look with a soft half-up style and a delicate hair accessory that would remain once the veil was removed. “[Fadi] truly believes a bride should feel very comfortable and the hair should reflect her style.”

Compiled by Lindsay Ruck.

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