Creating a Sense of Community in Northeast Tennessee & Southwest Virginia

VIPSEEN Real Weddings: Luca & Philena Piazza








The celebration and blessing of the marriage of Philena Elizabeth Gilmer and Luca Piazza was  held at St. Thomas Episcopal Church in Historic Abingdon, VA on Saturday, the fourth of August, 2018. Following the traditional service, guests were invited to walk with the bridal party along Plumb Alley to the Gilmer’s home for the reception.

Luca and Philena met in a Chicago coffee shop three years ago and even though they are quite opposite – she an actress and he a computer engineer – the couple bonded instantly over missing “their mountains” – Luca’s mountains being in Italy and Philena’s in Southwestern Virginia. Even before they were engaged, Philena had dreamed about having a wedding in her home town at the church where she grew up and having the reception in her parents backyard. It was so amazing to have that dream come true and to have friends and family come from literally all over the world to witness the romantic event.

Since Luca’s family is Italian, they had a full Episcopalian mass, with key moments in both English and Italian. After the ceremony, the guests and wedding party walked through the quaint town of Abingdon to the bride’s parents house for cocktails, dinner and dancing. The backyard was transformed with gorgeous tents, twinkle lights, and greenery. One of the bride’s favorite details was the vintage wedding cake toppers she and her mother had been collecting since she was a little girl. There was also DIY photo booth with polaroid cameras and vintage theatre props. It was true backyard magic…a little bit of Appalachia, meets Italy, meets theatre people, computer nerds, and sweet family and friends, both young and old!















Photographer Rachael Wilbur

Hair/Make-up Sherri Jessee

Gown Rue de Seine 

Groom’s Suit Corneliani (Italy)

Invitations Paper Source

Church St. Thomas Episcopal

Church Coordinator Kathy Evans

Lodging and First Look/

Wedding Party photo’s A Tailor’s Lodging

Rentals Celebrations

Caterer Farm to Fender (Asheville)

Cake Cakes to Live By, Jennifer Enloe

Wedding Cake Toppers Philena and her Mom’s collection over the years.

Event Coordinator Debbie Snyder

Event and Floral Designer Angie Gilmer

Band The Royal Suits (Asheville)

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