Thalia Condo and Ryan Nielsen Wedding
Traditional Catholic Italian Wedding at the Cathedral of the Madeleine
Utah musician, Thalia Condo, originally from Ecuador, first connected with Ryan Nielsen, a New Yorker native back in 2011. Ryan and Thalia met through a mutual friend, and had their first date at a coffee shop.
“We talked for hours about music, and we liked each other a lot,” Thalia says. “Our shared love of music is what really connected us. I was recording my first CD when I met Ryan, and he helped me with some of my guitar chords.”
Thalia and Ryan are both musicians. Ryan is also a mechanical engineer. Thalia lovingly refers to him as an “engineer by day and musician by night.”
Thalia moved to Utah from Ecuador to get a degree in broadcast journalism from the University of Utah, and worked in marketing for some time before deciding she wanted to pursue music full-time.
Four years after that first date, Ryan proposed during a trip to Italy. The couple took a trip to Europe together, and Ryan had planned to ask for Thalia’s hand while in Paris, but the weather didn’t cooperate with his plans. Once in Venice, the pair got lost exploring and decided to take a gondola ride. Thalia was excited about the romantic ride and hopped in with a gondolier named Manolo, who whistled and pointed out historical buildings and areas in a thick Venetian accent.
“It was the perfect moment,” Thalia says. “The sunset cast the most beautiful shade of colors across the houses, and they looked magical. The next thing I know, Ryan grabs my hand and I could feel him trembling. He began telling me why he loved me and then asked me to marry him.”
Thalia looked up at their gondolier and said “Manolo, I think he is proposing.” She said yes, and Manolo quickly dropped them off at the pier to celebrate. Thalia and Ryan then went into a store that made custom masks for Hollywood movies.
“I knew they cost thousands in the U.S., so I took it as a sign that we needed to buy them. So we did,” Thalia says. The masks later made an appearance on their big day.
The couple were inspired by Pippa Middleton’s royal wedding.
“We loved the concept of a traditional catholic wedding, since both of our families are Catholic,” Thalia says.
Ryan was still in school during their two-year engagement, and got a job in Michigan after graduating. He had no choice but to move, so Thalia stayed behind and planned the wedding alone.
Originally, Thalia and Ryan thought of returning to Italy for the wedding, but they knew not everyone would be able to make it. Instead, they chose the Cathedral of the Madeleine in Salt Lake City to harness the Italian-Catholic ambiance. Friends and family from several cities were able to attend, and the vows and music were in three different languages: English, Latin and Spanish.
“We wanted to use the masks we bought in Venice in the wedding, but weren’t sure how we were going to incorporate them,” Thalia says. “Then one day it clicked. The masks reminded us of a theatre play, so we held our reception at the Capitol Theatre on the rooftop.”
Thalia and Ryan are both foodies, and wanted local cuisine as a part of the gathering.
The couple decided on two dinner options: one vegetarian and one meat dish.
“I have been a vegetarian for almost 20 years and Ryan is not. We figured it would be a great idea to have options for both our vegetarian and our omnivore friends.”
Before dinner they presented hors d’oeuvres with assorted cheese and crackers, tomato basil bruschetta and fresh seasonal fruit. Before dinner, guests dined on a salad of mixed greens with cherry tomato, glazed pecans and pomegranate vinaigrette, Ryan’s favorite. The first dinner option consisted of tri-tip steak with chimichurri sauce and grilled chicken with sherry mushroom sauce, accompanied by a side of lemon herb rice or roasted heirloom tomatoes.
The vegetarian option was roasted bistro vegetables and spinach raviolis with sherry sauce.
Their poppy seed lemon cake made an impression, and Thalia says their guests still talk about it!
The ceremony featured Mr. Gabrielle Terrone from Rome, Italy playing at the cathedral with the breathtaking voice of cantor Tyler Oliphant from the Utah Opera.
The Nielsens were set on live music at their outdoor reception, so they had a full jazz band performing during the dinner and party.
“We had all our guests dancing to old Louis Armstrong, Miles Davis, Billie Holiday and many other classics.
Advice for Brides
Thalia recommends that brides “enjoy the ride, [because] the day goes by so fast that you barely have time to eat or talk to all your guests. Enjoy planning, don’t stress out and have fun!”
Thalia and Ryan were married on September 2, 2017 and had their honeymoon in South Africa the same month at a Safari in Pilanesberg.
Photography: Carolina Lindsay
Ceremony Venue: Cathedral of the Madeleine
Reception Venue: Capitol Theatre
Gown: Hayley Paige
Suit: Jos. A. Bank
Floral Arrangements: Native Flower Company
Rentals: Hoopes Events
Veil, Shoes and Bride accessories: BHLDN
Crown: Mignonne from Paris
Masks: from Venice, Italy
Love Sign Marquee Lights: Caitlyn Ricks
Invitations: Design Lotus
Entertainment: Kevin Flynn and the Svengali Jazz Quartet
Videography: Moonstruck Pictures
Vintage Car: Antique Limo Utah
Catering/Cake: Rockwell Catering
Drinks/Bartending: Cheers and Swizzles