From their first encounter to their wedding day, music has always played an integral part of Elyssa Aquino and Nathan Sackeyfio’s relationship. The two of them met at a Sabrino Claudio concert in Brooklyn. Although, they didn’t remember the occurrence until a few months after they reconnected on Tinder in 2018.
After three years of dating, Nathan popped the question in a record store on October 10, 2021 in New York City. “I ran my fingers through some records and magically found this hidden gem,” Elyssa recounts. “It was a record of us, with our photo, titled, ‘Will You Marry Me?’ There Nathan was on one knee, both our hands shaking. I always said music was our love language. I guess he was listening.” A curated soundtrack and countless musical performances would also be a highlight at their nuptials the following year.
Since Elyssa and Nathan lived in New York, they wanted to tie the knot at a locale that provided a reprieve from the hustle and bustle of the city. With its sweeping views and farm-to-table menu, Quinta de Sant’Ana in Gradil, Portugal checked all of the boxes. “From the moment we stepped foot on the vineyard, we knew it was the perfect place for our destination wedding,” the couple remarks. “Not only was the venue beautiful, but it was deeply connected to the earth.” Not to mention, the family wine estate equipped them with their wedding planner, Alexandra Menghere, and all of their day-of florals and decorations.
Even though the team at Quinta de Sant’Ana made orchestrating their nuptials a breeze, the wedding planning process still had its fair share of challenges. Since Elyssa and Nathan are based in the United States, planning a destination wedding overseas was no easy feat. “From immigration at the airport to language barriers to organizing buses for our guests, it was a bit overwhelming,” Elyssa admits. “Although it was stressful at times, it ended up being the best decision we ever made.”
Another tough decision during the planning stages was finalizing the aesthetic and color palette. After weighing all of her options, the bride decided to let the venue’s surrounding landscape be the focal point. Ultimately, she leaned on nude tones and greenery to decorate her “vintage couture” wedding, which evoked an elegant and natural style with a touch of glamour.
On October 11, 2022, Elyssa and Nathan’s vision came to life. Keep scrolling to see how they executed their dream day, with help from their planner, Alexandra Mengheres, and their photographer, Hugo Coelho Photography.
Elyssa kicked off the celebration popping champagne with her bridesmaids in her bridal suite. While her crew was clad in matching monogrammed pink silk robes, the bride donned a white iteration.
Elyssa also spent the morning getting glammed up for the celebrations ahead. For her makeup, the bride drew inspiration from countless celebrities. “I wanted the Lori Harvey skincare with the Tyra Banks eyes and the Kim Kardashian glam,” she says. The end result was a dewy, glowing complexion with a focus on flushed cheeks and bold eyes. To create bouncy waves, Elyssa spent the first part of her morning in curlers.
The bride changed into a fit-and-flare Galia Lahav gown featuring floral appliqués, sheer sleeves, a plunging neckline, and an open back. “I knew my dress was the one because it reminded me of my relationship: beautiful, sexy, delicate, and romantic,” she expresses. Elyssa completed her look with a pearl-studded cathedral-length veil, which her aunt Andrea Aquino of Veiled Affair made.
Nathan sported a white double-breasted tuxedo jacket by Hive & Colony, black dress pants, a Tom Ford bow tie, and Gucci loafers. He accessorized with a gold watch from Adanelegacy. “Jewelry has always been a special part of my wardrobe,” he explains. “I wanted to wear gold accents with value and meaning behind it, and as a Ghanaian man, I proudly wanted to support black designer Daegem Adane.”
After changing into their maroon tuxedo jackets with black lapels, the groomsmen shared a toast with Nathan.
We got to look into each other’s eyes moments before our lifelong union.
To enjoy an intimate moment together and help alleviate their pre-ceremony jitters, Elyssa and Nathan opted to do a first look. “This moment was special because we got to look into each other’s eyes moments before our lifelong union and encourage one another, even though we were nervous saying our vows in front of our guests,” they note.
The duo’s dreamy vow exchange took place in the vineyards. A border of dried grasses and flowers lined the aisle, leading to an elegant floral arch. Rows of wooden benches secured with cushions faced the altar and provided seating for guests. To fill the ceremony with romantic melodies, a string quartet was stationed on a patterned rug.
“I wanted the flower girls to be as dramatic as the bride!” Elyssa exclaims. The bride’s nieces made their entrance in pink dresses with satin tops, tulle skirts, and pearl-embellished belts from Colibri Fashion Studio on Etsy.
Elyssa’s father escorted her down the aisle while the string quartet played “I’m Kissing You” by Des’ree from the Romeo + Juliet soundtrack.
During the ceremony, Elyssa and Nathan recited their own vows, which they actually wrote earlier that day. “We wrote our own vows the morning of the wedding because we wanted to be in the moment as much as possible,” the couple explains.
After they were pronounced husband and wife, a gospel choir surprised the crowd by singing “Through the Wire” by Kanye West. According to the music-loving couple, it was one of their favorite memories from the day and “took our breath away.”
While loved ones headed to cocktail hour in the venue’s wine cellar, Elyssa and Nathan snapped portraits and soaked in their locale.
The couple also took a moment to pose with their wedding party and 106 guests. To counterbalance the groomsmen’s rich tuxedos, the bridal party rocked a gown of their choosing in nude or mauve shades. “I wanted them to have the freedom to wear whatever they felt expressed their personalities,” Elyssa mentions.
Once it was time for the reception, guests found their names on a simple wooden seating chart and shared well-wishes with the couple on a record player, which fit the music motif.
Guests dined at two long banquet tables wrapped in white linens, while flower chandeliers adorned with tea candles floated above their heads. Each table was lined with charming floral arrangements, taper candles in vintage candle holders, and pumpkins for an autumnal touch. The pared-back place settings featured a place card tacked on cork, a watercolor menu, and a sprig of greenery. At the end of the room, Elyssa and Nathan sat at their own table, which was embellished with the same tabletop elements.
The bride and groom made their first debut on the dance floor as a married couple to “Just Friends” by Musiq Soulchild.
The evening included moving speeches from friends and family. Guests also enjoyed mouthwatering meal with butternut squash soup as an appetizer and a choice of bacon-wrapped honey-mustard chicken or sea bass with lime crab rice as the entrée.
During the mother-son and father-daughter dances, the DJ played “What a Wonderful World” by Louis Armstrong and “The Way You Look Tonight” by Frank Sinatra remixed with Bad Bunny’s “Después de la Playa.”
Outside on the patio, Elyssa and Nathan cut into their naked wedding cake garnished with fruit. The flavors of vanilla and strawberry complimented the design.
After pouring champagne down a tower of flutes while fireworks went off, the couple and their guests took pictures in front of a neon sign that said “Once Upon a Time in Lisbon” and hit the dance floor. From the scenic location to the special musical performances, the couple’s big day exceeded their expectations. For other couples planning their nuptials, Elyssa recommends savoring all of it. “Enjoy every single moment even if you’re stressed out because it goes by so fast. It is truly a special time in your life,” she says. “Also, try not to stress about the small things because everything will be okay.”