Mena Suvari and Simone Sestito
10/23/2008 AT 11:05 AM EDT
It's going to be "a nice, big traditional Italian wedding" for American Beauty
star Mena Suvari and music producer-promoter Simone Sestito, the couple tell PEOPLE.
"We want to marry in Italy," Suvari said at the Hugo Boss store opening Wednesday in New York. "There is a lot of planning we want to do."
In fact, they are heading back on Thursday to scout locations. "We were there in August, and everything was closed in August, so we want to look at a lot of cathedrals and find a place."
The target date is sometime in 2010, say the couple, who announced their engagement
Suvari, 29, met Sestito, 24, through a mutual friend when he was visiting Los Angeles, and got reacquainted at the Toronto Film Festival in 2007.
"A couple weeks after we knew each other, he asked me if I wanted to go to Italy," she says.
They visited Rome where, Sestito recalls, "I took her to the main attractions – the Coliseum, the Spanish Steps."
But the pair bonded over more than the sites. "We just really understood each other," Sestito says. "There was a connection. She's very caring and understanding, very outgoing, fun. She's always laughing, joking around."